6 rules for clearing out sentimental clutter

6 rules for clearing out sentimental clutter

It can be hard to say goodbye to old favourites, so here’s how to throw away mementoes without throwing away the memories


The moment you became a mum, it started. From baby’s hospital wristband to their first tooth, by now the memory boxes are bulging at the seams and spilling down from the loft – especially as you’ve had to add them to all the stuff you’ve already kept from your childhood!

As tempting as it is to keep every sentimental scrap, few of us have room for all of it and, if we’re truly honest, it just ends up as clutter that gathers dust.

So when a rainy day keeps you indoors, follow these rules for ruthlessly clearing out sentimental clutter.

1. Only keep what makes you smile

As you go through each box, pay attention to how each item makes you feel: does it make you happy or sad? Laugh or cry?

With the exception of understandable sadness over a lost loved one, each item should make you smile or laugh. You don’t need reminders of any bad experiences that are better left in the past, so if it makes you feel bad, throw it away.

2. Assess each item’s true value

As with the first point, if you grow bored when reading the umpteenth shop-bought card from your gran, simply signed ‘Love Nana’, that’s a sign that you will not miss it.

Of course keep the handmade card, or heartfelt poem, but the blurry photos, illegible letters and random ticket stubs? You can live without them.

3. Take a snapshot

If you can’t bring yourself to throw out or sell certain items, but they take up a lot of room – your wedding dress or your baby’s cot for example – take a picture of it.

You’ll still get the jolt of memory when you see the photograph but you can store them neatly away in a photo album, or on a digital hard drive.

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4. Preserve what you decide to keep

The items that you do decide are too precious to throw away should also be too precious to stow away in a box never again to see the light of day.

So get creative: make a collage of old photos, use some beads from your wedding dress to create a necklace, buy some pretty photo albums and make them into scrapbooks so you can keep them on a bookshelf rather than up in the loft, and so on.

5. Not all memories need space

While physical items can evoke memories, smells are an even better way of stirring up days gone past.

From the smell of the sea bringing back memories of summers spent by the coast, to the washing detergent your mum used to use, a certain scent can transport you back in time in an instant.

Of course you’ll want the smells people remember you by to be sweet-smelling too! So choose from lavender and chamomile, peony and cherry blossom, white lily and lotus, and hibiscus and lime blossom when washing your clothes with Bold detergent. Even better, add a dose of Lenor Fabric Conditioner for a longer-lasting fragrance.

Making a playlist of old songs and cooking your favourite dish from childhood are also great ways to stir up fond memories.

6. Focus on making new memories

While it’s nice to look back on happy memories and remember people who are no longer in your life, it’s important to live in the now.

Use your clearing out session as a cleansing experience; to remind you that life is full of wonderful experiences and people, and the best way to embrace that is to make every moment possible into one worth remembering.

How do you stir up your favourite memories? Let us know in the comments section below.

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rubes7d

rubes7d

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I love all the tips , starting my clear out now !!!

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summ3r

summ3r

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its the best way 2 help keep your home tidy ;0)

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I have a difficult time throwing out sentimental clutter. I think I inherited it from my parents, upon whose deaths I inherited a museum of 60 years worth of memories. Photographing such keepsakes does help and with modern digital software, they can be catalogued and filed away much easier. Well, I guess I'd better get started on the next box of treasures . . . .

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Great topic and I agree that you should keep only happy memory items, and do not need to keep every card you ever received. If you were moving house to somewhere smaller, would you bring them?

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