Letting go of sentimental items is the last piece of the KonMari puzzle. It can feel painful to let go of items you’ve held onto for so many years. I’ve pared down so much but there are things I still feel strongly about keeping. By now you’ve honed your joy skills so even though sentimental items can be a tough category, we’re going to follow the same technique of asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?”
Before this process I thought throwing away photographs was sacrilege. Not anymore. I did as KonMari suggested and took ALL of my photographs out from albums, boxes, envelopes, everywhere. I had collected lots from my parents’ house from my childhood. I decided to keep one album intact that I made after my year abroad in Paris where I had pasted the photos to the page along with ticket stubs and other mementos. Otherwise I looked at each picture and discarded with vigor.
I can’t believe how many I had saved of people I don’t even know or blurry ones and photos where no one was looking at the camera or my eyes were closed. It was the olden days with real film. I remember waiting for the film roll to be full, taking it up to the print shop, waiting, paying, then finally getting to see the pictures. My kids cannot believe we had to go through all that with their instant gratification digital cameras (and DVRs but that’s another story).
I got five albums down to one! Starting at birth going through high school. Another two, including the one I kept intact for college into my twenties. Then since I met Alan, got married and had kids I’ve made Shutterfly books which are easily stored, slim volumes of our life together. I will continue to make these.
Another thing I had a great deal of was letters. Love letters, friend letters, relative letters. This was before email, People. I’m sure my kids will not have this issue. I took a lot of time with this category and relived the times and feelings of these letters. Again, I was amazed to find I didn’t remember some of the people I had exchanged letters with. Isn’t that weird? Those went in the bin. Also did letters from people I don’t know at all anymore – unless they had some significance to me. I had dozens from my uncle who had passed away. I loved being pen pals with him and reread them with a warm heart then decided to keep a collection of about ten to look back on.
Same with love letters. I don’t want to forget about significant relationships in my life that shaped me so I kept a couple. I’ve kept all from my husband thinking maybe my kids will be interested in them some day. I may pare down as time goes on.
I have my wedding dress preserved in a huge box in storage. It’s not bothering anybody but I may decide to let that go someday. I did wear it for Halloween after we got married so Alan and I could be a dead bride and groom. I highly doubt Pippa will wear it, though it was beautiful. I’m sure she’ll be taller than me and will have a different figure.
I let go the boxes of old T-shirts I had saved from past marathons, high school dance company, college clubs, etc. Haven’t missed a one. I let go so many old clothes I was hanging onto for posterity. When I got truthful with myself and asked myself why? The answer was just because I thought I should. I’ll never wear the dress I wore to my bachelorette party again. It’s too short and sexy for my age now.
I did save my beautiful Patricia Fields blood red, kimono style dress from 1995. It still sparks so much joy! I’m not willing to part with my journals either. I do see myself at eighty years old leafing through my life’s escapades. My uncle, Les went through all his journals when the end was near and threw most of them away. I suspect I will do the same.
Go through everything you’ve saved from childhood, from your parents, grandparents, in-laws and just keep what you truly love. Keep these things with confidence, not just because.