Cleaning your house of unnecessary items can be a daunting task, and one that can last for weeks or even months.

Not only do you have to sort through your belongings and make decisions of what to get rid of, but you also have to find a way to dispose of your unwanted items, either throwing them away, donating them to a charity, or selling them.

And if you’ve already begun the process then you already know that there are many items that are difficult to let go of.

These aren’t usually very big objects such as bicycles or toasters. They tend to be very small items, items you’ve kept around only because they have sentimental significance.

Some of these items should never be discarded, such as a grandmother’s engagement ring or college degrees.

But others are simply taking up space in your home and should be removed. That’s why we’ve put together a guide on how to get rid of things with sentimental value.

As a side note, many of these principles can also be applied to cleaning your workspace.

Digitize Your Photos and Keepsakes

Photos and physical-format home videos are one of the most common forms of sentimental clutter in most homes.

And they certainly pose a serious challenge: these items have high sentimental value as well as very little practical use.

The good news is that you no longer need to carry keep your family photos and videos in your home.

For one, you could work to have each piece of media converted to a digital format. You’ll be able to save them to a hard drive rather than keeping them in the back of the closet.

You can either buy the necessary equipment to digitize your media or you can hire a service to do the work for you, for a fee of course.

Look into Storage Options

Even if you’d like to keep many of your sentimental belongings, that doesn’t mean you need to keep them in your home.

If you’re running out of space, look into local storage facilities. These sites are secure and tend to be relatively inexpensive. Just remember that you’ll need to pay a fee each month to keep the lease on your storage unit.

This option is especially helpful for those who live in small apartments or other living spaces with limited square footage.

cleaning house

Make Organization a Priority

It’s important to strike a balance between staying organized and holding onto things that matter to you.

On one of the spectrum is a clean freak who barely holds onto anything at all, easily throwing away items of sentimental value.

On the other side of the spectrum is a hoarder, who assigns value to almost every object they ever own. They worry that getting rid of these things will cause problems later on.

A healthy medium is to allow yourself a few small sentimental items that won’t get in the way of your daily routine. If your possessions have a negative impact on your living situation, then it’s definitely time to get rid of a few things.

Making organization a priority in your life can help you part ways with items that aren’t improving your quality of life.

Consider Resale

If an item is valuable to you, then there’s a decent chance that someone else will also find it valuable.

Selling items of sentimental value can help you tidy your home while also making a bit of money in the process.

We should also mention here that it can help to realize that an item that has made you happy could potentially make someone else happy as well.

From this perspective, it would almost be selfish to hold onto the item and keep it for yourself.

Before posting an item to an online resale site, you should take some time to find similar items on these kinds of sites. This will give you a much better idea of how much you should charge for your own piece.

Explore Minimalism

how to get rid of things with sentimental value

Minimalism is a way of life that has been popular for several decades. And of course, there are many historical examples of minimalism being used as a means of attaining spiritual purity.

Many Buddhist monks and Catholic priests and nuns take a vow of poverty, preventing themselves from becoming distracted by material possessions.

But there are also many practical implementations of minimalism in the modern world. The tiny house movement is an excellent example.

The movement focuses on only using the barest minimum of materials and resources. It’s friendly toward the environment while also preventing the mental distraction that comes with yearning for more objects.

Imagine You’re Packing for a Long Trip

This is an easy way to find out just how much each item in your possession means to you, and what practical benefits each of the items has.

As you might have already guessed, this tip is a mental exercise. All you need to do is imagine that you will soon be leaving for a very long trip to a desert island. Imagine that you will be staying there for a year or more.

If you only pack 10 or so boxes with your belongings, what would you actually take with you?

The beginning of this exercise is fairly easy. Surely you would take cooking supplies, clothes, hygiene products, and certainly your expensive electronic devices.

All told, those items alone might fill 5 or more of your boxes. This is where things become a bit more difficult.

Walk through your bedroom and look at all the small items. There are probably valuables and important items there, as well as items you’ve kept around out of sheer indifference.

how to get rid of things with sentimental value

A sentimental item that has a practical use may make the cut, but a sentimental item that only serves as a reminder of a past event might not.

Once you’ve realized that certain items are not necessary for your survival and wellbeing, the value of those items will diminish in your mind, making it easier to let go of them.

It can also increase your confidence to know that you can survive without many of these items. It’s not a matter of life or death.