Today’s feature article is a great one, easily one of my top five favorite articles so far this year. The story is told by Jennifer as she walks us through her sentimental landmines. Read the article and then come back here where I’ll add some thoughts.
Navigating Emotional Land Mines as You Declutter Your Home by Jennifer in a guest post on Rachel Jones’ blog Nourishing Minimalism.
This is a touching and inspiring story. I want to expand on a couple points that Jennifer makes.
She mentions her “peace-maker self.” I think we all have that. The voice inside that whispers gentle alternatives to decluttering. Maybe you can give it to a family member or close friend, surely they would appreciate this stuff. Maybe you should hang onto it a little longer as the peace-maker whispers, “I’m sure you’ll use it.”
Jennifer also says the peace-maker comforts her by saying, “Then I’m not “throwing away” those hopes and dreams.”
The truth is, the hopes and dreams can exist without the stuff. You might find it helpful to tell yourself, “This is not the right time for me to use these items. The time to use them has passed, and that’s ok.” Think about your current hopes and dreams, and see how your hopes and dreams of today are different from the hopes and dreams of your past.
Jennifer offers two suggestions to deal with sentimental items:
- Apply the 5 Whys to sentimental items. This is another great article on Nourishing Minimalism. The concept is to ask yourself Why you are keeping something. Then ask yourself “Why” four more times until you get to the root of why you are keeping it. This is a good way to break through the emotional to reach the logical.
- It’s okay if your healing — and decluttering — is small. It can be incremental. It can be the best you’re capable of right now. This applies to all decluttering, not just the sentimental items. You can start by decluttering a little. Each little bit you declutter helps you grow accustomed to letting go. With repetition you will find the attachment to things loosen, making it easier to declutter.