You have tackled purging the immediately obvious items but now you may feel a tug on your heart. You know the kind…the one that you feel when you are about to make a decision and something stops you. Ughhhhhhhh! My mother gave me that and if she comes over, she will notice it’s missing and…and nothing! That is an emotional attachment that you placed on the item. Please raise your hand if you have ever received a gift that you did not want. Everyone’s hand should be up. And by that fact right there, we can also assume we have given gifts people don’t want.

After I had my first baby, my sweet dear, dear husband thoughtfully gifted me a Wii Fit. Ummmmm…yeah. The great thing about receiving gifts is that your obligation to that gift ends after you utter those two magical words. You know the two…thank you! Poof! Your obligation to that item has been completed. It is yours to do with as you wish. I once gave out pre-lotion fuzzy slipper-socks to all the women in my family for Christmas. You know the ones. They were definitely a thing once. Well, six years later I was helping my grandmother move and found them in her drawer with the tags still on. I personally took them and placed them in the donate box. It’s ok. It happens.

If you are struggling with decluttering your sentimental items they are best saved for last and when you do get to them there are some things you can do to help make the decision a bit easier. One way is to use it! Easy enough right!? Use your Grandma’s mixer to make her favorite cookie recipe for your family. Another way is display it! Get it out so you can see it. Frame that handmade doily you love so gosh darn much and hang it for all the world to see. Repurpose it! The old radio/record player that is as big as an elephant and no longer works can now be gutted and turned into a bar or display shelf.

Another way to give your sentimental items new life is to give them away. Gift the item to someone you may think will enjoy or appreciate it. When gifting or giving a sentimental item away, tell the story of the item. Why it is so important to you and why you want the individual to have it. For years my grandma tried to give me a broken cuckoo clock she had in the attic. I never really had a place for it and it did not really fit with the décor I had in my home. Before she moved, she took it out of the attic and had it fixed. She hand wrote the story of how when I was a little girl, I would run to it no matter where I was in the home every single time I heard the cuckoo, and I would begin to spin around just like the little people that came to dance with the music that came after. I now have that very cuckoo clock hanging in my office among some other of Grandma’s items. She never mentioned why she wanted me to have that clock so much until then. Maybe it was the story, maybe it was because I hadn’t seen the clock in 20 years and once it was working, I remembered how much it did remind me of her but I know I had a much clearer understanding of what it meant and I am happy to have it.

The take away from this is that our belongings do not hold the memories of our past. We do! We hold all the memories and emotions in our hearts and minds. Don’t let a physical object control you. If you love it, use it! If it is going to sit in a box collecting dust, pass it on to someone who will love and use it.

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