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November 1, 2011

Reforming a Sentimental Hoarder: My Path to Freedom

clutter clip artWe live in a 1,600-square-foot house. Since my 5 year-old daughter was a baby, I’ve plotted and planned our move to a larger house. While one of our reasons to move had to do with school, my main desire was to attain more space. My husband always argued more space just equals more stuff, to which I’ve always had at least five counterarguments ready for anyone who would listen. My husband wasn’t usually one of those people. While a few of my points had some weight, deep down my inner hoarder has always known he was speaking the truth.

We’ve tried to sell our house on two different occasions and both times there has been an overwhelming sense within us that it wasn’t the right time. Our desire to stay in this neighborhood has grown and is now undeniable. My daughter loves her school and she cries at the mention of us moving. Needless to say, we are staying put.

Of course, one of the first orders of business is to declutter and let go of some of my stuff. My sentimentality makes this extremely difficult. I lost my father in Feburary and although he didn’t leave behind a ton of things, just dealing with this loss and what he did leave behind has completely overwhelmed me. It caused quite an awakening in my heart and soul.

I don’t want to go through my life just amassing things that my children will have to some day agonize over. My life is a story and I want it to read like a love letter to God, my family and every soul I ever encounter. I have no doubt we are in this house and neighborhood for a reason. It is time to stop viewing this house we’ve been in for more than eight years as a temporary stop on the road to something better. I have to let go of what we don’t need and organize the things we do.

With my new resolve I am facing my sentimental heart and taking it one baby step at a time toward a new way of life. I’m leaning on friends who have a gift for organization. I’m scouring magazines and books about decluttering and organization for examples of beautiful systems we can implement. I’m treating this wonderful place as a home instead of a house. Most of all, I am praying I can make our home a blessing for my family and others.



About the Author

Dana McCranie
Dana McCranie
Dana McCranie writes, prays, laughs, loves glitter and will hug you even if you try to shake her hand. You can often find her behind her camera, striving to build a photography business. You'll never find her as happy as she is dancing around her kitchen with her daughter, son and amazing husband.




  • Stephanie

    Dana- I’m right with you!! I have a hard time letting go of the cute little baby things we no longer need.

  • Anonymous

    I have the same problem. I plan to move sometime in the next few months and I have no idea where to start down sizing. I am very sentimental and keep everything, especially things that my grandchildren have made. I will take a note from your article and start with baby steps. Great article!

  • Lauren

    I can totally relate to holding on to things I know I don’t need or have no real use for out of sentimentality. I guess you do just have to take it one thing at a time – every little bit helps!

  • Anonymous

    It is a domino effect, as well. It seems once you start seeing that you can part with some things, you start to feel this freedom from your stuff.

  • Anonymous

    You will do just fine. We are all stronger than we think some times. Make sure you let others help you. I think it makes a big difference to have that support.

  • Anonymous

    I am finding ways around it by taking pictures of certain things and scanning art and the like. There really is so much freedom in letting go, but it is a process and it takes time.