Breaking up is hard to do. Whether it’s a partner, a dress, or a gift that doesn’t quite fit your life, learning to let go can be difficult. Especially if you’ve grown up with some hoarding tendencies like I have. (Hmmm. I better keep this. It would be perfect for a vampire luau, and I wouldn’t want to be without it if one of those ever came up.)
I recently published a post called How Decluttering Konmari-style Has Changed My Life, and promised to go into more details about the last point I made, about my new-found ability to more easily let go. And here we are. So, let me tell you a bit more about how reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (fyi: affiliate link) has altered my mind frame to be able to say goodbye to the things, thoughts, feelings, and memories that no longer serve the life I live now.
KonMari Quotes On Learning To Let Go
There were many parts of this book that made me laugh out loud, seeming funny when translated from a different language, in a different culture, and with such an interesting passion for tidying. I mean, come now. Who can read for pages about how to store your socks so they are happy, and how to appropriately talk to your purse, without seeing some unintentional humour?
Along with the parts that made me giggle, though, there were many more that left me with an “aha!” moment of realization. As I read, my mentality about certain things was shifted. Perhaps most notable are the realizations that were made about gifts and other sentimental items, and learning to let go of them.
A part of Marie Kondo’s book’s text that really struck me was this (pg 108):
[Gifts] are an expression of love and consideration. You can’t just throw them away, right?
But let’s consider this more carefully. Most of these gifts remain unopened or have been used only once. Admit it. They simply don’t suit your taste. The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift….Surely the person who gave it to you doesn’t want you to use it out of a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to feel guilty every time you see it. When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too.
Wow. This piece of writing allows me to contentedly pass along items that were gifted, and do not suit my life, and it feels so good not to be weighed down by the guilt of idling gifts that will never be used with joy.
Mementos of my mom, who passed away just over four years ago, has been the hardest type of item to let go. Some certainly spark joy in me, and others, I can tell, I have had a hard time letting go simply because they connect her to me. An old shirt that is not my style. A broken watch. Many, many things remind me of her, but not all of them make me happy and beg to remain a useful part of my desired life. The following pieces of text have been helpful to me in learning to let go, not only of the items, but of thoughts and feelings of the past that are not beneficial to my present life. (Pg 114)
The thought of disposing of [mementos] sparks the fear that we’ll lose those precious memories along with them. But you don’t need to worry. Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them. When you think about your future, is it worth keeping mementos of things that you would otherwise forget? We live in the present. No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.
Ah, the past. Here’s another “aha!” piece for learning to let go. (Pg 117)
By handing each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now. To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too. Its like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.
I’m not telling you you should go give away all your old memorabilia in favour of having no boxes of the past. I have had many happy moments perusing memories from stowed away boxes. What I’m realizing, though, is that when our life is full of boxes, of unused items collecting dust, how much are we honouring those memories? How much are we honouring ourselves by keeping extra clutter, holding on to more than we can fully appreciate?
I want to keep special mementos, I do. I just don’t want to keep so many, hidden away where they might get dusted off every few years to take a long trip down memory lane. By going through these items that are sometimes tough to part with for sentimental reasons, I’m learning that I can let go. Not everything is meant to last forever. Not every memory serves a purpose in today. When I go through and let go of some of the “things” that are filling my home, I’m also learning to let go of what fills my head, and it feels so freeing.
Appreciate the past, then let it go, so you can more fully appreciate the now, and what will come in the future.
If you enjoyed what you read here, you might want to read the other posts I’ve written on My Konmari Life-change Project. You should totally sign up for my short and sweet weekly “What’s New On The Big To-Do List” e-letter, too. Then you’ll know when awesome new stuff has been added.
Disclosure: I should probably mention that the link I dropped up above to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is an Amazon affiliate link. This means that if someone makes a purchase through this link, Amazon rewards me with a small commission. This is potentially great news for covering costs of this blog, but I have yet to see anything… Here’s hoping one day one of these links will pay off. You can view my full disclosure statement here.