I will be the first to admit that I am a self-proclaimed sentimental hoarder. It’s quite funny actually. I’ll come across an old friendship bracelet that had fallen off and, while I couldn’t tell you where I got that bracelet, I will insist that it must be important to me (because I’ve kept it for so long) and I’ll toss it into one of my sentimental storage boxes and continue on with my day. In my closet, I have two huge boxes, two smaller boxes and a plastic bag (all seen in the above picture) filled to the brim with various sentimental things. One of the goals on my 101 in 1001 list was to go through these boxes and get rid of what I didn’t need to keep. Here’s what I learned in doing so.
Things to Get Rid of Right Away
- The item is broken
- The item is useless/can’t figure out a use
- The item is from an old relationship (both romantic and non-romantic) that is no longer a part of your life
- You can’t remember why you kept the item in the first place (I’m talking to you, sweat towels <- yes, that’s plural)
Papers Worth Keeping
- Crafts from when you were little (I chose to keep original art projects and to get rid of coloring pages)
- Old report cards, diplomas
- Travel documents, maps, stubs, etc. (That being said, if there is more than 1 or 2 of each paper item, I recommend only keeping one or two)
Important Questions to Ask Yourself Throughout the Process
- Will I look back at this item and be happy/reminded of happy memories?
- If not, toss it.
- Can this item be easily stored?
- If not, depending on the item, seriously consider either throwing out/donating the item.
- Did this event/concert/phenomenon happen only once?
- Mostly pertaining to travel: If you visit the location annually/semi-annually/somewhat regularly, I don’t think you need to keep every train ticket.
How to Organize What Remains
- Group by item similarity
- Trophies should be kept together, papers should be kept together, travel stubs should be kept together, etc.
- Use old folders to store art projects, papers, special cards
- Generally, use storage items you already have around. This helps prevent an increase in clutter via an abundance of unnecessary, new storage bins
- LABEL EVERYTHING. (You’re keeping these special items for a reason, make sure you know what you’re looking at) I used post its and tape to label the front of an accordion folder with what was contained in each section.
How successful was I?
As you can see in the picture above, I had a lot of sentimental clutter. After three hours of cleaning (and Friends on TBS), I organized all of my remaining sentimental items into one of those big brown boxes. Sure, I was a little emotionally stirred by revisiting all of the different events via the knick knacks I’ve kept over the years, but by the end, I was ready to continue to purge other clutter in my room and my parents’ house (the next day I cleaned out the tupperware and spices).