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Looking for some tips on clearing emotional clutter? Getting rid of all the stuff we feel sentimental about is tough. Here’s how to do it.
I sat in my front hallway, crying over a Caboodle.
You know Caboodles, right? They’re like tackle boxes, but made a little girlier and designed to hold small treasures like makeup, jewelry, or craft supplies.
I got my Caboodle in high school, and since college, it had held my stage makeup. It had been with me backstage in the dressing room of countless shows. And now, I had passed it on to a bright-eyed theatre kid—along with my tap shoes and some songbooks. I closed the door and I lost it. I felt like I had given a part of my personal history away.
I’ve never considered myself to be a particularly sentimental person. Something funny happened when I decided to get rid of everything, though. All of a sudden, EVERYTHING had a story, and vitally important reason why I needed to keep it.
The only problem was, that we were planning to travel full-time as a family without a home base. I no longer had a closet to stuff these things in.
And so I was finally being confronted with the stuff that wasn’t obvious trash. The stuff that I likely would have kept forever, buried in a box or shoved on a high shelf.
You might not be getting rid of all your stuff. At some point, though, you’re going to be confronted with clutter that you don’t really want in your home, but you don’t feel like you can let go of emotionally.
Here are some tips for dealing with this clutter that brings up all the feels.
Make it useful
When my Grandma died, there was a lifetime worth of stuff that needed to go somewhere. I, of course, wanted something to remember her by. I ended up grabbing the rolling pin from her kitchen. Grandma’s baked goods were always something special, and I was grateful to have her kitchen mojo when I was making our weekly Friday night pizzas.
When you’re confronted with something that seems like clutter, can you change that item (or a piece of the collection) into an essential part of your household?
Donate things with an open heart
In the spirit of making it useful, is there someone who needs your sentimental item more than you do?
I got several lovely handmade blankets when I was going through chemotherapy.
At such a trying time, it was natural to get emotionally attached to each one. I knew I didn’t have the room to store or display all of them, though. I chose one to use each week as I sat in the chemo room. I donated the rest to Project Linus , a charity that provides handmade blankets to children who need them.
The blankets not only made me feel loved and supported when I received them, but they made several children feel cared for as well. That’s a win-win.