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  1. ‘Does it spark joy?’ How to get rid of sentimental possessions

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    Welcome to blue self storage’s self-help guide to divesting yourself of emotional baggage and items of sentimental value. Yep, this is a big one!

    Are you wondering how to get rid of sentimental possessions? Can’t quite let an item go? Or have possessions in your home that are loaded with memories but no longer spark joy?

    Lucky for you, blue self storage is here to help you cast off the reins of emotional distress and embrace minimalism – this is one powerful blog!

    Whether it’s heirlooms passed down by parents, mementos from your childhood, or things from your children’s upbringing, we all tend to hold on to items. We invest emotions and memories, both good and bad.

    And if you’ve ever lost a parent or loved one it can be even more difficult to let these items go – leading to clutter, spare rooms filled with someone else’s treasured possessions, arguments, yadda yadda, you get the sad drift.


    How do you know if it ‘sparks joy’?

    Items that spark joy are possessions that would feel crushing to lose – they make you too happy to get rid of.

    The question of items ‘sparking joy’ first came to light in January 2019 (although it was floating about in the popular sphere since 2013 at least).

    It springs from Marie Kondo and her ‘KonMari’ method, which “consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that ‘spark joy’ and choosing a place for everything from then on.”

    She’s a one-woman pioneer for minimalism and sensible living, and we recommend giving her Netflix show a watch.

    We’ve used Marie Kondo’s formula & passion for home decluttering to help you ‘lose the baggage’ for good – trust us, you’ll feel better for giving these items a new home.

    How to get rid of sentimental possessions – 9 easy tips:

    1. Start with the non-sentimental, practical stuff
    2. Say goodbye properly
    3. Take photos and digitize your memories
    4. Repurpose items to breathe fresh life into them
    5. Get rid of items that don’t make you happy
    6. Don’t let presents ruin your future
    7. Break up a collection
    8. Plan what you’re going to do with all that space
    9. Learn to live in the now



    Yet before you get started, it’s a good idea to get a few items together to help you on this journey. These are:

    • Rubbish bags – for stuff you’re removing
    • Storage boxes – for things you’re not sure on yet
    • Scrapbooks and shadow boxes – for items you want to display

    And have plenty of these to hand – you don’t want to lose momentum by nipping to the shops to get more during your sorting sessions.

    Another great thing to do is make a list of everything you treasure and want to keep before you go in the attic, room, wherever it is stored. If you can’t recall it before you go in there, ask yourself this; do you really need to keep it?

    OK, so let’s look in more detail at those 9 tips for parting with difficult items.

    Old Kettles for decluttering sentimental items blog

    Start with non-sentimental stuff

    Depending on how much you have to go through, it can be a good idea to start with non-sentimental items.

    Maybe you’re sorting out a family member’s property after they’ve gone into a home or have recently passed away. It may be easier to begin this emotional process by starting in the bathroom or the kitchen.

    Why? Because there is unlikely to be items with a lot of memories attached to them in these rooms. Begin here and you can build up some momentum before tackling other rooms and items with more sentimental weight.

    Goodbye sign for decluttering sentimental items

    Say goodbye properly

    Some people find closure in saying goodbye to items before letting go of them. This could be as big or as small as you feel is appropriate.

    For some, a type of ceremony will feel right, while for others a simple goodbye will be enough. Doing so can draw a curtain over it, making it easier to discard of the item.

    Old photos for for decluttering sentimental items

    Take photos and digitize your memories

    We live in the golden age of the magical cloud, so take advantage of virtual storage to hold on to memories with Google Drive or Dropbox.

    And it’s not just about scanning in old photos and documents. Taking pictures of bulky items can be a way of holding on to memories without holding on to the thing itself. There’s even 3-D scanning available if you want to go the whole hog.

    Jewellery for for decluttering sentimental items

    Repurpose items to breathe fresh life into them

    This works best with clothing and jewellery especially. If you have heirlooms and hand-me-downs that you cherish but can’t see yourself wearing again, then consider refashioning them into something you would. Reset a precious stone in a ring or take a snippet of a dress to carry on remembering without holding on to an item you simply won’t wear.

    Pro tip: If you have absolutely no impetus to repurpose or upcycle old items, and you know you won’t get round to it, then let them go. Put them in a charity shop where someone else can love them and give them life.

    Get rid of items that don’t make you happy

    Quite frankly, there’s no point keeping hold of things that hold bad memories. You don’t need them weighing you down and you don’t need them in your life.

    If you look at an item and it doesn’t make you happy then bin it or donate it.


    Don’t let presents ruin your future

    We tend to think that we need to hold on to gifts out of some sense of loyalty and guilt. We get it; it’s sad when someone has chosen a gift for you that wasn’t quite right.

    But realistically, most gift-givers don’t expect to see you using it or displaying it – it’s not a fair expectation. It’s a gift after all and it’s up to you what you do with it.

    And we’re gonna extend this to greetings cards. Did the person hand-make it? Then you might want to keep it. If the card came from Clintons, is it really that special? Be strong – we believe in you!


    Break up a collection

    Have you inherited your mamgu’s Toby Jug collection? Your uncle’s Groggs? Then consider keeping one of them to remind you of it and move on the rest. Unless of course, it comes as a set – we’ve all watched Antiques Roadshow – then you should sell them together.

    Plan what you’re going to do with all that space

    This whole process, this journey if you will, can be emotionally draining. So try to focus on the positives you’ll get from letting go of these items.

    Think, plan, and fantasise what you’re going to do with the space you’ll create. We’ve made some Pinterest boards on minimalist living so you can get excited about aaaaaall that lovely empty space!

    Dream about what you’re going to spend the money on from selling some of these items. Think about how much joy these items will bring to people in their new homes. Lastly, cherish the freedom and clarity you’ll have by moving on.

    Learn to live in the now

    Taking a leaf out of mindfulness, learn to treasure the moment we are all in. Let go of the past, nostalgia can hold a lot of us back. Instead, listen to Garth and LIVE IN THE NOW.  You might just find happiness here.

    Ultimately it’s important to remember that your memories are not held within the physical possessions that you own. They simply trigger them within you (and that’s why taking a photo of it can be just as good).

    However, you don’t have to jettison everything that holds sentimental value for you.

    So, if you’re not quite ready to throw away these mementoes but still need to create space then blue self storage can help. We offer containers from 48 sq ft up.

    Get in touch

    Have you decluttered sentimental items recently? Got any tips on what worked and what didn’t work for you? Let us know on our socials!


  2. Our top 10 things to remember when you’re moving home

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    Moving home is one of the most stressful life events – and an average person moving within the UK starts planning for their move a whole 4-6 weeks before ‘moving day’.

    With such an arduous process ahead of you, it’s essential to be organised and tick things off methodically, so there’s no extra stress and no need to rush.

    We’re exploring all the things to remember when moving house – for more help, check out our other advice articles.

    Important questions to ask the seller of your new home

    1. Where’s the main stopcock (to shut off the water)?
    2. Where are the gas and electricity meters?
    3. Do any surfaces need special cleaning products, e.g. wooden floors?
    4. What day are the bins collected?
    5. Do you have any old tins of paint in the same colour as the walls?
    6. Do you have any instruction manuals or warranties on electrical items?
    7. Where did the kitchen and bathroom tiles come from?
    8. Where did the fixed furniture come from, e.g., kitchen cabinets?
    9. Which company supplies the energy, broadband and home phone?
    10. Where is the thermostat?

    Redirect post - 10 things to remember when moving home

    Redirect the post

    If you don’t know who is moving into the property you are leaving, use the Royal Mail’s Postal Redirection service to ensure that any bills or other mail you’ve not changed your address on still reaches you. You can set up your redirect in advance of your moving day and for as long as you wish, although 6-12 months is usually sufficient.

    Take final meter readings - 10 things to remember when moving home

    Take final meter readings

    Remember to take water, gas and electricity meter readings at your property and notify your suppliers before you move, to ensure you don’t get billed for someone else’s usage.

    Update your car details - 10 things to remember when moving home - car parked on street

    Update your car details

    You will need to update the address on your driving licence, your car ownership certificate, and your car insurance, to ensure everything is sound on moving day.

    Notify billing companies - 10 things to remember when moving home - person typing on laptop

    Notify other companies

    As the big day draws nearer, you must also inform the HMRC, TV Licensing, banks, building societies and credit and store cards companies of your move to a new address, and of course the utilities – gas, electricity, water, phone, broadband and TV or on-demand subscription.

    Label boxes - 10 things to remember when moving home - Daschund dog in box
    *Please remember to label all cute dogs…

    Label boxes

    Labelling boxes properly is actually one of the top things people forget when moving house – yet one of the most important! Always label your boxes in marker pen with the name of the room they are to be put in when unloading and what’s in itMark any box containing fragile items clearly as this will ensure the crew take extra care when loading and unloading it from the van, and mark anything that’s got priority items with ‘unpack first’.

    Put screws and bolts from bits of furniture in freezer bags and stick it to the relevant bit of furniture with masking tape.

    Packaging materials - 10 things to remember when moving home - person carrying boxes

    Packaging materials

    Not using the right packing material can lead to a number of issues, the biggest one being risk of damage. Boxes that aren’t strong enough for their contents can easily collapse under the weight, or bin bags of clothes can tear open leaving your items at best scattered all over the floor and at worst broken or damaged.

    Other packaging material to remember to have at hand are bubble wrap, mattress covers, packaging tape and marker pens – all provided at blue self storage.

    We also sell used boxes for the discounted price of only £1, so you can save money and help reduce waste!

    Notify health services - 10 things to remember when moving home - person speaking to doctor

    Contact all health services

    You’ll have to let any medical organisations you deal with know you’re moving as well. Make registering at your new local GP a priority, as there may be a delay in getting treatment when you first register. Also not forgetting to contact dentists, opticians and vets.

    Collect all keys - 10 things to remember when moving home - person handing keys over

    Collect all keys

    Make sure you check in advance with the owners of the house that you’re buying whether they have all the keys you’ll need on moving day. Don’t forget about things like sheds, conservatories, garages and garden.

    Once you’re in, it’s a good idea to get ALL of your locks changed. The previous owners might no longer have keys but you can never be sure who else has been given a copy over the years, and many insurance policies will be invalid unless the locks have been changed.

    Brief the new owners - 10 things to remember when moving home - signing documents

    Preparing your home for the new owners

    It is very helpful if you prepare a briefing sheet for the new owner. This should include how to operate the boiler and alarm, the location of the meters, fuse box and stopcock, and any other information. You could either label all keys or leave them in the lock that they operate. Don’t forget shed and garage keys, or those for the window locks.

    Money makeover - 10 things to remember when moving home - piles of coins

    Give yourself a money makeover

    Moving house is the perfect time to assess your finances. You’ll be signing up to new services anyway, so could save £1,000s on your previous bills by ensuring you grab everything cheapest.

    If your property cost more than £125,000 (or £300,000 as a first-time buyer) you’ll have to pay your stamp duty bill within 30 days.

    Book your smart & affordable self storage in Cardiff or Tyneside

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