Purging Sentimental Stuff – Part 1

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

I am finally ready to deal with something that many of us find really hard to sort through.

Sentimental stuff.


This is such a tough one for me.

Sentimental things seem to be so much more important than other possessions and they are nightmarish to say goodbye to.

It’s like getting rid of little pieces of myself…

BUT – it’s important not to think like this. I must repeat the mantra:

I am not my things. I am not my things. I am not my things.


Having lost three grandparents between me and the hubby in the last 18 months, we’ve had our eyes opened somewhat to the needless hoarding of sentimental things.

I’m not talking about things we should keep, like war medals or old family photographs, I’m talking about diaries, souvenir pens, and all those random objects of no value (cups, pieces of furniture, cutlery, wedding favours, etc.)

When someone dies, someone else, somewhere has to sort through everything they own. Every possession, every piece of paper, every piece of furniture, is all handled by someone else who makes a decision about tossing it, donating it, selling it or keeping it.

Harsh, but true.

I was the executor of my late Grandmother’s will, and I spent hours sorting through her papers. In among them were photos of her and her husband, her children, wedding portraits, unlabelled pictures of friends, souvenir tickets, and a million little items of a life lived but imperfectly recorded.

What would someone find if they had to sort through your things tomorrow?

My husband and I talked about this a lot and it really made us both think about the irrelevant and unnecessary stuff we hang onto.

Are our children going to be interested in our school maths books? Will they read our college essays? Would I want either of my sons to read my tattered old diaries from the days before I was married? I blush to even think of it.

So a few days ago I started sorting through the whole lot – years and years of things I have collected – each item soaked in some emotion from a significant event, sometimes decades before.

And here’s the plan:

  • I have a box about the size of a large shoebox. That is my limit on things to keep.
  • I’m trying to throw out as much as possible.
  • I am scanning/photographing everything that I want to keep.
  • Then I am only storing actual, physical items of the most precious nature (my school reports, old passport, plane ticket from a trip round the world, etc.).
  • The contents of the box will not be too boring or embarrassing for anyone else to sort through 🙂

-> Part 2

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