Confession: I once was an emotional hoarder. You know the kind of person who keeps things because ‘it means something’. Thankfully, I kicked that habit.
One day I woke up and thought “I don’t need the thing to remind me of the person, I just need the memories”.
I mean, I had this dog toy from my deceased dog, Sparky, because it was his. When I saw that toy, it reminded me of him. In reality, did I ever forget him? No, so what was the point in keeping this? Because it smelled like him? Ew. There were zero reasons why I needed that old chewed up dog toy, so I tossed it.
This toy was in his memory box, which turned out to be an entire memory bag, on the top shelf of my closet. It took up prime real estate space up there, for what? To remind me of something I never actually forget.
You need to do the same. Go on a sentimental item purge.
Is it your child’s first binky? Toss it. What value does it have in your life now? What if you died in 50 years and it was passed on to your grandchildren. Do you think they’d be happy to get their parents pacifier? No.
What about love letters? Keep those. They’re nice to re-read and aren’t things we usually remember. It’s nice to read a love letter your husband wrote to you six years ago. These are especially helpful during tough times, to remind you of better times and how things can/could be. Keep the letters! Read them often.
Childs lock of hair? Unless you plan to do some voodoo… don’t bother. Again, what possible value could a lock of hair bring to your life? You’re going to put it in an envelope and remember it in 12 years; then forget about it again.
Photographs? Toss – only because I suggest you scan them and keep them safe in an email, social media or some cloud drive that you can have access to whenever you need to go down memory lane. Unless you plan to use these photos for a scrapbook, to hang on a wall, or any other purpose, I suggest you scan then toss.
Jewellery? Well, that one is tough. If it’s an old engagement ring from when you were 22, and you’re now 45, married (to someone else) with three kids – then sell it. If you hate it and it’s from someone you’re no longer involved with then sell it. Another example: My Mom’s ex-boyfriend bought me this ring for Christmas a while back, worth a few hundred dollars. I never really liked him, but I love the ring. I’m keeping it because I love it, otherwise I’d have sold that bad boy years ago. Jewellery is tough. Do what you will, but bear in mind, if it’s going to stay locked in a jewellery box and never see the light of day, give it (or sell it) so someone who will appreciate it and wear it.
Children’s artwork? I’m going to be that mean parent that tosses things after the school year. Some parents package it all neatly and give it to their children when they turn 18. I’m happy to look back on my childhood, but I don’t really care for paintings I did with my fingers 15 years prior. You know? Scan and save online, then toss.