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Peter Walsh

Peter Walsh

Design professional and star of TLC's Clean Sweep

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Meryl Starr

Meryl Starr

Organizing expert, author and personal consultant

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Debbie Stanley

Debbie Stanley

Author and owner of Red Letter Day, a professional organizing...

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A Walk Down Memory Lane

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As you're getting organized, the decision to keep or toss is not as straightforward when you come across an item that reminds you of a special event, your childhood or some other powerful memory. You may find yourself feeling very emotional at the thought of letting these items go.

Meryl Starr, organizing expert,
author and personal consultant, explains that a lot of people go through a series of emotions when they start sorting through their belongings and getting organized. “People get stressed and many have fear and guilt,” she says. “There’s a lot of, ‘I can’t do this; it’s too difficult; I’m afraid.’ ” One of the biggest roadblocks to letting an item go is not wanting to devalue the memory attached to it.

Remind yourself that you’ll always have your memories, even without the material items. If you’re iffy on something, take one day to think about it. You might realize that you’re holding onto that item simply because you think you should, not because you actually need it. Giving treasured items to friends or family members can make parting with them easier. Or take pictures of sentimental items before giving or throwing them away, and store them in a special album.

If you can’t bear to part with something, by all means keep it. Getting organized isn’t about throwing everything away; it’s about paring things down to the items that have the most significant value to you.

Posted: 11/27/20