Do you have a hard time letting things go? According to California Closets’ Ginny Snook Scott, you're not alone. "The largest percentage of people are actually almost romantic about keeping things. Things are just very meaningful for them."
How to Tell If You Keep Sentimental Clutter
- Is your wedding dress hanging in your closet and it's been more than a month since your wedding?
- Do you have boxes of greeting cards and memorabilia in boxes in your basement or garage that you haven’t looked though in over a year?
- Have you kept more than one or two of your child's baby blankets? Are they in a box somewhere that you haven’t opened in ages?
Confession time: I get a little uneasy when I try to donate or consign something that at one time meant a great deal to me, like a sweatshirt that I wore in high school, or a pair of shoes I wore to a special occasion. It feels almost disrespectful--like I am turning my back on that era of my life. I found a good way to combat this feeling is to select a few tokens, take good care of them, and let the rest go.
Steps to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter:
- Choose to keep 1 or 2 items sentimental or keepsake items. Then commit to caring for, and storing them properly. This is going to be much more palatable to you than donating or consigning everything, because this way, you're compromising: choosing 1 or 2 items from a collection or an era in your past means you'll have a touchstone to show your children without cluttering up your closet, basement, or attic.
- Ensure keepsakes and memorabilia are not crowding out what really belongs in your closet. "Memorabilia does not belong in your closet," says Snook Scott. This means creating a space for these items that does not get in the way of your everyday life. Keep sentimental items out of the closet, kitchen and garage. You should not have to hunt and peck your way through old photo albums to find your car’s jumper cables or windshield wiper fluid, just like you should have to move fancy, special event clothing out of the way to get to your work clothes or workout gear.
- Store things properly. Move the wedding dress, baby blankets, and childhood keepsakes, into storage containers and then into the basement or attic (away from moisture and heat). Do not keep them mixed in with things you use regularly. If you’re display items like old greeting cards and photographs, display them in the living room or bedroom, on the wall or in a glass door cabinet—not in the way of your daily life.
Read about why you keep different types of clutter and how to get rid of it.