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Let Go of Stuff

The Fine Art of Letting Go

When I was younger I can remember my step-mother reminding me that when I wanted to get something new I needed to make room for it by getting rid of the old. The item in question of course was a favorite sweatshirt of mine that had rips and tears in it. The shirt was totally in fashion those days (don’t ask me when!) but she was right….I needed space to put the new clothing in. The reason I was reminded of this little slice of my life was that now with the new reality all of us are facing, like many, I’ve had time to do a wholesale decluttering of everywhere in my space ….starting with my closet. You know what I discovered, besides a pair of shoes I’d forgotten I even had? Letting go of stuff is harder than you might think!

brown ceramic coffee mug on book

I’m Not Alone

There had to be a method to my madness with this decluttering, cleaning, throwing out, giving away frenzy. I would approach it with a plan. So, like most I turned to the Internet for useful information and I stumbled upon several psychological reasons why it is difficult to get rid of stuff. Most of them agree that it boils down to any or all of the following: 

  • No time.
  • Lack of Motivation.
  • You save things “just in case”.
  • connectionto something.
  • You recall the amount of money you spent on that item!

The take-away from all this is that everyone procrastinates when it comes to cleaning out their space to make room for the new. Equally true is the sense of accomplishment you feel when it’s completed. 

How to Let Go of Your Things

assorted-color apparels

Maybe you have items that have sentimental value to you but they are taking up valuable space. Experts suggest you take a picture of that item. That way you can still remember it and the memory associated with it without it taking up needed real estate in your closet. Another good thing to ask yourself is whether the item in question is something you really ever use, or will ever likely use. If you are like me you have made a purchase or two with the intention of using said item, but there it sits in all its glory. If the items are still in good condition consider donating them to a charity rather than filling up the landfill. Someone else may actually get around to using that item. 

Can we talk about holding on to something that’s broken because you KNOW you can fix it? The chances are that is not going to happen and the price you’d have to pay to have it fixed for you is often more than what the item cost you to buy it originally. So. Not. Worth. It. 

Delegate, Designate and Donate

One of the best pieces of advice I received many years ago was to categorize everything I am getting rid of into several different groups: Keeping, Donating, Giving Away and Trashing.  I try hard to have very few items going into the trash pile because I just don’t want to contribut to the landfill chaos if I can help it. Going from closet to closet I have managed to get these designations in hand. I also advocate delegating some responsibility to other members of the family because they live there too and you just want to share the fun (ha). If you have children this is such a great way to teach them about making room for the new by getting rid of the old (see the lesson stuck with me!). It also gives you precious, often teachable moments with your kiddo as you discuss why something should stay and why something should go. Teaching them how to make decisions about things is a critical life skill and will stand them in good stead well beyond simply deciding if it is time to donate the Tonka truck and old Xbox games. 

Letting Go Feels Good

Once you get your closets under control you may find yourself wanting to tackle other areas of your home. But beyond the Konmari effect that comes from cleaning and organizing everything is the mind-clearing, soul-lifting benefit from decluttering. It is as if you are clearing away the mental clutter as you clear away your physical clutter. And, it can be said that letting go of things that no longer serve you, fit you, are broken, or you never bought in to works as much for relationships and self-image as much as it does for old shoes, chipped coffee cups or craft projects that, let’s face it, are never going to be done. My last thought on this decluttering adventure is that letting go is a freeing experience everyone should embrace. Is anyone else hearing the song from Frozen playing in the background? 

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