8 tips: How to let go of sentimental clutter

Mature couple relaxing at home

Mature couple relaxing at home


Mandy Haber was overwhelmed but determined.

She wanted freedom from her instinct to store every sentimental token, to keep every scribble drawn by her children.

“I have the first rose my husband ever gave me,” the Scottsdale mom said. “I’m the kind of person who will keep every picture, even if it’s (out of focus), because you don’t want to lose that moment in time.”

She called professional organizer Charlotte Steill, who taught her how to edit her photos to those only worth putting in albums, and ways to store special toys and artwork.

A year later, her home is more organized, and Haber is less stressed.

“I’m much better at attaching the emotion to the memory rather than the thing,” Haber said. “You have to come to terms with (the fact that) you’ll always be able to get another memory and another moment.”

Nancy McGivney, a professional organizer and owner of Getting Things Done in Scottsdale, starts by asking clients why they’re keeping something. She helps them purge their guilt, then their stuff.

“If you come up with a lot of answers like, ‘My sister will kill me if I get rid of it,’ then give it to your sister,” she said, adding that one can hold the memory of an item without keeping it.

Read more here about Mandy Haber’s Downsizing story!

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