Can clutter be sentimental?

I declutter on a regular basis.  At least every 6 months I go through the kids wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and shoe racks to take out what we no longer need.  That’s the easy part of decluttering.  It’s the sentimental things that I battle to work through.  

So yes, clutter can be sentimental. 

Deciding what to hold on to and what to let go of is my biggest challenge when it comes to decluttering sentimental things.  As a sentimental person, I hold onto memories and things that are linked to those memories.  The problem is, things can pile up, especially when there’s four of you in the house. 

What is sentimental clutter?

The things that stir up memories in us even if they don’t have any value to anyone else. The movie tickets from years back, drawings the kids made when they were two, clay art from kindergarten, a birthday card from a loved one.

Getting rid of sentimental clutter can be hard.  But it can also be very rewarding and make space for new possibilities. 

How do you tackle sentimental clutter?

I am on a mission.  As the month of Ramadan is about to start, I decided to spend 30 minutes every day tackling our sentimental clutter.  Ramadan is a time of reflection for us as a family, so going through keepsakes will also strengthen our bond as we reflect on each item. 

To make the process easier, I have put together my own guide to tackling sentimental clutter.

If it makes me smile, I am keeping it.  If it doesn’t spark that joy, I will put it on the pile to let it go.

Once it’s on the pile to keep, I will ask myself some questions: 

  • Can I scan it and keep it as an electronic keepsake?  
  • Is it useful and do I want it to be seen? 
  • Can I pass it on to someone else?
  • Do I have room for it?

Preparations I’ve made for my sentimental decluttering:

  • I prepared a few keepsake boxes for the small things that sparked a joy.
  • Some things will go into ‘Memories in a jar’ bottles and displayed on the shelves.
  • I will take photos of things we don’t have room for.
  • For the paper keepsakes I have pocket folders. 
  • Things that can be repurposed, will go on the arts and crafts drawer for my daughter’s next craft project. 
  • The kids will scan things for me and help me put it into digital ‘cloud’ files. 
  • Some photos will be framed and displayed in the passage way. 
  • Art from the kids will be laminated and hanged, ceiling to floor with rings holding each together – an art gallery of memorable art!

Finally, as an ending to my musings, I want to add: 

We are more than our possessions.

Our memories are within us, not within our things.

Letting go is freeing and makes space for new possibilities!

Until next time.  Be blessed!

Gina