By far, sentimental items are the most difficult category of things to declutter, and of those, inherited items are the most challenging. Your great grandmother's china. A grandfather’s war medals. Mom’s linens. Dad’s fishing gear.
First of all, if you’re starting your organization journey by decluttering sentimental items, STOP. Step away from this category and focus on areas less likely to stir intense emotions, like a hall closet or one of the junk drawers in your kitchen. Sentimental items are for later in the process, after you’ve decluttered other spaces and have had time to build up momentum and practice.
The biggest challenge when sorting and decluttering inherited items is facing and dealing with the emotions and memories that they trigger. I recently had a client with a large clown collection she had inherited from her grandmother. She wanted to fill her hutch with vintage bakeware, dishes, and glassware, but so much of it was taken up by clowns that what she wanted to display simply wouldn't fit.
I'm always reading and learning more about organization, whether it's new tips and tricks or the psychology behind clutter. Regardless of the subject, sometimes I come across a gem that I must share. I read this two days ago, and I can't stop thinking about it. It's simple and completely accurate. I definitely identify with several of these laws, and I bet many of you will feel the same. I'll reproduce it here in its entirety. Anything I add will be minimal and in brackets. (See below for the source.)
Basic Laws of Stuff
Law 1: Stuff breeds. The more you have, the more you need.
Well, okay, if you leave two objects in a dark corner, they don't actually reproduce, but sometimes it sure seems that way. Let's suppose you buy a new computer system. This basic system consists of a keyboard, a mouse, the CPU, and a monitor. Oh, and of course there are all those manuals and cables. And let's not forget a printer. Oh, and extra printer cartridges. You should probably have an external hard drive to back up your files. Of course you'lll need new software and maybe an Internet router so you can go wireless. Plus there are various gadgets and cleaning solutions to keep your computer in tip-top shape. And so on, and so on.
A quick and effective solution for tangled and unmanaged cords in the bathroom is a floating box shelf. It gets items off the countertop and hides tangled cords. In the pictures below, the outlet itself was also covered by the shelf, but if this is your only outlet in the space, you may want to consider placing the shelf beside the outlet instead of over it so that you have access to the outlet without removing the shelf.
Closets are one of my favorite spaces to organize. They're tiny, contained microcosms of our lives. The possibilities are endless: coats, umbrellas, shoes, off-season clothes, holiday decorations, toys, memorabilia, kid's clothes, general storage, books, office supplies - any number of things remembered and forgotten.
C.S. is a mother of three girls with chronic pancreatitis, a progressive condition that prevents their bodies from properly absorbing nutrition through the food they eat. The youngest drinks prescribed nutrition shakes to supplement her diet. The other two receive the bulk of their nutrition through feeding tubes. They receive shipments every three weeks of nutrition shakes, formula, bags, and a variety of other medical supplies. This mountain of supplies needs to be stored in a way that allows daily access, a quick view of the inventory when the call comes in to reorder, and an easy rotation of stock when shipments arrive.
I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)