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How to Let Go of Sentimental Items

A lot of boxes that contain sentimental items that someone had to let go of

Whether you're planning on relocating or simply need to declutter your space, there comes a time in all our lives where we need to get rid of some dear items. For some, this means just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill cleaning that isn't all that special or emotional. For others, however, it can be tough to let go of sentimental items. This is a perfectly normal occurrence, and there's no need to feel any shame because of it. For this particular reason, we've come up with some more or less conventional ways of dealing with this process and going through it smoothly.

Be honest with yourself

One of the first things you can do to deal with letting go of sentimental items is be honest about your intentions. Once you honestly and plainly state why you need to say goodbye to these items, everything will be easier. A great start is to ask yourself some important questions.

  • Can I think of a good reason to keep this?
  • Does this item have a purpose in my life?
  • Have I used or looked at this item over the past year?
  • Could I give it to someone who'll use it more?

Let go of the burdens first

Often, we keep sentimental items out of sheer guilt. This can be a considerable burden. If someone in your family has left you some of their prized possessions after their passing, it can be really difficult to make this step. However, if you simply do not wish to have this item anymore, you need to find a way to part with it. Instead of holding on to it, try to find another way to honor the person who's given it to you.

Talk to someone about it

Sharing stories about these items with another person might help you find it easier to let go of them. You could speak to a family member or a close friend and tell them about the significance and the sentimental value. After all, memories are what keep things alive. Additionally, talking to someone who's into minimalism might open your eyes to another way of life. This could help you let go of sentimental items more easily.

If you're someone who frequently consults a therapist, or even if you're not, talking about this process and reflecting on it could be really cathartic. Even if you pride yourself on your emotional intelligence, remember that we all have our moments.

Pass some of these items along to future generations

One of the most challenging parts of having to let go of sentimental items is actually throwing them away. This makes most people feel like they're sending their valuable memories into oblivion. Of course, even though you need to permanently say goodbye to some belongings, that doesn't mean that you have to throw them away. Gifting them to your kids or grandkids is a great way to honor your memories and make room for a family heirloom that'll be passed on to future generations.

Focus on the more practical side of things

Once you've dealt with your emotions about letting go of sentimental items, you can start to tap into the more practical nature of decluttering. In order to incorporate feng shui into your home and make it a great place to live, you should get rid of anything that doesn't give you joy.

Take pictures of your items

Photographing your valuable and sentimental items will help you let go of them more easily. Especially if they're not very practical and you held on to them more for aesthetic reasons, a photo should be a great substitute. Although it's not quite the same, you'll still have something to remind you of whatever the sentimental item represents.

Make a scrapbook

Depending on how many items you have to let go of, you can maybe even create a scrapbook and keep it on your bookshelf. This way, you'll be able to access it and take a trip down memory lane any time you feel like it. Also, the chances of losing it will be far less.

Don't be too tough on yourself

If you have a particularly hard time letting go of sentimental items, that's okay. It's important not to be too tough on yourself. In case you're not yet ready to give up on some things, you can always keep them in a storage unit. This way, they won't occupy your space, but they'll still be available. Make sure to take your time and decide what to store and what to throw away. It's important to make a decision you won't regret.

Take a break from trying to let go of sentimental items

If the process gets a bit overwhelming and you need a break, you should just take one. You don't have to rush the process. Get your family to help you make the decision and make a great, fun, emotional day of it. You can also store the sentimental items for the time being and completely discard the idea for a bit. Try some hobbies or activities that help you relieve stress. Once you've had time to think it all over and clear your mind, you'll be able to make the decision more objectively.

It's okay to be vulnerable

Many believe that, in order to let go of sentimental items, we need to shut down the emotional part of ourselves and pretend to be firm and unfeeling. Au contraire. In fact, that's the exact opposite of what you should do. You need to find a way to dip into all that you're feeling towards those sentimental possessions and allow yourself to process the fact that you're letting go of them. This way, you won't just bottle everything down and hope that it won't resurface. Being vulnerable can be a bit tough to achieve at the moment, but it's all worth it in the end.


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