For the most part, clutter isn’t a big problem for me. I’m pretty good at recognizing when clutter is starting to become a problem, and I can usually get rid of whatever we don’t need without experiencing any significant distress.
However, I’m perfectly willing to admit there are limits to my ability to declutter. Because when it comes to stuff that has a special meaning (also known as “sentimental clutter”), I’m much more likely to let it pile up!
But I know I’m not the only one who struggles to part with items that have sentimental value. So today I’ll be sharing a list of practical ways to cut down on sentimental clutter and get more organized (without sacrificing the important stuff!) 🙂
7 Practical Ways To Cut Down On Sentimental Clutter
1. Save Virtual Memories
Documents, photos, art projects, and other paper items can contribute to clutter in a big way. But these items are often laden with sentimental value, so it can be hard to let go of them!
But there’s an easy way to hang on to those memories while clearing out the clutter. Scan all your meaningful paper items and save the images as “virtual memories!”
You can get rid of the clutter and still be able to peruse those old artworks, handwritten notes, and other memories anytime you want. (Just be sure to back those files up somewhere safe!)
2. Let Go Of Gift Guilt
Many people find it hard to get rid of gifts, even ones they don’t really want, out of worry that it might hurt the gift giver’s feelings. If left unchecked, this “gift guilt” can leave you buried under gifted items that you feel compelled to keep!
While certain individuals might expect you to cherish each and every gift they give you, most people aren’t so unreasonable. A gift is a gift after all, meaning it is yours to do with as you please!
Letting go of “gift guilt” can be an important step towards reducing sentimental clutter in your home.
3. Pass It On
When it comes to family heirlooms, different items may hold meaning or value to different people. If you’ve inherited something that you’ll likely keep in storage, why not ask around and find out whether another family member might like to display it?
There’s no shame in passing a family heirloom on to another family member, especially if it is particularly meaningful to them!
4. Get Creative
Sentimental clutter often takes the form of something you don’t actually use, but can’t bear to part with. One way to overcome this hurdle is to find a creative way to transform that unused item into something usable!
For instance, you could have a stone from an outdated ring set into a new band that fits your style. Or you could use the wood from an antique hutch to build a new set of floating shelves!
Transforming those sentimental items into something functional can help you cut down on unused clutter, while retaining their special sentimental value.
5. Revisit Home Videos
While the home videos they contain are priceless, stacks of old video tapes aren’t exactly a space saver. Getting those old tapes digitized will not only allow you to get rid of those tapes, but it will also make it much easier to watch those treasured home videos!
I had our home video tapes digitized using a service called Legacybox, and wrote this post about the experience. It couldn’t have been easier to do, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to digitize their old video tapes, photographs, negatives, film reels, etc.!
Once you have digital copies of your home videos, there’s no shortage of things you can do with them! For instance, you can use the Magisto app to turn snippets of your home movies into a shareable video montage!
6. Box It Up
Getting rid of sentimental clutter isn’t always something you choose to do willingly. It’s often part of the aftermath of losing someone close to you, like a family member, a friend, or even a pet.
This process can be brutal, and you may not be ready to tackle it just yet. In this case, just box the items up for now and set them aside. Give yourself about six months or so before returning to your decluttering efforts.
7. Save The Best
What about collections of items with sentimental value, like your grandmother’s antique teapots or your dad’s coins? The best solution in these cases is to “save the best, and toss the rest!”
Pick a favorite piece to represent the collection and find a nice place to display it, then find a new home for the rest of the collection.
How do you keep sentimental clutter under control in your home?