So? Tell me! How did you do with our “40 BAGS in 40 DAYS”? I’ll go first. I only managed about “20 bags in 30 days"! But really, who’s counting right? The point is, as my husband likes to say, “CHARLIE MIKE!” (For our non-military followers, that means “Continue the Mission!”) It’s a marathon not a sprint, remember? YOU CAN DO IT! Just continue to chip away at the clutter and disorganization!
Obviously, my two-part series about clutter has expanded to a third, and maybe even a fourth, segment. I want to address the ONE THING that seems to stop all of us in our quest for decluttering. SENTIMENTAL ITEMS. We received many comments, messages and emails regarding “what to do with the STUFF we just cannot let go?”. Ok, listen up! Repeat after me: “Getting rid of sentimental stuff does not mean getting rid of those memories”. You CAN keep some of it but you have to learn to balance it against all your other items and that means lots of decluttering and getting rid of things that are literally weighing you down.
Maybe I’ve shared this before, but all 3 of us, in my family, are “keepers” but it only bothers one of us, ME! I have zero problem with anyone being a keeper. I sort of love that they care about things that represent a sentimental attachment. The problem occurs when it comes to moving and our HHG allowance!
Thus enter THIS guy:
He goes with not ONE thing in our home. However, he is the very thing that my son asked for of my mother’s when she passed away nearly 5 years ago. I remember asking him, “really? This of all things? This?” He replied “Yes. Absolutely. I don’t recall a single time that I visited Mammie’s house that she didn’t whisper to me “Be sure to check the cookie monster! I put a surprise in there for you.” How can I EVER throw that out? I simply cannot and someday I hope to continue that same tradition with my grandchildren.
How many of us have THAT thing or many of those things? I would guess ALL OF US, right? I believe it really is alright to hang on to a few items that represent sentimental value. However, there are ways to combat the clutter and accommodate the extra HHG weight to allow you to do so. Here are a few tips to aide you in this part of the process:
1- Take a picture of the item. Maybe the item really is just too big to continue to carry around with you. You can keep that memory by having the picture and not having to lug the item from duty station to duty station.
2- Upcycle it! USE IT. Find a way to utilize the item in your everyday life. Be creative! Make it a practical and effective piece of your HHGs while you share in the memory attached to it all of the time.
3- Save ONE item of it. This is particularly important when it comes to clothing, books, toys and collections of items. The memory is just the same with one item as it is with many.
4- Showcase the item. Most craft and hobby stores have an abundant variety of ways to showcase the item. Shadowboxes, unique large frames, and similar type pieces will allow you to keep the sentimental item in a different way.
Next month I plan to talk about “Getting Rid of Kids’ Things”. That can really be tough when you or they are keepers! But I have a few quick tips to assist you in that too!
Until then, thank you again for stopping by and continuing to follow our journey with MovingwiththeMilitary!
Collections versus Clutter
Collections: - are displayed proudly! You WANT to show off those finds!
Clutter: JUNK drawers, space taken up without order; piles and stacks.
-Have an element of organization! Visually appealing with intended structure.
Clutter: too many of a good thing; no purpose, or organization.
-Have function! Collections are part of the design in your decor. They fit.
Clutter: no plan, no structure, no function.
-Have consistency and sameness! Once you cross over the line of “one is not like the other” then you are headed toward the overage zone.
Clutter: happens when you have too many items that aren’t part of any original collection.
-Have a theme! There is commonality. Color, size, origin, design, purpose, function. A thread of cohesion in the collection.
Clutter: nothing really matches, no point of real reference.
-Have timeless appeal! You will want to continue collecting. It brings you joy in the time, money and effort that you invest.
Clutter: gets old and overwhelming pretty quickly. You’ll want to purge even if you don’t know where or how to start.
-Tell a story! A reflection of you. A place you have visited or lived. A thing that you love, a hobby that you enjoy.
Clutter: grocery receipts, athletic bags, outdated coupons, unopened mail, unread magazines--- all tell a story of a busy active life but do not reflect anything about your true self.
-Have personal meaning! The items reflect you. A interest that you or your family has invested in personally.
Clutter: no meaning, just lots more of the same, nothing distinct or special.
Check back next time as I discuss the process of filtering out those collections and keeping them from becoming clutter!