Dealing with the Guilt of Letting Go of Family Heirlooms

Family Heirlooms

Helping clients to let go of family heirlooms is always a huge challenge. They are overwhelmed with the emotional guilt of letting go or giving away something that was once special to a loved one. It may be helpful, depending on what the object is, to have it appraised. A lot of the time, this helps ease the burden of letting it go.

There are many ways to simplify the sentimental stuff. Each concept includes focusing on what is most important and honouring its history:

Photographs are a nice way to preserve the memory
-If it is something you can use (be honest), and have a spot for it, than by all means keep it and enjoy it,
-If the item is tucked away in a box in your basement, it is not serving a purpose (other than collecting dust),
-Consider giving the item away to a family member or a friend that could use it.

Remember you are not attached to the item, it’s the memory associated with it.  If a loved one does not want the item, accept it and let go of it.  Once you remove the emotional tie to something you will be able to let it go. It helps to know that many charities are only too happy to receive donation goods that will go on to benefit others.

I have a client who for years had stored three bags full of her mother’s purses, in green garbage bags.  When I asked her to work on this, at a recent visit, I could see her start to panic. I had her sit down and went through the items with her.   She reviewed the purses one by one and placed them in the donation bag.  When she was finished she was so pleased with herself, and could not believe we got through all three bags (and found nearly $1000 in the process). This is an example that many possessions are just stuff!

Remember you do not have to do it all at once. Small steps are often key to success. Take it slow and honour the memories, keep only what you will use and let the rest go.

As always, we at Butler Girl, are here to help in any way we can.

Do You Want to Become More Organized & Efficient

Custom Closet Wtih Bags And Bins

Most people get excited in January about getting organized and removing the clutter in their space. We all have the best intentions of doing it, however after a few weeks people throw in the towel.

Let’s ask ourselves why most people fail? Most people, don’t have a plan, don’t know where to start, or they do a little in every room and they become overwhelmed and quit.


Here are some simple points to help you stay on track:

  • Make a plan. Write down what space/area you would like to start with. Once you have written it down, next step is to break it down into bite size steps. It could be a drawer, stack of magazines or a small corner of the room.
  • When you start small, you see immediate results and you are more motivated to keep going.
  • Keep it simple! Begin by creating categories of like items. Divide the items by what they are used for.
  • Once you’ve sorted everything, begin to go through the categories and make decision quickly, keep, toss or donate. Don’t over think it!
  • Schedule regular time for maintenance. Only 10 minutes a day will keep you on track and your home clutter free.
  • Check each task you complete off your list. It makes you feel you are accomplishing your goal, as well as keeps your stress level down.
  • Everything should have a home and should always be put back there. This will help you the next time you are looking for it. (i.e. Keys should be in one spot, near the door, either on a table in a visible box/bowl or on a rack).
  • Don’t run out and buy all kinds of different storage containers, fancy décor boxes, hanger’s etc. until you know what you need.
  • Plan little rewards along the way to keep you motivated.


Remember, there is no need to keep something you don’t like, won’t use or because it was a gift. Your goal is to get organized, purge and let go of the clutter. If you don’t think you can do it alone, ask a trusted friend, or a professional organizer for help. They will help keep you on track and serve as your accountability partner.

Lastly, keep it simple, using small steps at a time. I know you can do it! At Butler Girl, we are always here to help and support you!