Sometimes we hold on to things because we are holding on to someone else's beliefs about the things in our life.
One of my clients came across things that made her feel uncomfortable. She was aware of her discomfort, but she still didn't want to let the items go. I asked her what benefits she was getting by hanging on to these items. She thought about it and then got an "ah-ha" experience. She said, "When I was a little girl, I used to tell my parents I didn't like certain things, and they told me that I was wrong."
I said that it's natural for us to adopt our parent's beliefs about the world. Some of the them are beneficial. Some of them are not. As we get older, we learn to root out the beliefs that don't serve us. Believing that she was wrong about her feelings wasn't serving her. Her feelings were actually truthful indicators. They were her way of knowing what was right and wrong for her.
Because of the openness that came from her realization, she was able to start letting go of the clutter.
Another client came across old photographs and other family history heirlooms. She never looked at them, but she felt she should keep them. She said that's what you're supposed to do. I said there's no supposed tos, there's only what supports you and serves your nature, or not. There's no universal thing that works for everyone. The world is filled with people with different needs.
She thought about it and said that way of hanging on to heirlooms was her mother's style of living. Her mother was very into keeping items from the past and reminiscing about them. But that wasn't my client's style of living. She liked the things that made her feel present in what was happening in her life now.
This realization helped my client to let go of the heirlooms.