Letting Go of Sentimental clutter

Do you have an issue with letting go of sentimental clutter or possessions?  Many people do and it’s a common question I get asked or have to assist a client with hence why I decided to pen this BLOG.

IMG_2803Most of us hold on to possessions that have a memory attached.  Rest assured the urge to hold onto meaningful clutter is normal.  It could be letters, children’s clothing, war medals, photographs, ornaments and the list goes on.  The items we keep are most likely different for each of us.

There is nothing wrong with holding onto things that have sentimental value.  I have a few pieces of clothing from when my children were little and some of their favourite toys.  The other sentimental items we have are my grandfather’s navigator hat that he gave to my son and an antique clock. Other than that we actually don’t have many other items boxed up or lying around.

It is just not practical to keep every memento or item as it would be very hard to find somewhere for each item and more importantly it doesn’t give honour to those sentimental items that are really special.

Another reason many people hold on to items is that they were given them by loves ones and by choice would not necessarily have purchased them themselves.  Often these sentimental items are usually packed away and very rarely sighted so why then is parting ways with sentimental items so difficult?

Here are a few things that might assist you with your sentimental clutter and the decision making process:
  1. It’s important, like with any clutter, if an item no longer brings you any joy then it is usually a sign to part ways.
  2. Holding on to sentimental items can imprison us but letting go can set you free.  Free yourself of the weight – maybe not all of it but at least some of it by partying ways with some of the items.
  3. As The Minimalists often say ‘our memories are not in things’ – our memories are inside us.
  4. Enlist some help but make sure it is the right kind of help to allow you to make your own decisions
  5. Another way of putting it is ‘the value isn’t often the items themselves but the stories behind them’.  Maybe you could go through them with someone else and share the stories or if you like get a recording of you holding certain items and talking about them.
  6. You can also take photos of items and keep the memory that way rather than necessarily holding onto everything.  We have tended to do this quite a bit with our children’s art work and projects otherwise we would have had to build extra rooms in our house to store them.
  7. Let time pass – if the items are not already boxed up then it can be useful to put them in a box for a period of time to see if you miss them or not?  Sometimes we are not ready to deal with such items so this method could assist particularly if you are grieving or downsizing.  Be assured that usually our relationship to sentimental clutter changes over time.
  8. By letting go of items that no longer add value to our own lives we are then able to give them to others where they will have a new home and thus a new purpose.
  9. By having few sentimental items we are able to enjoy them more – usually you get more value from the fewer items you keep rather an having hundreds of unloved items.  A quote I like to use is ‘save the best and toss the rest’.
  10. When going through items it is okay to have strong emotions – some will be positive and others negative.  You need to be able to experience emotion so you get to a point where you can actually let go of the items – or at least some of them.

The other thing I often say to clients about sentimental things is if they are actually very important then you should honour them and display them rather than keeping them in a box in the cupboard.

So let me ask are you holding onto any sentimental items that no longer serve a purpose or bring you joy?  Are they weighing you down?  Are they items that could someone else if you gave them away?  Would you benefit if you let some of them go?  Maybe it is time for you to make the decision and let go.

A couple of approaches you can take:
  1. just jump in and get rid of everything (now this isn’t for everyone but might work for some) or
  2. take small steps and start by going through and making decisions about a few items and then each day make more decisions about others – you can then do more as you feel more comfortable in making decisions.

Good luck!

If you find you are still struggling to make a decision and would like some assistance then I am more than happy to help you with the process – please get in touch amanda@organisingyou.com.au or 0409967166.

 

Tips to organising memorabilia at the end of the school year

It’s that time of year again when your children are bringing home everything and anything from school – reports, school work including portfolios, books, art work, lunch boxes, drink bottles and uniforms.  Over the past week when emptying their backpacks my children are pulling out all sorts of different things they have worked on throughout the year.  We have one more week to go and am sure their will be more yet to come! IMG_6590

As I was organising and putting some of this memorabilia away on the weekend and getting the house ready for Christmas festivities, it occurred to me that many people are not really sure what to do with all of these extra items.  Many of my clients often struggle with these things throughout the year let alone getting a lot in quick succession.  Here are a few tips to organising memorabilia that usually work for me and what I suggest to my clients.

Let’s start with what I would term the easier items like lunch boxes, books and uniforms.  Its a good idea to inspect these and if they are still in good condition then you might like to wash these and store away ready to get out next year.  It’s much better to put things away clean than realising you need to wash them a day before school starts.  If they are no longer of use to you then you might like to donate or dispose of them.  Many schools have either second hand uniform and book shops or points where you can drop these off for others to use.

When it comes to the other items like school work, reports and art work the decision making becomes a little more difficult for many.  You will need to decide what you wish to keep, display or dispose of.  Naturally you won’t be able to keep it all as you would end up with boxes and boxes over the years of a child’s school life!  Ideally you need to have one spot where you store and keep it all together.  This could be in a file, box, tub or folio.  I often recommend to my clients that they have a large plastic tub for each child that can be stored up in a cupboard, attic or even in a garage space.  This tub is then the central place for storing each child’s school life memorabilia along with other memorabilia items for other activities.

When it comes to art work you might already have a display wall or shelf where you keep items and rotate them over time.  I suggest you keep the pieces that you or your child are really proud of and dispose of the rest.  If you are uneasy at disposing of any of these you could take photos beforehand to keep so that children can look at them from time to time.  I know my son has often asked me to take photos of lego creations he has made at school and other art creations as he knew we couldn’t keep them forever.  Fortunately my children already come home with their artwork in a folio and we will sit down after Christmas and select the items they wish to put up on our art wall, those they want to throw out and others they will keep in the folio. IMG_6591

If you find your memorabilia tub or place where you store these items fills up very quickly you might need to go through it on occasion and review its contents.  My final suggestion is if items you decide to keep are not dated it might be useful to put a note on it so that when you do look back on the memorabilia you know when it is from.

It’s important that you come up with a solution that works for you, your family and the space you have.  Do you think you can now go ahead and get this all organised in your home?  If not feel free to give me a call!  Also if anyone else has any great tips that work for them please feel free to let me know so I can share!