How I Overcame The Fear Of Letting Go And Successfully Decluttered My Life

How I Overcame The Fear Of Letting Go And Successfully Decluttered My Life

I like the idea of ‘Someday’ because it sounds hopeful. The word ‘Someday’ makes me look forward to something, makes me wonder about what could be and endless possibilities. But this word is also restricting, it can make you lazy and it can hold you back. You put things off and procrastinate because of the idea that you can just do things someday and before you know it, you’re stuck, unable to move or make a change.

I tell myself ‘I might use this someday’ whenever I prepare to get rid of all the unused stuff I have. Saying goodbye really is so hard to do. As humans, we become possessive, we like to own things, we like to consume and we are also very sentimental beings. We hold on to memories of the past and we do this through keeping our possessions.

I moved on from organising my things to doing a weekly clothing purge every Sunday. It’s been such a liberating experience. I feel more free and I am able to rid my mind of unnecessary mental clutter too. I’m able to appreciate the simple things a lot more than I did before. I feel more grateful for the little things that happen everyday; all because I’ve reduced my possessions. I guess I’m starting to get somewhere but it’s no time to celebrate just yet. Now and then, I find myself retreating from the the decluttering battle and taking things out of the donation bags I pack. I back away from donating my stuff because of this idea that someday, I will find use for the items I’m about to discard. ‘Why is it so hard to let go?’ I sat there wondering while surrounded by my beautiful brand new with tags, worn once, unused, ‘bought out of impulse’ stuff. I desperately wanted to be free of the burden and the heavy feelings my possessions bring me and so I knew I had to let go.

I didn’t have many things growing up. I only ever asked for books and cassette tapes when I was little. I was never fashionable and although I wanted to be, my mother spent money on the more important things instead of clothes. I didn’t have many things or toys most kids of my age had. For my birthdays I asked for cakes and for Christmases I asked for cakes again. I only had a couple of pairs jeans, four tops, three pairs of shoes, my school uniforms, school books, stationery and my school bag.

Back then, I always told myself that someday, I would be able to buy my own things with my own money. I can’t believe that in my list of many dreams I wished for, to be a consumer was one of them.

Well, as wishes come true, that someday came and I was finally able to afford the things I wanted so I bought so much stuff. Even though I knew that I wouldn’t have any use for the items I bought, I still found it hard to let them go. I had this feeling of regret and I felt wasteful when I discarded something. It became very hard for me in the beginning to let go but slowly, I learned and devised a method which worked for me.

I hope this works for you too and this is how I turned my ‘maybe someday’ to ‘goodbye’.

  1. I empty my closet and put all the clothes on my bed. Same goes for other items, I take them out of their storage spaces and put them all in one pile together.
  2. I have two piles, ‘keep’ and ‘gotta go’. You will notice I don’t have the usual three piles (keep, donate, trash). The reason for this will be clearer later on.
  3. When I want to keep something, it’s an instant feeling of knowing I want to keep something. With discarding however, I’ve given myself some very strict rules which I promised myself I must abide by and these are:
  • If I haven’t worn it in more than a year, gotta go.
  • Anything damaged, scratched, ripped or anything that makes an item faulty, gotta go.
  • If I’m getting a ‘maybe someday’ feeling, pause, I take a deep breath and ask myself if I really think I am going to wear this again in the future, if the answer is no, gotta go.
  • If it’s reminding me of bad memories even if it’s only semi-bad memories, gotta go.
  • If the style is dated and no longer age appropriate, gotta go.
  • If it has gathered dust for not being used for so long, gotta go.
  • I stop myself from being creative when I see stuff and thinking you can use this for x, y, z purposes. I’m not a master crafts expert anytime I’m decluttering. I remind myself that my only job right now is to separate between the things I’m discarding and keeping. I commit to this and I don’t get distracted.
  • If it has baubles or has been overly washed and faded, gotta go.
  • Anything expired must definitely go!
  • Once I have made a decision to put it in the gotta go pile, I promise myself to not take it out. I leave it in the bags and I do not touch it again until I take it to the charity shop.

If you do try my method, I would like to just give you a few more notes:

Anything which is still of good quality/condition that you think is okay to donate to charity, you can donate. Anything damaged, expired and of no good use to anyone, take it to a recycling place or discard in the bin completely.

Make sure the items you are donating are in good quality condition so they don’t have to discard useless items for you. Make sure to use black bin bags which aren’t transparent so you can’t see what’s inside once you’ve packed the bag. This helps with committing to discarding things completely (out of sight, out of mind)

The reason why I only have two piles is because in the past, when I had three (keep, donate, trash), the keep and donate always end up getting mixed together. I always end up double guessing whether I should really donate items or not which makes it so hard to make a decision. The gotta go pile makes me commit to letting go of items. We only have two piles. There is no in between feeling. Be ruthless when discarding.

When you let things go, you will feel your whole being lifted. You will feel lighter, brighter and you will feel like a different person as you discard your past possessions.

Please feel free to try my method and see if it works for you. I don’t claim to be the next Marie Kondo (she is awesome). Her book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ is a great read. I’m just here to share my methods and hopefully you find it useful.

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