Each stage of life brings with it opportunities for evaluating & determining what still works and what have we outgrown. My daughter Lydia put herself through a huge experiment in letting go as she moved her bedroom to the lower level and had to downsize all of her things to fit in a 6.6 x 14′ space.
It has been a true experiment with living with less. So after 4 months in her new space, I decided to sit down with my 13 year-old to ask her what the experience has been like.
K- What was the motivation for clearing out?
L- I was moving to a smaller room and I wanted it to work for me and I knew that what I had couldn’t physically fit in that room. It would also be mentally tough for me to have clutter everywhere I looked. It’s hard to have too many different things to attract your eye. The things are distracting & I can’t focus on one thing at a time.
Even though my old room was a bigger space, there were a lot of random things in random places and stuff I didn’t need but just kept.
K- Did you use any criteria to sort the things you were keeping vs. the things you were donating or discarding?
L- When I was sorting the school projects or things that people had given as gifts (things I didn’t really love, but things I thought I needed to keep because someone had given it to me as a gift), I did a lot of thinking about when I get older. What things will I want to show my kids or grandkids? What things are going to represent an important experience in my memory? Those are the things I wanted to keep compared to the things I might not remember or weren’t a big deal.
K- How did it feel to let go of so much stuff?
L- It felt like a lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders because I didn’t have to worry when people came over if they would judge me about what I had in my room or those things that I had always looked at everyday and meant to get rid of because I knew I wasn’t using them. It felt great to have a time to look at everything & get it all out & then not have it on my mind anymore.
K- How does your space feel or function differently now?
L- Because I have a smaller space I thought I would be out of my room (spending time) in our other bigger spaces, but I find I use my room more. And not just for reading. I have the things that I need in the spots where I can get to them easily so I can feel creative and work on things and get inspired by the stuff that would have been cluttered up or not recognized in my old room.
K- Do you miss the things you let go of?
L- At first it was different not seeing what I usually see and not being around as much stuff. But after a bit I just forgot about those things. I have everything I need or want because the other things that seemed nice at the time, just ended up piling up.
K- Did anything surprise you along the way?
L- I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of things. I expected that a lot of stuff would be sentimental and I would have too much stuff so it would take a while, but once I decided to get started then I just got it done. I guess I was surprised that it went that quick.
K- What advice do you have for others who want to make a change?
L- They should go for it! Don’t put off getting clear because it will make you happy when all of your stuff is gone.
Just begin with something small and once you start, the rest will come quick and easy!
*responses were edited by Lydia
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