Ask yourself these questions: The answers will help you understand why the item triggers an emotional response. They will help you decide whether or not to keep the item.
1) Has it been in the attic or basement for years?
2) Do I love it? In a recent NY Times article (Garden/Home 10/23/2014), a Japanese organizer (Marie Kondo) suggested using the phrase, “Does it spark joy?”
3) Is there a special story attached to it?
4) Do I want it to stay within the family? For what reason?
5) Is the condition good enough to last another generation?
6) If I don’t keep it, what will be lost? How important is that to me?
7) Are there comparable items that serve the same purpose that I am already keeping (e.g. a different great photo of my mother or another ceramic dish of hers that I have decided to keep)?
If you keep an item for emotional reasons, record the essential information to explain its importance to you. Take a photo and write its story in a paper or digital diary. Attaching a QR code is another way to connect the story with the item.
If you are still in a quandary, box up the items and label the box with a date 6 months down the road. Open the box in six months and ask yourself the above questions, again.
Have your feelings changed?