One of the biggest obstacles to decluttering is letting go of sentimental items. We attach meaning to our things, and they become symbols of people or times in our lives that we don’t want to forget. But there are ways of parting with this stuff while retaining your memories. Here are some ideas:
1. Take photos – Have a photo shoot with your stuff and then let it go. The pictures will be sufficient to trigger your memories. You can turn these snapshots into a keepsake by making a photo book (Shutterfly is a great service for this and coupons are usually available). Include pictures you have of the people and places the items are attached to, and write captions about your memories of them.
2. Keep a small part – If the items are a set, consider keeping just one piece. A single serving spoon or one teacup will allow you to continue to appreciate the set of silver or dishes without storing all of it. For larger items, see if there is a removable part that you can hold on to, such as a drawer handle from your childhood dresser or the nameplate from a sports trophy.
3. Choose the best from a collection – If the items are part of a collection, try selecting just one that is your favorite or that has the most meaning to you. Maybe you have outgrown your flamingo tchotchkes but they remind you of your first apartment. Keep the one you love the most and display it proudly.
4. Turn it into decoration for your home – While this isn’t technically a way to get rid of things, it’s repurposing them into something that can be displayed and enjoyed. Turn a collection of t-shirts or sports jerseys into a quilt. A formal dress can become a pair of throw pillows. A tablecloth or doilies can be framed and hung on the wall. Your home should be a reflection of you and your history, so don’t be afraid to display the things that are most meaningful.
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