The journey of minimalism will ultimately bring people to one key hurdle; sentimental belongings. It's often looked upon as a make or break moment during one's journey, but it shouldn't be. Why? Because, there are no set rules to minimalism except one; love people, use things.
When you start down the path of decluttering your home and downsizing to something more manageable for mind, body, and spirit, you will come upon boxes of sentimental trinkets you might have forgotten that you had. You may have all of your soccer jerseys from when you grew up, or drawings of mom and dad your child made where you resemble an unidentified object.
It is easy for one side of your mind just to say, get rid of it, but your heart will have a hard time with it. Here are some ways you can preserve your sentimental belongings and pair them down at the same time.
I want you to hold an item in your hand and ask yourself these questions:
1. If this burned in a fire and all I had was a picture of it, how would I react?
Many times, until you think of something harsh happening do you truly get an idea of the level of sentiment each belonging holds. For example: If you were holding your grandmother's earring box with the first set of earrings your grandfather ever bought, then yes, your world would have a rough go, and you need to keep those. If you were holding your third stick figure drawing of your family, it might not be as intense, and a photo of the drawing may be all you need.
2. Is this a family heirloom, or do I want it to be?
Have you wondered what would happen to each belonging you are holding onto if you were no longer around? Would your family look at it as an heirloom? Something they would keep and cherish to pass down in your passing?
3. If I gave away this belonging, would I be giving away a memory?
This question is key because anything that has a sentimental value to you stems from the memory of it. Whether it be your wedding dress, the outfit you brought you child(ren) home in, or the box of spelling tests your mom gave you from when you were in the 3rd grade, memory is always behind a belonging. The question is, do you believe the memory will be lost without the item?
Pairing down sentimental items doesn't have to be an all or nothing concept. Take your time during this part; it is a journey -- not a sprint to the finish.