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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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What If It's Time to Let Go?

The time has come to let go. Perhaps you’re ready and are happily anticipating that sense of freedom. Maybe you’re ambivalent and not sure what it will feel like on the other side. You could also be feeling sadness, impending loss, or resistance. Guess what? All of these feelings around letting go are perfectly normal. There are so many reasons why and what we let go of. Depending on the circumstance, our feelings and attitude about letting go vary wildly.

Maybe you’re moving and need to downsize. Maybe you’re feeling burdened by too much stuff and want to lighten the load. Maybe it’s a new season (yes, spring!) and the change has incentivized you to let go, declutter and organize. Maybe the kids are grown with their own lives and it’s time to let go the things they’ve left behind. What is prompting you to let go now?

Letting go is a regular part of the work I do with clients. While the process is stuff-focused, it’s rarely about the stuff. We might be editing and letting go of for example clothing, books, papers, toys, household goods, art or memorabilia. However, what we’re really doing is making room for the present, releasing things from the past that are making us feel stuck, opening up space in our homes and hearts, and readying ourselves for the next phase of life. So it’s kind of a big deal.  While decisions get made one, small item at a time, the positive outcomes and the feelings surrounding those decisions are huge.

So why is it so hard to let go, even if we know that the outcome will be positive? We’re human. We like to hold on to what we know and understand. There’s comfort and security in that. In general, most of us (not all) don’t like change. Or at least we don’t readily run towards it.

We’ve all experienced or know those who have experienced letting go of things, people, places and stages of life. This month for me is an especially big letting go time. You may have read some of the posts I wrote in the fall and winter about preparing for sale our childhood family home of 57 years. In less than a few weeks it will be sold. A new family will move in by the end of the month. Each time I’ve spent in the house these past months, I’ve been preparing myself for the ultimate letting go.

I am so grateful for all of the wonderful, happy memories that are attached to our family home. I’m grateful for the grounding support and stability the home has given to me and so many family members and friends. While I won’t miss having to care for or maintain the house any longer, I will miss being in the beautiful quiet and memory-filled spaces of our family home.

I know it’s time to let go. My heart is full with tremendous gratitude, love, and yes…sadness. Life goes on. We can’t move forward without letting go.

What are your thoughts about letting go? I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (12)

We let go of our family home about 5 years ago. It was hard. The children cried. I was very sad. I still haven't been back to the neighborhood, though I've heard that the new owners have made some changes. Naturally, because this is their beginning as much as it was our end. I find comfort in reminding myself that I don't really "own" anything. I am a temporary manager of things and places, and it is my privilege to enjoy them. Finding a way to keep old memories helps me let go, as does looking ahead to what might be coming next.

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I've moved so many times in my life that I've never experienced what you're going through now. My family moved when I was 6, 15, 20 and 21; I lived in two houses with my first husband, and my second husband and I have shared four homes together. I guess I've had a lifetime of letting go!

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Seana- I can feel that sadness that you've expressed with letting go of your family home just five years ago. You have such a healthy attitude about ownership and the temporary nature of it...the privilege of enjoyment too. Learning how to move on from forever is a necessary part of life.

April 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet- Wow! You've had a lot of practice and must be a letting go expert. I'm also imagining that you're a more flexible person because of all the changes you've made.

April 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Congratulations on the sale of your family home.

There are certain things I don't mind letting go of, but somethings that have private information on them takes me a lot longer to clear out. In March, right after we do our taxes, I like to pull out the boxes of kept papers and shred papers that are old. It's therapeutic and it gives me more space quickly. Also, I'm able to reuse the boxes for another year. win-win

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

Wow! This is a big change for your family. Even when you know it's time to let go, it's still a challenge. Congratulations and hugs!

April 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Sabrina- Thanks so much. It's been a journey to get to this point, but we've almost arrived. You make an excellent point that there are "certain things" you don't mind letting go of. It's great to remember that and know which items (like old tax papers) give you joy to release. We recently let go of the sleeper sofa that we've had for 16 years. I thought I'd be sad to let it go because we had so many great memories of sleepovers and conversations with family and friends. However, someone that needed it got it, which made me happy. And now we have some new "memory" making furniture in its place.

April 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Ellen- Yes. This is a very big change for the family. I appreciate the congrats AND the hugs.

April 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Letting go is a process. Just when you think you are done, you start on another level. I am so glad you are moving on. Getting a house sold and cleared is a big project. Congrats on reaching this milestone, Linda!

After clearing my parent's house, I still had 4 boxes of financial info, plus 6 banker boxes of family memorabilia, photos, and family history. I am now actively tackling this process and it is also a letting go. It is bittersweet, but also a great time to reminisce with immediate family and even connect with childhood friends, former family neighbors, and distant relatives.

April 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Prince

@Terry- Absolutely! There are definitely levels or layers of letting go. Thank you for your kind words of support. I remember you developed a term for letting go of the family home. And now I'm forgetting what it was, but it was beautiful. Can you remind me?

It sounds like you're experiencing another phase of letting go after clearing your parent's house. I understand the bittersweet part. But I can see you've found the silver lining with using this time to remember and reconnect with family and friends. That's beautiful. I wish you all the best as you navigate the 10 remaining boxes.

April 12, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Letting go is hard so I try to make it a little easier. I think about letting go even before the stuff reaches my home. Where will I put it? What do I have to get rid of to get this new thing? Do I really love it? Will I really use it regularly? Do I have something else that's similar in style or function? So usually by the time my internal interrogation is over, I've already let go. LOL ;)

I also remind myself that stuff is just stuff. It's people and experiences and amazing memories that I care the most about. Of course, that was hard when we moved from the home my kiddo spent the first few years of life. I was ready to move but the happy memories made in that home kinda made me sad. Ironic, I guess. Interesting to feel such a mix of emotions and I had to peel them back to focus on the new memories we'd make.

April 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Lee

@Deb- What great pre-letting go questions you shared. I love your phrase, "internal interrogation." And I guess that sometimes it feels that way as we try to decide what are the things we want to keep (or not) in our lives. True too, that "stuff is just stuff." Yet as you so poignantly described, we can have deep emotions that get tied to our the home that held so many beautiful memories. There is often a certain sadness associated with letting go, even if we're moving on to something better. It's still a type of loss. I hope that you're making all kinds of beautiful, happy memories in your new home. I'm guessing that you are.

April 13, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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