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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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How to Say Goodbye and Let Go With Love

It’s hard to say goodbye and let go. At least it is for me. As a matter of fact, for some, it’s so painful that they avoid it at all costs. After all, who likes pain? There are times, however, when we can no longer hold on. We learn to lean in towards the sadness and accept that it’s part of life. When it’s time to let go, we often feel loss. We’re aware that things are changing. We might pine for the past. There are ways to let go in a loving, compassionate, gentle manner.  What works will be unique for each of us. This week, as I prepared myself to say my final goodbyes to our family home of 57 years, I identified some strategies that helped me along the way. I hope that some of these ideas will help you when it’s your time to let go.


10 Gentle Ways That I Learned to Let Go . . .

1. Writing For Others During the house organizing, clearing and sale process, which began about seven months ago, I began sharing some of the discoveries with you through my blog. How to Improve Life Balance When Organizing Your Stuffis one of the posts from that series. Being able to write about my experiences in this way and have a dialogue with those experiencing similar things helped me to process what was happening, connect with others in a larger way, and let go little by little, one blog post at a time.



2. Talking With Loved Ones I don’t know what I would have done without the love, support and wonderful listening ears of my husband, daughters, siblings and other family members and friends. Collectively they listened as I navigated the good days and challenging ones. They commiserated and offered their help and support. It was their supportive listening that was most appreciated. They supported me as I went through the challenges of transitioning out of the family home and letting go of it and all of its contents. 


3. Practicing MindfulnessFor the last year and a half, I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation and living more mindfully. While there were a few months that I took a break from meditating daily, I’ve been pretty consistent. The practice has helped me to focus on the present, make peace with the past, and not get too anxious about the future. This practice of being present and mindful of the moment has also helped me beyond measure with letting go of the family home and all that was within it. We have now, not then. We have now, not the future. We can hold our memories close, but if we focus too much on the past, we’ll miss what’s right in front of us…the present. Mindfulness practice has taught me that letting go is a path to being present.


4. Laughing Out Loud The day of the final house clear out, Junkluggers had just emptied the remaining furniture from my dad’s office. Things looked stark and sad. Something on the floor caught my eye that had been hidden under the credenza. I bent down to pick it up and discovered the “Oy vey!” computer key I’d given to my dad years ago. My entire mood lightened. I burst out laughing. In that moment I felt the love, support and shared sense of humor my dad and I always had together. The laughter helped me let go a bit more that day and know that things were going to be just fine. During those challenging times of letting go, don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh.


5. Documenting the Process As many of you know, I love taking photos. Thank you, iPhone! During this period, I took tons of photos as I sorted, edited, sent off, and let go of stuff. As I worked, I often shared images of my latest discoveries with my siblings, husband or kids. Together we enjoyed the memories they invoked. Documenting and sharing things in this way helped me to more easily let go of the physical items. 


6. Writing in My Journal Different from writing the blog posts, which were for public view, I also wrote in my private journal during this time. I’ve been journaling for 46 years. While I’m pretty open on the blog, my personal journal provided me with another venue for processing feelings and thoughts about what was happening. Writing in this personal way helped me to let go.

Below is a passage from one of my journal entries:



What I understand is that letting go doesn’t mean we have to forget. It just means that we release ourselves from holding on. We release ourselves from an obligation or responsibility or expectation. We make a bit more space in our heart and mind for new energy to flow. We lift the anchor. We sail on.



7. Saying Goodbye With My Daughter The week we closed on the house, my oldest daughter, Allison, came with me to see the house for her last time. I knew I’d see the house again that week. But having her there to say her goodbyes, to take photos (yes,we took selfies) and to reminisce together, meant so much to me. Being there together side-by-side gave me great comfort. I let go a little more that day.





8. Documenting the Memories On the day before the closing, I went to the house to say my final goodbyes. As I pulled into the driveway and walked up the path, a cute, brown bunny hopped up the path and led me to the door. It was so funny and unusual to have this bunny escort. I went through every inch of the house taking short 20-60 second clips of each room. As I filmed, I talked out loud about what I was seeing and remembering. I walked around the first floor, then the basement, then to the top floor, and finally outside. I took my time and soaked in what I was seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling. The past and the present were melding into one big picture, a picture that I would now have to hold in my mind and heart. I walked. I talked. I filmed. I cried. I said my goodbyes and let go.


9. Providing Safe Passage In the organizing industry we have a term, “safe passage.” It has to do with letting go. If you’re able to find a good home for the things that you’re letting go of, you’ll feel better and more at peace with saying goodbye and letting go of those things. During the family home clear out and sale, this was definitely true for me. It was easier letting go of the physical contents when I knew it was going to someone that would benefit by or appreciate it.  Having the home itself be bought by a family that would love and care for it as much as we did was also important to us. For the new family and to prepare the home itself for safe passage, I compiled an accordion file of house info essentials including keys, manuals and vendors. I also wrote them a note and left a gift basket. Doing these things made me feel that the house and its contents received safe passage, which provided some closure and allowed me to more easily let go.


10. Letting Go With Love The last gesture that helped me let go and say my final goodbye was to make something. For me, creating is something that I enjoy, but also something that helps me process my thoughts and emotions. While there are many outlets that I use like writing or photography, for this particular goodbye, I chose to make a video that blended music, words and images of the house and family in the past and present. I shared it with my family and friends, and am now sharing it with you. Different from the other videos that I create, this one is long (close to 9 minutes.) So don’t feel obligated to watch it. It’s not a marketing piece, which I intentionally keep short. It’s a piece about love, family, and letting go of my childhood home of 57 years.

Click below to watch "Goodbye, home." video . . .

Big exhale, folks. I’m feeling lighter and happier knowing that our home is in good hands, that all the stuff has found good homes, and that life will continue on in its beautiful, wondrous ways. What resonated with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts about letting go. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (28)

Oh, Linda - what a wonderful video....I watched the whole thing!! I loved the beautiful piano music that played throughout. I'm sure your home was filled with so much music!

Your video is a wonderful tribute to your home of 57 years, your parents, your family, the memories, and all the little details (I think that was my favorite part!).

Thank you for sharing your special goodbye...

April 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJocelyn

This is a lovely tribute. Full of wonderful ideas and thoughts on this very difficult process. I agree that it's easier to let go when you know that someone will enjoy the home or items you are passing on. When my siblings and I cleaned out and sold our family home the buyer was less than lovely and argued with us repeatedly. We almost didn't want to let her have our home but it was necessary to sell it.

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

What a beautiful video! When my older girl was headed off to college, her sister made a similar video to the song "Moving Day" by Bill Harley. It had been on a CD we had when the girls were growing up. I think the three of all cried through it. When we sold the family home, all of us took a walk through and cried. Crying is a wonderful release, and somehow the end of tears brings closure. Love to you as you end this chapter... AND, congratulations on a huge job well done!

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Jocelyn- I'm so glad that you liked the video and appreciated the music and the "details" part. You're so right that our house was always filled with music. It was a constant and while there were quiet moments, there were more music-filled ones. I know you've gone through letting go of your family home recently too. I loved that photo you shared with you and your siblings together at your home while you were clearing out. It's hard to say goodbye, but when you have support like that, it sure makes it easier.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Diane- Thank you so much. So many people have been through this process of letting go of the family home. I'm sorry that your experience with the buyer for your parents' home wasn't positive. I can imagine how difficult that was for you and your siblings. But at the same time, as you said, the time was such that you had to sell the home. And I completely understand that. It's costly to keep a house going and there are many factors involved in deciding when and why to sell. So while we aim for what we'd ideally like to do, it doesn't always work out that way.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Seana- Thank you for your kind, supportive words. It is the end of a chapter. But what is it they say? When one door closes, another one opens.

I love your story about how your daughter commemorated her sister leaving the nest. What a beautiful thing! It's incredible how music connects us immediately to other times. It can bring up so many emotions.I can imagine the crying-fest that you had together as the music played. And walking through the family home together before you sold it and again, crying. You're so right that the act of crying is a great release and the tears are healers that bring closure.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

It's wonderful when a family can come together to support the person who is actually doing the purging and decluttering. I had that as well when my mom and dad passed. It brought us together even though we live over an hour away from one another. We started a holiday gathering and a summer gathering since they had passed so we can keep in touch. It's been over 10 years now and it's lovely to see family and enjoy their company.

I'm glad you had support in your process. Thank you for sharing your process.

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

Linda, I really appreciate how you've involved us in this transition every step of the way. You are an inspiration to anyone who is going through similar situations.

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Linda, such a heartwarming video! Admittedly, I cried as I understood your tug in letting go of a houseful of memories and have actually seen so many of your memories on FB (my favorite is your Mom hoyfully singing and playing the piano). Having already walked this walk myself, everything about your process resonated with me, down to 9 out of your 10 steps. My regret is that I did not take a video walk through. There is something about a "live" story that a "still" pic can never provide. To no surprise, you checked off all the boxes.

Noone can actually understand this cathartic process until they experience themslves. Truth be told, each and every one of us will make an eventual move one day and will have to face the sadness of letting go. Thank you for sharing your personal story in the way in which you did. It was a beautiful tribute to your home and heart.

I expect that your new diggs will have some "purple" power somewhere or everywhere :)
Best of luck in your new chapter. Hugs xoxo

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

@Sabrina- It's a beautiful thing to hear that you created other getting the family together traditions after your parents passed away. It's so important. I'm glad to know that you had a supportive family too when it was time to clear out your family home.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet- I'm glad to know that you liked hearing about the transition and stages. It's helped me to be able to share. I hope it will help others. In reading the comments here and along the way, I know that many others have gone through or are going through similar things. It's not easy, but there are ways to make it meaningful and a bit easier, as I suggested. But everyone has their own way of handling goodbyes, loss and letting go.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Nancy- Thank you so much. I'm happy to know that you were touched by the video and some of the other memories I've been sharing along the way. It sounds like you have walked a similar path. And kudos to you for doing so many things to help yourself along the way. Doing 9 out of the 10 things I mentioned is awesome! Way to go, Nancy!

You make a good point that "one day" each of us will make a move and experience the sadness of letting go of the familiar. The house that I've described was my parent's house and not the one I live in. However, as you imagined, both my parent's house and the house I currently live in both have their share of purple. Hugs back to you, my friend.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

A lovely tribute, Linda. Thanks for sharing.

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndi Willis

@Andi- Thank you for stopping by to check it out. Glad you liked it.

April 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This is really beautiful Linda. What a great way to honour your family home. I love how you have been able to go through this process with your family. I love all the different things you did and the steps you took in order to let go. What a journey you have been on.

April 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKim

@Kim- Thank you so much. It has definitely been a journey...and one I'd never quite been on before. Elements of it were familiar, like remembering when I helped my mom clear out both of my grandmother's homes. But it all felt quite different this time around, which makes sense because it was different. I hope that the sharing provides an opening to help others going through something similar.

April 24, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels


What a beautiful tribute to your family and the house that has been the place of memories and life events for your family and friends. Thank you for sharing this with us your readers. Now you are off to your next journey. May it also bring you joy and laughter.

April 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Prince

Linda Samuels is incredible. As a professional interior decorator and stager, I helped Linda present her parent's house to buyers. But it was Linda's incredible spirit, strength and fortitude that made this entire process happen - she let go with grace and gratitude and that's is how she lives her life! Thank you for the privilege of working with you Linda.

April 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna Cohlan

@Terry- Thank you so much for your kind words. I remember a while ago when you commented on one of the "house" posts and talked about "Baby House Syndrome." It helped me so much knowing I wasn't alone and I began to understand why it was so hard for me to let go. I'm already enjoying the next part of the journey seeking joy and laughter as we cross paths often.

April 24, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Joanna- You made me smile. Thank you for that. I appreciate your lovely words. In getting the house ready, I needed a team. And you were an essential part of that team. If it weren't for you and the practical and detail suggestions and resources, I never would have gotten through this as I did. Your advice and support were invaluable. And your suggestions helped us to show the house in its best light. My deepest gratitude to you.

April 24, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Loved that your daughter was there ... to be present and share the moment with you. Thanks for giving sharing your memories with us. Simply beautiful.

April 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Lee

@Deb- It was very special that Allison was there with me to say that particular round of goodbyes. Continuing to treasure that.

April 25, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love reading all these lovely letting go ideas. While it is very hard to let go, there are so many ways we learn from loss and take baby steps toward the future. In letting go we are also leaning toward the future. I am thinking of you all as this transition occurs.

May 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- So much of the organizing work we do has "letting go" at its core. We are letting go of something to make space for something else. And there are times when it is "hard." We face loss and frustration and fear and disappointment. But we also can bring about wonderful change, lightness, and joy. As you said, it's all in those baby steps. Thank you for your kind words. And by the way, it looks like you had an amazing conference. I kept seeing one happy face after the next Congratulations!

May 2, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I loved the “goodbye house” video...lovely video, lovely house — do you realize how often you used the word “crazy” in your descriptions? It didn’t seem so crazy to me! This gives me some ideas for getting some closure on our family home, which we had to leave suddenly in January of 2017 due to a landslide. It’s uninhabitable but still ours, with a garage full of the stuff we didn’t take on move-out day. Maybe we could do something like you did before things are finally wound up.

May 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

@Carolyn- Thank you for your kind words about the video and house. About the "crazy" word. I didn't realize while I was taping, but after when I pieced things together I heard how often I used that as my adjective. In reflecting back on my use of it, I think I unconsciously used it as an endearing term, even though it may not have sounded that way.

I'm so sorry to hear about your home and the landslide you experienced. I can imagine how traumatic that must have been to have to leave so suddenly. Making the video was very cathartic. If it feels like the right tool for you, I highly recommend trying it.

Wishing you all the best as you navigate the final closure of your family home.

May 4, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Amazing, joyful video, has me in tears. What a wonderful celebration of life...the life of your home...and the life of your family. Not only was the content beautiful, but the way you brought it all together, "the details", is highly effective. A big hug of thanks! Vicky

May 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVicky

@Vicky- Thank you for your wonderful message. I'm so glad that you were touched by the emotional content of the video and how things fit together. It's interesting that you mentioned the "details" section. It's those little things that we often take for granted, yet I just didn't want to forget those special parts of our home that I always noticed, yet were subtle features. Thank YOU for noticing and appreciating them too. Hugs back to you.

May 11, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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