Clutter Video Tip: How to Organize Sentimental Items, Part 1: Rules for Keeping

Uploaded by clutterdiet on 19.09.2012

Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and we are
going to do a two-part series on sentimental items. I get so many questions about this.
This is a hard subject for people. So we’re doing Part 1 of this little series on the
rules of keeping sentimental items. [POP] And Part 2 is going to be about some ways
to more easily let it go.
So we have four rules for you about keeping things that you feel sentimental about. First
of all, you need to prioritize it. So like wine, sentimental items and memorabilia are
best enjoyed within limits. So we suggest, if you have trouble with this, using what
we call a limiting container. So this could be any kind of container you like. A box,
or a bin, or a basket, or some kind of large tin, whatever it is for you. And you have
that as the amount of space available to keep this kind of memorabilia. So if you’re talking
about cards and letters, or you’re talking about old clothing, whatever it is, keepsakes
from kids’ school years, you know that when that container is full that is your cue to
clean out what’s in there and prioritize the items before you add anything else new
to it.
So I just cleaned out my son’s room. I’m sitting in here. He just went to college a
few weeks ago. And some of the things that I found in his room were his baby blankets.
And he had a very strong attachment to these two blankets [POP], very much like Linus in
the Peanuts characters, only double. And, you know, out of all the stuff that we found
in the room these were the only two things that I really wanted to keep. So I was able
to just prioritize and say, you know, all the other stuff isn’t as important as these,
which I find are really the essence of his childhood. [POP] So you want to really think
about that. What really makes up that memory for you in the strongest possible way with
the most succinct amount of items.
So the second rule about keeping sentimental items is that you want to identify it. If
you’re keeping it, you want to make sure that if you get hit by a bus, somebody else
knows what this is. This is particularly important with pictures. So if you had your children
all of sudden needing to go through all of your photos, do they know who these people
are in the photos? Do they know what year it was? It’s great if you can just very
quickly simply organize your photos even into a shoebox with little dividers or something.
You don’t have to put everything perfectly away in albums – if you’re not ready to
do that or don’t have enough time to do that – but make sure that somebody can know
who those people are and why these things are being kept and what significance they
The third rule is to organize your stuff. You need to have some kind of system. If you’re
going to keep this stuff, the whole point of keeping it is that you can access it when
you want it. And as my good friend Barbara Hemphill says: “If you don’t know you
have it, or you can’t find it, it is of no use to you.” So make sure you have a
filing system or you have things labeled in bins or something so that you can actually
find what you’re looking for.
And the fourth rule of keeping sentimental items is that you want to enjoy it. Give it
a place of honor in your home. If you’re going to bother to keep it, why not get it
mounted or framed? Hang it up, put it in your everyday living area so that you can enjoy
it. You can find little items and put them all in a shadow box, you can take a big collection
of, you know, running race t-shirts and make them into a t-shirt quilt. You can Google
that and find out there are a lot of people that will make a t-shirt quilt for you. You
can make pillows out of other kinds of fabric items, old clothing, or even things like these
blankets. I could theoretically make a pillow or something out of these. So make sure that
you are finding ways to incorporate these memories into your daily living.
If you’d like some help making some of these decisions – we know it can be very hard
when emotions are involved – we can help you, walk you through that. We have a team
of organizers on-line seven days a week that is available to you at about the price of
a pizza, and better than that, you can try it out for free with our Quick Start Program.
You can find out more about that at
See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.