7 Tips to Manage Sentimental Clutter

Sentimental clutter is a term to describe things that hold emotional value and are kept around because they stir up pleasant memories.

Sentimental clutter can be anything from photos of the family at a state fair, the soccer trophy your son won when he was five years old, or the t-shirts you wore on the first day of college.

Typically, you’ll find out that these items have little present use but great sentimental importance.

Most people will agree that they have problems managing sentimental clutter.

It may feel much easier to deal with a disorganized room than to see one item that holds so many memories going to the landfill or a charity center.

But, at one point, you’ll need to deal with the clutter in your room, including the sentimental items.

This article discusses some of the different ways to help you deal with the sentimental clutter below:

1. Learn to Let Go

This is probably the most challenging thing for anyone to do. You have to learn that some things are just meant to be given, thrown away, or sold.

Of course, while you can keep memories forever, you can’t always keep the things or the people associated with them.

Therefore, you should learn to let go of the sentimental clutter you’ve held for so long. This will help you invite new things and new memories into your life.

Once you learn to let go, everything else will fall in place, and you can easily manage the clutter.

Remember, you’ll have an emotional attachment to this clutter, so think of it positively, such as a new beginning and not as a way of losing your connection with it.

This will make it easy for you to let it go.

2. Donate to Charity

charity donation

If you’re torn between selling items you’ve had an emotional connection with and throwing them away, remember that there’s always a third choice.

You can set an alternative donation pickup and let those items find a new home where they won’t be considered clutter.

By donating those items for a good cause, you’ll feel better knowing that someone else can benefit from your unused possessions while also freeing up space in your home.

You may want someone specific to benefit from these items in some instances.

Therefore, consider donating them directly to a family member or a friend who could use them more than you can.

Alternatively, you can also donate items with special meaning—like a wedding dress—to museums and other institutions for preservation purposes.

3. Save a Digital Memory

Some common item in a sentimental collection includes your old photos.

If you have old photos lying around collecting dust, take the time to scan them into your computer and create a digital album.

With a digital collection of your photos, you’re sure of keeping your memories together without worrying about clutter around your room.

Technology has also improved in recent years, and now you can store all those photos in a cloud solution.

This will help you access them through different devices regardless of where you are.

So, you don’t have to worry about losing your photos if you lose your flash drive or phone.

After that way, you can still enjoy the memories without having to store stacks of photos in your home.

4. Repurpose the Items

If you have an item that isn’t serving you—but is too meaningful to throw away—consider repurposing it into something else.

For example, you might turn your grandmother’s brooch into a ring or necklace that you can wear all the time.

You could also take a beloved sweater and cut up the fabric to make it into a patchwork pillow or quilt.

You could even turn old letters into art by placing one letter per frame and hanging them on the wall.

The benefit of repurposing the items is that you don’t lose them; instead, you use them for something more meaningful.

As mentioned, the framed letters form excellent wall art, which is much better than when they’re folded inside a bag.

So, instead of holding onto things for their sentimental value, make those items part of your daily life so they can bring you joy every day.

5. Pass It on

Over time, you’ll outgrow some of the items that had great sentimental value. Selling them or donating to charity means that you might not get to see them again.

Also, keeping it will increase the clutter in your room. One good option is to pass it to your sibling or child.

For example, grandma’s old China set can have great sentimental and functional value to your little sister, who just moved to a new apartment.

Think of an item as a temporary keeper until it is passed on to someone who will use it.

6. Keep One of Every Kind

keeping photos in a scrapbook

You don’t need to save every single thing from your past. For example, you might keep one special piece of memorabilia from each birthday or holiday instead of everything from every year.

Also, you don’t have to keep every card you get at Christmas or every letter you get from an elderly relative.

You can also create a scrapbook to keep photos of the most meaningful items and pass on the rest.

If you have a collection of comic books or superhero merchandise, only one of them is enough to hold onto the memories you created.

This will help you manage the clutter in your room without losing something that reminds you of someone of happy moments.

7. Store Them Properly

Just like with your coffee mugs or socks, create a designated space for these things and store them properly, so they’re in good shape when you need them again.

Use furniture that has multiple functions with storage inside or shelving units with closed cabinets underneath it.

These offer easy access and keep the look of your sentimental items organized.

You can also make a digital list of where all the items are stored for easy access any time you need them.


Now that you have some ideas on managing sentimental clutter, it’s time to start! Take one area at a time and go room to room.

You will find that each project gets easier as you get used to the process.

Walking into your home with a sense of peace and pleasant memories, not anxiety and chaos, is worth the extra effort.

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