How to Purge Sentimental Clutter

Purge Knick Knacks.jpg

I will be the first to admit that I am a self-proclaimed sentimental hoarder. It’s quite funny actually. I’ll come across an old friendship bracelet that had fallen off and, while I couldn’t tell you where I got that bracelet, I will insist that it must be important to me (because I’ve kept it for so long) and I’ll toss it into one of my sentimental storage boxes and continue on with my day. In my closet, I have two huge boxes, two smaller boxes and a plastic bag (all seen in the above picture) filled to the brim with various sentimental things. One of the goals on my 101 in 1001 list was to go through these boxes and get rid of what I didn’t need to keep. Here’s what I learned in doing so.


Things to Get Rid of Right Away

  • The item is broken
  • The item is useless/can’t figure out a use
  • The item is from an old relationship (both romantic and non-romantic) that is no longer a part of your life
  • You can’t remember why you kept the item in the first place (I’m talking to you, sweat towels <- yes, that’s plural)

Papers Worth Keeping

  • Crafts from when you were little (I chose to keep original art projects and to get rid of coloring pages)
  • Old report cards, diplomas
  • Travel documents, maps, stubs, etc. (That being said, if there is more than 1 or 2 of each paper item, I recommend only keeping one or two)

Important Questions to Ask Yourself Throughout the Process

  • Will I look back at this item and be happy/reminded of happy memories?
    • If not, toss it.
  • Can this item be easily stored?
    • If not, depending on the item, seriously consider either throwing out/donating the item.
  • Did this event/concert/phenomenon happen only once?
    • Mostly pertaining to travel: If you visit the location annually/semi-annually/somewhat regularly, I don’t think you need to keep every train ticket.

How to Organize What Remains

  • Group by item similarity
    • Trophies should be kept together, papers should be kept together, travel stubs should be kept together, etc.
  • Use old folders to store art projects, papers, special cards
    • Generally, use storage items you already have around. This helps prevent an increase in clutter via an abundance of unnecessary, new storage bins
  • LABEL EVERYTHING. (You’re keeping these special items for a reason, make sure you know what you’re looking at) I used post its and tape to label the front of an accordion folder with what was contained in each section.

How successful was I?

As you can see in the picture above, I had a lot of sentimental clutter. After three hours of cleaning (and Friends on TBS), I organized all of my remaining sentimental items into one of those big brown boxes. Sure, I was a little emotionally stirred by revisiting all of the different events via the knick knacks I’ve kept over the years, but by the end, I was ready to continue to purge other clutter in my room and my parents’ house (the next day I cleaned out the tupperware and spices).

How do you declutter your sentimental knick knacks?

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13 thoughts on “How to Purge Sentimental Clutter

  1. Sarah says:

    I absolutely love these tips!! I just gave away a bunch of clothes and other things since I just moved, and it’s made my life so much easier and really simplified my living space. I need to get into the habit of doing it more than just once a year/2 years.

    x Sarah
    http://www.bohochiccafe.com

  2. amixofmin says:

    I’m also a sentimental hoarder! I have a box dedicated to sentimental pieces, but sometimes it does become just too much. I love your tips on decluttering it all!

  3. Alexandra Adams says:

    I am such a sentimental hoarder; I have so many things I just need to get rid of! These tips are great; I just might have to go through all the stuff in my childhood bedroom with this checklist as my guide!

  4. A Peachy Sonder says:

    I absolutely struggle with this as well, and think these tips are fabulous! I was forced to do some de-cluttering before my recent move, but this list could’ve come in handy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jordyn says:

    When my mom moved out of my childhood house I had to purge a lot of sentimental clutter. So much of it I forgot even existed which made it easier to part with the pieces.

  6. Sami says:

    This post hits so close to home with me, haha. I have about 6 or 7 “memory boxes” in my closet that I really should go through. I can never seem to get rid of the personal things, even if they really don’t mean that much to me. But this is some great advice that I’ll have to take into account whenever I get around to cleaning those out!

    xo
    Sami
    http://www.theclassicbrunette.blogspot.com

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