Upcycling sentimental items without making more clutter.

It’s difficult to part ways with sentimental items due to the memories attached to them. It may be easier if we find a new purpose for those items. This post is focused on ideas outside of donating. We understand donating will remove items from our home, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Minimizing and decluttering can be difficult and emotional. But it should never be emotionally painful. So, being a little bit creative (and some searches on Pinterest) can help alleviate some of the stress involved if we see a new life for our items that sit in boxes and aren’t serving us.


A popular repurposing of a loved one’s clothing is to make a quilt. This can be something you lay on your sofa or bed. If the clothing is from a parent or grandparent, a treasured quilt can be made for each child or grandchild.

Clothing can also be sewn into throw pillows or Christmas ornaments. These can also be given as gifts to loved ones. Other useful items can be made such as aprons, dinner napkins, Christmas stockings.

Sets of China and crystal just aren’t desired by the younger generations. Many of the baby boomer generation are discovering their China and crystal sets are virtually worthless. And I’ve seen first hand the sadness this reality can create. They spent a lot of money creating special collections. Again, Pinterest offers several ideas for repurposing these vintage dishes. A couple of my favourite ideas are tea cup bird feeders and broken China mosaic table tops. Bowls and saucers can make tiered jewellery holders, dainty trays, or fruit bowls. I heard a story of one lady who put the China out in her flower gardens as decor. She appreciated seeing their beauty every day.

My bangles and ring.

Jewellery can be melted down and recreated into new fresh pieces. I did this with several pieces of gold jewellery that I had been given throughout my childhood. My mom donated a few of her broken pieces. I had them melted down and made two bangles and a ring that I wear every day and I absolutely love. Much better than a bunch of pieces I’d never wear sitting in a lock box, never looked at or properly appreciated.

Furniture pieces can be repurposed into new life. My friend Christina at Ink 2 Attic repurposes old furniture pieces. She does beautiful work. This antique radio turned mini-bar is amazing! (and already sold! :)) (Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ink2attic/)

Minimalism is about reducing, yes. But it’s also about having and appreciating what you love in your home. Having sentimental items sitting in boxes aren’t serving you. Choosing to part with those items can be emotionally painful. I’d encourage you to go through those boxes and pick your absolute favourite pieces and consider ways to upcycle them so that they can be out of storage and where you and your loved ones can appreciate them.

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