6 Keepsakes That Should Never Be Thrown Out When You’re Decluttering

There are many benefits to downsizing and decluttering your apartment. Less clutter means your space will look cleaner and tidier, which will make home life easier and more comfortable. The movement to minimize and be a minimalist is becoming more and more popular. Although keepsakes, souvenirs and mementos take up space in your home, some keepsakes should never be thrown out, even when you’re decluttering.

Reminders of very positive life experiences, adventures, triumphs, important life milestones or reminders of life achievements are all the types of keepsakes worth keeping. Similarly, irreplaceable items that belonged to a deceased family member should always be kept and treasured. Keepsakes are often items that are irreplaceable, and something that cannot be replaced is often something that should not be discarded. It can be tempting to throw things away when we want to declutter and tidy our home, but you should avoid getting rid of things that you may regret getting rid of. Here are 6 keepsakes that should never be thrown out:

  • High School Yearbooks

High school yearbooks are definitely worth keeping, and they should earn a permanent spot on your bookshelf. Not only do they have special photos from high school, but you also probably got your yearbook signed by your classmates. That means your yearbook will have sentimental, cherished messages and notes from your friends – some of whom you’re still friends with today. A yearbook is like a time capsule that captured all of the important memories for you. Since you don’t want to forget your high school years, you definitely shouldn’t throw away a yearbook.

  • College Apparel

Sentimental clothing such as apparel from the college you went to should be kept. For example, the custom fraternity clothing or sorority clothing that you got when you joined your fraternity or sorority is the type of sentimental clothing you should hold on to. You should keep things like this because it’s a reminder of college life, and your college years probably hold some of the best memories of your life. If you joined a brotherhood or sisterhood in the form of a fraternity or sorority, you probably want to remember the bond you shared, the adventures you experienced, and the activities you participated in.

  • Trophies and Awards

6 Keepsakes That Should Never Be Thrown Out When You’re Decluttering

If you have trophies from your days as an all-star athlete, awards from art competitions or writing competitions, or certificates from being on the honor roll in college, you shouldn’t throw these keepsakes away. In addition to trophies and awards, you should also keep things that represent an accomplishment such as your framed degree that you earned from graduating college, and your graduation cap itself. These are both memories and symbols of achievement. It’s special to have something in your home that sparks a positive memory of proud achievement.

  • Souvenir from Your First Solo Trip

6 Keepsakes That Should Never Be Thrown Out When You’re Decluttering

When you travel solo for the first time, you learn a lot about yourself and you always remember the experience. If you have a souvenir from your first solo travel experience, always keep it. A keepsake that represents an epic life adventure such as this is always worth keeping. Luckily, a souvenir from traveling somewhere in the world can be both a keepsake and an interesting piece of home décor. For example, if your first solo trip was to Malta, your souvenir might be a vase from Mdina in the form of their famous blown glass vases. There are plenty of travel souvenirs that double as home décor, which makes it even more worth keeping.

  • Love Letters or Special Cards

6 Keepsakes That Should Never Be Thrown Out When You’re Decluttering

Love letters, even from an ex, should be kept because it’s so rare to receive a love letter. You don’t have to keep all of them if you don’t want to, but keep the most special letters that hold the most meaning and say the most special things. Similarly, you don’t have to keep every birthday card your mother or father ever gave you, but keep the birthday cards that hold the most special messages from your mother or father.

  • Family Heirlooms

You should never throw away family heirlooms. Not only are they potentially valuable (vintage watches and jewelry is valuable) but they also are irreplaceable. Your grandfather’s watch or your grandmother’s pearls are something you should always keep even if you don’t wear it. These items can be passed down to your children, as special family heirlooms are meant to be passed down from generation to generation.


  1. Great list, I have to pass this on to my Daughter, I’m a packrat for keepsakes and she only saves a few things. But the things I’ve saved are memories of my parent’s childhood, my childhood and my daughter’s. Of course she will get them soon or later, but I think it’s important to pass stories from generation to generation. Having something to hold or look at makes the memory stay with you.

  2. These are all such awesome suggestions! I currently do save letters, cards, and I have several clothing items from middle and high school. I think these are all things I will cherish forever because of the memories. Also, goodness, I still have all of my yearbooks, thankfully! I love being able to look back at these!

  3. I would never throw my solo travels souvenirs! I would probably put all trophies and souvenirs in a box and stock them somewhere in the basement…Those are memories, come on! You don’t throw away memories!

  4. I could be happy without my yearbooks….never look at them anyway, but I agree with the rest. Family heirlooms especially!

  5. I am in the process of decluttering now and it is a long process. This list will definitely help me in deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.

  6. It is always such a difficult decision of what to throw out when storage becomes an issue. Great tips.

  7. That’s the hardest decision to make, is what to keep and what to throw out. I tend to want to keep everything!

  8. I appreciate this list, because I am actually going through my stuff right now trying to decide what to give away and what to keep.

  9. I definitely agree with everything! I was tempted to throw away my high school yearbook at one point but my friend advised me against it and I’m glad I did.

  10. I’m doing a lot of decluttering right now & these are great tips. Thanks!

  11. I lost my high school yearbooks during a move years ago. I agree with your list. Unless you have a lot of stuff, there is always room for those!

  12. Agree with your list. Yearbooks are meant to be kept. It’s always a joy for me to flip through the pages and remember those times when I was in school.

  13. Excellent list. It’s so easy to get caught up in a moment of cleaning or organizing and convince yourself you don’t need these things. But you do! And you’ll definitely regret it later if you let go of the irreplaceable treasures.

  14. I use to have my old letters all in a folder, but after moving, I can’t find them anymore. I do have all my yearbooks. I try to make sure that I keep important cards for my kids in a box for each of them.

  15. I have kept all of these, except for a letter from an ex – ha! I need to have a look at my yearbook, haven’t pulled it out in ages!

  16. I love to have few things in my house that’s why I don’t like keepsakes. But very often I buy them to have an object to remember a trip, or a place, or an event…

  17. These are some great ideas for things that shouldn’t be thrown away when decluttering. I still have all of my yearbooks from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Crazy, right??!!!

  18. One thing I regret throwing out when decluttering what my wedding guest book. I just didn’t see why I wanted a list of names in a book, but so many have passed away and I wish I had kept it.

  19. I’m such a packrat, it’s hard for me to get rid of anything… But, my house is extremely small, and i had to take in a bunch of stuff when my grandmother lost her home (meaningful keepsakes, family heirlooms, etc.) so it’s stuffed to the brim. Time to definitely declutter… Carefully.

  20. These are all true. I try to keep my yearbooks and college apparels with me whenever we need to move out. Those are now safely kept and will never be thrown out.

  21. Family heirlooms are a must! I kept my love letters for years, but decided to get rid of most of them once I got married.

  22. Agreed! Some things you just have a sentimental attachment to and getting rid of them is simply out of the question.

  23. I am pretty selective of what I keep. I have some jewelry and dishes. I also have a jewelry box.

  24. I did get rid of some things that I now regret. It’s hard when times are emotional and you just want to get rid of things or you feel negative about something during a certain time. I threw out my American Girl doll from when I was a kid because I felt like I needed to move on from my past, and my kids told me they really wished I had saved it.

  25. Somehow in all my moves over the years I lost all my old letters and notes from friends. That’s one thing I wish I still had.

  26. So many great things on this list — like my college apparel! I just got rid of a sweater I purchased from my college’s store. What a waste of cash.

  27. I totally agree with all of these! I’m not a hoarder by nature, but I have several things that I will never, ever get ride of. Ever.

  28. Wonderful suggestions! I am all about staying organized and keeping clutter to a minimum, but some things you should never let go of. In fact, I even still have my middle school yearbooks!

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