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How do you keep on downsizing and not get stuck with YOUR OWN sentimental items such as photos, letters, greeting cards, and mementos?   This question came from a client whom I will call Laurie who has read Downsizing INHERITED Sentimental Objects.

Laurie is rightsizing and organizing her own home, and at the same time is helping her parents downsize to a smaller home.

Laurie and her parents have piles of stuff to go through in each of their homes. Her Mom has discovered boxes of old letters and cards, and inscribed trophies & newspaper articles from her golfing days. Laurie's Dad has found decades of unsorted family photographs and slides. Laurie had stacks of her children’s artwork and is wondering what to keep as she also clears their outgrown clothing, and books and toys.

Sentimental items whether they be inscribed gifts or awards, personal letters and cards, photographs, and whatever else you put in this category tend to be the most difficult items for any of us to sort. What to save and what to let go? 

Rule of Thumb:  Leave sentimental items to the last. Larger items such as furniture, household appliances, kitchen and garage items, office supplies, and clothes and bedding tend to provide less of an emotional response.  

If we can tackle some of these bigger items and see a visible change in our homes as the result, we often find the momentum to sort the sentimental items.

Suggestion:  I have found it helpful to bin the sentimental items. Corral them in several appropriate boxes or tubs and lid them.  Leave them to sort later when you have more space in your downsized home and can tap into your momentum. What might feel difficult to let go when you start the downsizing/organizing process may feel easier later on once you are on a roll! 

Moving the sentimental stuff that is difficult to sort temporarily out of sight gives space to do other clearing first. 

Choose the temporary categories that feel right for you. 

Here are some suggestions:   Letters & Greeting Cards, Photos & Slides, Mementos Through the Decades (Ages!), Inscribed Items, Vacation Souvenirs, Children’s Art, Career Keepsakes, Hobby Creations.

What ones would you add that describe your unique sentimental collections?