How a Minimalist Keeps Memories Without the Clutter


Moving is a perfect opportunity to reevaluate what you keep in your space and whether it serves a purpose or just adds clutter. As someone who used to save every little souvenir or memento, I've realized there are better ways to preserve these memories without hoarding them.

When I consciously started transitioning into a more simple and minimal lifestyle, I started practicing non-material attachment, which is easier said than done. However, overtime I’m quite proud of what I’ve been able to clear through, and it has been a therapeutic process.

With the tips below, I learned how to clear through the sentimental clutter, while still honoring the memories. This way I can continue to live in a clear space that is inviting and relaxing.

1. Write about it

Over the years we collect knick-knacks, whether they are gifts from relatives, souvenirs from friends, exes, etc. I used to find myself holding onto these because I felt guilty getting rid of it. Now, if I have no use for it, but really love that person, I donate it and I write about it. I express how much I appreciate the sentiment that went behind the gift, and it's documented for me to smile and look back on.

2. Take a photo

I have a sweet friend who always writes the most epic birthday cards (you know who you are). I could never part with them, so I started taking pictures to keep in a file titled ‘nice things people say to me’’ in case I ever forget that I have amazing people in my life who love me. This brings me to my next point...

3. Store it in a virtual cloud like Dropbox

Take said folder of memories and store it in a cloud like Dropbox, in case your computer ever crashes. You have unlimited space to store whatever you need! This is a way you can preserve your memory without it taking up physical space.

4. Pass it on

I had this collection of crystals and charms with tools for making jewelry. It brought back such fond memories of when I had time to actually make jewelry for fun. I always kept it around in case I wanted to make something again, but when we were moving to Austin, I decided it was time to part with it. So, I gave it to an old friend who makes and sells her own jewelry hoping she could put it to better use! It feels good to pass it along to someone who’ll use it instead of keeping it tucked away for a rainy day that may never come.

5. It's either a "Hell Yes!" or it's a no

Of course, you can keep some things, but it has to be something you absolutely love. If you have even a smidgen of doubt, let ‘er go. When we were purging things, Andrew asked, ‘well, what about your comic books,’ and without hesitation, I fiercely snarled ‘DON’T TOUCH THOSE.’ So, I’d say that’s a hell yes. (... and don’t touch my comic books.)

Reasons to Keep Something

  • It's functional / You actually use it regularly.

  • You would pass it down to your children.

  • You'd grab it if your house was on fire.

And just remember...

You are NOT your belongings. Once you realize this, your life will change I promise you.

I hope these tips and guidelines help you as much as they helped me! As we are creating our new space it has been rewarding to only unpack boxes of items that I love. While at the same time keeping memories places I can always go back and read or see.