Ah, sentimental clutter. We all have them: drawers or even closets full of nostalgia-inducing items we have no use for, but can’t bear to part with. Parents may find it especially hard to discard objects with emotional value, such as their child’s first scribble art, family photos, old toys and other “souvenirs”.
But while the urge to hold on to meaningful possessions is natural, the build up can be overwhelming. The truth is, nostalgia makes cleaning out a space nearly impossible. And the longer you hold off, the more emotionally taxing the de-cluttering process gets. How do you get rid of these keepsakes without feeling guilty, and how do you keep the memories without hanging onto sentimental clutter? Here are some ways.
Before starting the de-cluttering process, spend some time appreciating the items you’re about to throw away. The strategy, which is adapted from Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, allows us to adjust to the thought of seeing it go.
Take a picture
Just because you’re discarding an item doesn’t mean the memory it held gets chucked out too. Snap a nice photo as you’re saying goodbye – you can dedicate a digital image gallery specifically for keepsakes that aren’t that significant but hold glimpses of various moments you’d like to remember. You can even adapt these snaps into a meaningful scrapbook or wall art in the future.
DIY-savvy parents can consider up-cycling projects to breathe life into old keepsakes. There are plenty of ways you can get creative, such as making a family quilt out of old baby clothes, or turning your child’s art into stylish decorative pieces (http://bit.ly/stylishchildrenartsdisplay) around the house.
Give items a new home
When it comes to parting ways with beloved objects such as old toys, books and other items, being able to envision them being used by others instead of simply being thrown away can make the emotional process easier. While packing up the items to distribute to your loved ones or donate to a local organisation, take time to appreciate the value and history of each item, and how it will hopefully do the job for another child and their family.
What happens to the things that remain after you’ve gone through the above few strategies? Instead of letting sentimental clutter overflow into your living area, create a designated box to hold your most treasured bits and bobs. This space is reserved for only the most precious of items, so you’re forced to be more discerning when it comes to material reminders. You may not have been able to purge all your sentimental clutter, but it’s definitely a start!