Thursday, July 11, 2019

Decluttering Questions

Decluttering seems to be the buzz word these days for cleaning out closets. I have been on a decluttering kick for the past 5 years because I think it is a process for this sentimental girl.

Now, let me preface everything in this post with I am very organized. If you want your closets to look pretty and organized just call on me. I will head to Wally World and buy some bins, get out my label maker and jazz that closet up for you. I really should take you on a tour so you will believe me:)

However, with the craze of decluttering on Pinterest and Youtube - the million dollar question is "Are you organizing junk?" I suppose I am guilty of that.

That is where y'all, the readers come in again. You were wonderful in your cleaning responses!

I have made big progress here over the last 5 years. I have gone through a lot of closets and whittled stuff down. I will never ever be a minimalist (another buzz word these days). I like stuff and I like to look at stuff on shelves. I don't want to live in a hotel. I like for the stuff in my home to evoke memories and for people to feel right at home when they come to visit.

I think I have achieved that on many levels. 

I have watched too many videos and really none of them have helped the area for which I can't seem to get rid of things. I will get there, but let's first shout out my progress.

My bedroom clothes closet is great. I lost a good bit of weight upon retiring, so that by default took care of that and I vowed never ever to have so many clothes hanging in there again. I still have more than I wear and try to be really diligent about something new in that something old has to go.
I have simplified my bathroom closets too.

I hit up the kitchen, pantry, etc. and I feel great about that. I still have probably too much, but I am not going to throw away something useful just for the sake of decluttering.

I did a major overhaul of the sewing room last year and man I felt a huge load of weight off. I had hoarded fabric and crafty things that I could never ever use, so I really did a massive purge in there and it felt great.

I did the same for my Christmas decorations and that equally felt great.

So, here is the one category that I can't make progress on. Remember I said I thought that decluttering is a process. I think it is. It took me awhile to unload that sewing room, that kitchen, those Christmas decorations, but now that they are done it feels lighter and I haven't missed a thing. The area I have a problem with is the sentimental items. 

I have cleaned out two homes when parents have passed and I truly understand that we collect and that you can't take it with you. I also don't want my kids to have to spend weeks and weeks going through stuff. It will be enough to just do the house, not spend days and days going through all my "organized closets." 

I think I am ready to be ruthless.

I still have posters of Donny Osmond and more from the childhood days, pictures of middle school kids that I haven't seen or even plan to that my kids won't care one thing about. So this stuff is on its way out the door.

I still have our movie camera and projector from the 1960s. Yep, you heard that right. I will share some pictures later.

I mean y'all I could go on and on, but I will spare you as it is getting long and most of you have already left me by now.

I need tips on how you dealt with the sentimental stuff. How did you let it go?

I think I am a tad more sentimental in that I lost my dad at a young age so it made my kind of hold onto things. I think that is my explanation for my filled but very tidy and organized closets.

So if you have made it thus far, how did you let go of the sentimental items or have you yet.
I am betting most of you don't have stuff from high school still packed away???

My kids are pretty digitally minded, so I am not thinking any of my closet bins are going to interest them at all.

Waiting to hear from you.

Stitching post coming in a few days,


  1. I have been going through my mom's things preparing to sell the house and contents. I think I will take pictures of the things that are sentimental and store them on my laptop, then throw away, give away, or donate the item itself. I'll be doing the same with pictures eventually. Don't remember where I heard this idea, but I think it is a good one! I'm going through my things at the same time and doing the same thing.

  2. Getting rid of sentimental stuff is hard (what stuff that I do have) so I am interested in hearing some suggestions. I have been working on clothes (donating what I don't wear any longer). My biggest thing at the moment is getting rid of all the teacher stuff of mine in the basement. I hate tossing "good" and/or useful stuff.

  3. Sandy, I am no help to you. I have way too many sentimental things, a figurine an uncle gave me when I was in 5th grade. I have all my calendars from 19 on with where I worked and where I went...almost every letter that anyone sent me!!! I lost my Dad when I was 21 to cancer and I think that does play a part in why I hold on to my childhood things...I have a diary that I kept from 5th grade to high school!! I guess when I go there will be a big bonfire here!!

  4. Oh, that is a hard one, Sandy! I have just begun photographing the sentimental things (mainly things from my son's childhood--drawings, stories, little things like beanie babies, etc.) and then asking anyone if they want them (the answer is always no!) and then disposing of them. My hard part to pare down is my clothing because my weight has remained the same through the years since I've had my kids. So everything still fits me and is in good shape. But, with our upcoming travel, I knew I had to spruce up my wardrobe a bit so my plan was for every item I put into the closet, I would have to get rid of two! And it's been working--I have a long way to go, but, as you say, it is SO freeing :)

  5. Those things are harder, aren't they. My grandma had notes taped to the bottoms of things telling us what is was, who is belonged to and to whom she wanted them to go to. That helped when we had to sort her things. I have found that the younger generation really doesn't care much for the family heirlooms. I have one niece who is interested and I know can be trusted to care for a few things I want her to have. That's it. I cleaned out and sorted when we down-sized so that it won't be quite so bad for someone to go through things and dispose of 99% of it. Who wants this is a good question to ask. If no one comes to mind, take a picture of it and sell it or donate it. Hard. Sad. Good luck.

  6. Oh I have so much to say about this but I’ve had eye surgery and can hardly type this. Will be back in few days. This has been huge topic of conversation lately around here!

  7. Hi, Sandy! Oooh, tough question. I have always been great at letting go. But I do still have my wedding dress (and veil), THREE or FOUR prom dresses and a box of old scrapbooks and journals. I still love looking at these things (even the prom dresses). My husband and I met in high school (we lived in different towns) so I had TWO formal dances to attend each time!

    When I receive family pictures and school pictures of other people’s kids, I tape them to the inside of my kitchen cabinet doors so I see them all the time. When I get a new photo, I take down (and throw away) an old one and tape up the new one in its place.

    When I was majoring in English/writing in college, we had a saying: “Murder your darlings.” In writing, we get attached to word clutter. Writing is better when we cut, cut, cut. Apply this to real clutter.

    When I approach a decluttering project, I give away as much as possible, when it’s still relevant and useable. I think about how it can benefit someone else rather than taking up space in my home, and it’s a good reminder that I need to put more thought into what I buy in the first place!

  8. Hi, Sandy! I'm a new follower of yours. I'm a certified FACS teacher in IL and my undergraduate teaching proficiency was 'home economics' so I love your blog title!! I do have a blog devoted to FACS education, Becca's Heart for FACS education, another for ECE education, and yet another for my paper-crafting, Becca's Heart for Creativity, (which is my most active)….For decluttering, 23 months ago we had a house fire that destroyed 40-43% of the house and over $19K in personal property/appliances, yet thankfully most of our sentimental items were spared. The sad part was losing plates and glassware items given my relatives that didn't withstand the high heat and flames. A few framed photos were damaged and one of our wedding photos was severely damaged. For us, having some items in storage due to a small house came in handy and saved on replacement costs/shopping time. It was emotionally healing, actually, to be able to pull out some of our old stuff and not grieve or be stressed out too much over the lost items. Thankfully a year or two before the fire, I started dividing my large collections of dinnerware between my 4 nieces, who now range in age from 17-29. Other than that I haven't started giving sentimental stuff away. I'm slowly trying to scrapbook some old snapshots with the hopes I can divvy them between my 4 nieces and 2 nephews, since we don't have any kids. My husband has oodles of nieces and nephews and next generation ones so it will be more of struggle sorting his family and personal keepsakes. For your teaching stuff, especially, home economics/FACS, I would find a local teacher or college professor to pass on the important helpful resources. Good luck. Give us an update in a few weeks on your progress!

  9. Great post and yes, you have done a wonderful job of cutting back on the stuff. Truly you have.

    As for the sentimentals, what helps me is to think about how after I'm gone, my stuff is going to be a burden to my kids and they may go through a period of hating for not dealing with the stuff before I died. So that line of thinking helps me to be realistic about downsizing

    Also, since it is now so easy to store pictures digitally on an iCloud somewhere, I take pictures of the good stuff that's not going to stay with me and then dispose of the items themselves.

    I still have stuff to part with, even with 3 major moves since 2013. I think it's important to not be too hasty to dispose of things, but at the same time, we also need to be practical and get the job done. It's easier to do it now while we have the strength to do it.

    There. That's my take on it.

  10. Hi Sandy: I contacted nieces and nephews asked if they wanted any items I was getting rid of, that way I could still enjoy them while still here on this earth, then I if they want they can pass items on, many have taken advantage of my offer, it was hard to let go of many items but I know someone else is enjoying them.


  11. No help here as I am as sentimental as they come Sandy. If someone gives me something I can never get rid of it. I love to see things that remind me of others and the thoughtfulness and love that were behind the items. My big problem however is I also love to be organized and neat. But, there are things I've bought over the years that I need to get rid of for sure. RJ

  12. Sandy, like you, I find the easy stuff to be the things that don't have a sentimental connection. I know there will be a time though that I will be going through my mom's home. It has been lived in consistently by the family since it's renovation in 1958-59. With this are regular things one would collect in a lifetime. However, my Mom's side of the family has been in the colonies/America since the second half of the 18th century. I know for sure there are items dating back to the mid 19th century in the house. I have a love of history, family and ancestry. I'm also a mama's girl. Going through her house after her death will be hard.

    So, I'm going to give you the advice I'll be taking. Pray earnestly that God will show you what to keep and what should go. Pray that He will give you wisdom, send you resources that make sense to you and strength to help you during this process. Wishing you the best on this journey, Judy.


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