How to part with sentimental items

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

PLEASE NOTE:  For the purpose of this post, let’s presume the ‘sentimental items’ as items you hoarding away, not currently using and don’t know what to do with.  This doesn’t include items you lovingly display on the wall or china cabinet and giving true purpose to.

This is a question I have been asked alot and see that this is the basis for alot of clutter around the home.

What could be some of your sentimental items causing this clutter:

  • ornaments
  • family heirlooms
  • furniture
  • jewellery
  • linens
  • silverware
  • vases
  • baby clothes
  • kids artwork
  • photo’s
  • clothing
  • crockery

Understandably each of these treasured items you have chosen to keep over these years have precious value and meaning to you.  However, are you storing them in the box in the top of the cupboard, behind closed doors in the buffet, in the garage under blankets or in the roof or shed.  Is granny’s vase chipped and unusable or your son’s trophies he received 10 years ago collecting dust?  It’s time to let go of these items.


Ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Why are you holding onto these items?

  • It reminds you of a specific time in your life – it is a memory forever in your heart
  • It reminds you of a specific person – instead have a photo of this person displayed
  • It reminds you of happy moments – then display it, don’t box it.
  • You don’t want to offend the person that gave it to you – give it back to them or you know what they may not even notice. If you are displaying an item you want to part with but don’t want to offend somebody place in a storage container away for 6 months, if they haven’t noticed then give it to charity.

2.  Are they being displayed proudly?

The best piece of organising advice I have ever received was when I was watching Aussie Organising Guru Peter Walsh on Oprah (yep i’m an Oprah girl through and through) many years ago.  This sentence has stuck and I have repeated it so many times.  “If you value an item, it should get honor and respect – not be buried in dust or shoved in a plastic bag somewhere”.

Treat your times with the respect it so deserves otherwise part with it. 

3.  Have you looked at or touched these items in the past 1-2 years?

Clearly this item isnt’ truly sentimental to you otherwise you will be treating it kinder, part with it and allow somebody else to enjoy it.

Suggestions to part with your sentimental items

  • A suggestion recently given to me about kids artwork, which can be easily adapted to this subject would be to take a photo of your item, then part with it.  Create an album filled with your items.  It’s the memory behind the item you are holding in your heart not the actual piece itself.  Thankyou Marita from Stuff with Thing for your wisdom.  I love scrapbook for the pure purpose of the journalling that is placed with the photos, write about your item and the memories you have.
  • Consider the space the item is being stored is more valuable for a different item or purpose.

 What sentimental item are you having trouble parting with?

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