Instead, try turning that around and approaching the process from the perspective of what you want to keep. Surround yourself only with things that make you happy and bring you joy.
As you go through your piles, some items will be easy to get rid of. Some of the things you decide to keep will be easy to store. What about the stuff you want to keep but don't know what to do with, such as old photos, sentimental items or collections?
Here are my suggestions:
Display what you keep
If you decide to keep something because it brings you joy, then honor it. Store it nicely or display it proudly. Don't shove it in a drawer, cabinet or closet to forget about. If it's a functional item and you use it, put it back when you are done. When you honor your belongings, your items will continue to bring you joy, and you'll have greater clarity about what to keep and what to get rid of.
Make a shadow box
Do you have items from a major life event like the birth of your child or your wedding, or maybe jewelry from your grandmother that is not quite your style? Display them in a shadow box and let them bring a smile to your face every time you pass by.
Some of the physical mementos you have may be too bulky to store. If a photo of the item can bring you as much joy as holding onto the physical item, consider taking a photo. Rather than leaving the photo stored on your computer or buried in your phone, make a photo book of your prized keepsakes or let someone else do it for you. Plumprint.com will convert your kids' artwork into a beautiful coffee table book. Spoonflower.com turns images into fabric, which you can then turn into a hand towel or pillow cover. This is a great option for things like handwritten family recipe cards or documents from your relatives' arrival into the country.
Create a memento container
Everyone in your family will have things that are keepsakes. Use one container to house their meaningful items (souvenirs from unique travels, awards, ticket stubs from a memorable concert, sporting event or play) and store it in an out-of-the-way place.
Knowing what to do with the items you do want to keep makes spring cleaning and decluttering a little less overwhelming, plus the things that are precious to you will be stored carefully.
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