letting goLetting go of things is not easy for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. For some reason, it seems like the older we get the harder it is to let go of things. I find this issue a lot when downsizing older adults. It may be that as we get older, we get set in our ways and change becomes more difficult for us.

The most popular reason with difficulty letting go of things seems to be for sentimental reasons. It may be an item that is broken and has outlived its usefulness, but if it was a beloved grandmother’s or fathers’ possession, it’s just so difficult to let it go.

We all have attachments to tangible items, and it doesn’t matter if we don’t have room for it, we will cram it into a nook or cranny in our homes presumably, so we don’t lose that memory.  The reality of your situation comes into play when you don’t have enough space for everything that comes your way that you want to keep.

For those that have ample storage to hold onto treasured memories, it’s not really an issue, at least not while you are still living in your home. Challenges with letting go could become an issue when you move to a smaller home and don’t have enough storage to keep a lot of those special things.

Even though you currently have storage to accommodate all those memories, a time will come when you need to start letting go of things. I’m always suggesting that people in their fifties start to downsize their belongings. Actually, it should be ongoing throughout your adult life – to keep your belongings proportional to your living spaces by letting go of the excess.

I get it, life comes at us fast and keeping your belongings minimal is not a priority, but at some point, it does become a priority.  There are some reasons listed below that will have an effect on you when you aren’t mindful of the amount of your things.

  • The cost of getting rid of things – this was an eye opener for me when I started downsizing for my clients. Their accumulation of things that are no longer working, broken or just unwanted, can be expensive to get rid of. Donation is free and a viable option for things in good shape. The expense for other items, that need to be trashed can be high. Putting a little at a time in your weekly trash service is more affordable. For large items, your trash service may have a bulk pickup option included in your service.  However, if you need to do a clear out of your house all at once, hiring a trash hauler can be expensive.
  • It’s all about quality of life – our health depends on a lot of things, and the quantity of our belongings is one of them.  When you are surrounded by an excess of items, the clutter causes stress and that stress can cause a myriad of health issues that effects quality of life.
  • Leaving it all behind – have you ever heard of Swedish Death Cleaning? It’s not so much about cleaning as it is about decluttering. The thought behind this concept is that when you pass on, you’re doing your loved ones a favor by not having an overwhelming amount of your things to do something with. If you’ve ever cleared out the house of a loved one that has passed on, you know how emotionally and physically draining it is. Do you really want to do that to your loved ones?

I understand that letting go of a lot of your things can be difficult, but you need to consider the reality of your situation. If you don’t have the space, take pictures of your things, and maybe document what the item means to you and say goodbye as you let it go.  It may sound silly, but these actions can bring a lot of peace as you let go of those treasured memories.