Letting Go of Stuff

Letting go of stuff - releasing clutter life coach linda

The Shipping Cube with What I Decided to Take

While preparing for my move to Missouri, I decided to sell or give away more than 1/2 of what I owned. For some people this may not have been a big deal, but I lived simply and didn’t have much to begin with.

It was interesting observing how my thoughts about the things in my life shifted as my move date neared. It seemed to come in layers:

The Garage Sale – At this point I was still invested in the value of my things. After all, I was going to sell them and get money in return. I felt like I was being bold in my choices of what to include, not realizing this was only the beginning.

The Remains – When the garage sale was over I was faced with leftover items that I still thought were worth selling. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of just leaving things that I could get money for. This started a period of offering items in my city Facebook group and Craigslist. Some sold. Some didn’t.

Giving – And then, I just let the attachments go. This opened the door to my favorite part of the process, giving things away.  And, not just little things. I would go through my house each day and find more and more to give. I fell in love with giving and it made it much easier to release what I owned. It was also a lot of fun.

Leaving – The buyer of my house had said that I could leave things and didn’t have to clean the house. At first, the idea of doing this was appalling to me. But, when the 100 degree heat wave arrived on my last week, I could only do so much. Packing and loading under the blistering sun was getting to me and making me dizzy. So, when I said goodbye to my house, there were still some things left behind. I feel sure they will find good homes. Everything I was taking to my new life was packed into a 6′ by 7′ pod to be shipped to my new home.

Wanting Less – As I am unpacking and settling into my new home I am being very careful about what I invite in. Surprisingly, I will have even more to give away. Some things just don’t fit my new home or life. Maybe living without them for a couple weeks diminished their importance in my mind. Whatever the reason, they feel like clutter and I just don’t want them anymore.

Balancing with More – I love simplicity, but am not sure I am a minimalist. I have made some purchases recently for my new lifestyle, a new washer and dryer and yard maintenance items like a weed wacker. I also plan on bringing in a new sofa that fits with the colors in my new home. What is different is that I am being very careful about what I bring in. I only want things that I use regularly or love. And, I don’t want very many of them.

Moving provided me with the opportunity for a fresh start. I have empty closets and cupboards with only a few items. Everything is organized and makes sense. (Well, almost everything. I haven’t got to the office yet.) I even have an extra bedroom that I don’t know what I will do with. The one thing I’m sure of is that it won’t become a junk room full of stuff.

My experience of letting go has revealed how tightly I held onto stuff that really wasn’t that meaningful to me. I was also attached to the idea of getting a return on what I thought was valuable. It was only when I let go and began to give things away that I felt truly authentic, peaceful, and was able to have fun with the process.

Even without a lot (although I had more than I thought) I was being smothered and controlled by my things. In the simple living movement about 20 years ago there was a slogan that said, “Don’t Stuffocate!”  I think I get it now.

13 thoughts on “Letting Go of Stuff

  1. Elaine says:

    I ‘get’ your process. Although I’m not moving I have a desire for less and I first tried to sell, but garage sales are not popular in UK. Plus it’s the clutter whilst waiting for sales to go through. So I have just found a new charity shop and church that gives to the vulnerable and helps those in my local area. Letting go and giving are liberating.

  2. Shelly says:

    I felt the same way about giving after a few garage sales. I actually felt better about giving some things away then I would have if we sold them. Congrats on your new simplistic lifestyle.

  3. Jeanine says:

    This post is wonderful! I decluttered last year and experienced a very similar process. In fact, when I got done, I felt like I was moving in again. It was a fresh start!

  4. Coral says:

    This is a good post. My experience is very similar. I too started by selling, then giving away. My criteria was that I wanted things to go to people who would cherish and appreciate them. Going from a 6 bed, 3 storey house to a 2 up 2 down, was challenging. Most furniture went to a charity who support the homeless set up a new home or those who simply cannot afford to furnish their house. Giving feels good. Try it. I am still getting rid of stuff even now. I cannot see me being a true minimalist, but a simpler less cluttered life is the target.

  5. Barbara says:

    Linda I love your post, it is truly inspirational to me! I am having my 26 year old Godson come stay with me for 2 weeks and I need to make room for him and invite his energy into my spare bedroom. That bedroom is a 64 year old’s room of “stored” memories in the form of things that need to find new homes where they can be rightly appreciated other than stored away…

    Thanks and glad the new move is going well!

    • Linda Luke says:

      Barbara: It will be an adventure and you will feel so light at the end. Having someone you love come to stay is a great motivator. Have fun releasing things and with your Godson when he arrives!

  6. Nadya says:

    I love your comment “I fell in love with giving and it made it much easier to release what I owned. It was also a lot of fun.”
    A local cultural center had a beautiful show last year that featured traditional arts, crafts and lifestyle from our local Grande Ronde tribe. One of the traditions highlighted was the Potlach, held for special events, a big give-áway. A great chief would strive to have few personal possessions by the end of their earth walk!
    The display went on to mention that as a crucial difference between natives and the European settlers, who felt success was marked by “dying with the most stuff!”
    You described the progression well. My son-in law is really good at weeding out. They live across from a popular burger and ice cream shop, and have several times set furniture out with a big “free” sign, and it’s quickly gone!

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