Sentimental clutter is a tricky business for a lot of people. Obviously many of us would like to let go of things we don't use often, but it can be difficult when something was a gift or was particularly meaningful once upon a time. For us Goths, lots of clutter that has emotional meaning can get in the way of having a living space that is decorated how we prefer, so here's my little handy guide for dealing with sentimental clutter.
Note: This article isn't covering how to get rid of clutter. Dealing with sentimental objects can be a very stressful issue and everyone approaches it differently, here is one guide. This is more meant for after you prune your collections and when you're deciding what to do with it.
First, you have to assess the clutter you have. What kind of clutter is it and how much space does it take up? Personally my accumulated clutter is usually quite small, paper stubs and mail and that kind of thing, but you might have things that are a fair bit larger. Homeowners might have entire pieces of furniture that they keep for sentimental reasons.
For larger furniture items, consider DIYing it to fit your aesthetic. If you're keeping around a shelving unit from your first ever apartment, add trimming and paint it to fit your current space and put it to use. If you have old chairs you inherited from a relative, consider painting and recovering them to fit your space. If you have an old painting that you like enough, swap the frame out for something gothier. Don't be afraid to make alterations unless the piece is extremely valuable in its current state.
Consider crafting with some of the things you're keeping. Scrapbooking can be a fun and creative craft that makes something beautiful out of old bits and bobs that are sentimental. Concert tickets? Old photos? Movie stubs? Perfect. Just seek out some lovely craft paper from Michaels, stickers, ribbons, washi tape, or the like and make yourself a lovely collage. Scrapbooks aren't any less clutter, per say, but it disguises it and makes it a lot easier to flip through and appreciate some of the sentimental things you have.
Create shadow boxes. If you have an office or creative space, looking up at memories from past times in your life hanging on your wall can be quite inspiring. Since the shadow boxes themselves are taking advantage of vertical space, they're certainly less cluttering than keeping the items all over your work space or in a drawer you could be putting to practical use.
Digitize it. Photographs and other paper relics can take up a lot of space but when scanned and put on a thumb drive they take up very little. Make sure to label them an organize by the occasion so you'll not forget what those objects were or when you got them. However, if you want to keep the physical copies of paper goods, look into some kind of filing system. I have a lot of newspapers that I wrote in and was an editor for in high school that I want to keep around but keeping them stored in a filing system is a lot neater than just keeping them stacked in a corner. If you don't like the look of filing cabinets, remember any vertical set of drawers can become a filing system with some labeled folders.
For smaller 3D things, my solution was to find photo boxes from Michaels (pictured above.) These photo boxes go on sale all the time and come in tons of colors and patterns and fit a fair amount of stuff in them. I have one box each for childhood memories, high school, college, and the two times I studied abroad. It's sorted enough that I can find what I want to look at easily and it's easy to store in my Goth room.
Readers, how do you store your sentimental clutter?