Sentimental Sorting Tips

Sentimental things are “marked by emotional idealism resulting from feeling rather than reason” according to Websters Dictionary. We develop a relationship with our sentimental items, sometimes out of good memories, other times out of guilt, and at times, out of heartbreak. Whether we like it our not, these tangible items are a piece of our past which live with us and share space within the walls of our home. However, sometimes these items can start to take over the home if we aren’t intentional about the things we keep and the reasons why we keep them.

The tips below are what we speak about in our Sensational Seniors™ Workshops, and during in-home consultations, but they serve as a way for you to really approach your sentimental items with care and purpose. You can also watch this video that Andriana recorded with My Health Angel where she addresses how to sort through sentimental items:

Some of the tips included in the video include:

1. Start with making specific notes of what you wish to leave as your legacy. This is the obvious step that will keep you on track with sorting and when you’re struggling with what your mission is. Your list or notes should describe what inspires you, what makes you happy, and what tells your story. Take some time to really narrow this down and think about this document, because it will define your entire process of sorting through your sentimentals.

2. Tell the stories of your things as you sort. This is a crucial step. Even if you choose not to keep the item, it’s important to share the stories of your things, or of things gifted to you or passed down to you. If you are keeping things packed away in boxes for “safekeeping”, you will never have the bonding experience or healing opportunity of telling the story associated with the item. So, bring down the boxes, pull out the trinkets, unwrap the china – and either verbally share where it came from and why you’ve kept it, or take photos of the item and write down the story. Local writer, Aviva, writes beautiful Family Love Letters and can help you to record your stories if you are not the writing type but still wish to document your legacy. Anything that allows you to gain closure or provide emotional support for the decision of keeping or letting an item go should be welcome at this phase.

3. Be kind to yourself in this process. You will find that this is an emotional, and at times, draining process. You will also find that it is a rewarding, joyous, and meaningful experience. Just remember that you have spent years collecting or holding on to these items, and your things now deserve the quality time in your course of sorting and deciding what to ultimately do with them.

4. Find donation places that support your beliefs. This might mean a local veteran’s charity, a cancer society, or any number of other local donation places that support a cause. You can find a list of local places here on our website. Donating to these organizations can help you feel better about giving your items to people who are in need and who can really benefit from the things you no longer need.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, you may really appreciate the help during this process. It’s possible that sorting through your things with a loved one or a dear friend may reduce the overwhelm and allow you to be more productive. Alternatively, perhaps professional help might just be the neutral assistance you need to get past certain things. If it’s the physical moving of things, our team can certainly help, however – sometimes a more delicate touch is a better fit for some areas, such as that of a professional organizer…

We have a handful of wonderful recommendations of professional organizers that can offer that one-on-one support and rational conversations to help you through the tough spots. For a list of our favorites, please email us at:


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