13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (2022)

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Written By Ema Hidlebaugh

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (1)

Are you a sentimental fool? Yeah, me too *le sigh*

Strolling down memory lane is one of my favourite places to be!

  • I touch items that belonged to my Grandma and I’m immediately blanketed in nostalgia

  • I pick up little trinkets and smile remembering the story behind them

  • I just need to see the cover of my yearbook to regret that bowl haircut all over again

But the more life we live, the more physical memories we collect. The more physical memories we have, the more we have to store …clean …tidy …organize ...dust.

You likely found your way here because you’re feeling overwhelmed by stuff, and things, and clutter, and memories, and guilt. Maybe you’ve made real progress in other areas of your home, but you find yourself completely stuck when it comes to your memory box.

Is there a secret to letting go of sentimental things? Can big softies like us really let go of sentimental items without feeling guilty? The answer is yes!

Decluttering sentimental things may be a bit slower than other categories, but I promise you that you’ll be feeling reassured, relieved, and raring to go by the time you finish reading this.

1) Throw anything remotely sentimental into a memory box (temporarily)

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (2)

Keeping physical memories separate from your other belongings has so many benefits:

  • It makes tidying up quick and easy because you know where to put anything remotely sentimental

  • It keeps your home free of clutter

  • You can take your time and enjoy reviewing the contents when it’s time to do so (rainy weekend afternoons were made for this!)

  • Grouping everything together makes reviewing items all at once so much easier. You can easily tell which items genuinely pull at your heart strings, and which ones don’t (I always insist on keeping tourist city maps for at least a year of two). Remember, if everything is important, nothing is important.

2) If you don’t know what to do, do nothing

(Video) 💔 *SAY GOODBYE* 30 YEARS OF SENTIMENTAL CLUTTER | HOW TO LET GO OF SENTIMENTAL ITEMS (MINIMALISM)

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (3)

For an impulsive, impatient person like myself, the only thing worse than having to let go of my special things, is to do nothing at all. I like taking action! Either putting it in the stay pile, or the go pile.

It feels counterintuitive to do nothing. But looking at these examples, I know it’s the right thing to do:

  1. I force myself to let go of the item before I’m ready. I have an uncomfortable feeling about the whole thing and end up regretting letting everything go and am filled with guilt. I do not want to go through the process again and let my sentimental items build up and up.

  2. I keep everything that I’m unsure of. I feel like the whole afternoon was a waste and doubt I’ll do it again for several years.

  3. I keep things I’m unsure about to one side. I’m super gentle with myself. I feel really good about what I let go of. I put the things I’m unsure about back in the box and tell myself that I’m sure things will be more clear next time. I may not physically be any further ahead than in example 2, but I’m in a completely different headspace. It’s been an enjoyable and productive afternoon that I’m excited to repeat it later on in the year to stay on top of my sentimental items.

Give yourself the gift of time, celebrate your wins however small, and keep the experience positive so you’re more likely to do it again!

3) Take photos

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (4)

I’m so forgetful. Seeing nostalgic items unlocks memories in my brain that I’m pretty sure would be lost otherwise. The great thing about this is that seeing a photo of the item works just as well!

Now that my phone automatically makes photo slideshows, I’m actually more likely to relive beautiful moments if I keep the memory as a digital photo!

So if you’re on the fence, take a photo of the item and see how you feel. It’s usually the feeling we want to hold on to, not the “thing”.

Remember, your stuff isn’t the keeper of your memories, you are!

4) How does it make you feel?

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (5)

Our emotions are entwined with physical possessions at the best of times – even more so with sentimental items. If you’re feeling stuck, try writing about the item and then seeing how you feel afterwards. Here are some journal prompts if you’re not sure where to start:

· When I look at this item I feel ____

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· The first time I saw this item was ____

· My best memory that I associate with this item is ____

· My worst memory that I associate with this item is ____

· If I let go of this item, I’m worried that ____

I used to keep items that reminded me of ex relationships, even with people that I didn’t have feelings for anymore. When I dug deeper I realized that it came from a negative core belief that I was unlovable. Thanks to therapy, sobriety and lots of self work, I don’t believe that any more. As soon as I understood that I had been keeping these items as evidence that I was lovable, I was able to let go of it all.

5) Would someone you know LOVE to have it?

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (6)

Items often hold sentimental value for more than one person. If you’re ready to let go, and you think that the other person would love to have it, reach out to them to check.

Be prepared for them to say no, and to be ok with that! Offloading is not the aim of the game here. But, if they’re stoked to take it off of your hands, it may feel a lot easier for you to say farewell.

6) Would someone else benefit from it?

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (7)

Would your childhood toys make a family really happy if they found them at the thrift store? I love imagining someone’s face when they find a treasure that I’ve donated.

It always makes letting go a more positive experience.

7) Put a pin it in

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (8)

Is it all feeling too much? Is there too much to go through in one session?

Don’t force it, take a step back. You can revisit another time.

You’re better off going through things when you’re in the right headspace.

8) You’re not obliged to keep gifts

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (9)

I’m giving you permission to let go of gifts that you don’t use / love.

I know you just want to make them happy by keeping their gift, but hiding it at the back of a cupboard is not making anyone happy.

9) Do you need to keep all of it?

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13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (10)

Is is part of a set? Maybe you could just keep an item or two:

  • Your favourite tea cup from a set

  • Your favourite five pieces of art from your kid’s year at school

  • Your favourite three records from your Dad’s extensive collection

10) Would you regret letting go of this if the person associated with the item passed away?

Is this one a tad morbid? Yes’m. Is it the one I use the most? Yes’m!

It’s the ultimate test. We want to find the perfect balance of minimizing mess and minimizing regrets.

11) Would you want your loved ones to feel obliged to hold on to all of your belongings?

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (12)

This one always snaps me out of a guilt trip pretty quickly. My Grandma would laugh her arse off if she knew how tortured I was over whether to keep her tea towels or not!

12) Don’t “should” all over yourself

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (13)

“I should keep it”

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“I should be ready to let this go”

“I should be less sensitive”

“I should keep this set of china because Grandma loved it”

If you want to keep it, keep it.

If you don’t want to keep it, don’t keep it.

“Shoulds” are unhelpful.

13) If you love it, keep it, but if you do keep it, love it!

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (14)

Love it and use it!

  • Honour Grandma’s favourite china by using it and thinking of her every day

  • Frame that doodle you did years ago that you’re actually really proud of

  • Put those itty bitty booties into a shadow box

  • Start a tradition to go though the box of your Mum’s memories every year on her birthday

Ta da! Now you know my secrets to letting go of sentimental things without feeling guilty.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by clutter in general and need a helping hand, I have a free 60 day challenge to help you:

  • Part 1 - How to become a minimalist in 30 days

  • Part 2 - How to organize your home in 30 days

You’ve got this!

Release your guilt & celebrate your memories :)

Further reading:

  • How to start decluttering when your feel overwhelmed

  • Personal goals for more joy in your life

  • 19 places where you can donate your books

  • If you’ve ever called yourself messy or lazy, this is for you

  • You can find all of my minimalism posts here

  • How to make the best of a small kitchen

  • 20 rules for getting rid of clothes

  • What does your clutter say about you?

  • Try this 5 minute minimalism game to jumpstart your decluttering

  • 25 easy tidying tips

13 Tips on How to get rid of Sentimental Clutter (without feeling guilty) — Minimize My Mess (15)

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FAQs

How do I stop being sentimental about clutter? ›

From focusing on the memory to understanding how you can help those in need, these steps will help you rid yourself of sentimental clutter.
  1. Rid Yourself of Guilt. ...
  2. Let Vulnerability In. ...
  3. Take Pictures. ...
  4. Ask Yourself Focused Questions. ...
  5. Donate Clothing and Home Goods. ...
  6. Donate to Archives or Local History Museums.
Feb 12, 2020

Should you keep sentimental items? ›

If you have any guilt or other negative emotion connected to an item, do not keep it. Sentimental items to keep include things that are significant, can be used or displayed and do not bring up any guilt or other negative emotions. If this is the case, set the item in the keep pile.

What are some sentimental items? ›

Baby toys, baby clothes, band t-shirts from exes, artwork, and furniture are just a few examples of sentimental objects that can easily be given new life. Even though you might have sentimental attachment to an armchair doesn't mean your friend does.

How do you declutter mementos? ›

How to Declutter Keepsakes & Memories
  1. Step 1: Ditch the Guilt. Dealing with keepsakes and memories items can make you feel a lot of guilt. ...
  2. Step 2: Use It or Lose It. One of the best ways to honor someones memory and enjoy keepsake items is to use them! ...
  3. Step 3: Take a Picture. ...
  4. Step 4: Set Space Limits.
Nov 2, 2016

How do you declutter 30 years of stuff? ›

HOW TO LET GO OF SENTIMENTAL ITEMS (MINIMALISM) - YouTube

How do you mentally prepare to get rid of something? ›

How to Get Rid of Things: Tips to Start Decluttering
  1. Start with Your Mindset. ...
  2. Think About Your End Goal. ...
  3. The 80/20 Rule. ...
  4. Choose a Place to Begin. ...
  5. Just 10 Things. ...
  6. Try a “Power Purge” ...
  7. Use a Decluttering “Snowball” Method. ...
  8. Declutter Every Single Day.
Jun 12, 2022

Why do I find it so hard to get rid of stuff? ›

One of the biggest reasons it's hard to declutter for many people is simply lack of time. Your life might already be busy and full. And sometimes it feels like there's just not enough time to add decluttering to your already never-ending to-do lists.

How do I let go of old photos? ›

Follow those steps to make the most of your memories with photos.
  1. Sort through your items and place them in categories. ...
  2. Let go of any items that don't bring you happy memories.
  3. Take a picture of the items.
  4. Tell your story. ...
  5. Organize your story for each photo in a binder or on your computer.
Jan 16, 2017

What keepsakes should you keep? ›

What to Do with That Box of Memorabilia Sitting in Your Closet
  • Your children's (or grandchildren's) artwork or schoolwork.
  • Family keepsakes that have been handed down through generations.
  • Ticket stubs, trip itineraries, or other evidence of your travels over the years.
  • Letters from loved ones.
Feb 16, 2018

Why do I hold onto things? ›

1. Our stuff has sentimental value. The most common reason we hold onto things is because we're sentimental creatures.

What should I declutter first? ›

Closet and Clothing

The easiest way to tackle a closet is to first declutter your clothing by type. That means start with shoes, then boots, then dresses, then denim, etc. It's much easier to decide to toss or keep a pair of jeans if you're looking at your entire jeans collection at once.

Where do I start decluttering when overwhelmed? ›

Here is the best formula for decluttering large, overwhelming spaces:
  1. Remove the easiest things first. ...
  2. Discard larger items next. ...
  3. Donate items instead of selling them. ...
  4. Break your large space into smaller bite-size challenges. ...
  5. Work until your bite-size piece is completed.

Why can't I throw anything away? ›

People with hoarding disorder have been made famous by the A&E documentary series "Hoarders," which follows individuals as they struggle with debilitating amounts of clutter in their homes. People with hoarding disorder acquire lots of stuff and are psychologically unable to throw it away.

How do I get rid of perfectly good stuff? ›

Through the process, I learned these practical steps:
  1. Accept the mistake. Often, we will see many mistakes as we start to purge all the 'good stuff. ...
  2. Shift your perspective. ...
  3. Designate a spot. ...
  4. Community. ...
  5. Experiment. ...
  6. Keep your eye on your why. ...
  7. Ask yourself better questions.

How do I get rid of everything in my house? ›

  1. Start by printing or writing "Toss," "Give" and "Do" on separate pieces of paper. ...
  2. Toss.
  3. Toss items that are broken, stained, ripped, outdated or have missing parts. ...
  4. Expired food. ...
  5. Give or Donate.
  6. Give or donate any items that you no longer need but that are still in good condition. ...
  7. Take Control of Paper Clutter.

How do I get rid of unwanted things in my house? ›

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Items in Your Home:
  1. Throw the trash away. ...
  2. Sell kid's items to kid's consignment stores. ...
  3. Sell unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace. ...
  4. Donate to Vietnam Veterans of America. ...
  5. Give usable items to homeless shelters or charity drop boxes. ...
  6. Drop off your stuff at Goodwill or thrift stores.
May 14, 2018

What is the root cause of clutter? ›

Behavioral/psychological: Clutter caused by depression, attention deficit disorder, low self-esteem or lack of personal boundaries. Time/life management: Clutter caused by the need for better planning. Of these, the behavioral/psychological-driven clutter is the hardest to solve.

How do you declutter without being wasteful? ›

Declutter your Kitchen without Throwing it all in the Trash
  1. Sell/donate appliances and supplies in good condition.
  2. Combine extra spices/herbs or use them up before recycling the packaging.
  3. Compost food waste.
  4. Recycle as many containers as possible.
Jan 15, 2019

Which photos should I delete? ›

How to Decide Which Photos to Keep and Which to Delete
  • Don't Take So Many Photos in the First Place. ...
  • Choose Images That Fit the Style. ...
  • Look for Distractions. ...
  • Blurry of Out of Focus. ...
  • Eliminate Similar Shots. ...
  • Don't Get Rid of Gems. ...
  • Don't Be Afraid to Make Mistakes.
Dec 17, 2021

Should you throw away old photos? ›

Generally, it's not advisable to throw away negatives because you can use them to bring your photo back to life if the picture gets lost or damaged. But if you have no other use for the film, you can try sending them to a local company for recycling.

Should you keep old photos? ›

It's always wise to digitise your old family photos to preserve them; scan them or re-photograph them, and save them onto an external hard drive or cloud storage. And if you don't want old prints, pass them on to someone who does. If they're really old, consider donating them to a museum or local archive.

What do you put in a keepsake box? ›

10 Things to Add to Your Baby Keepsake Box
  1. Baby's Hospital Wristband. ...
  2. A Lock of Baby's Hair. ...
  3. Baby's First Clothes and Shoes. ...
  4. Birth and Birthday Cards. ...
  5. Mummy's Baby Journal. ...
  6. A Newspaper from Baby's Day of Birth. ...
  7. Baby's Favourite Toy. ...
  8. Photos of Special Moments.
Mar 15, 2019

How do you make a homemade memory box? ›

Here's how to make a memory box that will help you safeguard them. Transform a wooden box with red felt, shoelaces, and striped ribbon. Using fabric glue, cover the top and sides of a top-hinged box with felt. Poke holes on the short sides of the box and string laces through for a tie closure.

Why am I still hurt by the past? ›

When months, or even years, have passed and the memory of a past romantic rejection still stings, it may be because you believe the breakup revealed something about who you are as a person.

Why do I get sentimental about everything? ›

Feeling heightened emotions or like you're unable to control your emotions can come down to diet choices, genetics, or stress. It can also be due to an underlying health condition, such as depression or hormones.

Why do I have an emotional attachment to things? ›

As adults age they may have increased sentimental thoughts toward their possessions that elicit subsequent increases in attachment to those objects. The increase in sentimental thoughts may be through the use of objects to recall and reminisce about pleasant memories [11••].

How do you get rid of a clitoris? ›

Get Rid of Clutter in 10 Quick and Easy Steps
  1. Get Rid of Clutter in the Worst Spot First. ...
  2. Do a Garbage Bag Sweep to Get Rid of Clutter. ...
  3. Purge Clutter by Pretending You're Moving. ...
  4. Get Rid of Clutter and Organize Like Company Is Coming. ...
  5. Organize by Gathering Similar Items. ...
  6. Make One Bold Decision to Simplify Your Home.
Nov 7, 2019

How do you deal with sentimental feelings? ›

Here are some pointers to get you started.
  1. Take a look at the impact of your emotions. Intense emotions aren't all bad. ...
  2. Aim for regulation, not repression. ...
  3. Identify what you're feeling. ...
  4. Accept your emotions — all of them. ...
  5. Keep a mood journal. ...
  6. Take a deep breath. ...
  7. Know when to express yourself. ...
  8. Give yourself some space.
Apr 28, 2020

What is a sentimental person like? ›

A sentimental person is strongly influenced by emotional feelings, especially about happy memories of past events or relationships with other people, rather than by careful thought and judgment based on facts: Why be sentimental about that old coat?

How do I know if I'm sentimental? ›

A sentimental person has strong emotions and experiences life with a great depth of feeling; be it happiness, sadness, nostalgia, grief, guilt, or any plethora of emotions, sentimental people feel them all! What is this? Someone who is sentimental might laugh easily or cry harder than anyone else.

How can I stop being so sensitive? ›

7 ways to be less sensitive
  1. Mindfulness. Daily mindfulness is one of the best tools to pull you away from your reactive thoughts and into the present moment. ...
  2. Brain training. Our brain is a bit like a computer. ...
  3. Displacement techniques. By: Michael Himbeault. ...
  4. Perspective jumping. ...
  5. Acceptance. ...
  6. Daily journalling. ...
  7. Self care.
Sep 4, 2018

If you’re a person with a tendency to store anything and everything in your home, decluttering can be a real slog – even when the items you’re chucking out are relatively meaningless.So when the things you’ve accumulated have sentimental value, clearing them out becomes even more challenging.MORE: H...

From letting go of decades old pieces of kids’ art work to rehoming family heirlooms, here decluttering and organisation experts give their advice on how to clear out items with emotional ties…. Then, it’s time to think about how you want to sub-categorise your photos.. Ingrid also believes it’s important to declutter sentimental items after you’ve gone through other, less emotive items, first.. ‘This way you build up the confidence to make good and solid decisions when you come to the hardest sentimental category,’ she says.. Decluttering expert Helen Sanderson recommends various options for clearing out precious items like old pieces of art work done by now grown-up children.. ‘Take things that have meaning and make them into something,’ Helen advises.. When gifting to family members, Sarah recommends establishing some rules.. ‘Set a collection deadline date with your family,’ Sarah adds.. ‘Procrastination is endemic with making decisions about belongings, so I encourage clients to set a firm but fair date and say, “what is not collected by Saturday afternoon is all going to charity/auction”.’. Of course, you may want to keep some heirlooms for yourself; if that is the case, Sarah suggests being creative.. 'Ideally empty the contents of the loft and sort into keep/donate/recycle/rubbish/action piles on the floor of another room.. Ingrid believes making memory boxes is a good way of being selective with which sentimental items you’re keeping.. Then start to organise and declutter, keeping some special items for your box.

This is a guest post from Chris Tecmire of Simple Family Finance. Though Chris, his wife, and his 6-month-old son live on a very modest salary, they have been able to increase their net worth over $60,000 in the last […]

I had to say goodbye to the others years ago, but Jer Bear, Tiger, and Mountain Lion have stayed with me until now.. Some of our “stuff” simply consists of rarely-used glassware from Bed Bath & Beyond and a collection of books that I’ve been meaning to read for years, but other items have real meaning.. We feel as though we must hang onto the mug or the stuffed animal in order to maintain those memories.. There’s nothing wrong with hanging onto sentimental items, but something needs to be done if you’re honestly trying to simplify your life because there will be memories everywhere you turn.. That’s it – just something to glance at from time to time in order to remember some of the important items from our past.. If the sentimental clutter is simply stored away in your basement or attic, you aren’t exactly reliving those memories anyway.. Creating a sentimental scrapbook allows you to relive the good times anytime you like.. However, I’m also aware that he probably won’t want to have nothing but hand-me-downs from his dad, so I’ll pass two of the three down to my son and let Mountain Lion go.. My blanket, in fact, works just like Chris’s “sentimental scrapbook.” In my case, I had a huge problem getting rid of old T-shirts from things like high-school teams, concerts, my dad’s wardrobe (he passed away when I was in middle school), etc.. Really think about Chris’s example – and mine – and find a way to downsize some of that sentimental “stuff” – especially if it’s packed away in “storage oblivion.”

Everything you need to deal with the negative emotions of decluttering and turn them into positives. Get that clutter free home with less stress and overwhelm.

Decluttering is an emotional thing to do – after all – you’re going through all your stuff and making decisions on each and every item.. I feel emotions even when I just think of decluttering some of my things sometimes… It’s hard work!. So – how can you declutter even WITH these emotions that you’re feeling?. When you start getting rid of things, you may feel guilty about a number of things:. How To feel less guilty: Remind yourself that it’s OK to get rid of things.. How To FEEL HAPPIER WHEN DECLUTTERING: It’s really important to allow yourself to feel these emotions, and to give yourself time to grieve.. Decluttering things that you spent money on can seem a real waste – and often leads to feelings of regret.. Declutter these items with the confidence to know that once they’re gone, you won’t have to feel those things again each time you see them.. And if they really don’t want to be – start with the things you DO own and CAN declutter.. When we get rid of too many things at once (or even when we’re just thinking about it) we can start to feel really anxious.. How To Deal With ANXIETY FROM DECLUTTERING: Start by decluttering one small area at a time.. Ironically when we declutter, if we let these negative emotions in – then they clutter up our mental space, cause us stress, and make the whole process much harder.

13 common reasons you may struggle to declutter, and what you can do to overcome them. Often knowing why you are struggling, makes it easier to overcome it.

If you can’t think of one, let the item go!. If you aren’t currently using or loving the item, what makes you think you’ll use or love it in the future?. Get rid of it, either donating it or selling it, so someone else can use or love it.. They will always be there, whether you keep the item or not.. Whatever it is, sometimes you struggle to declutter things from your past because it’s hard to let go of that part of your life.. Sometimes you struggle to declutter because having a lot of stuff makes you feel safe and secure.. Decluttering and getting rid of stuff makes you worry you won’t have enough when you need it.. When decluttering, you can still keep the things you use, love, and make you happy.. Organizing stuff you don’t use, need or love wastes your time, space, energy and money!. Get rid of the stuff you don’t use, need or love, and you’ll never have to deal with it again.. It can feel overwhelming at times.. Sometimes you want to declutter and start living with less, but are struggling to find the time.. Then you’ll know exactly what to do with items you’re decluttering when the time comes.

Feeling guilty about parting with your stuff? Learn the easy method to declutter without feeling guilty so you can take back your house!

Maybe you’ve been giving some thought to decluttering some of those overloaded areas of your home, but you’re afraid your decluttering project will leave you with feelings of guilt.. Did you grow up like this or find that your home is currently filled with items that just don’t see to have a purpose?. Now that you have an even better understanding of what clutter is costing you let’s get down to how best to part with the things that are holding you back!. If it’s still in good condition, it’s not doing you or anyone else any good by just sitting in a box.. People give gifts to make the receiver feel good.. It’s a waste of space and money to keep holding onto them.. The trick here is to give yourself the time you need to truly see if you need the item.. Now, you can’t do that with all the clutter, but for really big items or sentimental items give yourself the time you need.. If something is in good condition but it has to go, donate it or sell it online or at a yard sale.. If you think you’ll use it and have a plan for how to use it, keep it but move it to its new home, the place you’ll be using it.. Just go through your space a little at a time and start to make progress.. If you’re selling items online or at a yard sale , make a plan for how you’ll spend that money.. Decluttering is not easy, but if taken a little at a time, you can start to move past the guilt and get on to finally getting organized.

The very personal stuff in our homes is the hardest to lose but unless it ‘sparks joy in your heart’, says Marie Kondo, you should get rid of it. Here she tells us seven ways to effectively deal with the detritus of family life

What’s more, sentimental items are in fact the last sort of clutter that you should clear out: Kondo recommends that you “train your tidying muscles by tidying in a specific order, and begin with the categories of items that are typically easier than sentimental items”.. One thing you should never do, says Kondo, is send boxes of sentimental items to your parents’ home – and nor should you ignore items that languish there long after you’ve moved out.. “If you bundle them into a drawer thinking, ‘maybe some day I’ll return to them,’ then I doubt they spark joy in you, and they are taking energy away from other items that do spark joy for you,” she says.. If it’s an item that you know was important and meaningful to a parent or grandparent, now dead, or if it represents them to you, Kondo says you should thank it for the service it has done and the role it has played in your family’s life.. Keeping an item beyond the time it sparks joy for you will only diminish the care and appreciation you have for the other items in your life.”. Tidying your family’s photos should be the final stage in your journey to clear the sentimental clutter in your home, says Kondo.

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