So often in our minimalism journey we find that releasing ourselves from many of these cheap material pieces, clothes and toys and pens is easy. In fact its freeing! But when we get to the part of our journey where we are digging through boxes, of old photos, our old dolls, medals, tickets, this release is so much harder. For many of us these are items we rarely look at, sometimes not for years at a time, but we still have such a emotional response to these items. Its not because the items themselves are sad, its not because the doll, or the photo, or the medal. Its simply the memory we attach to it.
The trophy reminds us of our first year playing soccer, the doll reminds us of our old room and the crib we would put her in. The items carry with us the memories we have had with them.
The key to letting go of these things is being able to separate these things from the memories attached to them. Recognizing that these items are not the memories, they are just a piece of them. We can still have all of these beautiful and important memories without saving a hair from all of our haircuts.
Take a deep breathe, remind yourself that letting go of these things can give you a freer life and more balanced life, you are not letting go of the memories just the physical items.
Also remember this doesn't mean you have to get rid of all of your sentimental items. Keep the important ones, the ones you will look at often, and that add value to your life. But free yourself from carrying all the ones you keep because you feel an obligation to.
Here are some extra tips to get you started:
1. Take pictures of sentimental items you want to remember but don't necessarily keep this way instead of having a box of old artwork you can have a beautiful slideshow of images.
2. Thank your items for the memories and the way in which they have served and added value to your life, this can help give you closure
3. If you don't remember or recognize who wrote you the card, its probably not terribly important to you, I finally stopped feeling an obligation to hang onto every card I owned, and have reduced the amount specifically.
4. If you like journaling try doing digital journalling so you can keep the memories without the clutter.
5. Give them to a family member, is there a family heirloom or childhood piece someone else may want? keeping it in the family can remove it from your life but you can still enjoy it when you see them and know that it has a valued home.
6. The things you keep should be things you value and want to look at often, so find places for these things, perhaps framing your diploma, or displaying your graduation cap, if you value the item and memory so much give it a home where everyone can see it in your house.
Letting go of sentimental items is hard. Its different for everyone and its a process. Don't feel pressured to throw everything away. Just decide what is going to help you live the most free life you can. When letting go of the item remember you can keep the memory in your heart it will always be there.