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7 Tips for Saying Goodbye to Sentimental Belongings

Posted by Isabel Romano on May 4, 2022

When moving to a new home, one of the hardest things to do is let go of sentimental belongings you no longer have space for. It doesn’t matter if the items have monetary value. In fact, the most difficult items to get rid of are worthless in terms of money, but priceless in sentimental value.

Here are some tips to help you let go of belongings you are attached to but no longer need to keep:

1. Our memories reside within us, not in our possessions. Letting go of sentimental items can be therapeutic because it is like getting rid of an old part of yourself. The items we keep, occupy both physical and mental space in our lives. We have to focus on our memories and not on the items that represent the moments that you have been through.
2. Start with the easy stuff. If you have a lot of belongings to sort through, start with the easiest decisions and work from there. Often, people find that once they get some momentum going, it feels good to let go.
3. Concentrate on the present moment. Letting go also helps bring your focus to the present. Sometimes things are just reminders of the past and hold us back from living in the present. Dwelling on the past can affect the ability to deal with stressful situations and could make you depressed. Realize that we can always cherish our memories without staying in the past.
4. Don’t save it for your children. Times have changed, and today, more young adults want to buy their own furnishings. They aren’t as sentimental about family heirlooms as prior generations were. Talk to your kids now and find out if you are holding onto all of those items for nothing.
5. Release your guilt. People often keep items they don’t want or need because someone special gave it to them or it represents a special person. Learn to let go of the guilt associated with getting rid of gifts you don’t use. Appreciate the thoughtfulness of the giver or the special memory it represents, but give the item to someone else who can use it or donate it to charity.
6. Make a deal with your spouse. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to resent the others’ favourite belongings while holding onto their own special stuff. It’s important to recognise that, while you may not understand your husband’s need to keep a ball cap for every team he’s seen play, he may feel the same way that you do about keeping every book you have read. Decide together on a reasonable number to keep.
7. Compose a family memoir. Hold onto your memories with words instead of things. Writing your story can be very therapeutic and can help you release your hold on tangible items.

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