I’ve thought about this often. When I moved last year (33 years of “stuff”), and realized that ALL of my sentimental mementos could not move with me, I painstakingly pondered over what things to keep and what to shed. Here’s how I made those tough decisions.
First off, whatever doesn’t hurt to let go of…let it go! If it’s just taking up space because you never got around to tossing it? (procrastinating?) Well then, time to purge.
As for the things that are tugging at your heartstrings, well that requires a great deal more of thinking, particularly if your new space is smaller than your existing one and will not be able to accommodate everything you currently own. So for me, I took a lot of digital photos of things I wanted to remember but didn’t necessarily need to keep. I actually donated my wedding gown because it had yellowed, my daughter thought it was ugly, and looking at it didn’t even rekindle a moment. I had inherited an enormous box of camp letters from my childhood, and naturally had preserved a collection of camp letters from my own children. I wrote a blog about that very special day and indeed was a very teachable moment. http://movethemess.com/?p=122 After a very emotional day, I walked away with one or two very special handwritten letters (an archaic practice these days), that I couldn’t bear to part with from my deceased Dad.
The funny thing was that most of the things I was saving for the “children”, they had no interest in. Go figure. Their sport trophies, random school projects and papers, stuffed animals, cheerleading pom-poms, naked barbie dolls with missing body parts, and broken ceramic crafts, were apparently more important to me than them, and so they did not make the journey with us.
Across the board, all photos were revered and since they were mostly organized in albums, they were a no-brainer to pack. Even loose photos were coming with us. I kept some classic board games like LIFE, MONOPOLY, and donated the rest. The ten framed jigsaw puzzles that once decorated my playroom walls, now adorn a hallway at a senior care facility.
In the end, moving while a traumatic event, gives you an opportunity to revisit your stuff, your past, and check in with yourself; to see where you’ve been, decide where you’re going, and most of all, what you’ve prioritized to take along with you on the journey.
Remember this. We will all move somewhere at sometime in our lives. Good food for thought. How much sentimental clutter do you have?