Scary Things You Might Find While Decluttering (3 of 3): Ghosts

Updated: Nov 16

Let’s say you’ve blocked out some time to declutter the guest room. The closet is filled with overflow items that don’t belong anywhere else in your home. You’re not sure what you’ll find since the items have been stashed in there over a period of years. So, you pull everything out, scattering boxes around the room as you prepare for a deeper investigation. Will there be ghosts?



Of course, there will be ghosts! As you dig through boxes, you’ll be digging up the past. You are likely to find haunting memories of people and times. Running into sentimental items can easily knock you off-course if you’re not mentally prepared for it. Here’s what you might find:


  • Photos

  • Mementos (ticket stubs, trip itineraries, etc.)

  • Children’s Artwork or Schoolwork

  • Family Keepsakes

  • Letters

  • Your Wedding Dress or Tux

  • Childhood Games

  • Newspaper Clippings

  • Gifts


As you might have guessed, holding onto nostalgia is a major cause of clutter. It’s easier to avoid a box than it is to consciously go through it and make some tough decisions. Ultimately though, you’ll be glad you did it.


Here’s what you do if you run into a box of memories:

  • First, you’ll want to set aside time to only deal with that one box. It may be helpful to finish the rest of the organizing project, then come back to handle the sentimental stuff.

  • Don’t procrastinate. Make an appointment with yourself or our professional organizing team to get it done.

  • When you do tackle the box, take your time. Those items were kept for a reason, and you’ll want to sit with the memories for a minute.

  • Start making decisions about what you want to keep or get rid of. They either have value and/or purpose, or they don’t.

  • For treasured items you want to keep, find a creative way to get them out of the box and make them accessible. Think about honoring an item by remaking or repurposing it. You could turn it into art, jewelry, a quilt, or display it in a creative way. You could even create a scrapbook.

  • If an item is no longer useful to you but it’s still hard to let go, consider first saving the memory digitally so you can revisit the photos anytime.

  • If you’re struggling with getting rid of a gift, realize that it could have value to someone else. Don’t let guilt talk you into putting it back in the closet where it does no one any good.

  • Toss, donate, or sell things you are willing to part with. Don’t wait too long or they could end up back in the closet.

  • Celebrate the completion of the project by sharing your unearthed gems and the memories that came with them. Ghosts aren’t so scary when you shine a light on them!


We know how hard it is to deal with those nostalgic boxes of memories, but we have tons of ideas that can help. Our team of organizers would love to walk you through the process.


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