Don’t forget this very satisfying part of clutter clearing

The final part of clutter clearing is letting go of all the things you’ve realized you no longer use or need. Until you’ve done that, you haven’t decluttered at all.

Letting go

So you’ve done some clutter clearing, and all the things you have decided to let go of are bundled up in bags or boxes. That’s great, but please don’t make the mistake that so many people make of not getting it all off the premises.

Don’t kid yourself

I’ve seen situations where it sits there for days, weeks, months or even years. You’ve done all the work of deciding what to keep and what to toss, but haven’t taken that all-important final step of actually letting it go.

This means you haven’t clutter cleared at all. All you’ve done is change the location of some of your stuff from wherever it was to where it’s stashed now. That’s like deciding to get divorced but never filing the papers. Until the deed is done, you’re still married. Until the stuff is out of your home, it’s still cluttering your space.

And you really are missing out because, as all seasoned declutterers know, the final act of clearing it all out is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process.

Experience the joys of letting go

One woman I worked with had over fifty years of clutter in her home. She sincerely wanted to clear it in order not to leave her family with a mess to sort out when she died, but felt paralyzed to begin. Finally she took the plunge and booked a series of hands-on sessions with me.

At first her helpful husband disposed of all the things she cleared, taking them by the car load to the local recycling centre and charity shops. But one day she happened to be travelling with him when he dropped off  the latest boxes she had filled. Her eyes sparkled as she told me how liberating it felt to personally jettison the bags into the recycling container and deliver the boxes to the charity shop. She realized how much more complete she felt, because this had enabled her to really say goodbye to the things and let them go. After that, she would never let him dispose of her clutter alone. ‘Why should he have all the fun?’ she said.

When Richard or I or the clutter clearing practitioners we have trained, work with clients we’re happy to help people who are elderly, sick, or disabled to remove their clutter at the end of the session. But whenever possible, we encourage people to do this final part of the process themselves, or at least accompany us if we do it for them. It’s a deliciously satisfying feeling.

The sooner the better

People often ask me why clutter clearing feels so revitalizing. The reason is that it’s not just physical items you are clearing out of your home. You are also removing the clumps of stagnant energy that have accumulated around them.

Put simply, the more clutter you have, the more stagnant energy there will be in your home, and the more stuck in life you will feel. Clearing out clutter gets the energies in your home moving again, and gets your life moving too.

So after you’ve decided to let something go, the sooner you can remove it from your home the better. Why wait a moment longer?

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2016, updated 2023

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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8 Responses to Don’t forget this very satisfying part of clutter clearing

  1. Last weekend we had a yard sale, the first we’ve had in a couple years. As I was getting ready for it I realized I didn’t want to bother with china a friend had given me 10 years ago. I was still in the boxes from her. So I took 4 boxes of china and a few other things to the charity shop. On the day of the sale we put out 2 broken, but repairable musical amplifiers, and 3 large pieces of furniture for free. They all found new homes. And finally when the sale was over and I was packing up what was left I collected 4 more boxes to go to the charity shop. Most of the things sold or given away had been housed in a barn which I am turning into an art studio. Now it is wonderful to walk in there, where there’s so much more space to be creative.

  2. Understanding that the minimalist, essentialist, konmarie, feng shui and covid-19 decluttering now have the Op Shops inundated with stuff I feel validated that I have usually opted to donate only quality items and feel little guilt when I bin ‘disposables’. I am not zero waste but my wheelie bins are seldom full.

    I am almost at ‘stuff equilibrium’ as we relocate to our two bedroom, bathroom and balcony retirement unit from a three bedroom one bathroom freestanding family home.

  3. We have a charity shop just up the road. I COULD load up the car and take everything in one go, but when I’ve had a good clear out, I love to walk up there with a couple of bags at a time, slightly heavier than are comfortable to carry for the 10 minutes it takes me to get there. Then I relish the lovely feeling of lightness, both physical and mental, on my stroll home.

    1. Same here. I also love to fill a few bags and walking them to my local charity shop, really feeling the weight for a while. And then dropping them off and walking back home feeling light and free. 🙂

  4. I find that the disposing of decluttered items is a big stumbling block for me, mainly because I live in a country that does not have charity shops, and where even second hand clothing only has very limited outlets. I find it very hard to just throw away things when they’re still in good condition and could be of use to someone else, and this is compounded by having a child in the house who rapidly outgrows clothes, books, and toys. I’ve tried resale sites and Freecycle, but often that only means that things hang around the house for so much longer, waiting to be photographed and uploaded, then picked up if and when someone is interested, and it is indeed the case that we have a number of bags around the house that just seem to rotate among closets and never leave.

    1. Have you tried schools, places of worship, hospitals or any other places that know of people in need. Here, we even have fire stations that receive “cast-offs”.

  5. Waiting for a big typhoon to potentially hit Tokyo tonight or tomorrow. Went out to my veranda to secure things and found a box of ancient papers 🙂 gleefully shredded most of them but with the typhoon coming can’t put the trash out yet ! So will need to wait for that satisfying feeling . Next trash day is Wednesday which should be the day the typhoon is gone so I may have the pleasure of that super clean feeling in the air when a big storm has past as the backdrop to saying good bye to this stagnant bag of energy :):)

  6. I am addicted to the disposal part of clutter clearing as this is when I truly feel the accomplishment for all the work of gathering stuff to let go of forever. There is an increase of energy, mental clarity and an awesome feeling of exhilarating freedom. Clutter clearing stuff off the property is the fastest and most effective way of making a major change for the better in one’s life. You MUST get the stuff off the property to feel the benefits!

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