If you sort sentimental items first, you will be so emotionally exhausted after an hour of looking at items, smelling them and remembering things.
At that point, you may not even have the energy to let anything go, and you really won’t have the energy to do any simplifying in the easy areas of your home.
Decluttering sentimental items is a huge task.
Save the sentimental items as the very last things to declutter.
As you work through your home, simplifying each area, set the sentimental items aside.
When we are looking around our home, we tend to see the biggest baddest, most dreaded task we have… and when we think of embracing minimalism, well, that is what we think of having to sort and declutter. Well, if you look at it that way, of course, it seems overwhelming!!
Don’t take on the worst problem first.
Take on the easiest. Sort the coffee cups, the plastic measuring cups and all the mugs in the kitchen. Do the things that don’t give you a heavy ache in the pit of your stomach.
Do the simple things first. The utilitarian items that have little to no emotions tied to them.
Decluttering the easy things first gives you small wins, little victories, and builds your confidence as you sort and make decisions. This way you can have all the confidence you need when you are actually ready to start sorting the sentimental things.
Have a space designated as the “sentimental area.”
This can be a closet, or a box, whatever you want, even if it’s just a corner of the spare room or basement, but put all the sentimental items there as you work through all the main living areas of your home.
When you go through the papers in the kitchen and you find all the drawings from your children and they are so cute it seems wrong to get rid of them, well, put them in your sentimental item area.
When you go through your living room and you have the decor that your grandmother had in her home and you think of her, but it doesn’t fit your decor, put it in your sentimental item area.
When you are in your dining room and you have all the fine china you got from your wedding 20 years ago that you 1. Don’t have a full set of or 2. You’ve only used twice… Put it in the sentimental item area.
When you are cleaning out the kids’ room and have all the baby toys that you feel sad about parting with but know they aren’t doing anyone any good stuffed into the toy box, (and randomly thrown across the room) well, put them in your sentimental items area.
When you’re ready, you can face those sentimental items with confidence and surety.
After you’ve sorted all the main living areas of your home, you will be able to face those items with confidence. You will know that you are capable of making a good decision, you will have a firmer grasp on what you want your home’s atmosphere to be like.
And your decision-making muscles will be much stronger after you’ve exercised them so much.
Then, and only then, should you begin to sort out the sentimental items.
Here are several posts that are helpful and go more in-depth on how the process of simplifying those items should look:
- 3 Steps to take When Decluttering Sentimental Items
- Navigating Emotional Landmines as You Declutter Your Home
- Decluttering Sentimental Items Through Emotional Processing
- Grieving Through the Past as You Declutter Sentimental Items
- How to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter and Keep the Memories