Let's cut to the chase. Minimizing takes setting emotions and attachments to material things aside. That's not always easy to do and some can't manage to do it at all.
Our Attachment to Stuff
Our attachment to stuff is almost always associated with memories. That picture your son drew the first day of kindergarden. The odd shaped ceramic bowl your daughter made in 2nd grade art class. Your grandmother's favorite china.
All of these things have memories attached to them. Or, do they? The memories are in your mind, not the item. You'll still have the memories even if you lose the stuff.
A Prime Example
When my grandparents passed away, I was left their china. My grandmother proudly displayed that china in a china hutch, of course. So, I wanted to do the same. However, I had no china hutch, so it sat in a box in my basement.
Then, the Flood of 2008 came. The Cedar River crested at 31..12 feet in Cedar Rapids, where I live. My home, at the time, was 3 blocks from the river. Needless to say, the water reached the second floor of my home. Grandma's china was in the basement. I lost the china, along with most of my belongings.
Did I lose the memories? Not at all. I can still picture that china displayed in her china hutch and her smiling every time she looked at it. I can still see her cleaniing the pieces regularly, to keep them pristine. I still have my memories.
No, It's Not Always Easy
Letting go of stuff isn't always easy. Sometimes the memories and attachments are so strong that you need to find a way to let go. Not of the memories, but you have to psych yourself up to let go of the stuff.
Finding ways to keep your memories without the stuff is key. There are many ways, so let's talk about a couple.
Digital cataloging is basically documenting items by digital photos with descriptions. With so many options available for Cloud storage (Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, etc) or even portable hard drives and USB drives, it's easy to digitally catalog things you want to remember.
For instance, as a new mom I wanted to hold onto every paper that came home with my kids. Now, I can easily snap a picture or scan their work in and save it to the Cloud. I, personally, use OneDrive and Google Drive as they work with my Android phone and Windows computer.
Pare Down to Just a Few
Sometimes, we remember our parents or grandparents pulling out a box of memories to share. Especially of those in our families who may have passed before we were born. When they share those items with us, we tend to feel like we know the person or people associated with them.
So, maybe you're holding onto all of your childhood things to share with your children. Or their childhood things to share with their children. But, would it be the same if you have 20 boxes of memories, many from the same period in life? Or would a few, very important things be more precious to those you share them with?
All Those Mementos Add Up
You might think all these mementos are small things. They don't take up much space. But, add them together and they take up a lot of space. The more mementos you hold on to, the more space they take up. Together they make your home a storage facility full of clutter.
Less is more. When you hold on to a few, important mementos it keeps the specialness of them. Instead of taking it away because there are so many.
My Parting Words
Think about these four things as you go through your stuff. Those mementos you're holding onto. The sentimental items you don't want to let go of. These are reasons to hold onto them.
- It's functional. It has a purpose other than memories.
- You would pass it down to your children.
- You use or look at it regularly.
- If your house was on fire, you'd grab it right away.