What would really be the difference between looking at a picture of a sentimental object and looking at the actual object(s)? Not that much really. The experience can be very much the same with one very big benefit...de-cluttered spaces. Using this technique to help clients clear up their clutter also works because it disarms their objections.
Awhile back I wrote a blog about cleaning out my closet and letting go of my favorite outfits. Some I had hung onto for years and years just because of the memories I had while wearing them. What I discovered was...with the new digital camera era, it is the easiest thing to do and it really works. You can actually organize your photo's in files specifically titled to find them anytime you want to.
A walk down memory lane on your computer instead of you spare rooms or your tabletops can make sense if it is presents in the right light.
Even the "I don't even know how to turn that thing on" generation can purchase a digital camera and a 1G memory card for under $100, point and shoot, then slip the memory card into their computer or their children's computer. A perfect 'gift' would be a digital camera and printer if that is what is holding back the sale of a home too.
If you have clients that have serious trouble with letting go of their sentimental possessions but need to for obvious reasons, it would be worth giving them a sample demonstration by showing them what you did yourself (it will be good for you too) and putting together a small photo album demonstrating what one would look like.
One of the real benefits of having photos of one's treasures is being able to share them with family and friends.
What to do with the actual objects? For an older person, offering family to help themselves to a few mementos can be appreciated. Then storing securely in air tight containers for safe keeping and stacking also helps put their minds at ease.
I feel people in general already know that they need to do something about the stacks and boxes of stuff but they really do not know how to go about it. Taking pictures of what they are emotionally connected to will actually help them let it go.
This technique is the only one that has worked for me to let go of things I never considered letting go of but needed to. My closet is still clean and organized and another layer is going again. I can continue peeling away the layers until everything I have serves me and supports me and my goals.