L IS FOR LETTING GO

September 13, 2012

Sentimental clutter is a touchy subject for many people.  Yes, they are aware it is taking up space.  Yes, they are aware that they have no use for the item or that the item is broken beyond prepare.  And no, there are no plans to discard, sell or start using this item.  It is merely part of the collection for sentimental reasons.

Professional organizers aren't a bad lot.  We aren't out to make you throw away everything in your home that can't prove with extensive documentation you actually use.  I'd like to think we are there to help you determine the 1's from the 10's.  Here's an example:

It is 8 months after your child's birthday party and tucked away in the corner of their room there is still a large gift bag filled to the brim.  Inside you find things like the birthday cards from the guests, a few leftover favors that weren't distributed, a hand-carved wooden car from your father, a couple of random Happy Meal toys and the remaining paper plates from the party.  Your first inclination is to stuff in all in the closet.  After all, it is technically all that remains from your child's 5th birthday party and maybe they'll want to go through the bag and reminisce one day.  The problem with that approach is that not everything thing in that bag of significance on the sentimental scale.  Perhaps a few of the birthday cards if they are from close friends or relatives with a hand written note and definitely the hand-carved car.  But the rest is available in pictures or isn't worth the dedicated space to store.

The moral of this story is not everything is a 10.  Learning to differentiate between what means most to you (a 10) and what means least (a 1) is an important skill when trying to conquer sentimental clutter.  I realize everyone has a different value system or ratings system, but next time you struggle with letting go of an item with "meaning", try to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how meaningful that item truly is to you.

UP NEXT:  M IS FOR MAINTENANCE

In honor of the school year beginning, I will be exploring the ABC's of Organizing until the end of September. Check back daily to find out more! 

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