Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: How to Organize Sentimental Items, Part 2: 4 Easy Ways to Let Go

How do you solve a problem like memorabilia? Do you have sixteen going on seventeen keepsakes, but don’t know what to do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do with them? If your sentimental attachments are not your favorite things, watch this video and I will share tips on decluttering your keepsakes. Find a home for your edelweiss and say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye to your Von Trapp commemorative ledehosen!

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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we have Part 2 in our short series on sentimental items. Part 1 was about the rules for keeping these items, and today we’re going to talk about some ways to make it a little easier to let some of it go.

So the first way I have to share with you today is to ask yourselves the question: “How can I make it smaller?” How can you take the memory that’s associated with these objects or collections of objects and condense those memories down into a much smaller space? Digitizing is one really great way to do that. If you have a bunch of slide carousels, or large boxfuls of pictures, or Super 8 home movies, you can get those scanned in and re-formatted and made into a tiny space like a small hard drive or a DVD, and that’s a great way to condense all those memories down. If you want to use a shadow box to take some very small objects and collect them together into a set of memories that fills up a very small space on a wall, that’s another great way to make it smaller. We talked about a t-shirt quilt on our last video. This is a great way to take a whole collection of stuff and make it smaller. Take a picture of anything you like and digitize that. You can take pictures of furniture or any other large objects and retain the memory of the object without retaining the object itself. Always ask: “How can I make it smaller?”

The second way to make it easier to let go is to give some of these items to family members who have equal or greater significance attached to those memories. So, if you’ve been given the responsibility of making sure that all of a set of inherited items gets distributed to the rest of the family, one of the best things you can do is number all of those items, take digital photos of them, and you can associate those numbers with descriptions of the items, write all that out, send the photos and descriptions to everybody, and then they can easily tell you which numbers they want, and you can ship that out very efficiently.

The next way to make it a little easier to let go is to sell some of these items. Maybe you’re not quite satisfied with certain things and just getting a tax deduction for donating them, you might want to get back some of the value associated. So you can sell things on Craigslist or eBay, you can sell them at consignment stores, and if you have a large volume of stuff like an inheritance, definitely get help with this. You can Google estate sale people in your town and they know what they’re doing. They do this all the time. They can take a huge burden off of you by taking that project over, and you get a percentage, they get a percentage, it makes it very simple to sell some of your stuff and get some of that value back.

And lastly, remember that donating is a great way to help other people where everybody wins. When you donate to Goodwill, you’re helping your own neighbors and your own community with job placement, job training, other job related services, financial and literacy training, all kinds of things that help the whole community to grow stronger, and you keep things out of the landfill, you get a tax deduction, the shoppers get a great value, and these items get re-circulated back into the world and become useful again. So donating is a fantastic way to let go.

Overall I’d like you to remember that you don’t want any of your sentimental items to become a burden for someone else. You know, we’ve worked with clients whose parents both passed away within short times of each other and the kids hired us to help clean out all of the parents’ stuff and go through it. And it was a huge burden to them and those clients vowed that they never would do that to their own kids. So maybe this is a motivation for you, that you don’t want to leave this for someone else to deal with. So, you can think about that, and if you have trouble making some of these decisions, if you need some help with this, we have a program on-line that makes that so affordable for you. We have a team of organizers available to you seven days a week. You have unlimited access to them in our Member Message Board area. You can find out more about that at

See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

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