Photo of junkHave you heard these questions before: “How do I get my Mom to let go of her things?”, “Why does my Dad not want to get rid of his junk?” and “I’m not making much progress with them, what am I doing wrong?” Most times the answer isn’t black and white, as it really depends on the emotional attachment a person has to those items. Every item has a memory or a story that tugs at their heart, and for those reasons, they can’t get rid of them.

So how do you help family members let go of what they treasure when the need arises to downsize to a smaller home or simply de-clutter the one they are living in now? One way is to ask neutral questions like:

“When was the last time you used it?”

“How often do you use those items?”

“When will you use it again?”

Another way is to bring in professionals. They will ask those same questions of clients as they work through years of personal belongings. They understand that people have a hard time letting go, but they also have an unbiased opinion about the actual value, rather than the perceived value, of those treasures.