Movers don’t have any problem with packing up a lifetime of someone else’s sentimental objects because those objects do not have emotional attachment to the mover. But for the owner of the keepsake, it’s a different story. There is a difference between ‘de-cluttering’ and ‘letting go’ and that difference is in the heart of the owner.
Many experts recommend taking these 10 steps to determine where a particular item should go – in the moving van or somewhere out of your life:
1. Prepare yourself – it is not easy to do this emotionally-charged task without making appropriate space in your schedule for it. Plan on at least a couple of hours with no interruptions and know that it gets easier with practice.
2. Get the object on its own – instead of looking at a pile of stuff in a box and wondering if you should pitch it, take each object and assess it individually.
3. Touch the object – hold it, smell it, remember why you have kept this item.
4. Assess your feelings – put the object down and look at how you feel about it. Negative or neutral emotions are signals to let this one go.
5. Answer the question, “Am I done with this?” – do you want this object and what it represents to be part of your story from now on? Trust your gut reaction.
6. Consider others – does this actually belong to someone else, or would someone else want it? Give it to them and have more room for your own meaningful memories.
7. Say goodbye – actually saying ‘goodbye’ to something brings a sense of closure to your emotions and your memories. Some people take a picture, just in case they might want to revisit that memory someday.
8. Remove the object from your space – Get it out of your house to where it belongs, whether that is in the trash or in a new home.
9. Affirm your trust in future abundance – by letting go of the past, you are saying, “YES!” to the future.
10. Celebrate – do a happy dance and treat yourself to your favorite beverage. Get together with some friends, and make plans for your new home filled with the things you really love.