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

“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.

Self Storage Eases the Task of Swedish Death Cleaning

I’ll admit it. Swedish death cleaning sounds morbid. The first thing that comes to mind is a couple of ethereal, ghoulish figures floating around the house with a Dyson and a feather duster. Or maybe a new cleaning service: The Living Dead: We Get Rid of the Skeletons in Your Closet.

Neither of those examples is even close to the reality of Swedish death cleaning. According to Margaret Magnusson, author of the book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, it is “the process of radically decluttering your home so your children don’t have to do it after you’ve passed away.” Personally, I think it’s a fabulous idea.

Time and again I’ve watched friends and family, while trying to deal with their own grief, have to deal with the mess and clutter left after a death. The chaos, hostility,and  bitterness that follows these events can last a very long time. Swedish death cleaning can prevent all of this ugliness. It is reflective, gentle, and considerate of everyone’s feelings. Decluttering is a kindness to everyone left behind. It is meant to help to smooth the grief process for family and friends.

When to Start the Process

It’s probably a good idea to begin this process at around age 65. At this age, unless there are extenuating circumstances, mental capacity is still good and the confusion that can accompany aging hasn’t set in.

Some people are completely on board with this concept and happy to make things easier for their children and other relatives. Then, of course, you will have the people that have difficulty dealing with any type of change or simply don’t care what happens after their own demise. Here are a few tips to get your parents or other elderly family members to “buy in” to this process. Actually, it doesn’t hurt to make it a goal for your own future.

The “Safety” Perspective

  • Mention that throw rugs, small tables, and ottomans are potential trip and fall hazards. They need to be removed.
  • Piles of books, newspapers, and magazines are not only unsightly, but a fire hazard. They need to go.
  • Items piled haphazardly on the top shelf of a closet may fall out when the door is opened, causing a head injury. They need to be sorted and reorganized.

Make it Their Idea

  • Admire a few items that you would like to have now. Many elderly people love to give

away their belongings, and they are flattered if a family member is interested enough in an object to want to own it. This may encourage them to give away even more items.

  • A piece of jewelry or another memento will be so much more meaningful if it is gifted to that special grandchild or family member while the owner is still living. A story can be shared that will create a lasting memory that is forever linked to that gift.

The Best Solution

The perfect solution for this task is a secure, affordable self-storage unit. If your parents or loved ones are having difficulty letting go of their belongings, you can involve them in making the decision to store rather than discard items. Turn this chore into a special event by asking your parents or elderly loved ones to share their favorite memories of special objects. You can record these moments, take pictures of the items, and create a memory journal. Another thing to keep in mind – there will be some bad memories, and this process enables you and your family to let go of them.

Placing these items in storage is not as final as discarding or donating them; that can be done much later. Your parents will be more relaxed knowing that they can give some thought to what they want done with their possessions. In fact, they may enjoy discovering things that they’ve forgotten about. This gives you plenty of time to consult with other family members as to what they might want.

Introducing the Swedish death cleaning concept can be difficult. It requires sensitivity and tact. But, once you’ve begun an open dialogue, you’ll find it far less traumatic than expected. Don’t be hesitant; in the end you’ll have that good feeling of knowing that you’ve done the right thing for everyone involved.

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