A Guide to Decluttering Sentimental Items With Ease: A Self Storage Unit Helps

November 3, 2023 Organization Tips

“I can’t let go of my son’s first Little League uniform.” “I have to keep my parent’s ticket stubs from the 1939 release of Gone With the Wind.” “I’ll never be able to let go of my daughter’s dance costumes.” How often have you made these types of statements or said something similar?

From your children’s belongings to your deceased loved ones’ memorabilia, it’s hard to let go of sentimental items. The attachment is hard to explain but look at it this way.

Our emotional connection to sentimental items stems from the memories and emotions they evoke. They become intertwined with our identities and represent a part of our personal history. Nobody wants to discard their history.

Recognizing this attachment becomes the first step to letting go of these items. Believe it or not, sometimes you don’t have to let go. If you lease a climate-controlled self storage unit, you can keep your belongings safely tucked away. You can take your time deciding whether you want to keep, donate, or gift these precious items to friends and family.

Trusted Self Storage has a variety of sizes of climate-controlled self storage units that will be the perfect place to protect your sentimental treasures.

Decluttering Sentimental Items with Ease


Dealing With the Guilt

Letting go of sentimental items can often bring feelings of guilt and sadness. It’s important to recognize and address these emotions as part of the process.

Acknowledge and honor the memories.
Recognize that letting go of that unattractive vase your grandmother loved doesn’t erase the memories it holds. They will always be a part of you whether you have the physical item or not. Honor the memories and store the vase.

Find alternative ways to preserve the memories.
If parting with a sentimental item feels too difficult, consider finding alternative ways to preserve it. This could include photographing the item, writing a journal entry about its significance, or creating a digital scrapbook. This will help ease the guilt associated with letting go.

How to Declutter Sentimental Items

Having a plan always helps. The following suggestions will keep you motivated and guide you through the decision-making process.

Sorting and Categorizing
The first step in decluttering sentimental items is to sort and categorize them. Start by gathering all your sentimental possessions in one place. Seeing everything together will help you gain a better perspective on your collection.

Next, create categories based on the type of items you have. This could include photographs, baby toys, clothing, or any other sentimental possessions you own. Sorting them into categories will make decision-making easier.

What to Keep and What to Let Go
Making decisions about what to keep and what to let go can be a challenge. It’s far less stressful to make these decisions if you lease a secure self storage unit. Being able to move your items to a storage unit doesn’t feel as “final” as disposing of them. You’ll have plenty of time to make emotional decisions.

Ask yourself the following questions so that you can make more intentional decisions.

Do these items still bring me joy?
Examine each item individually and think about how it makes you feel. Does it still bring you joy, or has its meaning faded over time? As Marie Kondo states, trust your instincts and let go of items that no longer spark joy.

Does this item represent a cherished memory?
Some sentimental items may hold more meaning than others. Consider the memories they represent and how well they capture a particular moment.

Can this item be digitally preserved?
In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to preserve memories through scanning or photographing. If an item holds sentimental value but takes up a significant amount of physical space, consider digitizing it to save both the memory and the physical clutter.

Does this item serve a practical purpose in my life?
While sentimental items may not have a practical purpose in the traditional sense, some possessions can still be enjoyed in our daily lives. If your mother’s saucepan serves a practical purpose and brings you joy, it’s worth keeping.

Organizing and Storing Sentimental Items
Once you have decluttered and decided which sentimental items to keep, organize and store them carefully. It’s important to preserve their condition and allow easy access when you feel the need to revisit your items.

Use the right storage supplies.
Consider investing in archival-quality boxes, acid-free sleeves, or containers specifically designed for preserving fragile items. These storage options will help protect your possessions from damage caused by light, moisture, and other environmental factors.

Create a System
Create a system that makes sense to you. This could be by chronological order, category, or theme. As long as it aligns with your personal preference, the system itself doesn’t matter. The key is uncomplicated maintenance that will allow you to find specific items when you need them.

Finding Closure

As you navigate the process of decluttering sentimental items, it’s important to find closure and create new memories.

Celebrate the memories.
Take some time to reflect on the memories associated with the sentimental items you have chosen to let go of. Write about them in a journal or share stories with loved ones. If you need a more formal goodbye, create a special ritual to honor those memories.

Embrace the present.
Decluttering sentimental belongings gives you the physical and mental space for new experiences. Embrace the present moment, and make a conscious effort to create new memories.

Focus on the experiences, not the possessions,
Instead of accumulating more sentimental items, shift your focus towards collecting experiences. Engage in activities that bring you joy, spend quality time with loved ones, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Prioritize experiences over possessions, and you’ll find that the memories you create are more valuable than any material item.


Decluttering sentimental items is a personal journey.

If you lease a self storage unit, this task will be easier. Many of your cherished memories can be safely stored for gifting or donation.

There’s no rush. Take your time, and approach the process with kindness towards yourself. Letting go of these things doesn’t diminish the memories they hold; it simply allows you to create space for new experiences.

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