Getting rid of things is often easier said than done. How do you practice acceptance and letting go when it comes to decluttering your home? How do you emotionally let go of something that holds memories or sentimental ties? Keep reading to learn some helpful tips, tricks, and strategies to learn how to let go.
Many of us hold onto physical things that we don’t necessarily need, or even particularly want. They fill our closets, collect dust on our shelves, sit unseen in boxes piled high in corners. And even though we haven’t touched them in years, we can’t seem to let them go.
Letting go of things can be hard – especially when they hold memories or sentimental ties. Gifts from close friends and family members who are no longer with us can be difficult to let go of. But by keeping them, we weigh ourselves down. All that stuff holds us back from living our best lives, and finding the freedom we need to move on.
How do you find balance between preserving those memories and keeping those sentiments close – without overwhelming your space with stuff?
It might not be easy, but it’s definitely possible.
Wondering where to begin? Get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!
Why is it so hard to let go of things?
“Just get rid of it.”
If only it were that easy.
It’s common to find yourself torn between the desire to get rid of clutter and reclaim your space – and the emotional attachment you’ve developed with that stuff that’s causing you to feel so overwhelmed.
A few examples of that stuff might include…
- Keepsakes and sentimental items you’ve received from your parents – things like family heirlooms, nostalgic knick-knacks, old furniture, and boxes and albums filled with old photos.
- Items from a spouse or another family member who is no longer with us. Their belongings can represent our last physical connection with them, and the thought of parting ways can be too much to manage.
- Things you’ve held onto from your kid’s early years – old schoolwork, art projects, toys, and clothes that have been collecting dust. You kept them around so you could gift them to your child one day, when they grew up – but they don’t actually want any of that stuff, and you can’t bear the thought of getting rid of it.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. We develop attachment to our belongings for all kinds of reasons, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to categorizing them – or getting rid of them.
But regardless of what you’re holding onto or the reason behind it, all of us can make a change and learn how to let go.
How to find freedom from what’s holding you back
If you’re tired of being held back by the stuff in your house, you aren’t alone.
And while it might be difficult, it is absolutely possible to make a change. You can say goodbye, and reclaim your space – and your freedom.
While there’s no universal solution, there are a few steps that you can take to help you navigate the process.
Understand why you’re so attached.
The first step toward finding freedom from what’s holding you back is to really dig deep and understand the why.
Why is it so hard? Why have you held onto this stuff for so long? Why can’t you just get rid of it?
In some situations, the answer is obvious and easy. In others? You might need to do a little soul-searching to get to the real reason.
If you can’t clearly articulate the why, consider journaling. Sometimes, it’s easier to put our thoughts and emotions into the physical world. Then, we can step back, distance ourselves from them, and revisit with a clear mind.
Another tool that might help? The Clutter Keeper Declutter Your Mind Workshop, which can help you unravel the mess in your mind to gain clarity and focus.
Find ways to capture memories – without holding onto physical stuff.
The reason we struggle to let go of stuff is tied to the memories and sentiments we’ve attached to it.
Fortunately, there are other ways to preserve those memories forever. And while still letting go of the physical clutter that surrounds you.
A few ways you can do this might include:
- Take pictures. Print them and store them. They will stay with you forever and take up less space than boxes. Pair each photo with a brief note on why something is meaningful, or share a memory it’s tied to.
- Consolidate sentimental items into one meaningful thing to keep. If you’re holding onto boxes of clothes passed down from your parents, consider taking some fabric from some of those pieces and turning them into a quilt that you can keep for years to come.
- Create a memory box. Keep the box small. This will preserve the memories and save space. You can’t keep everything. But it’s a good way to keep what’s really important.
Donate or sell – instead of throwing stuff away.
Getting rid of stuff isn’t always easy, especially when it holds sentimental value. The idea of simply throwing away our loved ones’ belongings or items that feel special can be painful.
In many cases, it’s easier to part with that stuff if you know it’s going to be put to good use and appreciated in the future.
Donating unneeded stuff like clothes and furniture can be a great way to help someone in need who will truly appreciate the gesture. Another way to ensure things won’t end up discarded? Sell them. This can be especially effective if the items you’re holding into are antiques or hold onto their value.
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