Precious memories: when things feel too sentimental to let go

People often tell me they struggle to let things go when they help them connect with precious memories and have lots of meaning or feelings connected to them. I often find it helps to talk for a while in order to better understand what is happening with their attachment to objects and to try and loosen their hold a bit.

Some people just need a little more encouragement and a creative way to deal with more sentimental items. Here are my top tips, taken from the Dealing with memories section of my Home Declutter Kit

Holding those precious memories (without holding on to clutter)

Photo it

Often we keep objects just to remind us of precious memories. A photo can do just that job just as well. Today, most of us are lucky enough to have smartphones which means we can take photos immediately and the decision is made. Sometimes photos in situ are better and might take a bit more crafting, but it can be worth taking the time.

If you would like a physical book to look through, there are many sites such as Photobox where you can quickly and easily create professional looking albums of your digital photos.


Creative projects

Here are some ways to get creative with things associated with precious memories

a. Turn your kids’ drawings into a collage and then frame it.
b. Style up the object or objects you want to photograph
c. Can’t let go of clothes from a grownup child or someone who’s no longer around? Make them into a soft toy or cushion, or if you are not creative, send it away to Love Keep Create and they will do it for you.
d. Put those precious photos or other paperwork items in a photo album and decorate it


Frame it

If you did any of the above, then don’t stop there, finish the project (always important for creative types)! Frame it and put it on the wall. Isn’t that nicer than having a box filled with stuff under the bed that you never look at? Many people like to collect tickets from special occasions, these are brilliant to frame. I met a lady once, an interior designer, who had done just that. Make your precious memories into something beautiful like this too.


Rituals – when it’s time to let the precious memories go

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of ritual. Many of you will be familiar by now with Marie Kondo’s suggestion that you say goodbye to items once you have used them. I am not going to suggest that with everyday objects. But ritual definitely has its place when it comes to sentimental things, like a wedding dress from a marriage that has come to an end or items connected to a special pet. Take the object, photograph it, create a ritual around it and then let it go.

I did this whole process with a client once with her wedding things that had been sitting in the wardrobe for 10 years. We collected them on a chair as a creative project and laid them all out. She took photos of them, then we lit a candle to honour that time in her life. After honouring the grief and meaning of that time she was finally able to let things go.



  1. Iona

    I hv a problem with letting go, or decluttering .
    We lost our second child 20 years ago. I hand made an album with the photos we took if Deborah, visiting family and friends etc.
    My husband cleared out the garage and without knowing it was in my art drawer … he binned everything that was in the garage. He had a habit of doing that clean up! Those photos cannot be retaken. I hv a real phobia of declutering. I really struggle!!! I am moving house in a few months time! Downsizing! Cannot even begin to comprehend how I can achieve this and not go to pieces and panic, which I normally do. I’m stuck!

    • Helen

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your heart felt post and I am so sorry to hear of your loss, made worse I am sure by losing the meaningful things that anchored you to their soul.

      I totally understand why you would be feeling in a panic right now. It is important to get some support that feels right for you and safe.

      Would you like to have a short call with me? You can book one here

      Let’s chat about how you can move through those stuck feelings and feel safe again.

      Warm wishes


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