If you’re having a difficult time getting rid of things with sentimental value, here are some ideas that will help you declutter and enjoy the sentimental things you love.

How to Let Go of Things You Love

When you’re faced with the tough task of decluttering your home, it seems easy to abide by the principle, “just keep the things you love!” But sometimes, even after decluttering, you still end up with a house that is still too full.

So how do you deal with having too many things you love or that have sentimental value to you or those you care about? It’s extremely common to have things in your home that you feel obligated to keep or have a hard time parting with for whatever reason.

You know the things I’m talking about. The set of china you were given for your wedding that you don’t have space for in the kitchen so it sits in a box in the garage. The boxes of items you inherited from a family member and feel you should keep to honor their memory. The leather jacket you used to wear in 1989 but would probably never wear today, so it hangs in the back of your closet. The cat sculpture your aunt gave you for your birthday years ago (you feel like you should love it because he gave it to you, but it was never really your taste).

It might seem simple to declutter in theory, but when it comes down to it, all of us have had those moments of stress and even guilt about what to do with a sentimental item.

Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself when you are debating what should stay and what should go:

sentimental item storage

1. Do I feel burdened by keeping these items? Do these items limit my enjoyment of my home or my storage space in any way (whether it’s the item individually or the combination of ALL the sentimental items causing clutter and stress)?

2. Do I see these items often enough that they are really able to bring me joy? Is there a way to use them so I would enjoy them more?

3. Why do I feel the need to keep this? Is it because I really love it? Is it because it has good memories attached to it? Do I use it often enough to make keeping it worthwhile? Would I feel bad for the person who gave it to me if I was to let it go?

Here are seven helpful ideas for decluttering while finding joy in the sentimental things you love:

1. Display it! Frame children’s old artwork, hang heirloom plates on the wall, etc.

2. Offer a sentimental item to another family member who would enjoy the memories just as much as you do but will have more room to display it.

3. Keep one; lose the rest. Keeping one sentimental plate out on display can be more meaningful than keeping the entire 12-piece set hidden away in a box.

4. Acknowledge and cherish the memories, but lose the clutter. Photograph the item for an album if you want to be sure to remember it.

5. Make it into something functional so it is more useful. Turn your dad’s old flannel shirt into a pillow you can enjoy every day!

6. Sell it and then donate the money to a cause you believe in so you feel good about your choice.

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7. Give items away, knowing what you have been holding on to will now bring joy to others.

What you keep and what you choose to give away is a personal decision, but paring down excess belongings really can bring more joy and contentment with your home and life, so it is worth the effort!

About the Author


Melissa Michaels

Melissa Michaels is the author and creator of one of the top home decorating blogs on the web, The Inspired Room. She has been featured on such sites and publications as HGTV.com, Apartment Therapy, and Ladies Home Journal.

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