In case you’re wondering that picture above is of the over 40 bags of stuff in my subzero garage that are waiting to be either sold or donated. That much stuff, friends. So much stuff that I thought I needed that kept me trapped in a clean/organize/maintain cycle. There is so much freedom in letting go.
But instead of an esoteric article about the mental challenges of letting go of things I thought I’d give you ten specific areas to work through this week – ten places to let go.
1. All of the Stuff in the bathroom. Everything. Under the cabinets, under the sink, towels, in the spare bathroom. It all. And be ruthless. I finally started asking myself would I put this on my skin knowing it is this old? and that simple question helped me fill a garbage bag of half used hair products, lotions, shampoo, soaps and more. It was liberating. Don’t just do one bathroom — gather it all up and go through it all.
2. The corner cabinet in the kitchen. Or the catch-all cabinet. You know, where you keep the stuff you use once a year. Or once every two years. Or never. Get rid of it. It takes UP SPACE. I got rid of my wheat grass juicer (anyone want one?), my deep fryer, pans, plates, a gumball machine and a whole bunch more. Now that corner cabinet isn’t painful to open anymore. I think in a couple weeks I’m going to go through my entire kitchen again.
3. The stuff under your bed. Get it all out. And don’t put it back. You’ll sleep better knowing you’re not sleeping over stuff and in fact, you probably don’t need any of it. And if you’re really up to it – vacuum under there too.
4. The junk drawer. I love the section in the life-changing magic of tidying up where Marie Kondo talks about the junk drawer. She calls them Komono – which in Japanese means just because. I can’t even begin to tell you how many just because items that I have scattered thoughout my house. Buttons, spare cords, a tag to something, half a magnet, etc… and I’ve stored them for years. I finally decided I’m not really needing these things if they’ve sat there for ever so I got rid of them. For good.
5. The lone socks in the sock basket. I know. Breathe. You can do this. If you’re at this point – week five – you should have gone through all the clothes in your house. ALL OF THEM. Which means that the sock basket with half socks is now not needed. So stop what you’re doing after reading this, grab a bag and let them go. It’s an amazing feeling of relief knowing that there is no more sorting.
6. Spare game parts/toys. Go through them first. Put them away. And then get rid of the rest. For me it was simply a catch-all. I had puzzles with missing pieces that I was waiting to find. All the waiting equaled storing and waiting for things to be whole instead of moving on. Isn’t that a picture of the mental stuff too? So empty that box into the garbage bag, tie it up and move forward.
7. The glove compartment in your car. Even if it’s cold. Hahhaa. I did this in the 15 minutes that I have to wait outside the elementary school for my two middle boys. I had receipts in there that I needed for work and receipts that didn’t matter. Coupons too. Just let it go. Make it a habit to clean it out once a week – and not just bringing it in but really throwing what isn’t needed.
8. The stuff hiding in your purse. Same as the glove compartment. And I love the advice of always emptying your bag when you return home. I just got home from Nashville on Saturday and I unpacked right away. The coolest thing for me was that instead of being this tedious chore it was easy – because everything had a place and everything wasn’t smashed into spaces that were too tiny. The decluttering trickled down into unpacking – not a chore, but easy now.
9. Papers/Schoolwork. For some reason it was hard for me to throw away my kids work from the Friday Folders so I would put it in a basket in my IKEA bookshelf (which I love, but which seems like the gigantic catch all) and then when it was full I’d have to go through it all. Not anymore. Everyday I go through their stuff, discard, and move on. I do the same with the mail. Whittle it down. Less, less, less is my goal. And truthfully, I think to myself, with regards to kid stuff, about what they would really appreciate as adults. Is it more for me? Or will it be treasured? I have an art project clip thing in the little boys’ room and now ask them what they want to save and what they want to get rid of – easy and helps in the whole letting go process.
10. Fear. I know, hahaha, I promised you no thinking stuff, but this is the week that we are going to really get rid of fear that is holding us back from doing this project. I have had fear about going through my books – for real. I homeschooled for 12 years and have quite the collection of books, but alas, it is simply time to let them go. And I’m fearful of the mess that it will make too. And the work. And letting go. But, friends, now is the time. For every empty shelf, empty hanger, empty drawer and more – we are making space for new. So this is the week that the books WILL BE DONE.