Ace of Space: Letting Go of Sentimental Objects

tammy strobel, ace of space, chairSentimental objects can be difficult to part with because they have meaning -- they aren't just random trinkets or clutter. But keeping and displaying sentimental items is especially difficult for tiny-space dwellers. If you're faced with the problem of too many meaningful mementoes and not enough room, here are a few ways to get the situation under control.

1. Consider passing along heirlooms.

In "The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide," Francine Jay -- a.k.a. Miss Minimalist -- writes, "Instead of squirreling away mementos, honor the person you lost by sharing stories and photographs of them with friends and family.... Our obligation then is not necessarily to keep the items we inherit but to find the best possible home for them. We've been entrusted to steward them to a new home; but it doesn't have to be ours."

Jay recommends lending valuable or historically significant items to a local museum or historical society. Other options include selling less cherished objects on eBay and digitizing old photos and postcards.

2. Donate your wedding dress to charity

This one is for all the ladies. Your wedding dress and accessories can take up a lot of excess space. For instance, I had my wedding dress, train and veil preserved in a very large box, which I ended up moving from apartment to apartment for about four years. I was 99 percent sure that I would never wear the dress again. So when we started downsizing our life, I donated it to a local charity -- a good one for wedding dresses and accessories is Brides Against Breast Cancer.

3. Downsize souvenirs.

If you decide to bring something home from a trip or vacation, make it small -- or better yet, digital. Digital photos are a great way to preserve memories, and they don't take up any space! You can also capture memories and feelings by creating sentimental journals or scrapbooks that you can keep neatly arranged on a shelf.

4. Organize your collectibles.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about how to showcase your collections without turning your apartment into a clutter bomb. So if you're not ready to part with your stuff, think about functional ways to display your collections.

Remember: Memories are more valuable than stuff. Hold on to possessions that bring you joy. Don't hold on to stuff because you feel a sense of obligation or guilt.

Tammy Strobel blogs at RowdyKittens about simple living and is the author of "Simply Car-free: How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life."

The Ace of Space is a biweekly column that will provide you with the tips and tools to live lightly and creatively in a small space.

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