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Anna is a self-described sentimentalist who lives with her elderly father, doesn't have much of a social life and is hanging on to her childhood collections and her deceased mother's possessions. She says she is afraid of what the future holds so she clings to the past, but she also knows that holding on to so much stuff is unhealthy. "I tack sentiment to almost everything," she says.

Peter says that Anna needs to get rid of some of her family's possessions and clutter so that she can stop living in a circle of fear. "By keeping yourself in the past you will never let go," Peter says. "The stuff is like an anchor—you have to hold on to those memories because they are what has made you who you are—but you have to start putting those things in perspective so you can move into life as an adult."

Peter suggests a few tips to help Anna let go of the past:

  • Look at the stuff from the past and learn to separate the memory from the object.
  • Instead of holding on to the stuff, take a photograph of items and make a memory album.
  • Choose one or two items from your childhood collections to keep and sell the rest, then take a trip with the proceeds.


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