How to Toss Sentimental Clutter

by | Jan 23, 2021

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The subtitle to this post should be ‘How I donated part of my vintage Pyrex collection’. Because that’s what happened, and that was my sentimental clutter that needed to go. Now I’m going to share how to toss sentimental clutter with the world because while it may not be fun, it needs to be done.

How to Toss Sentimental Clutter

I want to start this post by saying that no matter how hardcore your minimalism is, there’s always places in our lives for things that love. Unless you’re in a really difficult situation, keeping some sentimental clutter is totally OK. In fact, I would encourage you to hang on to a few things that you can’t replace.

Personally, I have a set of lions that don’t go in my house and I don’t have on display but I can’t get rid of. They belonged to my grandfather and I was only 6 when he passed away. As everyone divided up his belongings, I asked for the lions that I always played with. They’ve stayed with me ever since.

Is it replaceable?

My lions aren’t replaceable, but my vintage Pyrex is. Yes, it’s tough to find, and I’m going to have to pay a fair bit should I want to acquire it again, but I can still get it. With websites like Etsy, replacing sentimental stuff is easier than ever nowadays. That’s something you have to consider as you pitch those treasured items.

If it can’t be replaced, and it’s an heirloom, consider passing it onto someone else in the family. If it’s something that you can live without or replace with a similar item should you really miss it, then go ahead and get rid of it.

I use the replaceable logic a lot when decluttering all kinds of things in my home.

Can you digitize it?

Digital storage means we can hold a lot of information in a tiny amount of space. If you have a lot of family photos, for example, then they could easily be digitized and enjoyed on the computer or a digital photo frame. Another option, for other things, is to take a photo of it and toss the item. This trick works especially great for handwritten notes, cards, or your kids’ artwork.

Are there other uses for it?

Something that comes to mind here are those memory quilts. People assemble old shirts or a baby’s clothes into a blanket that can then be used. It serves as a memory, but also a practical item all in one. There’s more ways to make use of sentimental items than just crafts, though.

I did keep some of my Pyrex – the stuff I use all the time. It was just the dishes I never use that ended up getting donated. If you have something that you can use, use it! So instead of getting rid of the sentimental item, swap it with something you’ve purchased so it can be put to use instead.

Yes, this increases the chances of something getting broken, but things are made to be used.

Is everything sentimental?

Some people attach value to everything. If you’re finding that all your clutter feels like sentimental clutter, you might have some other psychological issues surrounding your stuff. It might be a good idea to seek out a therapist who can help you work through these hoarding tendencies.

If you feel like you can manage on your own, start small. Find something you can toss and go from there.

It’s OK to toss sentimental clutter

Hopefully these tips help you toss that sentimental clutter from your life. Just keep in mind that minimalism is different for everyone. For some people, throwing away stuff they care about isn’t that difficult. Not everyone has a deep attachment to their things. Likewise, having an attachment to your things is perfectly normal too as long as it doesn’t have an impact on your life.

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