How Much Difficulty Do You Have with Letting Go of Stuff?

Key #3

Actually making decisions about letting go of items can be very stressful and anxiety producing.  Being able to trust your instincts about what you want and don’t want is very important, however, this takes practice.  Sometimes we will avoid even trying to discard anything because the anxiety is too much.  There can be a lot of worry about possibly making a mistake.   It can become so difficult to make a decision that it just feels easier not to do anything.

Do you ever find yourself looking at an item and thinking ” hmm…..what should I do with this”?  and then find yourself saying “oh well, I will just put this over here for now” or rather than make a decision just put it back where it was.  This indecision keeps you feeling safe and avoids any anxieties you may have that help you to face the fear that holds you back.  This keeps you stuck and contributes to the clutter and congestion in your home.

There can be a lot of fears around letting go.  Check out this post I did back in 2014.  I talk about letting go of the emotional clutter as well as the physical.  It still fits for me today.  A work in process.  I am currently working on letting go of what is not serving me.  Mostly, this has to do with not being so hard on myself, allowing myself to go with the flow and realizing that I don’t need to do everything or help everyone.

Letting Go

Here are some questions to help you to assess where you are at with your ability to let go:

  1.  To what extent do you have difficulty throwing things away?

2.  How distressing do you find the task of throwing things away?

3.  How strong is your urge to save something you know you may never use?

4.  How often do you avoid trying to discard possessions because it is too stressful or time consuming?

5.  How often do you decide to keep things you do not need and have little space for?

These 15 questions listed in the past three posts relate to how much difficulty you have with discarding, how much clutter is around and how much difficulty you have with letting go.  These are the three areas we measure in the Clearing Clutter Support Group and everyone makes progress.

What areas are most challenging for you and what emotional clutter are you currently working on letting go of?  Please answer in the comments below.

About Kim

Kim Tremblay is a Master Organizer and a Clutter Coach. She has worked with individuals helping them clear the physical and emotional clutter from their lives since 2008. Kim founded and co-facilitated a Clearing Clutter Support Group which has helped hundreds of individuals to make positive changes in their lives. Kim is currently working virtually with clients helping them to clear the emotional and/or physical clutter from their lives. Kim is available to speak to your group about all things organizing.
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6 Responses to How Much Difficulty Do You Have with Letting Go of Stuff?

  1. Seana Turner says:

    When clients ask, “What can I do with this?” I usually jump in and say, “That is the wrong question.” Most of the time you can dream up an idea for how to use an item you aren’t currently using, but why do this? If it isn’t part of your life today, let it go. I understand the desire to make the most of every penny, but if your house is cluttered, this mentality is more harmful than helpful.

    • Kimberley says:

      Love this Seana. Yes clients can be very creative in deciding what to do with an item. Maybe the question is “do you have an immediate need for this item” or “do you see yourself using this within the next year”. It can be a tough call for sure.

  2. Letting go is one of the biggest challenges that clients identify as an issue when we begin working together. But what I always find fascinating is that it often isn’t completely true. In fact, they might have difficultly with certain things, but no challenge with others. So what I try to do is to look for these distinctions. I often will help them focus first on the areas that are “easy.” We work on building that “letting go muscle” with successful decision-making. Then we notice that. As we move on to the more challenging things, we ask questions to test those letting go waters. There needs to be safety and trust established. The client is fully in charge of the choices. I’m there to help them hold up the goals they said they wanted and guide them with making choices that support those goals…or helping them identify that perhaps a goal needs rethinking if the decisions consistentely aren’t aligning.

    It’s a fascinating process. And I always have tremendous admiration for my clients and being with them as they face their challenges head on.

    • Kimberley says:

      This is great Linda – I would like to think I work similar to you. I love the idea of letting go muscles. I have also heard of “housekeeping muscles”. This is so true and it really does get easier over time.

  3. Kim-

    Great post, thank you!

    I am very good about letting go of physical items. My husband and I have moved many times and that helps pare down things for sure.

    But I admit the one area that has been the most difficult is deciding which items to let go of after my Mom passed away. I was able to do it, but there was so much more emotional attachment and identity to those items than others. I have kept some special things that I feel capture her essence and remind me of her, and the rest I donated or gave to friends and family. So for me (and my former clients when I was still organizing), it’s always the emotion that makes it hard! Isn’t that always the case? 🙂

    • Kimberley says:

      I love moving just so that I can go through everything and downsize lol
      It can be really beneficial when we as PO’s go through our own losses and experiences and are aware of our own emotions as we work through our stuff. It helps us to understand what our clients are going through. thanks so much for your comments

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