How I Handle Sentimental Stuff As A Minimalist Mom

photo of sentimental photo album sitting open on a table with a pink couch behind it

I am a super sentimental person. I always have been, but especially as a mom! Anything with a handprint, those sweet baby onesies…I felt like I could NEVER part with any of it!

When I started to declutter our home I realized how much sentimental stuff I had stashed away that I never even looked at. It sat and gathered dust. And went unloved. Suddenly it was like a light bulb went off that I hadn’t lost the memories those items brought me even though they’d been buried in the backs of closets and our garage. So I freed myself. And let them go.

I knew that to keep it from getting out of hand again I had to have a plan. So here’s four things I do to keep my sentimental hoarding in check:

I’m selective in what I keep.

I try to ask myself what would he want to see when he is grown? Would he be overwhelmed if I kept every piece of artwork, every outgrown toy…probably. So, I keep the best of the best, try to envision him as an adult…and keep it simple. He won’t need every cute tee he’s ever worn, every stuffed animal, every handprint he ever makes. One tee, his favorite stuffy that hopefully survives the daily beating it takes from his boyhood and a few handprints along the way will be plenty. After all, his memories will be in his mind just like my memories live in mine. They don’t need all of the tangible things to remember their childhood.

I limit the space allowed.

Before I set limits on how much I could keep it was just too easy to keep it all. The totes just kept getting bigger and bigger to hold all of the things I wanted to save. So I had to set some limits for myself and bought a little plastic shoebox size container. All of his sentimental keepsakes fit into that box. And it’s glorious! In addition to that, he has a small baby size quilt that I made him from receiving blankets and outfits that he used during his first year of life. I plan to do this for each child that we have in the future too. It’s enough but not too much.

I opt for photobooks over prints and traditional albums.

Seriously, photobooks have been a game changer. I have a little system that helps me create super adorable photobooks and a post on that will be coming soon! They take up so much less space than traditional photo albums and save me so much money by not having to pay for prints and cute scrapbooking supplies. Plus, the OCD in me loves that all of the albums are the same size and color schemes and look so pretty and match on the shelf.

I make one book for each year of his life- and it stores all of the photos and information I want to remember and that I think he’d love to see when he’s older. This started when I chose not to go the traditional baby book route and made a cute little photobook for his first year instead. I loved it so much I decided to do one for each year until he’s all grown up!

Wanna see how I make our photobooks? I wrote all about it here!

I take a photo of the item before I let it go.

Even I have a hard time letting go of things sometimes. The things I know that someone else can get use of but I really don’t want to let go of…I just take a picture of it first. This way if I feel the need to look at it again, it’s saved in my photo cloud and I can. But I’ll be honest, I’ve only looked at those photos once or twice. I’ve found that once I let go of it, I really don’t need to look back at it or need it as much as I thought I did, because the memories are still there in my mind even without the tangible item.

Also, the kid’s artwork…I take photos or scan everything he makes and save it in an album throughout the year on Google Photos. Then at the end of the year when I’m working on his photo book I just browse through and pick my favorites, download them and pop them into a two page spread in his book. This ensures that his adorable artwork gets saved every year and he’ll be able to look at it when he’s grown and the best part is it takes up a fraction of the space.

So that’s basically how I handle the sentimental stuff as a minimalist mama.

How do you handle sentimental items? Do you hoard it all or are you minimal? Let me know in the comments!

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