Decluttering Ideas to Release Other People’s Stuff (Without the Guilt!)
Consider using the decluttering ideas in this 4-step process so you can finally let go of things left behind from your loved ones.
Without a doubt, we all hang on to stuff for various reasons. But guilt is often the main culprit.
I mean, just think about your kids’ childhood stuff stashed in the attic. Or what about your mom’s Lenox china for 16 hidden in your dining room hutch. And Grandpa’s beer steins and National Geographic collection buried deep in the basement.
What’s wrong with this scenario? If you love all these things and cannot imagine life without them, then absolutely nothing!
But if thinking about these examples creates tension in your body, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider what’s occupying valuable space in your home! The stuff may be out of sight but it weighs on your mind. Time to set yourself free!
Today Features Decluttering Ideas That Honor What Matters To You!
Step 1: Begin With Your Why
>> Do You Want To Function As A Storage Facility?
If it’s a temporary situation, put a time limit on how long the items will be tenants in your home. It’s universal that our kids leave stuff in our home when they depart the nest. And it’s easy for us to hang on to the remnants of their youth. The memories are deep and heart-filled.
We have the space to store their sentimental mementoes … or do we?
Is it possible their stuff is occupying space you could use for your next chapter? In fact, on a larger scale, is their stuff holding you back from making your own physical move?
So, yes: Determine if other people’s things are preventing you from forging ahead!
For a deeper dive into uncovering your “why” in your new life chapter, head here: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!
>> Initiate The Convo With The Kids Now!
Now you might feel a little uneasy with this idea. Yet they may simply be assuming it’s A-OK to leave their excess stuff with you. They need to hear how you feel about it!
Also: understand there is benefit for both sides. Your adult children can then adopt a lifelong habit of identifying what matters most to them, too!
To be honest, most Millennials are open to decluttering ideas and goals. They already choose to live in smaller spaces. They seek to travel lightly with their possessions. So the timing for this dialogue is spot on! It can be a session of recalling happy times. This, in turn, leads to deliberate choices of what items to keep and what items to release.
>> Now Address The "Permanent" Guests In Your Home!
Who’s this? I’m referring to inherited items or gifts from family members or friends. They can be everywhere! Some are stored in boxes or closets, out of sight. Others may be sprinkled throughout your home.
You know logically these things have an “expiration date” with hanging around. Either they aren’t to your own taste or or they are not useful or necessary for your lifestyle.
They may be something you do appreciate, but you truly don’t have the physical space now or where you may be heading next. Even harder, they may evoke bittersweet or difficult memories of a particular time in your life.
Ask yourself: Do I truly need or want these items in my home?
Step 2: Sort Items By Donor
Next up is staging the items so that you can see exactly what you have from whom. For example, everything from your Mom could be gathered in the spare room. You can then see at a glance what you have from one person.
Now this may be challenging if your house has things from Mom in every room! If that’s the case, then just segregate her things in each respective room and take a picture. In this way, you can review the entire collection at once or within a few images.
The purpose of this activity is to understand exactly what we have from Mom, Dad, Grandma, and so forth. Often we balk at releasing something simply because it belonged to someone in particular (and I get that, really!)
But we get bogged down when we assign high value to each and every single item thy owned or touched. Is this realistic?
For me, I think about it this way: “How do I want my son to remember me?” I am most passionate about 3-4 things and so he’s welcome to keep just a few items that define those interests. He doesn’t need to curate a Mom shrine with everything of mine!
In other words, be selective with how you decide to honor your beloved family member.
Step 3: Select What To Keep
No one has unlimited space! Which is why solid decluttering ideas include deliberate choices that truly epitomize your beloved family members.
If your Grandma was a tea drinker, a gardener or a deeply religious person, then keep her favorite tea cup, her cut glass flower vase, or her rosary beads. This makes it easier to let go of her ceramic knickknacks or crocheted afghans. You get the idea!
Certainly, you can increase the number of items if they take up less physical space, like pictures in a photo album or a digital picture frame. But consider truly narrowing down to the essence of that person… because you want to leave space in your home for you!
Once you have your choices defined, you can have fun with how you’re going to display the items. They won’t need to be hidden out of view any longer.
Perhaps you’ll create a gallery of framed photos. You might use some glassed shadow boxes to showcase costume jewelry or prized medals. In other words, incorporate the treasures into your present decor.
Paring them down to a select few will truly let them stand out as a testament to your family history.
Step 4: Release The Rest With Love
Understand that gifted items from our family were given in the spirit of love. The intent was never to bog you down with something that didn’t bring you joy. Acknowledge the kind gesture but let go of what doesn’t suit your taste. Gifts shouldn’t come with strings attached, don’t you think?
Figure out the highest and best use of the things you will not retain. Start with your own family, in the event your children or siblings would appreciate and welcome any of those items. The key is this: ask!
Don’t assume you know what others will want. Listen and then accept their decisions. After all, it’s their home and so it’s their choice.
From there, it’s entirely up to you if you would prefer to realize a monetary return. Yet know that any selling activity will take time and effort, depending upon the demand for that item.
By investing a little time up front, you’ll realize if going the re-sale route is worth your while.
If you decide to bypass the resale step, there are so many local charities that can deftly route your donations to the highest needs in your community.
Please don’t overlook the value of donating! It in no way means you are throwing money away or dishonoring your family member!
The money has already been spent when the item was first acquired by your relative. There was joy and use of the item until it was passed along to you. Now, you’re simply “paying it forward” when someone less financially fortunate eagerly and gladly accepts the item for their own use.
Isn’t that a better outcome than having it collect dust on a shelf or hide in a cabinet?
The Wrap: This Post Dug Into Decluttering Ideas About Releasing Sentimental Stuff Without Guilt
When incorporating these decluttering ideas into your own routine, remember to work at your own pace. You control the process and no one is judging you. Even 15 minutes a day will have you ahead of where you were before you started. In fact, here is what will absolutely get you on your way: Motivation to Declutter: 5 Free Tools to Get Going & Keep Going!
Sentimental clutter is the hardest stuff to deal with … but it provides the biggest emotional release when it’s moved out so you can move on!
You can do this … I believe in you!
Related Topics and Resources to Explore
Declutter Like a Boss With The PopUpPurge™ Book Release!
4 Tricky Truths that Put the Brakes on Decluttering Your Home
Uncluttering Your Life in a New Season Leads to 3 Priceless Developments
Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Declutter So Much Easier?
Listen: A 5-Minute Video on Releasing Sentimental Stuff!
What’s your sentimental clutter status?
- What will be your biggest challenge to release?
- What decluttering ideas can you share with us?
Drop your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!