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But what about sentimental stuff?

I thought it would be useful to share my thoughts on one area that is usually the most difficult to deal with; sentimental items. They fall into two categories; those that make you feel joy and bring back memories you want to hold onto and relive; and those that make you feel heavy hearted, obligated and burdened. You instinctively know how you feel when you see or hold them, and you can deal with the actual items in different ways:

picture of clown on stairs

✔ Donate anything you don't want to use or keep, if don't like it, have no purpose for it or it is associated with thoughts that make you unhappy; let someone else find it and love it.

✔ Don't leave items tucked away in a box on a shelf, this is where the burden comes. Take it out and use it, the saying 'use it or lose it' is blunt but true.

✔Don't worry if it gets damaged or broken, the memories you make using it is why you were given it.

✔ Always remember the person who gave it to you, they did not intend for you to feel burdened or overwhelmed.

✔ For anything you want to keep, either store it in a memory box or...

Be inventive

Find ways to hold onto what you love without the clutter. A friend mentioned recently that her husband had a lot of T-Shirts that held sentimental value (not wearable value) I suggested she got a frame and cut a piece from each one and put them inside, so he could have it up in his office (rather than all those unworn shirts in the drawer). If you can find a way to make that sentimental item part of your everyday life it will bring you so much more joy.

This clown means an awful lot to me; my mum was the one who sorted Christmas and birthday presents so when my dad came home from work one day with this clown, and it was just for me, it meant the world. I cannot remember how old I was, probably 7 or 8 so I have carried it around with me for the best part of 40 years. Somehow along the way it got stored with the Christmas decorations, so once a year I would see it and have a moment of recollection. This year I decided it was time to find a different home for it, unfortunately when it came out of storage it was in such a bad state of repair there was very little I could do. I took the decision to take a photo of it, which I can get framed and have somewhere I can see it every day and then threw it in the bin. I appreciate this may sound harsh to some people, but for me it wasn't that actual thing that mattered but the memory and the feelings that seeing it sparked which was important.

Don't let the things you own own you; have them, hold them, use them, enjoy them but as in the words of Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) 'the things you own end up owning you'. My next blog will be looking at Memory boxes and how to choose the right one to keep the really important sentimental items.

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