You've got rid of all those books you'll never read, you've halved the clothes in your wardrobe and there's finally some space in your chest of drawers.
You know that something's lurking though... In dark corners of cupboards, hidden in the attic, underneath the bed... It's all your keepsakes and sentimental items. Gifts from relatives, birthday cards, favourite children's books, occasion dresses, stuffed toys.. If you're anything like me, the list goes on and on!
Trouble is, it gets to the point where you're keeping more stuff for sentimental reasons than the useful stuff you have! Linda over at Practical Parsimony commented on a recent post that “Hoarders are very sentimental”. I don't want to be keeping, storing and moving boxes and boxes of meaningful-yet-never-see-the-light-of-day stuff!
How do you go about reducing the volume of sentimental stuff? Here are some techniques I have been/will be using!
- Get rid of all of the replaceable things. This knocks a lot of my children's books off the list. I was half-heartedly keeping them for future offspring, but I can save myself some space now and replace them in the future, possibly via Ebay or bookshops.
- Digitalise it. If you're only keeping something so that you can look at it in the future and evoke some happy memory, take a photo of the item! This could work well for wedding or prom dresses, as well as old artwork/schoolwork.
- Keep one favourite, donate the rest. Do you have a big box of your childhood toys? Why not pick just one favourite, take photos of the rest of them and save yourself some space. You could even display the one you picked, rather than leaving it buried in a box somewhere.
- Set a size limit. Decide to keep just one box of things. Fit the most important things into that box. Donate or throwaway the rest.
- Will you ever look at it again? Would you notice it's absence? If not, why keep it?
- Would you pay to keep it? People often buy a bigger house for more space. People often rent storage. Moving home is more expensive with more stuff. If your many boxes of stuff are costing you excess money, are they really worth it? If so, is there something else you could get rid of instead?
- Make sure you save things that are truly important to you. I know I will never part with the ~100 year old bear that my Great-great grandmother gave to my Grandma, who gave it to me. Well, I may one day give it to my granddaughter! I will never get rid of a letter from my Nana from my 18th birthday, nor the doll handmade by my Mum when I was a baby. Anything that you truly love, keep.
I think Rachel from Small Notebook hit the nail on the head when she said
“the fewer things you keep, the more special they are.”
Do you have a stash of sentimental items? Is it under control, or is it a vast pile of stuff like mine? How do you feel about letting go of it?