Clutter and Organization vs. the Sentimental Heart

The past month I’ve been trying to organize and tackle various parts of the house.

Professional organizers have all kinds of hints for getting your life in order. Things like

  • only handle paper once
  • don’t organize clutter
  • if you haven’t worn it for a year, get rid of it
  • if they haven’t played with it for six months, box it up, if they don’t ask for it for another month pass it on
  • make an appointment for organizing and keep it. Turn off the computer, don’t answer the phone and spend uninterrupted time on task (whether for 15 minutes or 2 hours).
  • less is more

Their advice sticks out like mantras in my mind.  But what I wrestle with is my own sentimentality. Do you suffer from this?  To be honest with you and with myself, I like tripping across memories at odd times. Seeing that toy, that gift, that game brings me back down memory lane at unexpected times.

Last weekend I was sorting through ED’s toys. I was proud I got rid of a box full of small toys. But believe it or not I had to think once, twice, three times before tossing this ratty, old McD’s toy!! Why? Because of the memories. My sister gave that to LD when we were back visiting family when he was 4 months old. Ahh… yes, the memories!  I traveled back from Tennessee, to LA, to Sydney to Alice Springs, Australia with baby LD and that toy. Alone. And that trip was not easy — LD had double ear and double eye infections (though we had doctor’s clearance to make the 37 hour flight/trip). I remember seeing a friend on that last leg from Sydney to Alice Springs, handing him LD and falling asleep for an hour!

Honestly, I don’t need the toy to remember LD as a baby or to remember that long, difficult trip. I took a picture, wrote a blog post and tossed it in the garbage.

So, it takes me much longer to get rid of things than it does for many of my friends. But in the end it does feel liberating to let that stuff go! Luckily for my sentimental heart I can take endless digital photos of those things, right??! Let’s not talk about digital clutter!

On Friday I’ll be sharing some pictures of our homeschool room. I’ve spent lots of time organizing that this summer.



1 Response

  1. Kim says:

    I have storage box for each kids sentimental things. If i forget it was attached to the memory, or the memory is painful, I toss it. But if its a big part of the memory it stays in that box. Memories are not worth bleeding over, which is what happened when I tripped on them!

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