How to Let Go of Stuff & Declutter Your Things Effectively

Connie Riet
by Connie Riet

Have you ever wanted to downsize or declutter your things, but then when you got to the point of letting go of those things, you felt stuck? Well, today, I’m going to share with you a few decluttering tips. These tips show you how to let go of stuff in your house.

There are many reasons why people might want to live minimally. Maybe, you want a clutter-free home, so that you have a calm, stress-free environment. Maybe you are in a situation where you want to downsize your life. Maybe you want to be a mindful consumer and save money.

Whatever your reason, sometimes we get stuck when it comes to actually letting go of our things. Here’s, how to let go of things and declutter.

How to let go of things

Decluttering can be very difficult. Sometimes we feel guilty for letting go of things for financial or emotional reasons. When the 2008 recession came, and I had to declutter our home because we were downsizing, I wasn’t emotionally prepared to let go of my possessions, and it was incredibly difficult.

Even though my minimalist journey was a little bumpy at first, it has changed how I shop and spend, and how I view my possessions over the last 13 years. By living mindfully I really streamlined my possessions.

Now I have the things I use, need, and love. Here are some of my mindful decluttering tips that show how to let go of stuff.

Decluttering sentimental items

1. Maybe you don't get rid of it

I get comments from so many people who are heartbroken because they don’t want to part with a family heirloom, their children's baby clothes, or a very special gift. Honor where you are at today, and give yourself permission to keep these few items that you truly love and that hold a place in your heart. 

Sometimes we can get caught up in decluttering and in a minimalist lifestyle and toss out things that we actually love and cherish. Certain items in our houses have far better value than money.

This is your minimalist and mindful journey. Becoming a mindful minimalist means you are putting thought into every single item and evaluating what that item means to you. 

I have a couple of sentimental items that I have chosen to keep. These glass containers were my great-grandmother’s. Every time I use them I am reminded of where I came from, and how the simplest things can bring so much function and beauty

How to let go of material things

2. Take pictures 

 When we were downsizing, I had quite a few items of memorabilia that meant sometimes to me, but I didn’t necessarily need to physically hang onto them.

Something that really worked for me was to take pictures of this memorabilia, so I always had the memory near to me without having to actually keep the physical items.

How to let go of things and declutter

3. How many spatulas do I need?

This is a fantastic question to ask yourself when you are decluttering. It is direct and unemotional, and it helps to eliminate the things we have duplicates of, especially in the kitchen.

I used this question often when we were downsizing from a home to an RV to travel the United States for a few months. I would lay out all my kitchen utensils, hold up each one and ask myself, “How many spatulas do I need? How many wooden spoons do I need?” It was an easy, quick process of elimination. 

There isn’t an actual number of items you are supposed to own as a minimalist. Identifying the things that I really needed gave me a sense of comfort when I was eliminating and decluttering. It showed me that I wasn’t throwing anything away that I actually needed. 

How to let go of stuff in your house

4. Is this item adding value?

For me, minimalism isn’t about depriving myself. It's about having all my needs met, without living excessively.

I rarely buy furniture, but when I started doing more Zoom calls for clients, I realized that my screen was pretty dark where I was filming. I went out and bought a lamp. The lamp was extremely useful because my clients can actually now see my face. 

When decluttering my bookshelf, this question came in very handy. When homeschooling my daughter, we needed a lot of books. After she had finished the books, we could donate them to the library, because they were no longer adding value. 

When you are going through your home and decluttering, notice if an item is adding value to your home, your work, or your health.

How to let go of stuff

5. Would I buy it again?

While decluttering, sometimes I run into feeling guilty about letting go of an item, because it was pretty expensive. It would be an item that I didn’t need, it wasn’t useful, and I didn’t even like it that much anymore. Yet, I still felt guilty, because of the price tag.

I started getting stuck in the feeling of buyer’s remorse for buying something I never really used or needed and feeling guilty for donating it. 

We aren’t perfect, and sometimes our purchase decisions aren’t perfect either. I found a way that really helped me out of this buyer’s remorse and guilt. I asked myself, “Would I buy this item again?”

If the answer was no, it was much easier for me to let it go because no matter how expensive the item was, it was no longer serving me.

How to let go of stuff

Downsizing and decluttering can be a huge emotional challenge. Learning how to let go of stuff is difficult. Be patient with yourself and honor wherever you are today. There is no magic number. There is no right or wrong way to live a minimalist lifestyle. Create a unique lifestyle that is only meant for you. How do you choose which items in your home add value or are important to you? Let us know in the comments. 

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Mar8328445 Mar8328445 on Nov 17, 2022

    I am really try to become a minimalist. It is overwhelming but I am more serious about it now. Please keep keeping people. It is sooo appreciated


  • Carla Carla on Mar 20, 2023

    Thank you! I will take your question with me " how many of ____do I need"