Managing Sentimental Value

While unpacking our Christmas decorations and sorting through which ornaments we’d keep or let go of I came across this stocking:


At first sight, it’s a raggedy old Christmas stocking that has seen far better days. The material is piling, is dirty and has bits of twine embedded in its fibres causing it to tear if you try to remove it.

But, it’s my childhood stocking and despite it clearly being ready for the trash, I’m keeping it.

It is almost 35 years old.

This process of decluttering our lives hasn’t always been easy. Often, I come across items that I technically do not have use for anymore but for some reason or another I just cannot bring myself to toss, donate or sell.

Sentimental value and emotional attachment are very real emotions when it comes to stuff. I’ve been trying to manage my emotional attachment to such items as best I can but there are times like with this stocking where I simply cannot detach myself from it.

I guess that’s the entire point of where I’m headed on our journey to simplify. I want to surround myself with objects that bring me joy, that release a positive energy and whose energy demands I’m willing to deal with. It seems weird to give simple objects the power to summon my energy but from my experience all objects demand their own level of commitment whether it be worrying about where the object goes, keeping it safe or keeping it clean. But, certain objects merit that energy. They merit the effort to keep them safe.

Sentimental value is incredibly hard to manage because sentimental attachment can be blurred with the emotional need to keep stuff. How do you differentiate between true sentimental value and this perceived emotional attachment to an object not for its true sentimental value but because it fulfills an emotional need to have things?

I’m still sorting this all out in my own brain.

Simplifying our lives has been far more difficult when dealing with these types of objects. For me, it’s far easier to rid myself of a coffee pot than an old Christmas stocking. Clothes are easier to rehome than a broken piece of artwork that reminds me of my grandparents.

Would love to hear opinions about sentimental vs emotional attachment. What makes the difference for you?


Author: Jenny

I'm Jenny, a 30-something mama to 1 living child and 5 angels. I live in a tiny blue cottage in a small suburb outside a major Canadian city. I live here with my miracle baby Margs, my husband Mer, my pup and my 2 cats. I blog about a bunch of different things including parenting, frugal living and minimalism. Feel free to subscribe to my blog and follow me on instagram, twitter or bloglovin.

7 thoughts on “Managing Sentimental Value”

  1. I think this is where I get stuck too. My mom got an ornament for my brother and I each year we were alive until we were about 20 years old – just a gold ormanet engraved with our name and the year. She wanted us to have ornaments to start our own Christmas tree decorating traditions. At this point, some have broken and I want to have my own family decorations on the tree. I leave them packed away each year with some guilt that I may want to get rid of them someday. If you come to any conclusions about how to deal with sentimental items (apart from KonMarie style decluttering), I would love to know! Happy Holidays!


    1. It is really difficult. I’ve found that I’m getting better at being honest with myself about which items I feel deserve a space in my home. As for the ornaments,is there any way you can use them to create a new ornament that would represent the rest?

      Liked by 1 person

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