It’s probable that if our spaces are burdened by ‘too much’, our mind is equally over-stuffed with the ‘voices’ of those things. Yes, I think our things ‘talk’ to us. Sometimes it’s the collective voice of clutter in a cacophony of “What? You want to sit down and relax here? Who are you kidding?”. Sometimes it’s the critical condemnation of “you can’t fit into me” skinny jeans, or the taunting “are you going to finish me, ever?” craft project in the corner. How about the “I’ve been keeping this for you until you had your own place, and I expect to see it out when I come over” howl of unwanted hand-me-downs? Whatever it is, give yourself permission to let go of things that don’t support the way you want to live now. Here are a few suggestions to help you let go:
1. Be realistic about your interests It’s okay to be who you are. You are no doubt more interested in pursuing some activities more than others. Follow your interests. If you’re not a baker, don’t keep baking supplies. If you’re not a knitter, let the needles and wool go to someone who will use it. Make room for how you want to spend your time.
2. Figure out how much time you are willing to invest Even if you love to do something, get clear about how likely you are to do it. For example, you imaginge creating a dozen photobooks when, in fact, creating one took about thirty hours. Are you really gonna do it? Give your permission to say no and let go.
3. Find ‘outpaths’ For most of us it’s easier to let go of something that still has value if you are able to give it to someone else that can use it. For recurring items – clothing and books are two good examples, invest some time in finding people or places who will benefit from your cast offs.
4. Measure the effort Recouping money is often both a goal and a stumbling block of letting go. The old adage is true: time is money. Money is energy, too. Consider how much time and energy is required to turn your old couch into cash and whether selling or donating it is your best bet. Don’t stall by trying to make difficult matches. Get help from organizers, consignment stores, auction houses and online stores to help you make the best matches. If you haven’t connected by a certain date, say sayonara.
5. Go back to your vision Something is driving you to edit your possessions – perhaps it’s more space for another activity, or a better flow in your home or office. If you’re not clear on the ‘why”, it can be hard to stay motivated. An articulate vision is a helpful tool to keep you inspired to keep culling. If this hasn’t motivated you, let me know what’s holding you back in the comments below. Part 2 – A practical guide to letting go is coming in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.