Decluttering When You're Sentimental

It seems like the entire internet is obsessed with decluttering and for the most part so am I. Cleaning up my space is something I find cathartic, but when you're a sentimental soul it's not an easy task to do. I cling onto possessions for years once I've developed an attachment to them. It can be as small as a scrap of paper, but I often find I can't bear to throw it away. However, in the past couple of months I've made a real effort to declutter bearing my sentimental ways in mind and here is what I did. 


Often when people talk about minimal living they suggest that the best way to live is only with things that serve a purpose. For some, this might work but not for me and probably thousands of others. You can still live in an environment with a minimalistic aesthetic whilst still having sentimental pieces around you. Of course, if you're hoarding and your space becomes unliveable than that is an issue but if not what is wrong with keeping a few special items? 


I've got two main area's of my clutter in my space and they are my wardrobe and under my bed. Both offer me a large amount of storage so they are bound to accumulate clutter. The easiest method I've found to organising an area properly is to pull everything out and lay it on the floor. By doing this, you can see every single item and see what you definitely want to keep and what you don't. I usually sort things into piles of: keep, toss and donate and then start a clearing a space for things to go back into. 


Sometimes things don't need a purpose to be kept in my opinion but an important question to ask yourself when decluttering is 'do I need this'? Often I find myself still keeping things that I have no real attachment or use for, like makeup packaging. I'm a complete sucker for well-designed products, but hoarding packaging is completely pointless. 


I like to set myself rules when it comes what sentimental items I keep. It's simply not possible to keep everything that has a special meaning as there would no longer be space for me to live in my environment. Here is my list of things I allow myself to keep: 

  • Cards with meaning, not just your standard happy birthday. 
  • A few childhood books, I wish I could keep them all but by donating them another child can love them too. 
  • Items that belong to a special date. 
  • Things that can have a use. [See next point]
  • Pieces of university work that can be important for future work, my dissertation isn't one of them. 


Things like pictures and sometimes even cards can be a great decoration for your space. Gallery walls have been popular for a while now and I think they are the perfect place to display your most loved photographs and birthday or Christmas cards. This way they aren't taking up any extra space in the room and you're able to keep hold of them. 


Scrapbooks are the best perfect place to condense all your sentimental items. Personally, scrapbooking isn't really my thing but I do think that they are an awesome way to house your beloved memories. With the items that I can't find a functional home for I store them in shoeboxes under my bed, I've limited myself to 3 as anymore just isn't functional for me and my environment. I think it's important if you're going to keep precious items that they have their own home. 

Do you have any tips for decluttering?

R x

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Rebecca WarrinerInterior