How to Get Rid of Sentimental Items With No Regret?

Sentimental items can be some of the hardest things to get rid of. They can bring back memories, both good and bad, and they can be difficult to let go of. However, if you’re holding on to too much sentimental clutter, it can start to take over your home and your life.

We all know the feeling of being bogged down by too much stuff. Our homes become cluttered and cramped, and it feels like we can never find anything we need. But getting rid of physical clutter is only half the battle. When our belongings are also infused with emotional baggage, it can be even harder to let them go.

We may not realize it, but we often attach sentimental value to objects that have little or no actual value. This can make it very difficult to get rid of things, even when we know we should. We might hold onto an item because it belonged to a loved one, or because it brings back happy memories.

But sometimes, hanging on to these things can actually hold us back from moving on in life.

So if you are one of those people who find it hard to let go of sentimental clutter, I have some tips for you.

What are sentimental items?

Sentimental items are things that we keep because they hold sentimental value. This can be anything from an old toy to a piece of jewelry. We might keep these things because they remind us of a happy memory or a loved one.

They are usually not useful or valuable, but we hold onto them because of the emotions they evoke.

Ways to get rid of sentimental items

Make a “sentimental items” folder on your phone or computer

I have started with the best (in my opinion) way to let go of sentimental things.


For instance, if you have a vase that was given to you on the day your child was born and you feel way too emotional about ever getting rid of it, take a picture of it. Now you have the memory without having to keep the physical object. And let’s be honest, how often do you use that vase? Do you even like it?

If you really want to keep the sentimental value of an item without actually keeping the item, take a picture of it and put it in a “sentimental items” folder on your computer or phone.

This way, you can look at the picture whenever you want, but you don’t have to keep the actual object taking up space in your home.

Write down your memories associated with the item

Sometimes, just putting your thoughts and feelings into words can help you to see the item in a different light.

Get a piece of paper and write down all the memories you have associated with the item.

For instance, if you are holding onto an old t-shirt from your high school days, write down all the memories that come to mind when you think of that shirt. You might remember the first time you wore it, or the first time someone complimented you on it. You might remember how good you felt when you were wearing it, or how confident it made you feel.

Some of the memories might be happy, and some might be sad. But by writing them all down, you will get a better sense of what the item really means to you. And once you have done that, it might be easier to let it go.

This is because you are giving yourself permission to remember the happy times without hanging on to the physical object.

That is why I think this is such a powerful exercise.

It allows you to keep the memories without keeping the clutter.

Remember that you are more than things

It is easy to get caught up in the idea that our belongings define us. We might think that if we get rid of certain things, we are getting rid of a part of ourselves.

But that is not true. Remember, you are MUCH more than the sum of your belongings.

You are not your clothes, your furniture, or your knick-knacks. You are a unique individual with your own thoughts, feelings, and memories.

And no matter what you own, or don’t own, that will never change. All of those memories associated with the items are in your head, not in the items themselves.

So even if you get rid of an item, those memories will still be with you. They are a part of you, and no one can take them away.

Focus on the future, not the past

When we are holding onto sentimental items, we are usually holding onto memories of the past.

But if you want to move forward in life, it is important to focus on the future, not the past.

Think about the things you want to achieve and the person you want to become. And remember, you don’t need material possessions to help you achieve those things. In fact, sometimes getting rid of sentimental clutter can actually help you to move on and achieve your goals.

It can help you to see that you don’t need those things to be happy or successful.

So instead of dwelling on the past, focus on the future and what you want to achieve.

Start with one item and see how it goes

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of getting rid of all your sentimental clutter, start with just one item.

And see how it goes.

You might feel like you won’t be able to get past the attachment you feel to that item. But it might be just in your head. In reality, it might be easier than you think.

So start with one item and wait for a few weeks. Notice if you miss it or if you feel better without it. And then take it from there.

I assume that you will be so fine without it and probably won’t even remember it after some time.

Otherwise, it might be a sign that you are not ready to let it go yet. And that is okay. Just take your time and work through your feelings.

how to get rid of sentimental items?

Related: The ultimate list of things to get rid of

Put them out of your vision

One of the reasons we hang onto sentimental items is because we see them every day. You might think that you need to see that item every day to remember the memories associated with it.

But try this: put the item out of your vision for a while. And see how you feel.

Dedicate some time to put away all of your sentimental items. You might notice that you don’t actually miss them. You might notice that there is more space for something else. And you might even find that you feel lighter without them.

If that happens, get rid of sentimental clutter that is just occupying space in your house without serving any purpose.

Realize that there are people who might actually use that item

When you are holding onto an item because of sentimentality (and not because of utility), chances are that there are other people in the world who could actually use that item.

Think about it:

  • That shirt you never wear but can’t get rid of because it was your favorite in high school? Someone else might actually wear it and enjoy it.
  • Those things that are just sitting in your attic or basement, taking up space? Someone else might be able to use them.

Change your mindset and think about how you can help others by getting rid of your sentimental clutter.

Related: How to Finally Get Into the Decluttering Mindset

Realize that it is only in your head

One of the most common reasons we keep sentimental items is because we believe they are valuable. When examined closely, this is not always the case.

We assign value to things that are really just junk and then we feel the need to keep them forever. The key is to realize that the sentimental value is only in your head and that you can get rid of the item without losing the memory. Realize that it’s only in the back of your mind, that you don’t actually need that item.

Also, it might be that those items limit you from creating new memories in the present.

Think about it: every time you look at that item, you are living in the past instead of the present.

Look at how minimalism can change your life

Minimalism can be life-changing. It can help you to focus on what is important and let go of what is not. It can also help you to live in the present and enjoy your life more.

If you are struggling with sentimental clutter, then I would encourage you to look into minimalism. It might just be the thing you need to help you let go of your sentimental clutter.

You will find out that you don’t need all that stuff to be happy. You can be happy with less. This is because stuff brings us down, it clutters our minds and our homes. It takes up our time and energy to take care of it.

Related: Essential Rules and Tips for Living with Less
How to become a minimalist in 30 days?

Get out of the consumerism trap

Many of us are caught in the consumerism trap. We think we need to keep buying stuff in order to be happy. We think that we need to keep stuff in order to be happy.

Society is a very nice thing but it tells us that we need to keep consuming in order to be happy. And this is simply not true. You can be happy without all the stuff.

Sentimental items are a part of this trap. They are things that we think we need to keep in order to be happy. But they are just clutter. And they are taking up space in our homes.

If you want to get rid of sentimental clutter, you need to get out of the consumerism trap. You need to find other “things” that make you happy. You need to find other ways to express your love and affection.

Related: How to stop buying stuff you don’t need

Ask yourself the hard questions

If you want to get rid of sentimental clutter, you need to ask yourself some hard questions.

These questions include:

  • Do I really need this item?
  • Why am I keeping it?
  • Is this item taking up valuable space in my home?
  • Is this item adding to my happiness or taking away from it?
  • Can I express the sentiment another way?
  • Is there someone else who would appreciate this item more than I do?

Be honest with yourself when you answer these questions. If you are honest, you will probably find that you don’t need most of the sentimental clutter in your life.

For instance, for the question “Why do I keep it?” a common answer is “Because it reminds me of a happy memory.” But if you think deep enough, you will realize that it’s not true. You can let go and still have the memory.

Why is it so hard to get rid of sentimental items?

Sentimental items are often hard to get rid of. We all know it. We have all been there. But why?

  • They remind us of happy memories. This is probably the most common reason. We think that by keeping the item, we are keeping the memory.
  • We think we need them to be happy. Happiness comes from within, not from stuff.
  • We think that they are a part of our identity. But our identity is not defined by our stuff.
  • We are afraid of change. Getting rid of sentimental clutter can be a big change. But it can also be a very good change.

Although it is hard, it is important to get rid of sentimental clutter.

Why is it important to get rid of sentimental clutter?

There are a few reasons why it is important to get rid of sentimental clutter.

  • It can take up valuable space in your home.
  • It can be a source of stress and anxiety.
  • It can prevent you from living in the present.
  • It can be a drain on your time and energy.

Related: 20 Signs that you have too much stuff
121 Minimalist Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live with Less

Do you need to get rid of all sentimental items?

You can keep some things that are very sentimental to you. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. But you need to be mindful of what you keep. You don’t need to keep everything.

A wedding dress or a letter from a loved one is fine. But do you really need that shot glass from your 21st birthday? Probably not.

If you are in doubt, leave it in a box somewhere untouched for a while. If you have remembered it and you still want it, then keep it. Otherwise, get rid of it.

The bottom line is that it is fine to have a tiny memory box of sentimental items. But not a full house.

Final thoughts

Sentimental clutter takes up space not only in your house but also in your mind. And it fills up your life with stuff that doesn’t really matter. Yes, stuff is not important. What is important is how you live your life.

Do you want to live your life with less stuff? Do you want to focus on what is important?

If you answered yes to these questions, then it is time for you to get rid of sentimental clutter.

I hope this article has helped you to see the importance of getting rid of sentimental clutter. Don’t let your stuff control your life. You are in control. You can make the decision to let go.

Have a sentimental-free day!


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