Let’s be honest, the hardest struggle for most people when it comes to decluttering is letting go of sentimental items. We carry around things that people we love once bought us. Sometimes we carry around the things that once belonged to someone we love. A lot of times we attach our possessions to people and without knowing it can be carrying around a lot of excess baggage that really isn’t serving any purpose. Well, once we downsized our house I decided it was time to stop storing that stuff and start displaying it. Instead of holding onto sentimental items, I was ready to start displaying them in a way that felt authentic and showed people who I am. Here are some ideas to get you started.
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Make it useful in your daily life
My husband’s grandpa and grandma have both passed away and his family was doing their best to find homes within the family for all of the items his grandparents had previously owned. Because I work from home and was growing tired of working at a desk in my bedroom I thought taking advantage of this family heirloom/desk and chair would be a great way to provide me with nice work-at-home space while including pieces of the people we love into our home.
It can be so easy to see our sentimental items as an inconvenience or something that can never be put to good use, but in reality, I think it just takes a little creativity and desire to fill our home with items that mean more to us than something we got on sale at Target.
Display kids art work
If you are a weirdo like me who doesn’t love having the refrigerator covered with drawings, school work, or other paperwork, you will probably love how we have chosen to display our kid’s artwork.
I stole this idea from my aunt who decorated an entire wall in her living room with framed artwork done by her daughter. This method probably stuck with me because as a kid, I loved the idea of having my artwork actually framed in my house and displayed as if it were in an actual art gallery.
We all know kids struggle with us “throwing away” their beautiful masterpieces. Thankfully, I have found that displaying a few of our kid’s works proudly in our home for everyone to see kind of takes the edge off when one or two pieces make it into the recycling.
Preserve floweral arrangements
There is a whole process to help you maintain dead flowers. I didn’t do that. Whoops! However, I still found a way to incorporate some of my favorite flowers from my Mother’s Day bouquets into our home decor.
Funnily enough, I chose to display them in these vintage frames that were my grandmother’s.
I had re-done these frames years ago and couldn’t quite find a perfect way to use them in our home until I had this idea.
This method could easily be mimicked with old photos, leaves, cards from loved ones, or even your children’s schoolwork if you want an easier way to swap new pieces of art in and out!
After our whole family made a trip to California and the kids collected dozens of shells from Coronodo Island, I knew I had to find a way to display them in our home. I scored these vases for $5 at Goodwill. After a little painting, I realized they were a perfect place to not only display the seashells but also a photo of the kids collecting them all on our vacation.
Since we try to be more minimalist on our vacations these days, we don’t often buy souvenirs. Instead, we try to collect rocks, shells, sand…any little piece of nature that we feel is ok to take back with us.
It has now become my mini-mission to find ways to display the things we find in our home so that we not only have reminders of the places we have been but also so we have a little bit of nature indoors with us at all times.
I’m not one to hold onto things that I really don’t use, but this Holy Bible that was my great grandma’s and was passed down to my dad was something I kept stored for the last 16 years. I never quite knew how to incorporate it, but it felt like something too sentimental and valuable to part with.
Finally, I decided to display it as a part of our living room decor/vacation display.
There is something so beautiful about old books and I feel like you can incorporate them into just about any style of home.
Blow up old photos
This might sound so bizarre, but I don’t actually have any family photos hanging on our walls, I do however have this vintage black and white photo of my grandpa blown up. My hope is to continue to add to this wall with other black and white photos of our family members.
Personally, I love this photo because it easily seems like it could fit into anyone’s home as artwork but I get to know that it is special only to our home. I am loving more and more that people are displaying candid, random shots in their homes rather than perfectly curated professional photos.
If you love the idea of going for a more Instagram photo wall, you could easily create this look with re-stickable photo tiles.