Letting Go: 5 Tips to Rid Sentimental Clutter

declutter your homeClutter has a tendency to take up a lot of space. Additionally, it can pile up quickly, meaning your house could go from tidy to chaotic in a short period of time. This is especially true if you’re prone to placing sentimental value on items. Once you attach emotion to an object, it’s harder to get rid of. Harder, but not impossible.

Use the following five tips to learn the secret to letting go of stuff, so you can rid your home of sentimental clutter, like in your bedroom or family room.

1. Let It Go

When clearing out sentimental clutter, consider whether or not you really need to keep each item. Ask yourself if the things you’re clinging to have a functional use — and are being used regularly — or bring you any joy. If the answer to these questions is “no,” bid the object adieu and move on. There’s no sense in holding onto something because you feel like you’ll betray a loved one or a time in the past if you don’t. Your memories will still be there, and that’s what’s really important.

2. Set a Time Limit

When you get a birthday card or a nice bouquet of flowers, it makes you feel good. Therefore, it’s only natural you want to keep these items around. Just don’t keep them forever or you’ll run the risk of drowning in sentimental clutter. Instead, give yourself a timespan for which you can hold onto things. Flowers wilt and die, so toss those out once they start looking droopy and losing petals. In addition, give items like cards or notes a one-to two-week expiration date. Once that time is up, send them to the recycle bin and don’t’ look back.

3. Get Digital

It’s the age of technology and you’ve likely got gigabytes of unused storage just ready to hold those cherished moments in the ethereal arms of the cloud. If you really want to keep handwritten love notes, pictures your significant other doodled on napkins or all of the kids’ report cards and drawings, scan them in so that you have a digital record that doesn’t take up space or attract dust and silverfish or other pests that are drawn to old papers.

4. Make a Memory Box

When it comes to letting go of stuff, it’s important to remember that it’s OK to keep a few things. Maybe you have old family photos or a rock from your trip to another country. As long as you’re in control of these items, hold onto them. The best way of doing so is to choose a small box to house sentimental items. Try not to go any larger than a shoe box. Before you place a new item within, really ask yourself if that feather or movie stub is something you need to keep forever. If not, take a mental picture and chuck it. And if the box fills up, that’s it; you have to toss something out before adding a new item.

5. Get Creative

Sentimental items don’t necessarily have to be clutter. It’s all in how you store them. Decoupage — cutting out paper and gluing it to hard surfaces — is a great way to use old postcards, drawings or even letters to decorate tables, desktops or dressers and many people sew quilts from clothes laced with sentiment. A framed collage would be a great way to display all your old family photos or the currency you bring back from your travels. Like to savor memories with rocks or pressed flowers? Consider housing them in a shadow box. You can even write a one-word label under each item to make it a more interesting work of personal art.

Once you get into the hang of kicking sentimental clutter to the curb, you may find you enjoy a minimalist lifestyle.

Want to learn more tips on keeping a tidy home? Check out these ideas for creative under-bed storage then learn how to reduce food waste at home.

Next > 7 Habits of a Highly Organized Mom or Dad