5 Ways to Make Letting Go of Your Stuff Easier

A few tips to help make saying goodbye to your stuff less painful.

Have you been struggling to let things go in your life? Fall is the perfect time of year to release things from your environment.


Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love pumpkin-flavored anything, the New England foliage takes my breath away and I'm partial to boots and scarves over shorts and sandals. There are many seasonal quotes I'm fond of related to the fall season, but this one sticks out for me:

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.

-Anonymous


Of course, this got me thinking about our clutter and the ability to get rid of things. Don't get me wrong, it can be HARD to part with your belongings whether you're tossing them in the trash, donating them to a charity, or even passing them along to a friend or family member. But so often people keep things past their prime for one reason or another.


I've come up with 5 ways to make the process of letting go a bit easier:


1. Do a victory lap

I can't remember where I first came across this expression, but I LOVE it! The idea is to have a last hurrah with your item before parting with it. It's like giving it a little going away send-off. Wear that frilly dress stuffed in the back of your closet one more time for a night on the town or throw a fancy dinner party with those dishes that were your grandmother's but just don't go with your style. You get the idea.


2. Write a break-up letter

This is an idea I heard from Courtney Carver, a minimalist, and creator of Project 333 for creating capsule wardrobes. When something no longer serves you for whatever reason (it's me not you!), put pen to paper and write it out. Recap the great times you had with your belonging or the memories you'll have because of it, but let it down gently. You could then save the letter for a period of time before you're good and over it.


3. Take a picture

You've probably heard this frequently, but a picture of a 3ft vase is a heck of a lot easier to store than the vase itself. Having an image of the item is sometimes all someone needs to be able to let the physical object go. You could even create a scrapbook or photo album of similar things. This would be good if you have parents or relatives who are downsizing and there are memories connected with furniture and decor, but no one needs another chair, couch or mirror. You could photograph specific items and then record your memories or funny stories alongside the picture in the book.


4. Create a shrine

When you have a large grouping of items or even a collection instead of keeping the whole kit and caboodle, choose some key pieces and create a little shrine to honor the memory. I once read about a retired teacher who had boxes of old textbooks, professional awards, student papers, diplomas, etc. He chose a few key pieces including his favorite red correcting pen and created a little homage to his life as an educator and was able to let the rest go.


5. Say thank you

This concept comes from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She is a Japanese professional organizer who believes that you should express thanks to an item when you're getting rid of it as a way to show gratitude for the purpose it served in your life. In Japanese the word for thank you is "Arigato" and I've seen many a video of her bowing her head to items and uttering this simple phrase. It's a nice way to acknowledge what the item meant to you and its usefulness. Ie: Thank you ratty winter coat for keeping me toasty warm at countless hockey games while cheering on my son.


I leave you with another fall-related quote:

Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.

-Jim Bishop



Remember that letting go can be difficult at first but the more you release items you no longer need from your life, the richer you'll feel as you surround yourself with the things you truly love, use and cherish.


What will you release this season?