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Getting Rid of Sentimental Items

I studied History in University. I was all set to become a history teacher, but that is a story for another time. What my background gave me was a deep love and appreciation for old things. They fascinate me. I want to hold them, touch them, be a part of that world that existed at that time. I feel a deep longing or sehnsucht (I hope I’ve used to word correctly) to experience the past. I want to immerse myself in their lives, sit at their dining table, scrub the laundry in the washtub, make a meal in the wood oven.

I have an aunt and uncle who bought an old house just crammed with sheds and sheds of old things. It fascinated me. I couldn’t get over how cool it would be to go through all of that ‘stuff’ and imagine how they were used. I did end up getting a trunk from one of their sheds. It’s beautiful and it makes me think of Jack and Rose every time I see it.

What does this have to do with minimalism? Everything! I want you to see how getting rid of sentimental items can be done and how it can be done and how I actually was able to do it. If I could do it, so can you! I know, very clichè but I believe it’s true. I know most people don’t feel the same way about the past as I do and I was able to move on. How’d I do it?

I’ll start with another story! (Yikes! All these stories!)

My Oma made me a ceramic cabbage patch doll for my birthday when I was about 10, I think (my sister will correct me on this!). It was a lamp and the doll sat on a rocking chair under the lamp. That night my lamp got knocked off my dresser and broke. The lamp and rocking chair were no longer salvageable. I loved that doll and my Oma said she’d fix it. I packed it up carefully and put it in a safe place. Years went by, my Oma sold her ceramic shop, but still kept a chair for me, she just had to paint it. I still kept the doll. More years, my Oma got too sick to do ceramics. I still kept it, thinking I’d paint it. I went to university, moved out, got married, moved to a condo, moved to a house, moved to another house, had a baby girl, moved again, had a baby boy, and finally here I am. I still kept that doll. Finally, one day I decided I was no longer going to store it all wrapped up. I opened it up and it sat with her little legs apart from her body, all broken. One day, I fixed her and put her sitting on a box in my craft room. I didn’t want my daughter to touch it, it was too precious. I was cleaning up one day and knocked it over. Crash the legs broke off again and also the head this time. I fixed it again and sat it back up on the box. Every time I looked at it, she made me sad. She had no rocking chair and her head was on slightly crookedly. It made me think of the lost opportunities. Again one day I was cleaning my craft room (moral of the story is I clean my craft room too much 😂) and I knocked her over. FINALLY! I said that’s enough!! I took a picture of my sweet little doll and got rid of her.

Minimalism, getting rid of sentimental items
Isn’t she adorable? Getting rid of sentimental items isn’t easy but it can be done.

It felt AMAZING! I was clinging onto a past that never happened, that never would happen. I didn’t feel guilty anymore every time I looked at her. My guilt went into the garbage along with her. I stored her for almost 2 decades and finally when I did take her out I still felt guilty about it. It wasn’t worth it. The ironic thing is, after I got rid of her broken body, I happened to help my Oma clean out all of her ceramic things and there was no rocking chair 🤦🏻‍♀️.

I’ve learned that it’s not worth keeping things that don’t make you excited. Things that make you feel guilty about are better off in someone else’s hands. Had I given my doll away to someone else, they might have been able to fix her sooner and some other little girl could have enjoyed her, instead of her being stored away for years and years. Storing things only hold onto negative, unhelpful emotions. The freeing feeling that I got from letting her go made it all worth it. Now when I look at the picture of the sweet little face, it makes me smile.


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