Like I discussed last week, there are many causes of clutter. People always have a reason for having too much stuff. Last week we talked about how to handle the question, “But what if I need it?” This week we are focusing on another reason for clutter, sentimentality.
As wonderful as it is to be a sentimental person, often sentimentality can lead to clutter. It is much more difficult to give something away that you have attached a memory or a feeling to. It is often easier to go through the sentimental objects with another person to help you make decisions.
We all have plenty of memory driven items that we hold onto for the sake of remembering the person or the moment. It is wonderful to set out your grandmother’s crystal vase at Christmas every year, and to keep those bookends that your best friend got you on her trip to London. But how do you pare down when it is all too much?
If you are holding on to items that belonged to a relative or friend, and that person is no longer in your life, gather all the items that you have in the same space and look at them with a discerning eye. What are your important memories from that person? How are these items attached to those memories? Would you be able to honor those memories more if you give just one or two items a special place in your home, as opposed to having so many items you can’t keep track of them anymore? Try to narrow down what you have. If you cannot imagine giving anything away, perhaps box up some of the less special pieces, and try again in a year or two.
If you are holding on to an item just because you were given it as a gift, think about what the item means to you. Do you love it? Do you have a place for it in your home? Does it clutter your white space and drain your energy? Do you think the person that gave you the gift expected you to keep it forever? Would the gifter feel worse that you gave it away or worse that it was causing you stress to keep it?
As I have said before, if you make everything special, then nothing is. Choose a few special things to save and part with the rest.