Sentimental, my dear Watson.
Sentimental items are the hardest to part with, but let’s be honest: they’re taking up real estate. It is time for us small space dwellers to be realistic about the sentimental stuff.
Here’s one way to think about it logically so that you keep only the bare minimum of these things, specifically those you need in their original form.
Question 1: Can I ever use this?
Yes: Examples of useful sentimental things include grandma’s china and antique clock. Why are these stored away? If you can use them now, you should. (If you could but don’t want to, then you need to let it go.) What to do with useful things:
· Incorporate some piece of it into your daily use. For example, my great grandmother’s china is in deep, barely accessible storage, but I have two of her espresso mugs on my shelves that receive regular use.
As another example, I gifted one of my great grandmother’s trivets to a dear friend, while I found the other one a home outside the cabinet under this plant (which also happens to be sentimental, clippings from my boyfriend’s late grandmother’s spider plant.) These things bring me joy.
· Commit to deep storage: There are some things that need to stay in deep storage, like the bulk of my great grandmother’s china for me. I have made the realistic assessment that I will use this when I have more accessible daily storage, and so it remains well-packed and stored well-away.
No: Proceed to Question 2.
Question 2: Is this thing mostly a memory now?
Yes: Examples of memories are an old nonfunctioning lamp, movie stubs, kids’ art, other mementos. Seeing these things makes most people go awwwwohmygoodness. Sometimes, this simple revisiting is enough (for example, when you find old birthday cards) and you can just let it go. If you can’t, the best thing to do is to capture the memory that’s there by taking a photo to be placed in a photo album. For kids’ artwork in particular, www.artkive.com cannot be beat! Take a photo to capture the memory and then let the thing itself go.
No: This is a precious thing, your kid’s teddy bear or grandmother’s wedding dress, or a giant banana.
· Save a piece of it: Things like wedding dresses simply do not keep, and it does not respect the memory of the event to have its loveliness consumed by time. You can preserve the memory with a photo and a small clipping of fabric.
· Ok, you can keep it: Some things can be kept, though they should be stored properly. Some things defy all logic and need to be out on display, such as my client’s daughter’s giant banana. My client would have loved to say goodbye to this giant stuffed banana, but to her daughter, this behemoth was not only sentimental – reminiscent of a family trip – but it also tickled her pink to see its giant yellow face. One day, this will fade, and a photo of this erstwhile companion will suffice. But for now, it is sitting against a wall, taking up too much room, but being enjoyed every day (by some).