What is the Emotional Value of Stuff?


Of all the ways of valuing our stuff, the strongest one is by emotion. Sure, financial and practical/useful measures are important when downsizing but if you run into roadblocks, look for the underlying emotions. Here are three, enduring emotions that may be overpowering or delaying your decluttering plan.


rings and stonesAnything related to feeling loved is going to have a significant pull on a person. This may be totally unrelated to time. For example, a dried rose that is 50 years old can still connect a person to feeling as loved as the day they received it. Do you remember the ending of the movie “Titanic”?


art-water-colorFeelings of satisfaction that come with accomplishing something meaningful also have a strong hold on them. Items reflecting accomplishment are usually something of importance to the person without necessarily involving others. Examples are self-made furniture or crafts and artistic pieces, kit projects, published works. This can be tied to our children as well. Do you still have any artwork from your child’s elementary school days?

Feeling honoured*/respected

trophy-silver-cupItems in this category always reflect the recognition by other individuals or organizations. Examples are diplomas, certificates, trophies, awards, photographs, and graduation or retirement gifts. Do you still have anything in this category?

Along with these top three emotions, there are many others that can be bound up with our stuff.

Other Positive Emotions

  • Calm
  • Comfort
  • Confidence
  • Contentment
  • Excitement
  • Freedom
  • Happiness
  • Hope
  • Peace
  • Security

Do you associate any of these positive emotions with an item in your collection of stuff?

Take Action

For suggestions on how to deal with your stuff, including your emotional stuff, browse the previous blog posts on this site using the words clutter or declutter.

* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.

Do you have a blog or podcast related to downsizing?  Where can we find it?

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Quill pen

Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.

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