Getting Sentimental with Organizing

Bru-nO / Pixabay

So I’m in the process of getting certified as a KonMari organizing consultant, and I have been since I returned from my KonMari training in New York in March. I’m so eager to be one of the very few KM consultants in Washington state, and it’s been killing me that I haven’t made it to the finish line yet!

In order to get certified, I have to work through the five categories of the KonMari method twice: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, sentimental. Once with one person (all categories with this one person), and once with other people (each category can be with a different person).

I thought, “Oh, this will be a breeze! I work with people every day ~ I’ll be certified by summer!”

I blazed through the first four categories within a two weeks, but the sentimental category has had me stymied since then (it’s been eight months!)

The client I was doing all the categories with lost her job and was unable to continue, and somehow I haven’t gotten to the sentimental category with anyone else, either, even though I work most days organizing with clients. I’ve worked through entire houses with a few clients since then, but somehow no one seems ready to tackle the sentimental category.

I mentioned my frustration to a therapist friend of mine, and she immediately said, “It sounds to me like you probably need to go through YOUR sentimental items! I bet as soon as you do, this category will clear right up with your clients.”

I gulped, and with wide eyes, I acknowledged that I do indeed have “THE BOX.”

You know, the box full of old love letters, miscellaneous photos and who-knows-what that I’ve been holding onto for more years than I can remember.

I even have “THE ROOM.” My husband and I call it the James Bond Room – a tiny room behind a secret door attached to our guest room/art room that holds a lot more than just “THE BOX.” It also has the crib I’ll never use, projects I dreamed of doing but probably never will, and the like.

So, I decided it’s time to hire myself and organize my sentimental items.

And OH MY, is it HARD!

Seriously, now I deeply understand why people hire home organizers. I went through a few things, then decided it was time for bed. I swore I’d get to it the next day, but since that first couple hours, I’ve come up with every excuse in the book to avoid even opening the door to that room!

DWilliams / Pixabay

There’s a reason sentimental items is the last category – it takes a strong “do I love this” detector to let go of things like my first snowboard boots, the crib for the child I never got pregnant for, the poster of my friend and I on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, the love letters from old boyfriends…

Going through all the other categories first prepared me for this much more challenging category.

Since I’ve done all the other categories, and I’m a professional home organizer, I know it’s time to hold each item in that secret room and ask myself: DO I LOVE THIS? Does it spark joy? Will I miss it when it’s gone? All the questions I guide my clients through I now need to ask myself.

If that room gets cleared out, it would be the puurrfect room for fostering kittens, as my husband wants to do, and for hosting slumber parties with my friends’ children when their Moms and Dads need a break and my husband and I need some kid time.

So, here goes. Wish me luck! And know that I feel your pain if I’ve worked with you, or if you’re embarking upon your own organizing party…

I’ll share photos when I’m done. I’d love to hear your experiences with organizing sentimental items, either here in the comments section or on my Facebook Page.



My ancient snowboarding boots, which I haven’t worn in 20+ years…they’re in the car to be donated!