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Why It’s Hard Letting Go Of Sentimental Treasures

Posted by Karen on March 19, 2022

(and what to do about it)

Our memories are not in our things.

Our memories are inside of us.

Collect Moments, Not Things

It’s not easy to let go of sentimental things. These things are treasures to us.

Our sentimental treasures are things we’ve attached some importance to. They are a part of our past that we think we need to hold on to so that we can go back there whenever necessary or desired.

But the truth is, life doesn’t go backwards. Life moves us forward. And holding onto things from the past can weigh us down, emotionally and physically.

We allow these treasures to define either us or someone from our past. Instead of holding on to the memories, we find it necessary to hold on to things.

We fear that if we let go of these things, we’re also letting go of that memory, or feeling, or person.

Human beings can only truly cherish a limited number of things at one time.

Marie Kondo

Moving On

Too much sentimentality can be dangerous.

Living in the past robs us of living in the present moment.

However, downsizing your things and home means you can make room for the next important things in your life.

When you have less to clean and take care of you will have more room in your life for spending time with family and friends, more room in your life to enjoy hobbies and recreational activities, more room in your life to travel, and more room in your life to enjoy spending time however you like.

Where To Start

Start by asking yourself some “why?” questions: Why do you want to do this? Why should you do this? Why is letting go of this stuff important?

Also, ask yourself if you want to be remembered for the life you’ve lived. Or do you want to be remembered for the boxes of stuff you’ve accumulated?

Other good questions to ask yourself are: Does this stuff represent who you are today? Or does it represent who you were in the past?

No Rush

Going through cherished items will take time.

It can be a lot of physical work and a lot of emotional work. Disposing of sentimental items is much more difficult than disposing of a broken or unwanted kitchen appliance, for instance.

Start Early

If your goal is to purge these items because you are downsizing for a move to a smaller home, give yourself lots of time in advance of your intended move.

You don’t want to be faced with making decisions when you are rushed.

Feel It

Give yourself a moment or two if you need it with your meaningful items. Feel your feelings and cherish the memory.

The world-renowned home organizer, Marie Kondo, actually suggests that you *thank your item for the purpose it served in your life. It’s a way to honour what it has meant to you. And maybe you will feel like it is less of a betrayal to the person associated with that item. When you take a moment to do that, it seems easier to let it go.

*I actually did that with a dress I wore to my oldest son’s wedding. I knew I would never wear it again but I couldn’t find it in me to part with it. I thanked it for being there when I needed it and said goodbye to it. (I know, it seems a little nuts. But it worked!) I then donated it to a thrift store where another woman might think it was a great bargain, just when she needs it most! That thought also helped me part with the dress.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Another hard truth to consider is that your box or closet or drawer full of sentimental items could accidentally be ruined. We cannot predict if our roof will leak, or the basement will flood, or any other unthinkable disaster might strike.

To preserve your memories, take photos of the things you don’t want to forget about. When these photos are stored on your computer, in a “cloud” somewhere, you will always be able to access them.

It might even be easier to look at the photos than hauling out the boxes to go through every time you want to take a trip down memory lane.

There Are People For This

If you feel like the task is too enormous for just yourself, there are professional, qualified people who can make light work of this for you.

Feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with some options of businesses that can help you. You don’t have to do this alone!

Click here to easily contact me by email or phone.

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