Sentimental Clutter or Scrapworthy Things?

When I first read this post about sentimental clutter on Unclutterer, I felt somewhat defensive.

What troubled me the most was point 2:

You should focus on living, not preserving. Only hold onto sentimental items that you can find a way to honor, that fill you with joy, and/or that are useful for you. There is no need to act like a curator and keep every object from your past in a box as proof of your existence.

What if knowing you will get to preserve something is what prompts you to do something in the first place? What if something like scrapbooking or photography or blogging or tweeting or instagramming or whatever it is you do to preserve moments of your life are what motivates you to live and I mean really live your life instead of just going through the motions?

Is scrapbooking a way to honor sentimental items?

Does scrapbooking fill you with joy?

How are your scrapbooks useful for you?

Do you think that the author, Erin Rooney Doland, is missing a key feature of things like scrapbooking, when she says “there is no need to act like a curator and keep every object from your past in a box as proof of your existence”? Do you need scrapbooks to prove you exist?

I understand that her target audience is people who are overwhelmed with all the clutter in their lives. And maybe many of her readers are folks who are sentimental to the point that sentimental items are overwhelming their life. I suppose my main question for you is, where is the line? When is it too much? Is it too much by doing Project Life or Week in the Life? Or are those a happy medium between filling a need for preserving our lives and letting that need overtake our lives? Comment below or join the conversation on facebook or twitter.

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  • I think that scrapbooking actually helps me live a less cluttered life.  My scrapbooks are a place to keep the sentimental and important items.  Knowing that these items have a “home” I am able to part with other items.  I love my son’s artwork, but he makes a ton of it at daycare.  Some of it goes in his scrapbook, and I can part with the rest.  

  • Good point. I feel the same way about scrapbooking is a home for a lot of these items. I’m with you on the artwork. My daughter brings home art almost daily. I keep a few items (if it uses her hand or foot print, I always keep it). I then file a few items for relatives (I’ll send a couple pieces with thank you cards or photos…most of the family lives out of state). The rest, I toss. I don’t scan any of it. I don’t photograph it. I add and item about once a year to a scrapbook. The few items I save go in a memory box for her. Thanks for commenting.

  • I have a question. I have lots of memories to scrap and I have some great tools to do the job. Unfortunately, it’s been two years since I’ve scrapped and I’ve picked up two new hobbies that I spend way more time doing than I ever did scrapbooking. I need to start selling some things to make money to pay off some debts. I’ve read Unclutterer’s website and feel her resounding answer would be sell it and don’t look back. 

    What do you recommend? (it’s incredibly difficult for me to visualize selling my Quickutz Revolution and the other tools. The paper is easily replaceable…)

  • That’s a tough call. If it’s been two years since I scrapped, I would probably sell it all or keep just a few basic items. If you decide to pick it back up and you’ve kept a few basics, then you have some tools to get you started again. You might also think about scrapbooking without all the tools and supplies. You could digital scrapbook and if you don’t print out the layouts (or wait until there is a big sale somewhere), then that could be cost-effective (assuming you already have a working computer). Or you record those memories on a free blog. On the other hand, you could set a timeline of some sort to get some of those memories scrapbooked–say six months. Create a plan, decide which memories have to be scrapbooked and which one’s your ok without scrapbooking. If after six months, they are not scrapbooked, then sell it all. If they are scrapbooked, then sell what’s left (or keep only those tools you used during those six months). Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions and what you decide to do. 🙂