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The Emotional Side of Letting Go

Vickie Dellaquila - March 20, 2017 10:35 AM

Downsizing and letting go of beloved items can be very difficult. It seem like it might be easy to let go, however for most people they own something that is very challenging to let go of. I have been a professional organizer for 14 years and the below are some of the most problematic items to let go for most people:

•    Photos, films, slides of family-our emotions are tied to these items and they tell a story and our family is history.

•    Paper-whether it is long ago tax returns, retirement information, or old checks from a long time ago.

•    Memorabilia related to our occupation-awards, and projects we were involved in. Those awards and projects make up a part of who we are or were.

•    Memorabilia of our kids whether it is art work, report cards, or rewards that they received or accomplishments in their life.

•    Items from our parents, grandparents, and other family members

•    Memorabilia from our travels-souvenirs, maps, brochures, and trinkets.

Why do we hang on to these things and can’t let go?

•    You may feel that you are dishonoring the person who gave you the object. Your mother gave you her china set when you got married 45 years ago. Do you think your mother would want you to keep something that you don’t use or like?

•    “I feel like I am throwing away the person if I toss a photo or slide of them in the trash”. Keeping the photo in box that never gets look at may be worse. You still have the memory without ever keeping every photo.

•    Why don’t my kids want their rewards they received in school? You so proud of what they have achieved, but they don’t need the certificate that stated they were a member of safety patrol to remember it. Pass them emotional burden on to them so your adult child can decide what they want to keep. If the child does not want it, let it be.

It is very difficult to let go of beloved objects.  If your goal is to downsize, then taking the steps towards your goal will help. Organizing and letting go is a process and needs to begin with each of us. You need to decide that you are ready to let go and live with less items in your life to have more time, energy, and space to enjoy the stuff you really want in your life. Next time we will talk about what can do with the item you let go of.

Vickie Dellaquila is western Pennsylvania’s first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and owner of Organization Rules® Inc. Organization Rules provides compassionate organizing services for every stage of your life®. She is the author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move. Please visit and follow us

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