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« How to Use Spring as Fantastic Clutter Antidote | Reduce Your Overwhelm & Increase Zen With One Powerful Method »
Monday
Apr172017

How to Let Stuff Go & Make Space for Great Experiences

The day unfolded in surprising ways with one thing leading to the next. It began simply by emptying the dishwasher, a standard household organizational chore. As my husband Steve and I put some glassware away, we started to wonder how to better organize the cabinet contents, which had become too cluttered. The wondering prompted some questions such as . . .

 

“Do we need that?”

“Do we use that…ever?”

“Are we ready to let ‘it’ go?”


Before we realized it, we’d gone through several cabinets and amassed a pile of objects that we were ready to part with.

I took photos to see if our daughters might be interested in any of the items. We had some takers. The rest will be donated to Goodwill. Internally I felt lighter from clearing out. The cabinets looked less crowded too. There was no more precarious stacking of mugs or glasses. Instead, everything had space and a place to land. At one time the cabinets had been that way, but as you know, maintaining organization requires tweaking things every so often. And that time had arrived.

Another letting go of stuff happened this weekend with my annual changing from winter/fall to spring/summer clothes. This always presents an opportunity to purge and re-evaluate. Like with the dishes, I asked similar questions with my clothes like,

 

“Will I wear it…ever?”

“Does it fit?”

“Would I buy it today if I saw it in a store?”


For the clothing too, I let go of enough to allow my hanging clothes and drawers to breathe better. Everything felt a bit lighter, myself included.

With the letting go of clothing and kitchenware, and with feeling lighter and less burdened by the stuff of life, Steve and I decided to explore a new place near our home. It was a gorgeous warm and sunny day. We took a long walk in the woods on a beautiful Audubon trail. It was incredible to us that while we’ve lived in the Hudson Valley for over thirty years, we never went to this preserve before, which is only a five-minute drive from our home.

As I walked in the beautiful woods, I thought about how good it felt to let things go. I thought about how calming it was to be in this peaceful, wooded forest with birds chirping, gentle hills and paths to climb, and a scenic pond reflecting the bright, blue sky and fluffy, white clouds on its surface to see. By letting go, I made space to experience something new. By letting go, I made space to mindfully experience nature with joy and wonder without the burden of too much “stuff” weighing me down.

 

 

Have you experienced any letting go this spring? Are you thinking about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (11)

One time that surprised me that was sort of similar was when we were renovating our home. It was such a big project, we had to move out. We rented an apartment that had a small balcony that looked over railroad tracks. Sometimes we joke that we had a higher quality of life when living in that apartment than at any other time. I could clean the whole place in about 2 hours, and there was no long list of projects for my husband to attend to (aside from those involved with the renovation.) We found ourselves just sitting on the balcony watching the trains. We even joked that we should just sell the house. Of course, we didn't, and I have been thankful for my home as I reared 2 children, but I often think we would be wise as we plan our next stage of life to remember that little balcony!

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- What a beautiful story...and so insightful. I love the image of you and your husband "hanging" out on the balcony watching the trains pass. You've highlighted how much energy we spend managing our "stuff." And while I totally understand the joys and benefits of homeownership (and raising a family in the family home), I also understand that amount of upkeep and energy it takes to maintain it. Interesting that you're thinking about that next phase of life and possibly moving to something simpler. I was having that same conversation with our dear friends last night as they were contemplating selling their home to downsize.

April 17, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I find this spring I have been letting go of emotions and negative thoughts. While getting rid of stuff makes me feel great and lighter, the letting go of negative emotions that creep up every so often allows me just to enjoy life. Great topic, Linda. Thanks for sharing.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Sabrina- It's interesting how we focus on different things at different times. I can only imagine how freeing it must feel to let go of emotions and negative thoughts. Those types of things can hold us back and unnecessarily burden the now with preoccupation rather than presence. While it's important to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, learning how to acknowledge them without engaging in the negativity takes practice. I find that practicing mindfulness meditation helps. What works for you?

April 17, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I recently let go of Microsoft Outlook which has been giving me grief for months. Managing my email and tasks is no longer a chore!

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Last August I downsized - or maybe I should say right sized. I have just what I need in this new home. Well, maybe slightly more than just what I need. It feels so comfy and right. Letting go of the extras has been very freeing. Moving into a smaller space with less to take care gives me more time to take care of me, my animals, and my garden - all things I love.

April 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Janet- Bravo to you for letting go of something that gave you months of grief. It can be especially challenging to let go of something so intrinsic to your daily functioning. But it sure sounds like be willing to make a change, you found something that works so much better. What are you using now?

@Diane- What an inspiring experience! You give us hope for those of us that want to "right size," but are feeling ambivalent. I love how the benefits you're receiving from the big change...having more time to care for all things you love because you're spending less time managing the stuff of life. Beautiful!

April 17, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Hi Linda, I just got your book! The Other Side... After reading these comments I was thinking your next book could be STORIES FROM-THE RIGHT SIDE!! A book on people's tranformations from to much to just right! I would buy it! I Love hearing people's story's! I Love the Balcony story so much! I spent some time in France and fell in Love with Balconys! It seems birds have this all figued out! A few feathers a high spot with a view and alls well! I actually live on a ranch in Calif! So we have quite a bit of maintenance! My wish would be if my husband and I could make a plan, schedule for our place it would make things so much easier and clear! No more new projects, just finish up current projects and sit back and enjoy the view!

April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Ledermann

@Jenny- How wonderful to hear from you! I'm so happy that you received the book. Thank you for purchasing it. And I love your suggestion for my next book. What a great idea! I can only imagine how beautiful a place your ranch is...and also the amount of care and attention it needs to be maintained. I also understand the idea of just being, rather than being in a state of constantly doing.

My husband and I were away this weekend and stayed in a suites hotel. It was a compact space with a living room/kitchen area, bedroom/desk area, and bathroom. Quite comfortable. I admit that I was fantasizing a bit about what it would be like to live in a small place with "just enough" space so that the time spent maintaining would be replaced by living...doing or NOT doing.

Projects or not, it is important to stop and "enjoy the view." I hope you find time to do that too. I hope you enjoy the book! Stop by anytime to join the conversation. It was great to hear from you.

April 23, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I've switched to Gmail for email and calendar, and Todoist for tasks. I blogged about my process at http://organizedassistant.com/gmail-tips/

May 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- Bravo again to you for making the switch! I'll check out your post so I can learn more about how you did it and how it's going. Thanks so much for sharing!

May 1, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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