Are Sentimental Items Considered Clutter?

I recently was reading an article on Apartmenttherapy.com and came across an article about 10 things to enjoy your home. One of the points was to place sentimental items you love front and center so they can be enjoyed.

As I was reading the comments below one reader said that she thought being clutter free meant to not have anything around including sentimental items. This comment really puzzled me.

Are Sentimental Items Considered Clutter?
Enjoy your home

Are Sentimental Items Considered Clutter?

I realized that this poor reader has the idea of being organized all wrong. There is a fine line, but sentimental items also make us happy and when is too much, too much? This all reminds me of a client of mine. She lived on her own and in her home had a collection

Unknown of knick-knacks that belonged to her deceased parents. They were lined up on the shelving that surrounded her fireplace collecting dust. Fortunately that day her sister was in town (who actually was the one who called me).

I asked my client about the things in her living room and she said "It just wasn't that comfortable of a place to hang out in" So, I started asking questions about the cluster of items on the shelves. It turned out that after her parents had passed away no one else in the family wanted this collection so she took it.

My client went on to say that the collection really wasn't her style but they belong to her parents and so out of guilt she took them in. I asked my client’s sister if she would feel badly if the collection were to be given away or sold? And her answer was that she didn’t really have a big attachment to them. My client was surprised by her sister's answer. I knew the collection had some meaning to her. With that my client was very willing to pick a couple of her favorites that had meaning to her and sell the rest. We went from a collection of 25 to 3.

You see she still could keep her favorites, keep the best memories and not clutter up her shelves with the ones that didn’t have any meaning. Now, when she looks at those 3 pieces there are nothing but good thoughts that come to mind. Much better than the guilt and overwhelming feeling she got from the over crowding.

Her sister was wonderfully supportive and the bookshelf were rearranged with my clients whittled down favorite knick-knacks and books. It transformed the space and lightened her spirit. We rearranged the living room and now it's a place she wants to be and enjoy.

So, no, sentimental items are not clutter. They are meant to be enjoyed and loved and bring back good memories. The key is to only keep your absolute favorite items in your home. Everything else is clutter. When you are sitting or walking through a room in you home ask yourself these questions.

  • Do I remember where I got it or who gave it to me?
  • Does is go with the rest of my décor or is it my style?
  • Do I ever even notice that it’s there?
  • Is it just something else to dust?

I have numerous situations with clients who have had these same issues. I know we get busy and sometimes don’t have time to think and really look at what we have.

When you have the chance use these questions as a guideline. When you do, your space will suddenly be transformed and literally a weight will be lifted. Keep what you love because we all want to be reminded of special memories.

Thank you for reading today! Sign up for my newsletters and receive free tips on creating the home, office an life you love! Do you have a favorite collection? Tell me in the comments below.