Part Two: Change Your Mindset to Change Your Space

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

When Cheryl made the decision to downsize her possessions, she became pretty ruthless! Even so, there were a few things that were challenging for her. To get Cheryl unstuck, I offered her a new way to look at the tricky items. Sometimes just a tiny shift in how we think about our things has a huge impact on our ability to let them go.

1. Gifts from Family and Friends

We all receive presents from time to time that just don’t fit our personality, style or taste but we feel we need to hang onto them. Complicating this for Cheryl were gifts from her parents that were almost right—cooking gadgets and other things that fit her interests—yet were not something she would use. She felt bad giving these away because she knew her parents had put a lot of thought into what they hoped was the perfect gift.

Joanie’s Mindset Shift: “You can cherish the sentiment of the gift and the love with which it was chosen, even as you let the object go. Someone will be thrilled to get those things that are just taking up space in your cabinets.”

2. Photographs

Cheryl “warmed up” her organization skills with envelopes full of film negatives before finding the courage to tackle her 43 photo albums (each with several hundred pictures carefully arranged inside!). The process of choosing her absolute favorites took Cheryl months, but eventually cleared an entire bookcase for things she actually uses—like a basket of yarn for knitting supplies. One standard-sized photo box of her most-loved pictures requires only a small spot on one shelf.

Joanie’s Mindset Shift: “Why keep the negatives? If something catastrophic happened to the pictures, the same event would also ruin the negatives. Do you honestly know anyone who will ever want to look at all of these pictures? What/who are you keeping them for? What could you use that storage space for instead?”

3. Scrapbook-Making Supplies

The supplies were an enormous financial investment. Like so many people I know, Cheryl liked the idea of making fancy scrapbooks much more than the act of doing so. She kept a few tools she’ll use for craft projects and let the rest go. It was a disappointment to discover there are more people trying to off-load this kind of thing than those looking to buy, so Cheryl was not able to recoup any of the money spent on the supplies. In the end, she gave the nice paper and books to a friend who still creates books and the rest of the supplies to another friend’s artsy daughter.

Joanie’s Mindset Shift: “The money is spent and you’ll never get it back. But you can reclaim the space all those unused supplies are stealing from you. Gone for free is better than continuing to take up storage in your home for free.”

Guilt, Sentimentality and Expense

Three reasons we keep all kinds of things that no longer serve us. But here’s the rub: often looking at these types of items stirs up unpleasant feelings–shame, sorrow, regret. Then we are weighed down by those emotions and just get stuck. Letting go of the objects allows us to let go of the heavy feelings, which allows us to open our hearts and soar into new life adventures.

Next week I’ll share some final insights from Cheryl’s journey and the goals that have helped Cheryl stay accountable over time.

Are you ready to let go of objects and heavy feelings? Are you ready to open your heart and soar into new life adventures? Book your complimentary "Let's Get Started" session with me here:

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