We all have more ‘stuff’ than we really need.
I spent a LOT of years talking about how I wanted to pare down, try some new things + improve my self care. But, you can’t make room for the new without letting go of a few things. And, boy, did I LET GO!
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Two years ago today, I was in the middle of a major project. MAJOR!
After 25 years of living in the same 5-mile radius in Southern California, raising two daughters, collecting ALL of the things you need to live that lifestyle, we decided to downsize.
But, not just downsize. No. We went EXTREME.
We decided to try on a completely different lifestyle. To leave the suburban single family life we had been living for decades and move into a brand new high rise - walking distance from the office my husband had been commuting to (60+ minutes) daily for many years.
I’ll share bits + pieces from that adventure in future issues. (SO much to share from the experience. Make sure you are subscribed so you get in on that.)
But, back to the downsize part.
We went from 2400 sq.ft. 3BR/3BA to 760 sq.ft. 1BR/1BA.
Yep! It was a MAJOR undertaking.
It’s amazing what you can amass over several decades. The process of deciding what we would keep + what we would let go of...it was more than just physical. It was emotional. Spiritual even.
A few months prior to this, we said goodbye to my husband’s dad. There is nothing like the death of a loved one to make you realize how you want to live your life. How you want to leave things when you go.
We decided we wanted to do some ‘letting go’ while we were young + healthy enough to enjoy it. To get rid of the clutter. To eliminate the commute. And to shake up our daily routine in a way that would give us more time to do the things we love most, while still moving toward our goals for the future.
It was easy letting go of a lot of things. After all, as a family of four, we had accumulated AT LEAST four of everything. My home office was the worst. I mean - how many staplers does one household need these days?
Other things required more thought. What did we use on a daily basis? What would we really need to support our new lifestyle in such a small space. How would we survive without a ‘junk drawer’! LOL.
But when it came down to those boxes in the garage that housed all of our memories in photo albums + other memorabilia.
That’s where it got tough.
As a creative entrepreneur, I had saved at least one copy of every project I had created, published or been featured in over the years. Publications, campaigns, business expos, meetings, boards, foundations, startups.
I couldn’t keep them all. And, in truth, why would I? What was I holding onto?
It’s amazing how much of our identity we place in the things we create + the work we do.
Letting go of the things I had created + collected + was so proud of, really forced me to separate myself from my accomplishments.
The question became...who is the YOU behind all that you DO?
And where does she stand without all of the tangible evidence? And where does she HIDE behind this stuff? And what ELSE is she capable of creating?
It was powerful. Life-changing.
To shift from a place of ‘remembering’ to a place of ‘creating’ again.
I remember my mom telling me many years ago...
The energy that you use to ‘hold on’ is the very same energy that propels you forward when you let go. (Read that again).
We don’t realize the energy tied up in the things we hold onto. And the true cost of ‘holding on’.
There are so many things we do out of routine + comfort that are actually keeping us from propelling forward. And, we don’t get to fully appreciate that energy until we let it go.
Life is a constant rotating cycle of holding on + letting go.
This week, I challenge you to let go of something you hold onto. Maybe it’s a bad habit. Or a negative thought. Maybe it’s a small appliance you never use. Or an outfit you never wear. Maybe it’s a box in the garage. Or an extra stapler. :)
It can be anything - large or small. Leave a comment + share what you’re inspired to let go of. Let’s cheer each other on.
After you share with us, the next step is to take action. Let it go + notice the energy you feel in the process of letting go.
Notice how it brings you to the present - looking forward instead of backward.
HOW TO LET GO:
If you’re feeling that urge to let go, pare down, simplify or just change it up, here are a few tips + resources to help along the way.
Take your time. Start small. Work in phases. Too much all at once is overwhelming + unproductive. And having small wins along the way will encourage you to keep going.
Ask good questions. Why are you holding onto this thing? How is it serving you? Is there a better use for it? What will life look like without it? Is there a better way to keep the memory without keeping the thing itself?
Give yourself a deadline. A reason. A reward. Put it on the calendar. Make it visible. Tell someone close to you. Letting go requires action which is easier when we know there’s a deadline + endpoint.
PLAY: 30-Day Minimalism Game | The Minimalists
LISTEN: The Gambler | Kenny Rogers (I just had to include this! It was playing in my mind the whole time I was writing this post.)
READ: 10 good things that will happen when you let go | LIFEHACK
READ: Let Go of These 10 Items to Jumpstart Decluttering | Becoming Minimalist
As we start to shift into our fall routines, it’s a good time to ask ourselves what changes need to be made. How can we find space for better self care + growth? What can we let go of? What are we holding onto that would free up energy in letting go?
Nature is doing this right now all around us as we shift from summer to fall this week. Watch her let go with grace. Let her inspire you + lead the way. Watch + learn.
See you next week?
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please share it in your world using the button below. And, if you’d like to stay in touch in real time during the week, you can find me on Instagram @redefiningkaren or on Facebook @cleanbeautyadvocate.
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