Struggling to let go of sentimental items? You are not alone. It is usually the hardest category to face in our homes and completely overwhelming for most. Our fear often times is what keeps us holding on, fear that we may loose the memory of the time or person if we let it go. Here in this guide, I have listed 10 ways that can really help you when crossing that bridge of fear.
Knowing your why
Knowing your “Why” is essential to letting go of sentimental items. Your why might be that you either need to downsize, you purely want to reduce, or that your things are weighing you down. When you focus on your why, you can come back to this when you get stuck. Spend some time reflecting and finding your why if you don’t know it already.
Holding on can weigh more than letting go
Have you ever had that feeling of feeling lighter when you let go of something? I have experienced this personally and many times with clients. I always recommend you “Keep the items in your home that you love and use and that make you feel GOOD”. Anything else, has the potential to leave us feeling anxious, guilty, sad, angry, overwhelmed and more.
If everything is special, nothing is special
Exactly that. 50 trophies cannot be as special as just a few. Whatever the category, group like items together and then try and pick out an item or two that has the most significance. As Peter Walsh says “Find the treasures and let go of the rest”. If the items are from a deceased family member, ask yourself “If ……… asked me to choose just a few special items that truely represent them, which ones would they be?”
Your family doesn’t want it
Times have changed and these days, no one wants that antique piece of furniture that doesn’t fit in with their lifestyle. There are a number of places that will take a look at collectables that I have listed below. Be honest with yourself and respect your family’s choices.
Can it add value to someone else?
If your family is not interested, it can most likely add value to someone else. I often find that the clients that find it the hardest to let go, can let go more easily when they realise that someone else will get value out of the item.
Our memories are inside us
Not in our things! According to research, experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. Over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they buy decreases. Experiences continue to provide happiness through memories long after the event occurred and I know that to be very true for me.
Take a photo
If you are still worried about loosing the memory of an item if you let it go, take a photo of it and store it somewhere worthy, such as a special journal. Record the story with it and it can be handed down through the generations. This is really useful for larger hard to store items and children’s artwork and creations.
Questions to ask
Asking the right questions is key when reviewing your items. Without the correct questions, we may potentially get stuck and therefore, hold on. Check out my blog on “10 questions to ask yourself when decluttering” below. It can be super helpful to ask a friend for help if you struggle with asking the questions on your own.
Deal with it now or leave it for someone else to
Ever heard of “Swedish death cleaning”? In Swedish, the word for death cleaning is döstädning, which is a term for the cleaning and de-cluttering you do when you think your time on earth might be coming to an end. However it can be done at any time in your life. In short, it is basically about decluttering everything in your life so that when you die, your affairs and “stuff” are all in order. This takes away the struggle, stress (and potential arguments!) of your family having to decide between themselves.
Create a sentimental box for those very special items you want to keep. I have a few of these myself, which I review every few years. Every family member can have their own box, the idea being that when your kids leave home, they can take it with them.
In my years of assisting people to let go of their things, I have found the majority of them often struggle to let go. Use this as a guideline to support you along the way and let me know what worked for you!