decluttering love letters

Should You Keep Your Old Love Letters

Beata Mielcarek left her corporate responsibilities as a Data Scientist to pursue her passion of helping people to live less decluttered and more joyful lives. In this guest blog post, she focuses on what is surely one of the most difficult decluttering projects ever – a box of love letters! Or is it…?


Last week I finally decided to declutter my Box of Love Letters!


As with sorting any sentimental items, I was dreading the process. I expected it to take a long time because I wouldn’t want to make a decision about what to keep and what to discard. I expected to feel joy, as well as sadness, depending on what I was reading and which memories came to the surface. In fact, part of me expected to end up with the same large box of mail back in the garage, without having made any progress at all.

Well. How wrong I was!!

True, it wasn’t like sorting through a bathroom or a closet; I couldn’t have done it in an afternoon. Rather, very deliberately, I set aside an hour or two every day for a week to sit alone and reminisce. I took each yearly bundle of letters (a few years ago I though it wise to at least group them by year. Good move!), then looked at each piece in turn.

  • Some letters were easy to put in the recycling bin; like the Christmas card with only a signed name below the Hallmark printed text.
  • Other mail took longer to look at, read, and remember the events of that time. I was reminded of families forming, and falling apart; of weddings, births, christenings, and first communions; of short trips and big adventures.

Looking at the addresses, I could track the senders’ movements, as well as my own moves from continent to continent. I was reminded of people I have not seen or spoken to in a few decades. I even had letters from people I no longer remember. And at least one of them, Rhonda H, still owes me a $100 – I will have to track her down now!

letter writing

I was always aware that my parents were the most prolific letter writers. I get cards and letters from them for Christmas, Easter, my birthday, and Valentine’s Day, of course. But I also still get cards for my Saint’s Day, and even the International Children’s Day (1st June). My Mom often adds confetti to her letters – the resulting mess on the floor is not always appreciated – as well as photos, and article clippings usually containing health advice about water, vitamins, vegetables, and back exercises. But I was struck by how many pieces of mail filled with love came from my sister. Yes, we are close; I guess I just never realized how often she tells me I am her best friend, and how much she loves me. Ditto, sis!

I am glad I took my time to finally review 20+ years of mail. Going down memory lane was very enjoyable for me. It reminded me yet again how lucky I am, how good my life has been, how many wonderful people I have met, and continue to meet.

Here’s what I did to continue to honor these people, and to help reduce my paper clutter:

  • I took photos of my favorite cards and letters;
  • I took photos of my favorite photos and articles too;
  • I looked for old friends on Facebook (and reconnected with a few already);
  • I emailed old photos to friends I am already in touch with telling them about my letter sorting. We are having a great time reminiscing together now.

I hope my experience encourages you to tackle your box of love letters.

Action is always the best way forward, and sharing ideas is a good start. Have you sorted through a box of letters or other sentimental items recently? What are your best tips? Please tell us in the Comments section below. And we all would love to see your ‘before and after’ photos!

Keep it simple, and be well.


Beata makes it sounds easy and for some it is! For others, it’s much more challenging.  Don’t forget that professional organisers are there to help you clear a way through the overwhelm and can support you emotionally through the process too.  Find a local organiser here


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