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How to Let Go of Your Stuff for a Better Spring Clean

How to Let Go of Your Stuff for a Better Spring Clean

As the first days of spring creep up upon us, many of us emerge from our winter hiding places, take a good look around us, and decide that it’s time we knuckled down to the obligatory Big Spring Clean. We find shelves of unread books, wardrobes crammed with unworn clothes and lives generally swarming with clutter, and we decide things just have to go.

Yet, when it comes down to actually getting rid of stuff, some of us have the hardest time throwing away things we haven’t even looked at in ages.

Why we can’t let go

The reasons why we treasure and hoard all this stuff aren’t too hard to figure out: as we go through life, working hard, progressing from one thing to the next, the things we acquire en route serve as our trophies and token reminders; the things that tell us we’ve made it, that we’re doing okay, that we can afford to buy stuff and keep it in our nice house.

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That said, the very fact that you’re reading this article suggests you know something else about the actualities of owning lots of things, which is this:

It can be a really big pain.

“The things you own end up owning you” – Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club

The more things you own, the harder it is to keep them all organised and tidy; the less organised and tidy you are, the more you’re likely to to feel as though your life is less organised and tidy; and the less organised you feel in life, the more stress you’re likely to endure.

But what if, despite knowing this, we still struggle to get rid of the things that are bogging us down? Thankfully, there are three simple steps to letting go of our old possessions for a better spring clean.

1. Be honest

More often than not, the one thing stopping us from getting rid of something is that we lie to ourselves about how much we really need it.

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We convince ourselves that 10 pairs of shoes is an entirely necessary amount, and that our lives would somehow be incomplete without that box full of old books stored in the closet. To better let go of our possessions, it therefore pays to be entirely honest with ourselves and ask:

  • Do we really need it?
  • Will we ever actually wear/use/read/watch it?
  • Will our life be worse in any way without it?

Answer these questions honestly and you should have an easier time of eliminating the excess from your life.

2 Detach

Another key problem for chronic hoarders is the emotional attachments we form with the most random of objects.

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Of course, nobody would suggest you sever all emotional ties to your family heirlooms or photo albums, but there are certain things which, in the grand scheme of things, probably mean much less to us but to which we can’t help but become attached to anyway.

Using our first step and getting really honest with ourselves, ask what it is about a particular object that makes us so compelled to keep it. Is there another way we can get the same feeling or memory that this thing gives us without cluttering our house?

3 Help others

One of the easiest and most satisfying ways to spring clean involves giving things away to people who need them more than we do.
We could donate our books to the library, or our old clothes to the Salvation Army store. By doing so, we’ll be doing something good for others, which in turn will make us feel really good.

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Surely we’re all prepared to sacrifice a few things for the sake of feeling better about ourselves and the space around us, which is, of course, the real reason we started this Big Spring Clean in the first place.

More by this author

Chris Skoyles

Writer, coach, and trainee counsellor specialising in mental health and addiction.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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