What we collect, save or give away at some point says a lot about what we value most and wish to recall from the past
We had a similar experience with an estate sale when selling my grandmother's house: decades and decades of things in every nook and cranny. Most had to go, but we, too, kept a few things that hold special memories. Like the vinyl butterfly that sat in the window above the kitchen sink (it was supposed to stick to the window, but the suction didn't always work), which I remember always being there when I was a kid.
Mostly, though, I'm big on "decluttering." Probably because I tend to keep things that don't actually hold any "instrumentally material" value. Just a bunch of stuff. I've purged my belongings several times since moving to my first apartment and had to get rid of most of my furniture when I moved back in with my parents a few years ago. I experience the occasional twinge of regret, but then I remember that the things I gave away sat in boxes for years, and I never missed them.
But the lava lamp my best friend gave me for high school graduation still sits atop a bookshelf in the office. 💛