It probably goes without saying that getting rid of sentimental items can be emotionally difficult for you.

As a real estate agent, I try to keep my clients on track with their plans to downsize because by the time they get the phone call about the listing, the clients have usually already come to terms with the fact that they need to move — and they need to get rid of some things to make that possible.

“By the time I’m called in as a professional, they have come to that realization. They grieve; they’re really sad; they cry; — and then there’s a switch that flips, and when that switch flips, then they’re thinking, ‘OK, we’re going to do this,’ and it’s like they’re just chucking stuff left and right at that point. It’s an amazing thing to watch.”

“I noticed that with my clients, they have to go through the house with me several times until they understand that I have an appreciation for the life they’ve built, how hard they’ve worked for each possession, sometimes how much they paid for each possession and the sentimental value. Once they feel like they’ve done all of that, then it seems like they’re ready to let go.”

Less experienced agents might not understand the strength of sellers’ attachments to their things. “All they see is a great house in a great neighborhood and a listing that they think is going to sell quickly". “They don’t know how long it’s going to take until that house is market-ready and all their personality that you have to strip away from the home to get them the most money possible.”

There are obvious environmental issues associated with hauling off housefuls of furniture and memorabilia to dumpsters. Many people choose to store their stuff, but hosting a garage sale, posting items on eBay or Facebook Marketplace and even inviting the neighbors to take their pick of what they want is preferable to tossing it.