When sentimental objects don’t make you happy anymore, they become sentimental clutter. You’d like to get rid of them, but part of you can’t let go for the sake of memories they bring or the people they symbolize. In order to deal with this contradiction you must make a mental shift. Think about what you really want. Do you want to hold on to these items and stay in this frustrated, stressful state of mind? Or, let go and have a sense of freedom and peace of mind.
One step to take to make a mental shift would be to think about the people who can benefit from the items you could get rid of. Do you have clothing and coats in your closet that were your mother’s but that you never, ever wear? Perhaps you can donate them to a homeless shelter to help cloth other women who are lacking. Or, have you got shelves full of children’s books that your kids no longer read? Maybe you can give them to an orphanage, pre-school, or children’s hospital. So, instead of thinking that you are losing the item (your mother, your children) think how happy the recipients (homeless women, other children) will be.
You could also have lots of stuff that won’t benefit others; sentimental clutter that means something to you, but takes up space. You could keep holding on to all of this clutter, or start to clear it out to make room to free up mental and physical space. If you aren’t quite ready to let go, that’s OK. Just purchase some boxes to store things in. (I recommend getting plastic containers with secure lids to keep out dust and moisture). Label them, sort by date or person, and when you are ready, it will be easy for you to decide what to let go of.
Do you have some strategies you use to handle sentimental clutter? If so, I’d like to hear about them!