What belongs into your personal treasure chest

How to separate the treasures from the clutter

What are your treasures?

We all own things we truly love, things that we cannot imagine parting with, even if sometimes other people can’t understand our attachment to those special things.

These are our treasures.

Their worth is not measured in money, but rather in the meaning and significance they hold for us. Often, they represent very special experiences of our life, and they reflect what is unique about us.

Treasures are the things that you for sure want to preserve from the past and take along with you into your future.

The following exercise will help you discover your personal treasures – and it will help you to constrain yourself to a limited number of treasures:

You want to be careful not to declare too many things as treasures because that would belittle the value of each of them.


Step 1

Decide how many items you wish to declare treasures before you start to select them.

The smaller the number, the better.

You might want to constrain yourself to 10 treasures. Or 5? Or 15?

Decide now, and commit yourself to stick to that number.

Step 2

Think about which of your clutter-champion categories might hide some of your treasures.

For example, if books belong to your clutter champions, decide whether you wish to assign 3 or 5 (or whatever number you choose) of your favourite books the status of treasures.

If your kitchen appliances are clutter champions – you have too many of them or several duplicates -, decide to declare the 3 – for example – most used/loved ones as treasures.

Step 3

Imagine the house burnt down and you lost everything (Only the most important personal documents could be saved.)

Which belongings would you badly miss?

Which of them could not be replaced?

Step 4

Take all the items with ‘treasure’-potential out, hold them in your hands for a while, try to ‘feel’ how truly important they are to you, and then arrange them in a ‘treasure collection area’ or – if you don’t have the space for such an area – take photographs.

Spend some time with your treasure candidates and evaluate how much you treasure each of them.

You might want to ask yourself questions like these:

    • Is it something that reminds me of a happy memory?
    • Is it related to a special accomplishment?
    • Is it closely related to me, to the very special person I am?
    • Would I be very sad if it suddenly disappeared?
    • Does it refer to my values and to the vision that I defined for the next chapter of my life?

Step 5

Now make your final choice and compile a list of your personal treasures.

This list and the insights gained about your treasures will be very helpful whenever you have to or want to make decluttering decisions.

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