Ep 55 | Digitizing Your Sentimental Items with Bonnie Shay

September 18th, 2018 · 40 mins 16 secs

About this Episode

Our guest, Bonnie Shay, breaks down solutions for organizing, digitizing, and preserving your most sentimental items.

Do you have boxes and boxes of printed photos/movies/slides/memorabilia that you haven't done anything with? Are you overwhelmed with a huge quantity of digital photos and videos you’ve collected on your computer, camera, tablets, and smartphones?

Today we’re dedicating this episode of Spark Joy to one most high anticipated and feared signature KonMari Categories - Sentimental Items.

Bonnie Shay joins us today to talk about managing our digital legacy. Bonnie is the founder and owner of Mariposa Photo Organizing established in 2007. She’s managed a photography business for over 20 years and is a Certified Member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. She currently curates family photo and video collections that are, shareable, enjoyable, manageable, safe and secure, both now and for generations to come.

NOTE: We should remind our listeners that the Sentimental clutter category is the absolute last category to declutter. It should be handled with care and only after you warm up by addressing Clothing, Books, Paper, and Miscellaneous items in that order.

If you still have some tidying work to do, we suggest heading back to Spark Joy Episode 1: KonMari 101. Also, if you’ve paused your KonMari progress after addressing miscellaneous items - then this is the episode for you.

We want to hear from you! Tell us your burning tidying questions or share stories about how KonMari has impacted your life. Find us at www.sparkjoypodcast.com and click “Ask Spark Joy” to leave a question or comment for a chance to be featured on next week’s show.

While you’re there, sign-up to join our Spark Joy podcast community and get notified when each episode airs. You can also join the Spark Joy podcast community on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at the handle @sparkjoypodcast.

In this episode, you’ll enjoy:

  • How Bonnie believes she was genetically predisposed to making order out of disorder
  • How Bonnie's 20+ experience in both general residential organizing and photography triggered her current business of curating family photo and video collections
  • How Bonnie discovered the Associate for Personal Photo Organizers
  • The tipping point for sentimental clutter in our home and why quality over quantity is important
  • Reasons why we delay processing sentimental clutter
  • How you should get started curating your collection and selecting things that spark joy
  • How to "pile" your digital clutter and some unexpected places it could be hiding
  • Marie Kondo approved Sentimental item tips
  • How to grab your content from antiquated media formats
  • The two ways you should organize digitized sentimental content
  • How focusing on your intent helps you shape your digital legacy
  • How to handle inherited collections or digital files that are "trapped" on antiquated machines/formats
  • Why you should start locally to find a archival service via APPO Partners APPO Partners or Save Your Photos
  • A backup related rule of thumb

Bonnie's favorite tidying tip: Set a timer that gives you a sense of urgency and celebrate at the end

What sparks joy for Bonnie: Her dog's morning happy dance :)

Bonnie Shay can be found at www.mariposaphotoorganizing.com . She has a special offer just for Spark Joy listeners. Visit www.maraiposaphotoorganizing.com to sign up for Bonnie’s newsletter and receive the Top 12 ways to curate your photo collection.

You can also connect with Bonnie on Facebook and Twitter


  • "Let's look at the best of the best that tells your story and focus on that."
  • "Any pile of stuff...represents a pile of decisions left unmade."
  • "We don't necessarily want the item, but you want to remember the sentimentality of it."

You can find Karin Socci at The Serene Home
You can find Kristyn Ivey at For the Love of Tidy