How To Declutter Sentimental Items When You Are Feeling Guilty

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Decluttering Sentimental Items

Do you feel guilty thinking that you may have to get rid of your memories? Well, knowing how to delcutter sentimental items in a way that does not make you feel overwhelmed or guilty will get you to the point where you want to be.

With less clutter in your home.

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how to declutter sentimental items

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Why Would You Want To Declutter Sentimental Items?

Many people must go through the process of decluttering sentimental objects at one time or another. Here are a few reasons that you or someone you know may be trying to take this on:

  • Home is getting overwhelmed with clutter
  • Downsizing to a smaller home
  • No space left to add more or what they really want to add
  • Too emotional to see the clutter everyday

Here are some sentimental items people keep:

  • Grandparent or parent belongings
  • Children art and schoolwork
  • Baby Items
  • Gifts
  • Memories of your own youth
  • Dog items
  • Expensive things
  • Collection
  • Memory of travel
  • Memory of old home
  • Family together memories
how to declutter sentimental items

Why We Cannot Throw Things Out:  Attachment to Clutter

What makes it so hard to throw things away is that we form bonds with items that we believe hold our memories.  

So when we try to throw away an item that we believe holds a memory, we feel guilty, like we are throwing away the memory itself.

We believe these items are what is triggering memories of loved ones, our youth, places we have traveled, and being with family. 

When in reality, all you need is your own mind and maybe a photograph.

Your mind is so powerful, that you could close your eyes and literally take yourself back to any time and memory in your life.

So are you ready to get rid of the sentimental clutter in your home? 

Here are some ways to declutter sentimental objects without feeling too overwhelmed or guilty.

This Is How to Declutter Sentimental Items:

#1 Keep Only A Few

When you are decluttering, the need to keep something of our sentimental memories is strong.  So one way to help you overcome that attachment to ALL of the sentimental clutter is to try to only keep 1 item from each category of items.

For instance, if you are decluttering baby items, only keep the items that give you the strongest memories and feelings. 

I kept both of my children’s favorite lovey and blanket, 1-2 outfits that I can vividly remember them wearing, a pair of their first shoes and socks, and the rest of my baby keepsakes are pictures.

I use these bins to keep all of my baby keepsakes safe and easy to find with labels.

Then realize that the others may make some other moms very happy to have for their own babies and pass along the joy you feel.

Related Post: How To Declutter Shoes When You Are Hesitant To Start

#2 Designate A Small Space

Keeping your sentimental items everywhere in your home will make it feel cluttered.  So instead, designate a small space in your home where your sentimental items are displayed and you can see them everyday.  

The catch is, you can only keep the amount of sentimental items that fit in your small designated space.  Therefore, if you choose 1 small shelf, that is all the space you have for your items.  The rest must be sold or given away.

#3 Take Photos To Get Rid Of Sentimental Clutter

I said this above, but I believe it is worth saying again.  Many times we attach memories to objects, when in fact the memory is within our own minds, so we do not necessarily need the object to recall that memory.

Instead, we can use pictures.  Taking pictures of items you are fond of can be a great way to get rid of sentimental clutter.  

Organize the photos by date, person, or even memory and then create a picture album or photobook on Shutterfly so you can display it and see it everyday.

#4  Useful Or Decorative Items

Getting rid of sentimental clutter can be especially hard if it is something you know you could actually use.  

I recently found 2 crystal picture frames that were given to me by my family as a wedding present.  

Talk about difficult.  Not only are they from my wedding day, and from my family, but the are also crystal and worth a lot of money.

So instead of hiding them in the basement with all the other clutter I own, I decided to display them.

Why have these items if you are not going to use them.  Use china bowls as beautiful soap holders in the powder room.  Use crystal vases and picture frames for flowers and picture, and use those dishes you received for your wedding when guests come over or as pretty display on the wall.

Just use it.  And if you do not use it, and don’t think you ever will, then take a picture of it and give it or sell it to someone who will use it.

#5  Kid’s Papers and Artwork

When my kids were little, I kept every single thing they ever brought home.  And kept everything in these large bins.

I think that is pretty normal for a first time mom.  But I recently went through my basement and sorted through those preschool boxes to find what was really special.

It was funny to realize that I didn’t remember most of it.  I didn’t know what it was or why it was special.  So going through the box of art and school work was beneficial for me to get rid of my sentimental objects.

And this can work for you too!  Go through that box or artwork and see what sparks memories.  And if it doesn’t spark anything, then you can probably get rid of it.

Or take a picture of everything and make a photo book so you can look through it and remember what everything looked like whenever you want!

ARTKIVE is a service that will take and create a portfolio of your child’s work for you to keep forever. Learn more here.

#6  Toss The Gifts

Somehow we feel like if someone gives us a gift, it is automatically a sentimental item.  Sure, you think, a lot of thought went into that gift.  That person went out of their way to get that gift.  They used their hard earned money to buy that gift.

But guess what, this gift is not sentimental to you.  It makes you feel guilty.  So do not hold  on to gifts that are given to you unless you absolutely love them and will use them regularly.

If you won’t use them, then get rid of it!  

Related Post: How To Declutter Without Feeling Guilty

How To Get Rid Of Sentimental Clutter In The End

Git yourself used to the idea that your memories are not actually wrapped up in the sentimental items you are holding onto.

And once you have come to grips with this idea, you can use one of the steps above to declutter your sentimental items and reclaim your home!

Happy Decluttering!


P.S. – Share this post on Pinterest so your friends can see it and get the help they need too!

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