It's always a struggle to part with sentimental object but often they take up so much room. Tips for decluttering sentimental objects

Howdy, howdy! My name is Katie Clemons; I’m the storycatcher and journal crafter behind the much beloved-writing prompt journals at I’m going to be joining you and Jen here twice a month to talk about intentional living and crafting a life of stories. Can I just tell you that I’m soooo excited?!

I just became a mom this past year, so Jen and I are really looking forward to tag-teaming a bit, sharing our perspectives during our different phases of motherhood and life. Jen and I originally met online when I was living abroad in Berlin, Germany, and Jen was writing a few posts that really changed my life (like this). My German home was 720 square feet; the kitchen was only 36 square feet. I unintentionally became a master at living with less and really being deliberate about the stuff I kept in my home. I had to be.

You know what the best trick I learned for downsizing or decluttering? It came as I was packing my suitcase, deciding which things to take overseas: 

I learned to separate physical objects from the emotional stories behind them.

I couldn’t do that with every object I loved, of course. Story is my passion and my business at Gadanke, after all! I still don’t think I’ll be able to part with that first little outfit my baby boy wore. But there were a lot of objects that I hung onto because of the memories I had making them, receiving them, or having them during different phases of my life. A lot of these things weren’t beautiful or useful. They were the kinds of things I could put in a box and look at every couple of years.

how to declutter sentimental objects

I made that ceramic squirrel above from a mold when I taught pottery at Girl Scout camp – what a great time in my life! But I really didn’t need that squirrel.

So I thought: if I’m hanging onto these objects just to reminisce, do I really need the actual object?

I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures – medals I’d won, pottery pieces I’d made, a jewelry box that I kept just because I’d had it for years, silly little pebbles, a clock I’d made in high school wood shop… The list went on. As it did, I realized that I just wanted a record of my life. I wanted to hang onto memories, but not necessarily stuff.

Taking photographs of my precious memories freed me. All those nostalgic pieces could be stored on my hard drive instead of in my house. 

Today, my family does this with anything we’re wavering on. It’s almost too easy.

Try pulling out your camera as you look at nostalgic things. You might be amazed by what you can part with.

31 Days Clutter Countdown

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Katie Clemons is a storycatcher and journal crafter. She helps people celebrate their stories with her award-winning writing prompt journals and free workshop at Gadanke. She also blogs at Making This Home about simple, handmade living from a vintage airplane hangar in Montana, USA.