Sentimental items. Should they stay or should they go now? Today on the blog, I’m sharing with you a bit about my process of dealing with sentimental items and 3 (practical) ways to declutter and deal with sentimental items.

At the very beginning of my decluttering journey, I went through the konmari process and the sentimental category was the last I tackled. I had so much stuff. Most of it was sentimental papers and pictures and random school awards. I kept things like report cards and junior high letters and diaries over the years. They came with me through two homes since I moved out of my childhood home.

Sitting with all of this stuff in my laundry room all around me on the floor, I thought deep and long about what to do. I decided to do what worked for me at the time: Declutter what obviously needed to go. Make a pile of stuff I wasn’t ready to let go of yet. And then I did the huge task of taking pictures of everything left.. Just in case…

And guess what? I haven’t looked at those pictures once since I took them. I spent hours talking pictures! Maybe my kids will look at them eventually, maybe not. But at least they are there just in case. I wasn’t completely ready to let go at the time. Minimalism and decluttering is a journey after all and it’s going to look different for everyone. One day, one step at a time.

3 Ways to Declutter and Deal with Sentimental Items?

  1. Pass onto someone who’d appreciate it. Have a cousin or sibling who’d love those old saucers and tea cups? Pass them on. They’ll be loved if it is something they’d love!
  2. Display it somewhere special. Can’t let go of something because it sparks joy (link) for you? Find somewhere to display it that makes you happy.
  3. Take pictures of it and then declutter the physical item. You can do what I did if you’re not ready to fully let go. Take time to take pictures and then revisit them in the future. You may be like me, too, and not look at them again (well, for me it’s “yet”…but maybe never? Time will tell).

Further reading?

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Minimalist Home

Clutter Free with Kids

Decluttering at the Speed of Life

And if you’d like a simple, low key place to start, I have a 30 day declutter challenge that you may like. I’ve had folk message me and tell me they have bags of donations after a few days of it! Send me an email at if you’d like that.

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