Sentimental clutter, the final post in the Disassociation Series. Last but not least that is, because this one can be the most insidious of all of the categories of clutter. It sneaks up on you and binds itself to you like a barnacle to a rock. It can be a beautiful thing and a ball and chain all at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that all sentimental items are clutter. I own sentimental items that I have no intentions of ever parting with and I don’t consider them clutter. I have also decluttered many items that had sentimental value that I wasn’t compelled to keep once I decided what was more important to me, the item or the space. There were also sentimental items that never saw the light of day and under those conditions one has to ask the question ~ How much sentimental value does it have if…
- I never look at it.
- I don’t care to put it out on display.
- I still recall the event, person or place without ever viewing the item.
- it is more trouble to care for it than I care about it.
Sometimes, I think, we feel obliged to keep these items simply because we went to the trouble of collecting them in the first place and have had them for so long. But as *pol put it so eloquently in a comment this week ~ …this living for today lifestyle is so much EASIER than living with the memorabilia and what-ifs! Everything can breathe. I can breathe. If you feel you are being suffocated by your stuff then why not sort the wheat from the chaff, decide what pieces really mean the most to you and eliminate the rest.
The slow and steady approach to decluttering is a good way to weed out the sentimental items that really don’t hold that much importance to you. To declutter one a day or even one a week is less of a wretch than trying to declutter several at once. Ease in it! Pick an item that you really could live without and send it on its way. Once you feel OK about that move on to another item and do the same. Before long you start to realise that this exercise isn’t so bad after all and you are feeling no residual effect in the way of regret. Choose wisely though and only eliminate when you are sure and ready.
Just to clarify what I mean when I say sentimental item. This is an item that you hold some sort of emotional attachement to. It could be anything form the beautiful china from a passed loved one to a piece of driftwood you collected on a vacation years ago or even a kitchen utensil that you no longer use but was once so helpful to you. We hold allegiances to these items for what they represent while at the same time realise that we want to live a life with less clutter. That trick is to determine which way the scales fall for each individual item and make your choice.
I just read this statement by Peter Walsh which is so relavant to this post that I just had to add it. ~ Holding onto important items from the past is not a bad thing – unless remembering the past becomes more important than living your life today.
Tip: If you are on the fence, so to speak, about letting go of items that brings memories? Why not take photos of them, frame the photos together to enjoy and part with the clutter. You can also scan paper clutter items and save them to your computer where they take up much less real space.
Today’s Declutter Item
Oddly enough this item holds sentimental value for me. I rarely use it these days but I feel a little indebted to it because of its years of good service. Do I have space in the kitchen for it, sure I do. But my kitchen become more user friendly with every item I remove form it. The less cramped my cupboards are the easier it is to find the useful items I use regularly. So I am breaking my ties with this item and letting it go.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
I am grateful for the cluster of little shops up the street from my house. It is within walking distance and when I have no idea what to have for dinner I can go up there and ask the friendly butcher what is good today. Then I can go to the little greengrocer to buy any veggies I need to go with it. I could also go to the Sara Lee outlet for a cheesecake dessert. It is all very convenient when one doesn’t have the car and I am helping keep the “little guy” in business.