Family items often carry significant sentimental value, making it challenging to decide what to keep, hand down, get rid of, or store. By carefully evaluating each item’s importance and practicality, you can make thoughtful decisions that honor your family’s legacy while maintaining a clutter-free home. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this process, including the benefits of using a storage unit to protect heirlooms.

Assess the Sentimental Value

Start by evaluating the sentimental value of each item. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Does this item hold special memories for me or my family?
  • Is it associated with a significant event or person?
  • Will this item be appreciated by future generations?

Items with high sentimental value, such as family heirlooms, photographs, and mementos, are often worth keeping or handing down.

Evaluate Practical Use

Consider the practical use of each item. Ask yourself:

  • Do I use this item regularly, or is it just taking up space?
  • Is this item in good condition and functional?
  • Does it serve a purpose in my current lifestyle?

Practical items that you use frequently and that are in good condition should be kept. Those that are rarely used or no longer serve a purpose may be better suited for storage or disposal.

Determine Historical Significance

Some family items have historical significance that can be valuable to future generations. These may include:

  • Documents and letters that tell your family’s story.
  • Artifacts that reflect your cultural heritage.
  • Antique furniture or collectibles.

Items with historical significance should be preserved and handed down to future generations whenever possible.

Consider Space and Storage

Evaluate the space you have available in your home for storing family items. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough space to keep this item without cluttering my home?
  • Would this item be better preserved in a storage unit?

If you have limited space, consider using a storage unit to keep valuable items safe without sacrificing your living space.

Handing Down Items

When deciding to hand down items, consider the preferences and needs of the recipients:

  • Will the recipient appreciate and take care of the item?
  • Does the item hold significance for them?
  • Is the item in a condition suitable for gifting?

Communicate with family members to determine which items they would like to receive and ensure that these items are preserved for them.

Declutter and Dispose

For items that do not hold significant sentimental or practical value, consider decluttering by:

  • Donating to charity or giving to friends who may find use for them.
  • Selling items in good condition to earn some extra cash.
  • Recycling or disposing of items that are broken or unusable.

Benefits of a Storage Unit to Protect Heirlooms

Using a storage unit can be a highly effective way to protect and preserve family heirlooms. Here are some benefits:

  • Climate Control: Storage units often offer climate-controlled environments that protect sensitive items from temperature fluctuations and humidity. This is crucial for preserving delicate heirlooms such as photographs, documents, and antique furniture.
  • Security: Modern storage facilities provide advanced security features, including surveillance cameras, gated access, and on-site personnel. This ensures that your valuable family items are kept safe from theft and damage.
  • Space Optimization: Storing heirlooms in a storage unit frees up space in your home, allowing you to maintain a clutter-free environment while still preserving important family artifacts.
  • Organized Storage: A storage unit allows you to organize and catalog your heirlooms efficiently. You can use shelves, bins, and labeling systems to ensure easy access and proper preservation of each item.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your family heirlooms are stored in a safe, controlled environment provides peace of mind. You can rest assured that these important items are protected for future generations.

If you are looking for a self storage unit in the GTA, Self Stor Storage has you covered. They even have self storage facilities in Toronto.


Deciding what family items to keep, hand down, get rid of, or put into a storage unit involves careful consideration of their sentimental, practical, and historical value. By assessing each item thoughtfully and utilizing storage units for preservation, you can honor your family’s legacy while maintaining a functional and organized home. This balanced approach ensures that valuable heirlooms are protected and cherished for years to come.