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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« 10 Letting Go Surprises | Comedy, Knobs & Next »

Exercise Your Letting Go Muscles

Something exciting is happening. While this spring seems to be off to a slow bloom, the letting go energy that often accompanies this season is blossoming big time. Between clients, friends, family, and acquaintances, the permeating mood is about releasing those things that no longer serve us and are weighing us down. I’ve joined the letting go ranks too, as I prepare for a tag sale this spring. It’s time to clear the space, the decks, the closets, and more. It’s time to create room and energy for what we want in our lives, and release the extraneous.

When our spaces are cluttered with things that no longer serve a purpose, those possessions drain our mental and physical energy. Too much of our resources go to thinking about and maintaining them. When objects clutter our spaces, it becomes difficult to easily move through our day. We feel heavy and encumbered. We might even feel hopeless and depressed.

When we let go, what happens? We often experience a sense of lightness, freedom, happiness, clarity, or growth. Positivity envelops us; perhaps a sense of giddiness enters our being. I experience this wonderful shift regularly with my clients. There is a huge sigh of relief when the weight of those paper piles, or crowded closets, or floors covered with overflowing shopping bags are released. The smiles return, as the letting go increases. The things, which once cluttered our rooms and thoughts, are no longer obstacles.

Are you ready to exercise your letting go muscles? Which questions will be most helpful with your releasing journey? Create your mix of prompts and let me know what you discover.

21 Letting Go Prompts

Do you love it?

Do you need it?

Does it need you?

Do you want it?

Does it fit?

Does it look good on you?

Do you have space for it?

What can easily be released?

Has it overstayed its welcome?

If you released it, would you miss it?

If you saw it now, would you buy it again?

Is it taking up too much mental or physical space?

Is it worth the real estate, energy, and maintenance?

Does it support your current needs?

Could someone else use it?

When was the last time you referred to, needed, or wore it?

Do you have other similar items that you like better?

How many is enough?

Are your things preventing growth?

Are your things taking you away from what’s most important to you?

What will become possible for you when you let go?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation. What are your letting go challenges or successes? What helps you release those things that are holding you back?

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Reader Comments (21)

Another question, especially for clothing (including footwear): Is it comfortable?

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Great addition, Janet! Thank you for that one. And of course we could extend the meaning of "comfortable" to beyond clothing. Wonderful. Wonderful!

April 2, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This one is a gem Linda. I am also in a letting go cycle right now -- both physical and mental clutter blocking my way. One of my favorite;s is "where is this going to live?" Or does it have a home?

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

Leslie- It's that time of year, isn't it? Love your fabulous additions to the list...placing "it" or not can help to determine if it deserves the space.

April 2, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

One of my, "very-comfortable-with-a *colorful*- lifestyle-and-language" clients who was newly-married and I came up with these questions while working together years ago. We found these questions to be an entertaining way of dealing with potentially embarrassing / inappropriate clutter. I've used them many times over the years with specific clients.

1. Is this something I'd want my mother-in-law to see me wearing / find in my house?
2. Is this something I'd want my old boyfriend/husband's ex to see me in?
3. If I had kids, is this something I'd be OK if the babysitter discovered?

The list goes on and on but since this is a family-friendly website I'll stop.

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeralin Thomas

Geralin- Your fabulous list of "letting go" questions exude creativity and directness. They get to the heart of the decision-making process in a playful way. Bravo to you and your client for developing these. Thank you for generously sharing them with us. Am adding them to the list, my friend.

April 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Love these questions! My question for myself and my clients, does it make you feel fabulous!

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Ellen- Yes to the "fabulous" factor. Love it! Thank you for adding to the growing list of "letting go" questions. I adore your contribution to the party and appreciate how frequently you share with us. Go Ellen!

April 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

All the great poking questions have already been listed, but I would just add, "before I let something go, would my children ever want this?" Often we hold onto things that we believe our children want to inherit, and most of the time, they don't care at all!

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Love these ideas. I'm researching hoarding for a family member and now I find I'm learning about organization and clearing space. So, for fun I cleared the bathroom counter (mostly my roommates stuff), placed most often used things in a basket, then tackled the linen closet. My first intention being: "I want to clear a space for me". It truely worked. The roommate came home and was thrilled.

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterT.L. Stokes

@Nancy- What a great addition to add to the "letting go" list! This is a sensitive question because inherent in the answer is that something the parent treasured, their children may not. But it also can be an important question to get answered in order to give the parent an opportunity to find other sources to pass on their treasures to.

@T.L.- Wonderful to have you join the conversation...and great to hear how you've cleared space for you and helped organize some of your roommates things. You mentioned that you're researching about hoarding for a family member. If you haven't already found it, ICD is a great resource about hoarding and chronic disorganization. You can find them at

April 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

love all the sides to the questions. from the fun and lively of geralin (which is so critical in the process) to the sensitive and caring of Nancy. We are an insightful bunch. So important to know your client and to know which questions if any will resonate with them. Love this piece Linda.

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

Leslie- It's essential to have various tools to help our clients or selves move forward. As you said, knowing which ones to use and when is key. Love your additions above which falls under the "being practical" category. Great stuff!

April 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

These are some great prompts, important really. If we can better adopt a frugal lifestyle as opposed to one with over-abundance, then we will not only be healthier, but we will feel so much healthier. Less stuff=more clarity.

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimple Works

Simple Works- The threshold varies widely for the amount of "stuff" we're each comfortable with. There's no question that the more we have, the more we have to maintain. For some this isn't a problem. For others, however, that "stuff" becomes the focus of the daily stress. Your formula of "less stuff = more clarity," is interesting. It's also something others (including myself) experience as they allow the letting go process to work its magic. I've seen the shift. When the extraneous "stuff" of life gets released, focus and energy increases. A beautiful thing.

April 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

You're absolutely right. There is a noticeable and steady national increase in the permeating mood of releasing those things that no longer serve us and are weighing us down. Simplifying our lives, shedding the “stuff” that fills our homes is more than a trend. It's everywhere. So many people are noticing the benefits of "being", not "having". Downsizing on purpose is a healthy thing to do, whether we’re forced to in family and life transition, or just because it feels good to de-clutter, simplify and create space in our lives, and let stuff go. Great article Linda.

April 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid at Harvest

David- Wonderful to have you join us. Thank you for your positive feedback and addition to the conversation. Love the distinction you make here about "being," not "having" and the benefits that come along with adopting that philosophy.

April 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Meanfull questions :)

So glad you like them. Do you have a favorite or one you've used that works?

June 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks for such a comprehensive list! I'm sure I will use this with my clients...and myself!

April 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterOlive Wagar

Olive- So glad you found the "letting go" prompts useful. Keep me posted. I'd love to learn which questions were particularly helpful for your clients.

April 14, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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