How and why to let go…

I’ve been there.

You’ve been on a decluttering roll.

You are starting to see some progress! You have purged your closet. Then purged again. You are not yet where you want to be, but you are on the right path. You’ve trashed all the damaged stuff, donated all the ill-fitting stuff, taken bag after bag to goodwill. But off to the side of your closet, separated from the clothes you need, use, and love, is a little group of hangers, or a little pile of clothes. Or maybe it’s the kitchen and it’s a little stack of dishes.

These are the things that you just can’t let go because they are BRAND NEW or (to be read in my mother’s voice) REALLY GOOD QUALITY.

SURELY you can’t just throw these things in a donate box. They must have a greater purpose! You have Grand Plans! Sell them on Craigslist to make a little cash, donate them to a special cause, find a friend who needs them!

My amazing-in-every-way cousin, who you would definitely want to be your best friend if you ever met her, emailed me with this exact question. She has some brand new items that she says “have been in a pile in my room forever because I don’t know what to do with them!”

So, here is my take on it, Cuz!

1. LET GO OF THE GUILT.

I get it. You spent hard-earned money and you regret it. But no matter how long you hang on to these items, you will never, ever get that money back. Quit punishing yourself and let it go. If you need permission, you have it. I’m giving it to you on behalf of your sanity. 🙂

2. REMEMBER THESE THINGS ARE CONTINUING TO COST YOU EVERY DAY.

You already spent the money to purchase these items. It turned out to be a waste. You feel bad, and so you hold on to them. But just remember… by holding on to these items, you are allowing them to continue to cost you. It is likely that every time you see them you are reminded of your wasteful decision and forcing yourself to feel guilt. Cut your losses, forgive your error, and get that thing out of your life. So you wasted some money…it happens. Quit wasting your time and energy too!

3. WANT YOUR STUFF TO GO TO A GOOD HOME? GIVE IT A TRY AND THEN HAVE FAITH.

I have two main methods of getting rid of things that are more difficult to let go.

1. For some items, I post them on Facebook. These people are all my actual friends, and I would be thrilled if anyone could use any of them. Very often, a friend contacts me immediately about how much she could use the item I posted, and I leave it out for them to pick up the next day. Everyone wins!

2. I schedule pickups with the ARC. It usually take about 2 weeks from your call for them to pick up your items. After two weeks, anything that is laying around in one of my “I am totally going to sell this on CL pile” gets put with the ARC pickup pile! Then, I just have a little faith that these things will get to someone who needs them. I remember that when I was a young and very house-poor teacher, finding nice work clothes at Goodwill was incredibly helpful!

Now… you can try to sell your items on Craigslist or other online sites, but I find that whenever I decide to do that, I end up just keeping them for an extra month while I DON’T ever list any of the items for sale, because really, it’s not worth the money to me to have strangers come to my home. If the money you would get listing these items is worth the hassle of listing them, then do it TODAY. If they are still in a pile tomorrow and not posted on CL… into the donate pile they go.

And when you find yourself in the situation that you are giving away brand new things, go easy on yourself. We are all learning as we go, figuring out how to make our life as we want it. There are bound to be bumps in the road and that’s ok.

Just get those bumps out of your house so you quit tripping over them.

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