Old photographs.  Letters.  Drawings made by my younger siblings. These are just some of the sentimental items that I made myself go through.  Deciding which sentimental items to keep and which to get rid of is an extremely difficult task.  I definitely felt that pang of guilt when I decided to get rid of something.  But once I decluttered and reorganized I felt so much lighter.  A few things to consider…

  • Scan Old Photos & More: I was able to use my computer, however you could also use an app like Tiny Scanner.  Using the scanner on my computer I was able to scan all kinds of things: drawings, letters, post cards, etc.  I also uploaded my scanned pictures, etc. to Google Photos (free), where I could organize them in albums.
  • Is it on Display?  If the item is something you keep tucked away that doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.  If it has been stored away but does make you happy, consider displaying it somewhere.  
  • Pass It Down: If you know that a family member or friend is in need of or would love to have one of your sentimental items, then consider passing it down to them.  
  • Think About the Memories: As The Minimalists often say in one way or another, the item is not the memory.  If you are unsure whether or not the item brings you joy and adds value to your life- consider getting rid of it.  

My old toy chest is now used for storing napkins, placemats, etc.

The book to the far left belonged to my Great Grandmother.

My Great Grandmother’s teapot that I keep on display in the kitchen.

Also know that the goal is not to get rid of all of your sentimental items. After going through my sentimental items I scanned a fair amount of photos and got rid of a few items, but I still have a box of items I chose to keep.  If these things that you have kept serve a purpose and make you happy, then keep them.  However if thinking about them (or the amount of items you have stored somewhere) stresses you out, I would recommend going through them to see what you can get rid of, or use in a different way.