Archive for sentimental

These are the steps, decluttering then organizing

Just because something brought you joy in the past doesn’t mean you should carry it forever. The possessions you keep should represent the person you are trying to become, not the person you were.  Keep this in mind when you start your decluttering journey. As you start to let go of things it will become easier and easier.  Here are steps to help you on your path to finding your treasures.

 Planning the space 

1. Decide what the goal is for the room.  Is it to have a:

  • Beautiful compact space
  • Functional workshop
  • Sense of freedom and control
  • the Joy of financially exchanging stuff for new experiences and pleasures.
  • Clear out a parent’s home
  • Make things easier for the next generation
  • Streamline your lifestyle

2. Decide what you want the room to look like and be used for. Draw a floor plan and make a list of activities that happen in that space.  It will help you to know what to keep.

3. Decision criteria

Set up some questions to help you with your decision making.  Here are some examples:

  • How many of these do I have? How many is enough?
  • Does the item fit in with my values?
  • Is this item current?
  • Is this item really valuable?
  • Will owning this help to resolve my clutter?
  • What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t have it?
  • Can I borrow it from somewhere?
  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Do you need it?

4. How much is enough?

Look around the room and decide what percentage of stuff you need to give away so everything will fit into the room.  25% 50% 75%?

5. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t get done.

Schedule time do it when you are not rushed.   Do one area, room, box or even corner of a room depending on how much stuff you have to go through and your deadline.

6. Prepare the room for working.

You will need a series of boxes, bins , bags or containers. for garbage, recycling, donations, items to go to other rooms, items to return to people.

5 Methods  for decluttering the room 

I’m going to go through a number of ways to sort through your items and you can decide what method works best for you.  At first, decluttering is easy because you find items that you know you don’t want and just haven’t given them away yet.  Then it becomes more challenging. You must chip away at identifying which items are true treasures versus those you feel guilty about giving away.  Remember to reduce by the percentage you choose in your planning.

1. Have a box 

The simplest way to start is to keep a box in your closet and whenever you find something you don’t need put it into the box and you can start decluttering right away.


  • Go to a closet/cupboard and select the best items in each that category.
  • Most cupboards/closets will have more than one category.
  • For example, in a kitchen, the cupboard might have baking dishes, casserole dishes, muffins tins, loaf pans.  Pick the best 1 or 2 of each of these 4 categories and donate the rest.
  • Continue to open each cupboard and drawer skimming the contents and selecting 1 or 2 items from each category.

3. Sort then declutter

  • Go clockwise around the room sorting items into groups by function
  • Do the surfaces first and then the drawers and cupboards next
  • When you are done, the garbage and recycling will be collected and removed from the room
  • All the items in the room will be in groups
  • Each room will have different categories/groups of items. Here are some examples, books, electronics, tools, dishes, home decor, games, clothing, photos  etc

Look at one category/group and apply the questions and percentage you determined in the planning stage.  Start removing items.

If that method doesn’t work for you and you are keeping everything, try a different method.


Keep the Best of the Best. Instead of thinking about giving things away, it might be easier to think about keeping the best.

  • After you have sorted the room make sure you are keeping the best one.  You need to see all of the items in one group together and keep only as many as you need or the percentage you set in the planning stage, keep the best ones.


  • Gather all your items from one category
  • Pick up the first three and remove the one you like the least.
  • Pick up 3 more and remove one again
  • After you have gone through the category/group you will have decluttered  by 1/3

If you are sentimental

  • Try taking a picture of the items so you have the memory and let go of the item go.
  • Find a good home for the thing you are letting go of,  they are still useful just not to you anymore.
  • “Shrink it”, only keep one item from a collection instead of the entire collection, you will still have the memory
  • Ask yourself, what would be best, having a number of boxes with large quantities of unsorted keepsakes or a carefully assembled box of very precious treasures?

Decluttering is about having a mindset of letting go and having less. Once you experience the joy of being unburdened from cleaning, organizing, buying, repairing stuff you don’t need, want, use or like you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.   Enjoy the journey. Set your goals, develop your decision criteria and then begin decluttering your space. Click To Tweet

Did I miss anything?

If you need help to start your decluttering project work with me virtually on zoom. 


Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

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Why do I have clutter, how can I let it go?

Clutter is different for everyone but most people have some clutter in their lives. There are many reason why it can be hard to let go of things.  Let’s look at 4 scenarios.

Scenario 1: Fear 

Perhaps it is fear that causes you to hold onto things

  • What if I need it someday – fear of scarcity
  • I’ll keep it just in case – fear of uncertainly and doubt
  • I can’t give that away it was a gift – fear of rejection
  • I can’t decide so I’ll keep it and what if it is worth something someday – fear of making mistakes

In an article by Hellen Bittigieg, she talks about: Steps to eliminate your fears and conquer the clutter

  1. As you sort through your items notice the thoughts that come up and begin to acknowledge them, say okay now you’ve got my attention.
  2. Notice where you feel the fear in your body, stomach, chest head ache?
  3. Analyze the fear and try to understand where it’s coming from then thank it and move on
  4. Replace fear with trust
  5. What if I need it someday replace it with all my needs are abundantly supplied
  6. I’ll keep it just in case – replace it with what are the odds I’ll ever need to replace it?
  7. I can’t give that away it was a gift – replace it with my real friends always love and support me
  8. I can’t decide so i’ll just keep it – replace it with I’ll make a decision and trust that everything will be okay
  9. What if it’s worth something someday – replace it with it will never be more valuable than joy, health, friendships etc

Scenario 2: Sentimentality

I have clients who if they touch an object they will automatically keep it, so I hold up the object and don’t let them touch it when they are deciding to keep it or give it away.  Other clients need to touch an item before they can donate it, it is like saying good by to it.

The sentimentality we feel towards an object can be associated with:

  • Someone you loved gave it to you or
  • Someone you once loved used or
  • The object is associate with a time when you were happy. ( memorabilia)

Being able to separate the object from a person or event can be difficult . Learning that you can still have the memory and the corresponding feeling without having the object will help you to be able to let go of  items.

Scenario 3: Control / Personality

Clients will hire me and want me to do their plan.  As I work with them and make a few suggestions about alternative ways to organize things generally they say no and then at our next appointment they usually say I thought about your idea, let’s try it.


  • People want to have control over their decisions and environment. Avoiding power struggles over decisions about what stays and what goes and make decluttering easier.

Scenario 4: The cost of getting rid of stuff

I have clients who want to make lots of money selling their stuff.  Sometimes it is possible and sometimes it isn’t. They will hold onto stuff for garage sales, to put on Kijiji or EBay.  Sometimes they hold onto it for so long that it has lost its value. They think,”I paid good money for it.”

PSSST: The money is already spent…..

Just because it was costly to purchase does not mean that it’s valuable today! Items change in value. What’s important is whether you are using what you have now or,  if what you have is distracting you from the lifestyle you want. If you are not loving, using and enjoying your things,  reconsider their ‘value’.

The important thing is to discover what reasons make it hard for you to let go of things and change those mindsets.

There are 3 things that are true

  • We all have too much stuff
  • It is hard to let go of our own stuff
  • One day we will part with our stuff.


Join my Facebook Group Organizing Mind and Space 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at


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