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How to Return to a Quality ‘Normal’ with Care

Our dining experiences will undergo considerate changes when our kitchens and restaurants re-open

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Hoarding vs Sentimentality

How to get de-clutter the hoard

Photo by Eli Francis on Unsplash

Yesterday I cleaned my cupboard. I took out all my IGCSE textbooks, notes, past papers, and more and heaped them onto the study table. They were all in perfect conditions and I took pictures of them to upload to Facebook to sell them off- after all my IGCSE days are over and that chapter is closed. Phew. Although all my handwritten notes and plastic-wrapped textbooks would be of much more use to a 15-year-old starting the course and give me some extra cash at the same time, I couldn’t help feeling well, sad, as I knew I would never see them again. So that’s what inspired this post which I hope will help those stuck in the same dilemma- are we keeping things out of sentimentality or are we a hoarder?

Hoarders have the mentality that everything, and I mean everything, is worth keeping. Everything has a meaning and deserves to be cherished and saved. It’s a mental disorder and results in a space becoming so cluttered that things are surrounding you wherever you go, which is often why it becomes a safety hazard.

Keeping things out of sentimentality is totally different. Those are things that do truly “spark joy” (thanks Marie Kondo) and are useful to your life. Even though I am currently writing this on my couch which is littered with things like the book I had been reading, my phone, and my water, these are things I use all the time and benefit me on a daily basis.

I’ve always found it difficult to part with things be it a storybook I grew up with that I would never read again or my old piano pieces I had played when I was younger. Hence I’ve always wondered, and to be honest worried, that I was a mild hoarder. (Definitely not one of the extremities on the show ‘Hoarders’!) Below are some questions to ask yourself to confirm that you’re not filling up your house, your car, your space with unwanted junk that really belongs in the trash.

  1. Why exactly do I find this object sentimental?
    Think about a precise memory- a special moment or person this reminds you of. Does no one specifically come to mind? In the trash, it goes! (Unless it’s recyclable obviously recycle it!)
  2. Is this object useful to me?
    This is the hardest question for me. I often impress myself with the ability to make most things a CRUCIAL part of my life or childhood, so this question is where the bin starts filling up for me. You need to understand that there’s absolutely no point keeping a random novel you bought when you were 10 from the store or holding onto a broken bottle even if you got it for something special. It’s just not necessary.
  3. Can this be saved online?
    We live in the digital age, and it’s time to accept that! Take pictures of your favourite clothes that are now too small or your old phones if it means helping you let them out of your house. Digitalising physical objects will prevent hoarding and accumulation of things in your home.
  4. Will other people benefit from this more than me?
    I find it SO much easier to let go of things knowing that they will actually be put to use, which is why I love donating/selling my old clothes, books, bags, and more. This truly is the best of both worlds- others get to enjoy the things you no longer need and you get a clean space! (This goes without saying but of course, this applies to things that are in good condition)

That’s it! Now is the perfect time to go through the process of spring-cleaning and getting a fresh start to your next project. Working in a clear space will help you feel a lot more organised and refreshed, so I hope you give this a try!

Hoarding vs Sentimentality was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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