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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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« Simple Ways to Embrace Your Fresh Start With Power of Two | How to Make Conditions Better for Your Fresh Start »

7 Useful Resources That Will Help You Let Go and Get a Fresh Start

An essential part of getting a fresh start is being able to let go. It’s challenging to move forward when we hold on to life’s physical stuff, habits, thoughts, or relationships that don’t support who we are or where we’re going. Even though we may intellectually understand this, doing something about it isn’t always so simple. Our belongings often come with emotional attachments, which make it more difficult to part with them. Of course, there’s no need to let go of things just to let go. However, if you’re in a transition, want less stuff, or are clearing out your parents’ home, then releasing to move forward is an integral part of that process.

Last week, I was invited back as a guest on WNYC’s “All Of It” show with the fabulous host, Alison Stewart.

Click here to listen to the podcast.


Listeners had the opportunity to call in and ask their most pressing organizing questions. While we talked about many things, the focus of this show was primarily about clearing out your parents’ home. Alison started the show by reading a passage from her book, Junk, which she wrote after experiencing clearing out her parents’ home of 55 years with her sister and friend.

One of the ideas we discuss in the organizing industry is “safe passage.” What we’ve noticed is that when we help our clients find meaningful homes for the possessions they want to let go of, it eases their emotions and attachments. It helps them feel good about releasing. So for example, giving items to family, friends, or charities that benefit or that the recipients appreciate, provides this safe passage. 

Many excellent resources were discussed during the WNYC show. I’ll share those along with some additional ones.


Resources for Letting Go

1. Art Supplies – Materials for the Arts is a New York organization that collects art supplies, art books, audio and video equipment, beads, jewelry, fabric, flat screen TVs, musical instruments, office supplies, paper, picture frames, power tools, trim and sewing notions, and more. They make the materials available for free to nonprofit organizations with arts programming, government agencies, and public schools.


2. Books  Better World Books is a for-profit e-retailer that collects and sells new and used books online and matches each purchase with a book donation to Book-for-Book. Sales generate funds for literacy and education initiatives in the United States, the United Kingdom, and around the world. Visit their website to find a book drop box near you.


3. Clothing and Household – Many places accept donations of clothing, household items, books, furniture, toys, electronics, and a variety of things. Depending upon your location, some of these organizations will pick-up your items. Resources include:


4. Medical Equipment and Supplies The Afya Foundation supports on-going health missions worldwide with a focus on disaster relief. Recognizing that after surgery, illness or death, families often have unneeded medical supplies and equipment, they accept these supplies and give them a second life by donating them to others in need. They will take underpads, adult diapers, gauze, IV supplies, manual wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, and more.


5. Records (LPs and More)– WFMU is having a Record Fair April 26-28, 2019 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. They are collecting interesting and eclectic vinyl records and CDs. They will use the records to fill in their music library and generate funds for the station. 

The Archive of Contemporary Music is a non-profit that collects and preserves recorded popular music and music-related materials from around the world. This includes all music formats (LPs, CDs, 8-tracks, etc.), music related memorabilia, posters, personal papers, press kits, sheet music, songbooks, books, videos, and more.


6. Recycling and Trash – When clearing out a home, heavy lifting will be involved. The Junkluggers are an excellent resource for taking away trash, donations, and recycling. They aim to donate as much as possible and will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt. When I was cleared out my parents’ home of 60 years, they were my go-to source.


7. Reflections Letting go often involves the physical process of removing things from their environment. In points 1-6, I provided you with resources for doing this. Another aspect of letting go is navigating the emotional part. Like Alison Stewart, I also cleared out and sold my parents’ home this past year. It was an emotional process and a big learning experience. It’s one thing to help others, it’s quite another to manage a project like this for your own family. It gave me a deeper appreciation of the emotions and challenges my clients experienced when I helped them. While I wrote many posts during this process, for my final post in the series, How to Say Goodbye and Let Go With Love, I shared ten gentle ways that I learned to let go. 


Behind the Scenes at WNYC

To listen to WNYC's "All Of It" January 18th podcast with listener questions, their stories, my responses, and more, click here. My segment is the first 20 plus minutes.

To move forward and get a fresh start, letting go happens. Your focus and energy will be on physical possessions or emotional attachments. It helps to have tools and resources. Do any of these resonate with you? Do you have other favorite letting go resources? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (10)

What a great list of resources for people in the "clearing out" stage. I totally agree that finding safe passage for treasures eases the pain of letting go. I am so delighted to learn about The Afya Foundation. What to do with medical supplies has come up a number of times, and I am happy to be able to present this as an option to clients. These kinds of supplies are so expensive, and there are many in need who cannot afford them. So wonderful that you have formed this partnership with Alison Stewart. I'm thinking her book might be a great read for our NAPO-CT Book Club!

January 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Great reference list! Even though most of these aren't in my area, just knowing that there are organizations who accept certain items encourages me to find out more about local options.

January 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Seana- I'm glad you like the list. I know it's just a partial one, but it's a good start. One of the listeners reminded me about The Afya Foundation, which is a terrific place to donate medical supplies and equipment.

It's been fun working with Alison on these shows and I hope to do more. There is interest. What a great idea to read "Junk" for your NAPO-CT Book Club. It's coming out in paperback this month, so the timing is good. I'd love to hear your thoughts after the group reads it.

January 21, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet- I'm happy that you like the list. I'm guessing that you have a ton of incredible donation resources in Canada. It's true that the ones I listed probably don't cover your area. But I bet that our POC colleagues have LOTS of resources to share.

January 21, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

These resources make it easier to let go and match up where items are best used. I am about to refer Junkluggers today to a client!

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Great list. Thanks. I'm always adding to my resource list for myself and clients. Everyone feels good when they find a good home for their no-longer-needed items.

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

This is a wonderful list, Linda. I find, as you have said, that it's much easier for clients to let go of material items when they feel sure that the recipient needs and will appreciate their belongings. This is a hot topic for me - I come across this often and love to know of nationwide resources that fulfill this need. Interestingly, I had coffee with a young man last week who has just opened a junkluggers franchise here in Atlanta. It sounds like a terrific organization!

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Ellen- Junkluggers are terrific! I'm sure your client will be delighted with their service.

@Janet- Thanks so much. I'm with you about continually adding to the resource list. I also love our NAPO-NY chapter and NAPO Westchester Neighborhood groups. If I don't have a resource, there's a good chance that one of my local colleagues will. It's a fantastic network to have!

@Diane- Many thanks. Being a resource for our clients is an essential part of the work we do. Like you, I'm a collector of resources. One of my NY colleagues, Ilene Drexler, who passed away way too young, was one of the most incredible resource collectors I've ever met. She always knew where to go for "it." I admired her ability to be so well informed.

What a funny coincidence that you just met with someone that just opened a Junkluggers franchise. I'm sure he'll do very well, and what a great local resource to add to your list!

January 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great resources, Linda! I like making a list of favorite donation location and what they accept as a reminder. This reminds me where I can go quickly resulting in me letting go of the stuff sooner than later.

January 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Sabrina- Thanks so much :) Great idea to have a handy list, mainly if it acts as a motivator to let go and route the items out. Way to go, Sabrina! This past year I spend some time finally organizing all of the resources I've been collecting all of these years. I opted for a binder system. Even though it's a bit old school, it works effectively for me. It's easy to access when I need to share resources with clients too.

January 23, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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