In the line of duty, Peter says there are two types of clutter that he encounters most in people's homes—the stuff he calls the "I-might-need-it-one-day clutter" and the stuff he calls "memory clutter." Memory clutter, he says, are those objects that remind you of an important person, event or occasion in the past…but all too often, Peter says people have way too much of it. Instead of giving them joy and fond memories, it robs them not only of their space, but of their spirit as well. Peter talks with friends and callers about memory clutter and shares ways to hold on to your memories while letting go of the clutter.
Peter says many people have a fear that if they let go of an object, they will also let go of the memory associated with it—which he says is an understandable fear. However, he urges us to consider the power that these objects hold over us by taking up valuable space, both emotionally and physically in our lives. Hold on to only those items that make you most happy and best remind you of a person or event, Peter says. Ask yourself, "Does this object make my heart sing?" If the object evokes wonderful, happy emotions and memories, keep it. But if it creates sorrow, pain or reopens an old wound—or you can't even remember where it came from—let it go, he says.
Peter also talks to Molly Luetkemeyer, a designer from TLC's Clean Sweep. Together, they offer a number of creative ways to honor treasured memories:
Photograph the item that you're having trouble parting with. Molly says she had a client who couldn't part with an old vacuum cleaner, so they photographed him with his prized appliance—he kept the photos and got rid of the vacuum!
Transform a favorite piece of clothing or fabric into something new. Molly says one client turned an old jacket into a pillow. Another family used their grandmother's old dress as a fabric covering for a scrapbook about her.
Select a few favorite photographs to enlarge and frame, then consider throwing out some of the ones that you simply never look at.
Arrange small items in a shadowbox and display them on a wall. Molly helped one client mount four handwritten recipes cards, some cookie cutters and a rolling pin, which she now prominently displays in her kitchen as a reminder of cooking with her grandmother.
Plus, Peter takes a tour of Oprah Radio producer Scott's apartment to see how he's living. Everything looks to be in order…until they head over to Scott's mom's house, where they discover a basement full of his memory clutter! It's a work in progress to see if Scott will be willing to part with some of his things and take Peter's advice to heart.
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, December 10, 2013