It’s easy to get rid of old magazines and clothes that no longer fit, but throwing out vacation souvenirs or old photographs can be difficult. Sentimental clutter refers to items with special meaning or memories you have an emotional attachment to, but take up space in your home. This could be a birthday card that your Grandpa sent you or a stuffed bear your kids won at the state fair. Even though these items hold a special place in your heart, they may not be serving you anymore. Instead, they’re cluttering your home, life, and budget.
Sixty-six percent of Americans think an unorganized home makes them stressed or anxious. However, 61 percent of us have a hard time parting with sentimental items. Letting go of material items you don’t use can help you reduce stress and financial burdens. From canceling subscriptions you never use to repurposing items, you could cut down on waste and save or make some extra cash. Below, we’ll walk through how to get rid of sentimental clutter and how to be intentional with the items your family keeps.
1. Create a Realistic Decluttering Schedule
Decluttering and cleaning your space can feel like a full-time job if you don’t plan accordingly. Decide whether you’re going to knock your decluttering out over a series of days or weeks. If you have a shorter timeline, consider taking a day off of work so you can focus your energy on organizing. Remember to reward yourself with a relaxing spa night at home once you’ve saved some extra pennies from selling or donating unwanted items.
2. Recruit a Loved One Over Hiring a Professional
Spark a little competition while decluttering with your loved ones instead of spending money on a professional organizer. You could each learn how to say no to things you don’t need by gamifying your cleaning schedule. Print out our 30-day decluttering challenge and split the tasks up for each person to tackle. See who can finish their list the fastest to win an ice cream treat.
3. Start With Your Bathroom
It may be overwhelming when figuring out which room to tackle first. Start with the smallest room — typically the bathroom — and work your way to the largest space. Once you’ve gotten the hang of saying goodbye to small sentimental clutter, you’ll be ready to sell bigger items like your dad’s old recliner.
4. Separate What’s Meaningful and What Takes Up Space
You may hit some roadblocks when deciding if you should keep or ditch a sentimental item. When you do, think about the last time you used it and if it still serves a purpose in your life today. Go through our four questions to help your family decide if you should keep or ditch items throughout your home.
- Do you still like the item?
- Do you use the item on a regular basis?
- Does it serve a purpose in your life today?
- Do you have more than one of the same or similar items?
5. Sell Collectables to a New Home
Remember that items you’re getting rid of could be valuable to others. For instance, your grandpa’s old recliner may not be useful for your family, but it could be a college student’s new prized possession. If you don’t know if something is valuable, look it up online or get it appraised at an antique shop. Then, consider hosting a garage sale for collectables. You can also list these items for sale on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or your social media accounts to earn some extra cash.
6. Say Goodbye to Sentimental Guilt
The way your family treats items says a lot about whether you should keep them or not. You may have your first pair of baby shoes stored in your attic that you can’t fathom getting rid of, but you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you decide you need to move them along. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t touched an item in over a year, it may be time to say goodbye. Shed light on this process by downloading our printable and highlighting what you’re grateful for getting rid of.
7. Revisit and Reorganize Every Year
Every spring, take time to declutter your home, office, life, and budget again. Make this a family activity and offer an outdoor adventure as a reward for doing a good job. Divide up the space and as you each clean your designated areas, celebrate small victories by taking a 10-minute dance break every hour. This can turn cleaning into a fun family bonding activity.
8. Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, and Spend Less
Sorting through your valuables may resurface items you forgot about. You may want to repurpose some things or gift them to a family member rather than getting rid of them or purchasing something new. For example, your old-fashioned record player could be your kids’ new favorite birthday gift. Save money on gifts, wasteful items, and duplicated purchases you don’t need.
If you do decide to get rid of an item, see if you can recycle or donate it rather than trashing it. Download our sort the waste game to see which items should be recycled in which bin. While sorting your waste, there are a few items that are harmful to throw away. Research responsible e-waste facilities that’ll pay for recycled electronics listed below:
- Flatscreen TVs
- Electronics containing heavy metals, lead, and cadmium
- Mercury thermometers
- Fluorescent light bulbs
- Smoke detectors
How to Spend More Intentionally and Minimize Clutter
Sorting through your home may put your spending habits into perspective. You may notice the abundance of things that don’t serve a purpose in your lifestyle. Think about a closet full of clothes you only wore once or subscriptions you don’t remember having. Exercising mindful spending will help save time, money, and energy, and can be adopted with these tips.
Audit Your Subscription Services
Sixty-five percent of American’s have no idea how much they spend each month. Check your monthly card statement to spot any subscriptions that you could cut out. These repetitive subscriptions could be apps on your phone or account service fees like Amazon Prime. Audit your statements using our app every three months to avoid wasting money under your radar.
Avoid Bringing Home Bargain Clutter
You may have heard the phrase “well it was on sale”! Just because an item is discounted doesn’t mean you need it in your life. Eight out of 10 people admit to wasting money on things they don’t need. Exercise mindful spending and download our app to track where your family’s money goes on a daily basis.
Only Spend When You Receive
It’s easy to overspend when your family’s not paying attention to how much money is going out versus coming in. To keep your budget on track, pay your bills in full once a month and create weekly spending limits. Download our budgeting app and break down your budget by week to ensure you and your family stick to it.
While decluttering can calm your mind, it can also boost your family’s creativity. To break out of a funk or get your creative juices flowing, start re-evaluating what you do and don’t need in your life. Even though some goodbyes may pull on your family’s heartstrings, they could earn you some extra cash. Cut down on unnecessary spending and sell valuable items to help clear up your space. Practice minimalism to own less, spend less, and increase your savings or investments.
Sources: Happify | Bob Villa