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How to declutter sentimental things

In cooperation with Gumtree

Decluttering is good, decluttering is great. It makes me feel lighter and freer and more me-er than me.

I’m on a bit of a roll – taking boxes and boxes of stuff to the charity shop. I even sold some mobile phones that were rattling around in our bottom drawer. It hadn’t occurred to me that they might be worth something until I looked at the price checker.

This is all part of us building a beautiful life, because it frees us up for adventures and any money I make I’m putting in the adventure fund.

Then this gets in the way…How to declutter sentimental things | Blah Blah Magazine

My dad’s cot. My cot. And for a brief time (until we figured out why modern cots have safety standards) my son’s cot. Oh, my heart.

Yes, I’ve written about the benefits of decluttering and I’ve even talked about it in a workshop on Slowing Down (okay, my co-host, Brooke from Slow Your Home, did most of that sort of talking).How to declutter sentimental things | Blah Blah Magazine

I come from a long line of hoarders on both sides. I’m a complete softy, sentimentalist. I love objects that tell a story. They open up a sense of wonder in me. I think about who has held the object before and what his or her life was like.

This means I love a lot of things and where decluttering can get unstuck for me. Because, I love this and this and that and this and that and this and that…

I love this cot, but I have no use for it. Yes, we’ve decided two children is our lucky number, so I’m cashing in my fertility chips. Not that we can use it as a cot anyway, because it doesn’t meet modern safety standards. It would make a gorgeous day bed, but we don’t have room for one of those.How to declutter sentimental things | Blah Blah Magazine

This cot languishing in our attic goes against my belief in making the most of what we have and minimising our impact. It can’t fulfill its usefulness rammed in a dark corner.

I dreamed of painting it some cool for school gunmetal grey and turning it into a reading nook for the boys, but that would require a bigger room than the one our boys share.How to declutter sentimental things | Blah Blah Magazine

I’ve decided the best thing to do is find a good home for it, someone who will love it. So, I’m biting the bullet and advertising it to search for a good home.

How to declutter sentimental things – eek!

  1. Ask what value it’s adding to your life?
  2. Take photos to remember it by (they take up a lot less space).
  3. Think what the extra space or money can do for you now, rather than the expense of storing something forever that you may never, ever use again and the longer you keep it the more obliged you feel to keep it and so it goes on.
  4. Repeat with me: Love people, use things.
  5. Remember the person or memory doesn’t live in the thing and do you want to be weighed down by the memory or would the person want you to be burdened by this thing?

For inspiration, I’m thinking of the lady I bought my favourite car from. She sold me her beloved Mini Cooper (the best car I’ve ever owned). She had owned it for 23 years and raised her family in it. She welled up when she told me she had been waiting for someone who could give it a good home, since she could no longer drive. And I was that person. I was honoured

I’m sad to be letting go of the cot, but I know it’s worth it. My family will be lighter and better off without it and someone else can use it and love it.

There will be tears, because, yes, I am a softy sentimentalist.

Bele x

Do you have any advice to help me?

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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9 comments

  1. I’m a hoarder from way back too. Someone once told me decluttering is a bit like feng shui, if you don’t need it and don’t love it, you should chuck it. The problem I have is that although I don’t need all the things, I still love them all. I wish I had a magic wand that would make it easier to part with such preciousness x

  2. Oh, sentimental things are the hardest to get rid of, this must be hard for you. Take a hundred million photos, take a deep breath and move on. Good luck.

  3. I love a good declutter. Last years eBay sales paid for a trip to New Zealand!

  4. Oh Bele, I totally understand. I am a dreadful hoarder and just can’t let go. I still have letters from my childhood penpals somewhere and I won’t let my parents get rid of the dolls cot my Pop made for me – even though I can’t get it to Melbourne (and what would ai do with it?).
    Good tips. I want less clutter but I don’t know how!
    Meanwhile, you can sell mobile phones?!? Where is this price checker doobie?

  5. “Love people, use things” – what beautiful advice. I must admit that I was sad to see our cot go. Not just because it was a beautiful cot but because it signalled that my tornadoes were growing up! We sold it on Gumtree to a lovely couple who were about to have their first baby. It felt good knowing it was going to a good home.

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