The art of letting go

The art of letting go

My current travelling plans requires me to do two things: first, move out of my student apartment and second, select items that I have to take on my trip. Isn’t this a perfect moment to evaluate the possessions I gathered in the last few years? What do you really need to ‘survive’? What things make you truly happy? A deeper question to ask yourself is if things as clothing, electronics, books, etc, really make you happy?

I found it the perfect time to cleanup all my stuff and start my new life path fresh. Ever since I watched the documentaire on minimalism, I was fascinated by reducing the amount of stuff around me to the essentials.

These aspects are not new to me. About a year ago I already did a 30 day challenge on decluttering my belongings. This was inspired by the documentaire I mentioned before. The idea is to let go of one item more each day. On the first day you discard one item, the second day two things, the third day three belongings, etc. You can imagine this ramps up really quickly! I had a lot of fun doing this as you really start to dig in what you have. I liked the pacing the challenge as well. A slow start and ramping up really quickly.

The underlying goal of moving out of my student apartment was to let go of as much as possible. For example with furniture, only the bed that I made myself I kept. All other furniture, which was a mix of random stuff I collected over 8 years, I discarded. Items such as books I cut in half. I figured that only the books that really inspired me were worth keeping. The same with clothing. During the last months I removed about half of my t-shirts, pants, shoes, and sweaters. Only the ones that I liked or were brand new I kept.

Part of this process is letting go of the these items. The Japanese cleaning-guru Marie Kondo truly inspired me. Here technique is acknowledging the item you have in front of you and saying ‘thank you’. Appreciating what it meant for you in your life. I followed this process with every possession that left my life and it felt really good. Some kind of peaceful energy fills the room. You start to become really present. Being aware of the moment you throw something out. I suggest trying it out for yourself!

With all these items being removed from my life, I also wanted them to find new owners who could use them again. A few items I could sell but most I just put at the front door of the apartment building with a sign ‘FREE TO TAKE’. To my surprise, within a day almost all the things were gone! I guess free does sell 😉

Letting go for me is, again, a trust challenge. Having faith that if you let go of something, new stuff, people, and challenges will flow into your life. It is important, and I have difficulty with this, to realise the ‘things’ are meaningless without context and a proper use case. The hard thing for me is decouple the purchase value with the actual value for me. If something cost a lot of money, I have much more difficulty in letting go, even when the actually value the item brings me is low. This is a ‘scarcity’ mindset. Fearing that you will run out of money. Fearing that the item can still be useful when you need it, although this could be 10 years from now or even never. The urge to keep it is large.

Something that brings you tremendous value is of course worthwhile to keep. In the contrary, things that have low value for you only block the path in front of you. Letting go creates space, frees up time, and increases mental clarity. It creates new possibilities and new doors will open. What is it that you need to let go of?

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