How Much Does Sentimental Value Cost?

Updated: November 20, 2020

During my first day in college, I wandered around the UP Shopping Center and found a nice bead bracelet which I bought to mark that new chapter in my life.

A couple of years later, I did not fancy the bracelet anymore so I stopped wearing it but kept it in my dorm room desk drawer for its sentimental value.

Interestingly, a dorm mate saw the bracelet one day and asked about it. I told him the story and the reason why I was hanging on to it.

What he told me next would eventually become one of the most memorable pieces of advice I would ever receive in life.

“Have you ever thought that it’s time to let this bracelet go and give it back to the world? The sentimental value it has will forever be in your memory and regardless if you have this bracelet or not, that memory will forever be yours.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I was just silent, trying to understand his point.

“You know what,” he continued. “Maybe you should just give this bracelet away or maybe sell it. By keeping this, it’s like you’re holding on to your past and do not want to move on. Let it go and make more room for new stuff, new experiences, and new memories.”

I can’t believe I was getting all that “new age philosophy” advice from someone I don’t even consider a close friend. He was just a fellow dormer who occasionally hangs out inside my room because my roommate is his high school batchmate.

However, what he said did affect me and I slowly realized his point. Not really knowing how to properly respond to what he just said, I bravely asked, “So, would you like to have the bracelet?”

He laughed so hard and said, “No, not really, but I did appreciate the offer. Sorry, I must have messed up your mind with what I just said.”

Partly relieved but also refreshed with a new mindset, I answered, “Yeah you messed up my mind alright. But what you said did make sense and for that, I thank you.”

Let it go and make more room for new stuff, new experiences, and new memories.

Looking back, I can’t remember anymore what actually happened to that bracelet. My last vivid memory of it was tucking it away in a box during the end of that semester, and putting that box inside my dorm room cabinet while I go home for summer vacation.

But that conversation, every minute of it is stuck in my head despite all these years. And ready to replay whenever I feel like it.

It’s really funny how we put a sentimental value on a lot of things and refuse to let them go because of it.

While I believe there’s nothing wrong with keeping a few of those things that are precious to us, I also know that letting them go and giving them away does not diminish their value in our life.

Let me end by sharing with you this very insightful TED Talk by writer and designer Graham Hill. Entitled, “Less Stuff, More Happiness”, Graham tries to make a case that having less stuff, in less room, could actually lead to more happiness.

Watch and hopefully, it can likewise inspire you to think differently about the things we buy and the sentimental value we put on things that just clutter our lives.

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  1. I’m such a suck-up at sentimental valued stuff. At one time I had a worn out pair of shoes that was with me for over 2 years. It had been washed, torn, murdered, wrecked and mugged. But despite all of that, I still look upon it as an intangible item because it has stayed faithful to me. I’m am so thankful I had that wonderful pair of shoes. Thanks for the reminder Fitz.

  2. i am taking this message to heart. as a sentimental person, this is what will enable me to get rid of the sentimental stuff. thanks. i’m glad i am a subscriber.

  3. This makes me think how am I going to get rid of my old clothes. I still have clothes from way back 2005 that are still hanging around my closet.

    Having smaller house for less carbon footprint is such a good idea, it makes me think if I really need a big house for my family which I am planning to have in the future.

    Thanks for this info Fitz.

  4. I’m one of those who can’t seem to let go of things for sentimental reasons. Now, thanks to Graham Hill, I have a reason to get rid of all these stuff. Thanks for sharing these Fitz and looking forward to more of these.

  5. @Jade
    Like you, I have a strong affinity for my Mojo sandals, which I collected and wore through all the years of college. It was only a few years back when I decided to let them go and donate them to charity.

    I miss them sometimes, but I also realized that indeed their sentimental value has remained with me, and now I know they’re being used out there by someone who needs it. 😀

    I agree. Photographs are something you should hold on to forever.

    Sorry napaiyak kita. Hehe. Thanks for being able to emphatize with what I wrote.

    I’m glad to have served as a motivation. Thank you very much.

    My rule on clothes, if I haven’t worn them in a year, I give them to charity (but only after I try selling them at bargain prices to friends). Hehe.

    Glad you enjoyed the post. With all the comments I got from this one, I’m thinking of writing more blog posts like this. Thank you very much.

    Nope, this is not a guest post. This is actually how I really sound like when I’m writing personal posts. If you like this style of my writing, you should check more of my older posts.

    Here’s one from way back 2008 which I think is very similar to the tone of this post: A Conversation with Bill Cosby over Coffee

  6. I keep a lot of old letters even from way back elementary. They have cluttered my room now and I basically don’t know what to do with them anymore. But I hang on to every single letter – be it a small piece of note or a long full-blown letter because it reminds me of the close relationships I once had with my friends who now I barely see anymore because of the different paths in life we took.

    I also happen to hang on to books – even those I read way back when I was a kid simply because I love the sight of having so many books in a shelf. I know I have to give them away so other people can enjoy the value of these books. I read somewhere that books sitting on a shelf and not being read are useless. But somehow, I can’t seem to let them go – even my Nancy Drew collections. I’ve given away my Sweet Valley High collections but not my Nancy Drew. 🙂

    But thanks for this post. Less things indeed, more happiness. 🙂

  7. Very enlightening. Thanks so much. This reminds me of my aunt who just passed away. She kept tons and tons of things in her room…. and along the hallway…. until her stuff occupied the maid’s room. Everyone I guess has a tendency to keep things, but let us be careful, sometimes it leads to compulsive hoarding, which is a different topic since it has a psychological/psychiatric component such as depression. Oh well, this weekend, I’ll start cleaning up. Thanks again.

  8. “By keeping this, it’s like you’re holding on to your past and do not want to move on. Let it go and make more room for new stuff, new experiences and new memories.”

    tagos sa kalamnan ko sir… i remember this in one of seminars i attended, just can’t recall who the speaker was, about letting go so you will have room for new things to come.. thanks and keep inspiring

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