A graphic of children's shelves containing a trophy, awards and sentimental items

Episode 175 – 10 Sentimental items to declutter today

If you’re a sentimental soul and have sentimental items coming out of your ears then the answer is to focus on quality over quantity. In this podcast we’re going to talk about the 10 sentimental items you can declutter today.

Looking for more info on managing your sentimental items? Check out our blog post here...


Imagine the scene – your birthday comes round, and you are so happy to have had lots of lovely cards sent to you. They sit on your mantelpiece, you truly enjoy looking at them, and then a couple of weeks down the line, it’s time to take them down. So you bundle them together and add them to your ever growing collection of keepsakes.

Some memories are special

In your lifetime, there have been a lot of birthdays, and celebrations, and weddings, and christenings, and new homes and sadly there are illnesses and bereavements too – all of these things bring with them memories – sometimes happy, sometimes sad.

But why are they so sentimental? Because they represent milestones in your life and milestones are special. Because some of these cards are sent from people going through milestones of their own.

Those cute cards from your grandchildren. The thank you cards from your children when they left home and thanked you for everything you did for them. That heartfelt message from a friend when you lost someone special or that card from your partner when you first feel in love. These are truly special and deserve their place in your home.

Not all memories are made equal

But what about the cards that are not quite so special? The ones that don’t have an extra- special message, the Christmas cards from a neighbour or a work colleague that you have to wrack your brains to remember who they are, the cards sent on your child’s 6th birthday from every member of the class…

The sentimentality behind these fades over time yet they are still bundled up with all the other truly special ones you have kept with your keepsakes.

There will undoubtedly come a time in life when those cards become overwhelming. They have stayed in those boxes untouched and unloved for years if not decades.

You may be allocating valuable space in your home to sentimental items of average or low value, and that space would be better used for things you are using on a more regular basis for the life you are leading now.

So how should you tackle sentimental cards?

The vital component when you are tackling sentimental items is to favour quality over quantity. Once you start to focus in on the truly special ones, you will retain a more meaningful collection of keepsakes. But it can be an evocative, sometimes difficult, journey to tackle sentimental items, and it is often something we have procrastinated over for years.

Once you have made your decision to declutter your cards, you need to be ready for a change in mindset. Sentimentality is a vital part of human nature, but when the amount of cards you have means you can’t enjoy the truly special ones, it’s time to really focus in on quality over quantity.

6 Tips for decluttering cards

Here are a few tips to help you along your way:

  • Who are the cards from and is that person special to you?
  • Look carefully at the message inside. Was the message personal? Does it give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside?
  • Can you make the decision to only keep cards from special birthdays – 1st, 21st, 50th, 60th, for example?
  • Get well and sympathy cards can take you to a very sad place. It is worth thinking through whether that is having a positive effect on your wellbeing.
  • If you have a celebration where you receive big volumes of cards, for example, Christmas, these can be a simple place to start your decluttering.
  • If you want to do something with the cards, like scrapbooking or putting them into digital format, do you have the tools you need to start the project?

Tackling your sentimental items can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable decluttering projects you will ever do, but it can be tough to make that mental leap to favour quality over quantity.

If you want a helping hand, you can purchase our SOS course or our membership. We can help you work through the emotions that are holding you back from making the right decisions when you are decluttering your sentimental items.

This article was first published on Sixty and Me on 6th March 2021. It can be found here.

Useful Links and Resources

Show Summary

  • Childrens artwork without a name or date

  • Full dinner services that you never use

  • Photos of people you don’t know

  • Letters with bad memories

  • Paintings you don’t like

  • Photos in frames you have taken down

  • Cards with no special message

  • Multiple bags of baby clothes

  • Large volumes of soft toys

  • Ornaments and trinkets that you dislike

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Leave a Reply

  1. should I declutter newspaper clippings and magazine articles concerning the plane crash which killed my 36 year old brother?

    1. Hi Mary,

      I'm so sorry to hear that your brother passed away in a plane crash. That must have been devastating for you and your family.
      Your question whether to declutter those clippings and articles is a very hard one. Some people find these items make them sad and decluttering seems the right step, while others see it as a memory items however painful to keep. There is no right or wrong in this situation.

      If you have other items from your brother that make you think of him and you treasure the clippings could be let go off, but really think this through before taking action.

      I hope my answer helps,

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