Today in the Decluttering Sentimental Items series we're decluttering holiday items / decorations. These can be for any holidays, although most people tend to have a favourite season that they primarily accumulate things for. If Christmas is the holiday you have the most "stuff" for, your things are probably packed away in the attic, basement, or garage, but it's actually a good idea to take some time to go through them now. The Christmas season is always so busy and it's harder to be objective about what to keep and what to let go of when you're in the midst of the holiday season.
Why holiday items are hard to let go of
Many holiday items are sentimental because we remember them being used in our parents' or grandparents' homes when we were growing up. It's perfectly fine to keep those. And to treasure those memories every year when you use or display those holiday items.
Tips for letting go of holiday items
Holiday items are really the perfect applications of the general strategies I shared at the start of this series! Most importantly, find what is special. If you have a lot of holiday items, really evaluate what is special and what is not. Keep the treasures but let go of the items that are less important to you.
Also, think about the items you don't use as often, or those that don't have as many memories attached to them (or that have negative memories associated with them). Let those go, so you can really treasure the more special ones.
When it comes to holiday decorations, over the years I have really applied Peter Walsh's saying, "If everything is special, then nothing is special." Everything can seem sentimental during the holidays, but I realized I couldn't keep everything. By prioritizing some items and letting go of others, it helped me to let go of things that I thought were sentimental. And then I was able to really appreciate the things I kept.
I've shared tips for decluttering holiday items before (especially Christmas things). While these aren't necessarily about sentimental holiday items, many of the tips will still be helpful.
Check out these posts:
Here are some tips from members of the 365 Items in 365 Days FB group:
- "I suggest for those of you who have Hallmark ornaments that you're ready to part with, consider putting them on eBay. Certain ornaments sell very well individually, or just sell them in bulk. It's a nice little reward for all the de-cluttering we do!"
- "Last year we evaluated Christmas ornaments as they came on and off the tree. Both times we were able to let go of a few more that didn't have much meaning to any of us."
- As your kids get older, you may find you don't decorate as much for various holidays throughout the year. Realizing this makes it easier to declutter items you no longer use.
- "This might sound counter productive, but I've started decluttering mine into a separate container for my oldest. Not a lot of stuff because I don't want to load him up with clutter, but he'll be 18 in less than a month. In a few more years he'll be moving out on his own, and he'll need some of the holiday basics."
One member of the 365 Items in 365 Days FB group shared this photo a few months ago when we were discussing decluttering sentimental holiday items. This was her college-aged daughter's snow globe collection that had been forgotten about the previous Christmas. She asked her daughter about the snow globes before she left for college this year and she was willing to let them all go.
We should always allow other people in our family to make their own decisions about what is sentimental to them and what is not. We're all different and what we value is also different. But what someone feels is special can change over time. I'm sure at one point this collection was quite special, but it wasn't as sentimental any more. It's always good to ask again from time to time :)
Ways you can reuse/repurpose/display holiday items and decorations
As I mentioned, holiday items are the perfect opportunity to apply the strategies I gave earlier in this series:
- Use or display your treasures. During your favourite holidays, use the treasured items you can use (Grandma's pie plate for Thanksgiving, Mom's red tablecloth at Christmas, etc.). And display the items that bring back special memories of holidays gone by.
- Give honour and respect to your sentimental items. Make a holiday pillow out of Grandma's quilted placemats, hang a frame with a collage of special cards and photos of past holidays, or make a shadow box with treasured ornaments.
The possibilities are endless for holiday items because so many of them are passed down from one generation to another!
Don't Start Your Decluttering Journey With Sentimental Items
Just a quick reminder that if you have "regular" (non-sentimental) clutter in your home, it's better to deal with that first and set aside your sentimental clutter until your home is less cluttered. Decluttering your everyday items will likely make more of an impact on your daily life than sentimental decluttering will. And sentimental items are generally more difficult to tackle so it's better to build up to them.
Whether you're decluttering sentimental items or general clutter, join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group! You'll find lots of encouragement, motivation, and tips as we all declutter our homes and lives together. You can find more details about the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge here too.
For More Decluttering Sentimental Items Tips
Want more tips? Check these the 31 Days of Easy Decluttering series!
Or the Decluttering From A to Z series from last October!
If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.
Do you have holiday items you've been holding on to? Are they treasures or clutter? What makes it hard for you to let go of them? Are there ways you can use, display, or re-purpose your holiday items?
As you declutter your holiday items, take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #declutteringsentimentalitems so you can inspire all of us to declutter our sentimental items!
If you decluttered your holiday items, what did you do with them? Or if you decided to keep a few treasures, how are you using them? What tips can you share for those who are having trouble letting go of holiday items?
If you've got a picture of how you displayed or re-purposed xxx please share it in the comments or on one of the series' social media posts. I'd love to see how you are giving honour and respect to your sentimental items!
Here are all the posts in this challenge in case you missed any or want to share some with your friends or family!
I link up at these great parties - Check them out!