The Neat Paper Filing Series Part 4: Sentimental

We’ve finally reached the end of the four-part blog series on organizing papers! 

For the last installment of the series, we’ll tackle sentimental documents. (I want to emphasize that we will only deal with sentimental papers, files, and documents, and not other kinds of sentimental items.) 

I’m sure you understand why I placed this topic at the end of the blog series. We Filipinos are very sentimental, so I think it’s safe to say that organizing your sentimental files will take the longest of your time. This is especially true when you have kids, because anything and everything they do on paper is considered a milestone that you want to cherish.

Before we dive onto the process, it’s important that you ask yourself first what sentimental means to you. Remember, if everything is sentimental, then nothing is.


In the previous three blogs, I provided general categories for personal, business, and household documents to guide you in sorting. As you were sorting them, you might have encountered a piece of paper that is not useful for your season and is neither an active nor inactive document. However, it’s something that strongly connects to who you are and you would happily look back to, so you set it aside. 

Without you knowing it, you have already created a pile for your sentimental papers. 


In detaching from your sentimental documents, connect to your feeling of happiness. 

Which of these papers or documents: 

  • really define you as a person? 
  • support your life’s current season?
  • support the person you want to become?
  • build your identity, self-awareness and self-confidence? 
  • make your kids proud and confident of who they are?
  • will you happily go back to in the years to come? 
  • do you really need to keep to preserve the memories?
  • will you be proud to show to your children and grandchildren, without shame?

Detaching from your sentimental files will help you cherish what’s really important for you in the past, celebrate your current season, and look forward for the seasons to come. Keeping every paper that’s ever been in your life will clutter your idea of what’s really important.  

A Neat Reminder: Be cautious in disposing papers bearing personal information. Shred them and make sure that your full name, address, contact number, and other sensitive details such as bank account cannot be read anymore. Shift to digital. Digitize your documents for backup. Go for paperless options if possible, too! This is a great step in helping the environment and to minimize paper clutter in your home.


With sentimental items, rehoming is still about establishing a proper system (physical) and connecting to your feeling of happiness (emotional).  

There are sentimental documents you’ll be more comfortable with sharing. This is why we find diplomas displayed in most Filipino homes. When displaying sentimental documents, cluster them with other displays that tie the story together. This way, your home becomes a museum of memories and conversation pieces that your children will also appreciate. 

With the sentimental documents you are not comfortable with sharing, choose the best storage that will carefullypreserve your memories. My husband’s certificates and past employment contracts, for example, are neatly filed in a clear book, while my cards and other mementos are all safely kept in a box. There is no one-size-fits-all storage solution for sentimental papers, because we have different kinds of paper filed under sentimental.

In the Neat Obsessions book, I shared how we should cultivate gratitude when we tackle sentimental items. Not all memories need to have a tangible representation. Many of us live their entire lives with gratitude, without the need to keep something in a folder or a box. 

As we end this blog series, I hope that my process in organizing papers at home will guide you to begin organizing yours. Aim for the happiness and peace of mind an organized filing system at home brings.

Thank you for joining me in this paper filing series! 

Stay Neat, everyone!