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Control Clutter

3 Excellent Reasons to Embrace Letting Go of Stuff

By December 3, 2023May 25th, 202412 Comments
embrace letting go

Letting go of our belongings is hard for everyone. It doesn’t matter what the thing is, it belongs to us. Sometimes it’s harder to let go if the item in question is tied to a person we love, an event that is particularly memorable, is (in our opinion) worth lots of money, or if we’ve had it forever. It’s not necessary to have a hoarding disorder to feel the discomfort that comes with letting go of something. Intellectually we know that we cannot keep everything we want to in our homes.

Clear and indisputable logic tells us that if we don’t let things go our home becomes too packed with stuff. While letting go of our belongings is difficult, there are things we can do to make it easier for ourselves. Before I share the 3 excellent reasons to embrace letting go of stuff, I want to give you some strategies to make the process easier.

Strategies to make letting go easier

Give it to someone you know who will love it

When you know of someone (maybe a friend) who will love the thing you are thinking of letting go, it becomes almost painless. You can be positive that the object is in good hands and will be treasured. Giving our things to family, friends, or a neighbor who will love them gives us joy.

Give to someone or a place you know who will use it

If it is furniture you are letting go, give it to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They need furniture for the homes they build. You can be confident that the furniture is needed, wanted, and will be appreciated.

Maybe you have a friend or a friend’s child who is moving into a new home and needs certain pieces of furniture which you happen to be letting go. Give the furniture to them and know you’ve helped someone.

Give to a place that needs it

Maybe the things you are giving are baby accessories that you no longer use or need to keep. Give them to a local nursery or daycare center. It will feel great when you remove the things that are clogging up valuable real estate in your home and give them to a place you are confident will get great use out of them.

Now that you have some strategies to make letting go easier let’s talk about why it’s important to embrace this activity.

3 excellent reasons to embrace letting go

1. Clear the negative thoughts from your head

Visual reminders of things you need to deal with create negative thoughts. These thoughts tell you that you are not doing the things you told others (or yourself) you would do. The visual reminders constantly let you know that you are letting yourself down.

When you embrace letting go, you give yourself permission to remove these visual reminders and quiet the negative thoughts inside your head.

2. Create space in your home

Creating space in your home by letting go of the things that no longer support the way you are living your life gives you a sense of freedom. Less stuff means less to take care of, less to clean, and more time to spend with family and friends or doing what you want to do. All of us want to spend more time with the people who are important to us.

In her book, The Happier Hour, Dr. Cassie Holmes points out that to be happy we must spend time with people we care about (and who care about us). Give yourself more time with people by letting go of the excess in your home.

3. Exercising the letting go muscle makes it easier

You know that every time you exercise your body, those muscles become stronger, and they feel less strain. Think of letting go as a muscle. Every time you exercise the letting go muscle it gets a little stronger and a little easier to do.

Start small. See if you can let go of things you’re not using in one small space. Just look for one or two things in that small space that you can release. Ask yourself if you use, need, or love these things. If the answer is ‘no’, put those items in a donation bag and schedule time to deliver them.

Set a good example for your children

An added benefit, if you have children is that children learn many things by following their parents’ example. Teach them how to let go of the things they no longer play with or are broken by letting go of the things that you no longer like or use.

Talk through the process with your children. Help them understand that it’s ok if they don’t like a certain game or toy. They can let it go and another child may love it.

If your children have multiples of a particular toy, and the toy box is overflowing, teach them how to reduce the collection by only holding on to their favorites.

No one knows how to do this without guidance.

There’s a good example of this in the stories Benji’s Messy Room and Suzie’s Messy Room.

To Summarize:

When you make letting go of the things that serve no purpose in your home part of your maintenance routine you make more space for the things that support the way you want to live your life.

Use the strategies in this post to make letting go easier and think about which reason for letting go resonates most with you. Then embrace that reason and start turning your home into one which supports you.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.

12 Comments

  • “Things that serve no purpose” this is exactly right. This is a wonderful, thank you so much for sharing.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I’ve had so many calls lately from prospective (residential) clients who are feeling guilt and shame over their difficulty with letting things go. So often, people are struggling against people giving them logical reasons why they need to reduce clutter but no emotional support for getting over inertia AND dealing with emotions (like doubts and fears). Your post warmly offers the how and various whys, and manages to do so in many fewer words than I could ever try to explain it.

    There’s so much power in letting go; if only more people had the opportunity read advice like this! Great job!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Julie, thank you very much. I think we often (deep down) know why letting go of stuff is a good idea. It’s the doing it that’s hard. That is what I was addressing. I appreciate your kind words.

  • I love the idea of setting good examples for children. It’s hard to ask them to give up toys and books they no longer love if you hold on to everything. When you do put your items into a donation box, talk to your children about what you are donating and why. Otherwise, they probably won’t even notice it.

  • Seana+Turner says:

    It can be hard to see these benefits if we have not gotten into the habit of letting go. I had a client today who talked about feeling pressure to let go, and that she felt she “kept too much.” She’s very sentimental.

    I told her that keeping things is not inherently bad, and that not everyone has to be a minimalist. However, if the keeping is interfering with her life (which in this case, it is), that is a sign that it is time to reevaluate. I completely agree with the idea of strengthening the letting go muscle. It does get easier. I even noticed today, during our three hour work session, that it got easier by the end of the three hours.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I agree, Seana. How much you keep and how much you let go depends on your circumstances and if the belongings are interfering with the way you want to live your life.

  • There is freedom and magic in letting go. The things we allow to enter our spaces sometimes enter and are then never thought about again. It’s OK if there are only a few things in that category. But clutter happens as that category expands. So learning the art of letting go and exercising your letting go muscles is essential for peace of mind.

    You shared compelling reasons for why we hold on and excellent strategies for how to gently let go.

  • Jana Arevalo says:

    These are great ways to help you think about letting go of things. I love your simple statement that we all cannot keep everything! It would be impossible. Thank you so much for sharing, and the new site looks great!

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