How to Let Go of Your Shit

Very recently I bought a house, and am in the process of moving.  It’s a whopping two blocks away from my current place, so instead of packing up a four person house, only to unpack four minutes later, my moving strategy has been to just load my car and my friend’s truck up bit by bit, schelp it over, and unpack as I go.  To minimize the impact of the move (read: maximize the impact of fun in my spare time), I’ve been slowly going through every single thing in my space, and getting rid of anything I don’t need or want or use.

Some things I’ve learned in the process?

  1. I have way too many shoes.
  2. I am a terrible duster.  Yikes.
  3. I do not need any more black dresses.
  4. Every single thing around us carries an attachment to a memory in some way or another.

Think about that for a second – not the shoe and dress part, as I may wish to recant both later – the stuff-has-memories part.  If each and every thing around you holds a memory (of a person, a place, a relationship, a time of your life…) then without even being conscious of it, you are surrounding yourself with your past.  Basic concept, right?

If the things you surround yourself with hold great memories that make you feel goo-oo-oooood, then that unconscious scan you do on the daily (while making coffee, paying bills, not dusting, entertaining your friends in one of your many snappy LBD + leopard flat OOTD’s) makes your brain and heart happy.

But if the things you surround yourself in hold not so great memories, and trigger flashbacks of unpleasantness – without even thinking about it – then you are literally flooding your brain and heart with bad vibes.

For example, you could take a look around my kitchen.  I love to bring back mementos from my travels, especially things to use in the kitchen, because I love to cook and eat.  I have vintage glassware I found on a road trip.  Happy.  Charcuterie board my friend made as part of his side hustle.  Happy.  An enamel vase that held court in my Oma’s kitchen for years.  Happy.  Bad ass antique Kilim runner I got for a song in Brooklyn with my bestie.  Very happy.  Stunning plate I got on vacation with someone no longer in my life; not happy.  I am flooded with memories of that trip, and conversations, and food shared, and the loss that followed…every damn time I look at the plate.  Do I love the plate?  Yes.  Was it a marker of something that was happy at the time?  Oh yes.  Can I keep it around me?  Nope, I can’t, because it takes up too much emotional space.

Every object carries an energy to it.  Yes, that sounds a little whack, and no, I can’t explain it, but it’s true.  You know the feeling when you go somewhere and the vibe feels off?  You might not be able to articulate why, but don’t want to be there. Compare that to the feeling you get when you walk into a store, restaurant, or someone’s home, and it just feels cozy and right.  It’s the same thing; there’s a presence held in the objects around us, that tends to affect us in that environment.

This is the process of detachment: when we associate a moment with a thing, we want to hang on to that moment, and so we want to hang on to that thing.  So if you want to exist in a peaceful environment, it starts with the simplicity of eliminating the things that carry bad energy, or take us to a memory we don’t want to relive over and over again.  There’s no shame in this, and in fact, it’s incredibly freeing.  Once you start to let go of the stuff that reminds you of someone somewhere somehow, you’ll be able to scan the room and feel good about everything, which sets you up for more success in your day.

Further, getting rid of the mementoes of not so great memories frees up the space to fill it with new ones, that are super charged with great vibes and energy.

However.  Don’t get too carried away in holding on to too much “stuff.”

It’s ok to keep the things around you that fill you with beauty, hope, love, and happiness.  And I mean you pick that something up and it lights you up.  Not everything – even the good memory things – will do this; they might make you smile, or remember something great that happened, but if they don’t cause a physical reaction, it’s ok to hold on to the memory of it, and get rid of the rest.

Don’t be a slave to your things for the sake of having the things around you.   It’s also ok to old the memory of the thing rather than the actual thing.  Maybe you hang onto one keepsake, one photo that causes that rush of blood to the head, and maybe you let the rest go.  Cluttering up your space – even with the good stuff – with take up mental space in a different way, and hold you back from simplifying your life.

Let go of your shit.  The stuff that no longer serves you?  Let it the hell go.  Embrace your inner millennial and collect moments, not things.  They’re just things, and more often than not, they don’t matter as much as you think they do, or thought they did.  The physical stuff is the easy part; you’ve also got to let go of the nasty emotional stuff taking up space.  Acknowledge that it is a part of you, learn the lesson, hold on to just enough to propel you forward, then purge it the hell out.  If it doesn’t serve a good and healthy purpose in your life, or if it breeds anger, fear, loneliness, or resentment, let it go baby.  Purge your life of all the crap that’s taking up valuable space for you, and make room for all the beauty, all the joy, all the wonder and delight that lays in wait.  

Let go of your shit, dolly.  Pack it up, move it out, take a deep breath, and let it go.

Then maybe come help me move; I have pizza.

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