How to Select Small Space Furniture

Whether you live in a small space by chance or by choice, shopping for furniture can trip you up. Even if you wander the inspiration rooms of Ikea, it can be hard to figure out how to make the most of the little space. Continue reading

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Why You Need to Declutter Your Life

bookshelf

Clutter is such a fascinating word. Its both the individual pieces and the state of all those pieces put together. It’s an active verb. It’s a state of being. It’s a process.

Almost every self-help decluttering guide focuses on the central theme of feeling overwhelmed by stuff. You are literally tripping over things and it gets in the way of your life. My personal (and continuing) journey to decluttering started with similar frustration.

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How to Deal With Sentimental Clutter

beautiful plants

LovecraftProjecting emotions onto objects is an odd quirk of being human. Items themselves can evoke memories from their shape, feel and smell. Some are special and good. Some are unpleasant or weak. Separating meaningful items (even if they aren’t useful) into keep and toss piles can be a stressful and energy sucking process.

In fact, sentimental clutter is usually listed as a separate category of organization. It’s so hard to decide what stays and what goes.

The experts say…

  • Christine Kell: “I put my prom dress on one last time, took a picture, and shared it on Facebook,” says Kell. “People laughed and commented, and that made it easier to get rid of the dress — because it’s really all about your relationships and sharing the memory.” (Source)
  • Marie Kondo: “Hold each item in your hands, as close to your heart as possible,” she says. “And then, pay close attention to how your body responds. When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill running through your body, as if your body is somehow slowly rising up to meet the item, embracing it even.” (Source)
  • Joanna Gaines: While going through her kids’ baby clothes, she kept her favorites and tucked them each in a container with a note, “in case they are sentimental like their mama,” she writes on Insta Stories. (Source)

How to Deal with Sentimental Clutter

My process for sentimental clutter is a little different. I go through a process that allows me to identify the emotions and determine what space the objects have in my life. Below are the steps I take to assess each item.

Separate Emotional Items

First, I pull together the clutter that I consider to be keepsakes. These are objects that really don’t have much function and don’t fit as part of my daily life. I put them in laundry baskets. Seeing them together often causes me to reconsider the sheer amount of sentimental items I really need to keep.

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My mother saved this cabinet for me from our childhood home. I updated it with some wood oil and paint to make it a special place in my son’s bedroom.

Pack Away and Take a Test

Next, I pack these items away. I leave them somewhere safe but, where I can’t see them. I put a reminder in my calendar to go back a couple of months later and review the baskets.

When the time comes, I try to make a list of what I packed away without looking. Usually, I can only recall a handful of special things that I set aside. This is a very telling part of the process. It shows what items really matter because they take up some space in my memory.

At this point, I can usually remove some of the items because I have realized they really don’t matter much to me.

Write Down Your Feelings

With the remaining items, I create a list. Next to each, I write little notes about the emotions they give me. Sometimes, the feelings can be complicated or negative. Often the emotions are not ones I want to relive. This helps me get rid of things that don’t make me feel joy.

Display and Enjoy

With anything that is left, I make a plan on how I will display them. Sometimes that means framing things, cleaning them or altering them in some way. Regardless, this means less of those items are actually clutter.

They are now a meaningful part of my home decor with the chance to bring me joy each day.

Tell Me Your Thoughts!

How to deal with Sentimental clutter
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I’d love to hear about the special items that you choose to keep and display. Do you have something special handed down from a friend or family member? Do you have mementos from special events? Let me know about your favorite pieces and how they came into your life.

Why I Decided to Organize My Life

Red flower in a jar

I consider myself a “Type A” creative person. Some people may call that a contradiction. It kind of is. Basically, I have an artistic side that I express through writing and art. But, I also prefer to work in a meticulous and organized manner.

You won’t find me in a studio filled with piles of inspirational clutter.

“It’s human nature to take the easy route and leap at storage methods that promise quick and convenient ways to remove visible clutter. Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, and the room once again overflows with things.” – Marie Kondo

Since my first apartment, I became determined to organize my life. Below are the key motivations behind my process.

Why I Decided to Organize My Life

Have you ever stayed in a hotel room for business travel? It’s amazing. With such a neat and maintenance-free space, it’s easy to focus on being productive. You can sit on the bed, hunch at the little desk or put your feet up on the coffee table at the undersized couch. Nothing rests on any surface except the materials you need for your project.

That’s the feeling I wanted to develop in my own home. I wanted a place that allowed me to focus and that meant I needed to get organized.

I desired to be more creative.

I feel very blocked when I am surrounded by mess. Instead of letting my thoughts flow through me, I find myself making lists of things I need to tidy or clean. However, when I am in a tidy space, I can’t help but touch my tools and supplies more thoughtfully. It makes me feel free to create.

I wanted more time.

Disorganization actually sucks up my time. I find myself hunting for things because I don’t know where I put them. Then, that creates stress. And when I finally find the item, I’m annoyed that I had to search for it. Keeping things organized gives me some of my precious time back.

I craved less stress.

Overall, I feel less stressed in an organized home. I’m a Type A list-maker. I need a certain amount of control over my surroundings to feel at ease. Keeping things organized levels out my moods and allows me to enjoy everything I do.

All of this motivated me to organize my life. Now, I spend less time lost in emotions and stressful thoughts. Instead, I get to be more creative and enjoy that process.

What Do You Think?

How to deal with Sentimental clutter (3)
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I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you consider yourself organized? Or do you have a beautifully chaotic process? Tell me more about your process in the comments below.