The hardest hurdle for me when it comes to decluttering is definitely dealing with the emotional attachments I have with objects. Even broken ones.
I’ve really had a hard time getting rid of anything that I associate with my grandmother. She was more involved in my life in some ways than even my father, and now that she’s gone I know I’m using her stuff as a way of keeping her memory closer. I’m keeping really silly things — a broken pair of scissors she gave me, curtain clips (I don’t have curtains!), two pairs of her shoes…
But I don’t have to be a pack rat to remember my grandmother, as it turns out. Throwing away stuff does NOT mean you’re throwing away your memories.
The most elegant (and space-efficient) solution to this problem I’ve found is the idea of a memory book. When I see an object that I don’t need that reminds me of her (or even an object I do need that reminds me of her), I get out a little spiral notebook that I’ve turned into a memory book.
I write down the object and then a little bit about why it reminded me of her. Then it goes back on the shelf and the useless object goes out the door. I can even tape in a little picture if I want to.
I’ve found this works for any object really. It’s far more satisfying than all of the clutter. And this I can scan and back up on a computer, never to be lost if my apartment burns down!