The freedom of relinquishing, while purging a past life

The freedom of relinquishing... inspirational story on moving on, in more ways than one.
In my ongoing quest to clean up this place, (which I’m now convinced will really NEEEEVER be over… how DO you do it, clean people?!) I gave myself a mantra.

I’m going to get rid or sell something once a week.

For me, getting rid of something for good is harder than gutting a room, then putting it back together.

Relinquishing is just hard. Really hard.

I think when we finally resolve to let something go, we go through a sense of loss. Is grieving possible for something you don’t use nor even want any longer?!

I really do think so. 

We have emotional attachments to these things, that can run deep.

Case in point…

The Freedom of Relinquishing. A story of purging junk, along with a past life. When time changes, so do we.
Welcome to my previous life.

This is a massive stack of auto vinyl pin striping from my auto graphics days. Which was yearSSSSSS ago. Plural.

Perhaps because I had permanent shelves made for these guys installed in the house, it was more convenient to just leave them be, and walk on by?

But every time I ventured into the never finished laundry room, I got to stare at the dust filled bins, sighing that one day I had to deal with that big white elephant in the room.

Maybe that’s why the laundry room remains unfinished and super uninteresting. It’s hard to decorate storage units after all.

vinyl pin-striping for vehicles
But seriously? What can I possibly do with all this stuff today?


So I threw out a challenge a week ago in the Crap to Clean Facebook group (join us HERE if desired!) to get rid of something within a week.

Attempting to practice what I preach, I stared at this seemingly massive project, let out a HUGE sigh, resolved to order in dinner, then got to work.

Each bin was dumped, one at a time, washed, boxed dusted off, then re stacked for the eventual new owner.

vinyl pin-striping for vehicles
But you can bet, all kinds of things ran through my mind…

“This is worth a fortune!”

“Are there still stripes on cars and stuff?”

“Wow… memories… I remember when… blah blah blah…”

I had little conversations with myself while I went through the task of tidying things up.

I’ll have to tell you some of those stories sometime. 

Like the time I landed an auto graphics job without any experience, mainly because I got on my knees in my dressy interview clothes, and helped with a task going on at the moment… during my interview.

Or the time I flipped a sign making job into a decorating job. I became known for the one with the cow print fabric on the office chair and pretty desk area. That eventually led to extra cleaning duties for more $ around the place, which I actually really enjoyed! I always rearranged with a good clean.

Or the period of time when Kari worked with me. My biz at the time was a neat little office off an auto body place. Kari decked out the white storage cupboards in black cow patches, and made decadent coffee each morning and afternoon, that we placed on those mug heater things, while I made snowmen that slid down car windshields…

Really cool memories!

vinyl pin-striping for vehiclesCleaning actually got easier as time went on. There was suddenly a great PUSH to get it all done without interruption. I had a fun goal you see…

After stacking the bins, I took a picture of it, then of inside each individual bin, so I could list the photos on my local Facebook bidding site. Fun!

I love bidding sites, because while you may get a little pocket change for some stuff (sometimes more than you expect!), the stuff is going to someone that actually wants it. And they’ll even pick it up. That means more to me than money in my pocket.

But having enough $ in your pocket for a pizza is a pretty nice perk too…

But the mere act of others giving attention to your stuff is gratifying. As if, your thoughts were somewhat worthy that you loved this thing, but now it can go to another that will give it that equally, if not more.

Mind games if you will.

vinyl pin-striping for vehicles

Did you see what happened there?

The hardship flipped into a fun game. Just gotta pick your poison.

And while the loss of this massive stack of striping will not regain my laundry room nor any other room for some time, it’s a start. Efforts can quickly multiply if you really sink your teeth into the thought of regaining that new space.

I personally have read the Kon Mari purging book, (amazon affiliate link) and among her many musings, she reminds us: (in my own words)

“When you relinquish something, thank it for its service, then let it go. It provided a valuable task at one time. But it’s now teaching us that we no longer require it. Still a valuable lesson. But now we need to act on the next message, and let. it. go.”

It’s just part of the journey of ‘stuff’. When our lives change, so do our needs.

This is especially hard to digest for things of emotional attachment, such as gifts, or family heirlooms. But it still rings true.

colourful vinyl pin-striping for vehicles

Some tips to make the art of relinquishing a little easier…

Take a before picture of the space.

Really do this. It’s so easy to overlook that long forgotten ‘storage’ area!

Take a picture of the item itself.

Once you’ve pulled it away from the clutter, you can see ‘it’. Plus, the picture could come in handy in case you sell or show online, right?!

Or just keep it for a keepsake for yourself. One picture is a lot less storage room after all.

Give it the time it deserves. Love on it while you prepare it for its depart.

Hello, emotional attachment! Just remember, it’s part of the process. It’ll be like a story time of memories flipping by at a rapid pace. Some good, some not good perhaps, but maybe if not good, this will be the last time you have to think of it… 

Just make it pretty for the picture, like I did with the above pic. It was a good time in life! But I am grateful to have moved on, so for me, this step showcases progress.

You can read My Last Truck story for further enticement.

Then give it to another who wants it.

This is my most fav part. I’ve gotten the most out of placing stuff on the curb, watching the neighbours dart across the street. Or the gratification of dropping off huge bags at the thrift. Or for things of a particular nature such as my bins of stripes, putting it out there in a broader sense, so it reaches the right person.

And I get a pizza. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I’m going to put this challenge out to you over the next while. Think of all the white elephants in your spaces. It’s time to walk through your home, then list them. Then get to work.

If you still find it hard to know where to start, DO get the Kon Mari book. (Amazon affiliate link) It’s an easy read, and while some of the musings appear flightly, it works.

You can read my review on the book HERE.

And If nothing more, you can procrastinate your relinquishing efforts while you read. ๐Ÿ™‚

My last truck - how I left my day job for my dream job! Story on
While I further celebrating my still new to me freedom of relinquishing, in more ways than one.

Now that’s a colourful beginning!

– – – –

What would you like to get rid of but have trouble with? I’d love to hear YOUR story!

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Categories: Blog Series, From Crap to Clean, Inspiration, Junk Drawer
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19 thoughts on “The freedom of relinquishing, while purging a past life

  1. Wow Donna! I enjoyed reading your post, but the whole time I was feeling emotionally like where do I begin or what do I do first. There is so much to do. After 36 years of marriage and raising five sons, will I ever have a place for everything and everything in its place? I need to work five days a week for my husband and I to dig out of debt and it cuts into my time to accomplish things. There’s that word – THINGS. It is so hard to get rid of things! But I am craving a more relaxed atmosphere. I feel like I am a combination of wanting serenity and wanting to be creative. How can I be serene when I am being creative? Because when I begin something, it can take a while to be completed. Say like a couple of weeks. The creativity and the chaos it can produce goes side by side with everyday needs and the resultant feeling is massively overwhelming. So then, I have a talk with myself. Remember me that Rome wasn’t built in a day and I just spent a lot of years raising a lot of people (who by the way always seem to be here). Will I ever be done? NO! Nope, no way, no how. So, I keep on trucking. But I need to have a lot of talks with myself. Okay, me, I’m doing this now, but, me, oh no, there is so much around undone. Takes discipline, which at times I lack because I react and am an emotional sort. I am looking forward to one day revamping our hall linen closet. I would like to paint the shelves and arrange supplies and linens in baskets. It would be so pretty. And I will do it. Just don’t have a timeline for it. The other closet I would like to work on is one we have in the kitchen. I would like to paint it and put more shelves in for storage and hang a country farmhouse wooden door on it. I have seen it done in books and love it. And then … I realize I do have projects to look forward to doing. It is an incentive to keep on going so I can accomplish them. When I read your posts and your honest feelings about change and letting items go, it gives me hope. And something I really, really want to do is rip up the carpet in our upstairs hallway because it is in bad shape, and the carpet on the stairs and paint? My husband better be ready because every once in a while I throw caution to the wind and just do it, and it turns out to be a pretty nice finished project. Well, thank you, Donna, for letting me talk. It was awesome and I hope you didn’t mind. Here’s wishing you a lovely and creative day. Thanks for inspiring mine!

  2. I confess, I.Am.A.Junker….and I love it. I can’t pass up a good piece of junk or an old piece of furniture to re-do or re-purpose. Having said that, it is so hard to let go of ‘any thing I may be able to use…someday’. I just need to quit bringing in more stuff but I doubt that will happen.

  3. We have a rule in our house..when something new comes in somthing has to go O_U_T to balance it off. My husband is the collector and has a HUGE pole barn full of his stuff. And now at age 71 and 65 we are having to scale back and give things up in anticipation of a move to an apartment in a few years. I am in the process of inventorying, selling and divesting of a life worth of goods. This is a HUGE amount of work and no fun. Trust me, do it as you go because if you leave it to the end, it is a miserable job. We cannot sell our home with this much stuff and we cannot move until this is done and that is a problem as well. This is the voice of experience speaking here!!

  4. You have inspired me…..However:::due to Attachment Displacea inspiration does not stay with me long. I have been praying for a pill or at least a diy natural recepe to help control this disease…God has answered my prayer: FB Auction!!!YES..
    Can u guide me in this new Quest? I did a FB search and found nothing..

    Thank You
    Taking and following thru (prayerfully) on your challenge..

    • Hi Peggy,

      You could always attempt to do a Facebook search via “Facebook bidding (and name of your town) to see if there is one available to you. I hope there is, it really opened doors for me, getting rid of stuff I couldn’t remove myself!

      • There is usually a Buy, Sell, Trade…city. on Facebook. We have about 10 of them just in my local area! For sale…just search for any word about getting rid of stuff. You’ll find it ๐Ÿ™‚

        • We also have a give away group that sprung from our Yard Sale group on Facebook. It’s really fun to find new homes for things and you don’t even have to leave your house. Yay for the Internet.

  5. I have to admit I loved everything in my house. I always made it a rule not to buy something unless I absolutely LOVED it. and I loved a whole bunch!!!! Then over time I started not liking to dust and clean all around everything. I decided to downsize. I pulled everything out of every room, everything that I did not use frequently, all the chotzkies, everything but the art on the wall from people who I totally loved and admired their work. I was amazed at how clean, fresh, spacious, new the house now looks. (Then I repainted the room) I put everything in the guest room and little by little I am taking things to a booth in a secondhand store. The best part about that is that I am getting back 90% rather than 50% I would get back at local consignment shops. That’s the financial benefit. The other benefit is seeing people come into my booth and spotting something that they just LOVE and buy it. I know that they will cherish it. It’s like the object, say hutch, globe, bookcase gets loved again, even more than I did as over time I kind of took it for granted. The whole process makes me feel wonderful, unburdened, free. I hear a little of that in your post too! There’s always space to add a new item, but I’m not seeing things like I did in my accummulation phase. It’s all good!!! So keep it up!!

    • I like calling it the “accumulation phase”…. My dad and I have often joked about how we’ve spent the first half of our lives accumulating stuff and the second half getting rid of it.

      What’s so puzzling is the tremendous satisfaction I’ve received from both phases. haha

  6. Your posts on crap to clean are great incentives for me…I have been working on this for awhile. Not only do I have my own family’s stuff, I am woeking on my mom’s…..We all have shared a home for 11 years now and our house is bursting at the seams! Thanks for the inspiration! Keep up the good work! karen….

  7. After having to deal with the cleaning out my parentโ€™s house, my entire family has learned the lesson of one item in means one item out. No one wants to have to go through many years worth of accumulation of treasures. Old jewelry can be sold. Old books can be sold. Old tools can be sold. Old clothing can be sold. If you don’t want to deal with the job of listing it for sale, donate it to a worthy cause, take it to a resale shop or consignment shop. That’s what I did with most of my parents stuff. Do it now rather than waiting for your children to do it. If you work at it for an hour or two every day it will get done. Why wait? What’s stopping you?

  8. Oh DoNNA ALLGAIER-LAMBERTI- I am right there with you. My children aren’t interested in the things I like so I know they do not want them. I get it though. I have some things from my mom and my husband’s mom but our tastes were different. Emptying out someone you loves home of their belongings is very difficult. I have this on my mind but it is a slow process to release a lifetime of accumulation but I know my days are numbered. I do not want my children to be burdened. I have sold some things through a local auction company just because I can’t bear to give them away. Many things are just sentimental to me and not worth the auction company’s time so off they go.
    Thanks for letting me vent! Good luck with getting rid of crap everyone.

  9. awesome…it will feel good!

    as far as my house…I don’t keep stuff and like it tidy, but if you could see behind my barn…you may gasp or faint! It seriously needs to be organized. the barn is pretty much complete so cleanup time!

    The part I like best is the pizza you mentioned!

  10. Hi Donna,

    I moved a couple years ago from one state to another only because I inherited my parents home. My previous one was 2,900 sq. ft and the new one 1235 sq. ft. I had to get rid of a lot of stuff after 32 years of accumulation. It was a good thing! Actually, I have not missed a thing. I still shop thrift stores and antique stores and if I don’t have a use for it, or idea to use it, it does not come home with me,

  11. Having just remarried, and joining two houses together…. sigh…. my husband and I wonder “how did we get all this crap?!” Well, between the two of us there are 5 kids, a parent that lives with us – and 47 years of growing up of our own… and all THOSE collections!
    I’m determined each weekend to clean out ONE closet – or ONE shelf or ONE cabinet. So far, so good. But those memories sure are hard to purge.
    Thanks for your thoughts and memories shared – It makes me feel better I’m not the only one in this boat! lol

    • Congrats! And oh my… I’m pretty certain you have your work cut out for you, Cindy! Slow and easy wins the race!

      Via the Kon Mari method, she suggests starting with closets first, because we have the least attachment to clothing. It really helps get you into the proper mindset of letting go.

      But the key element was to group ALL your clothing (or what have you) into ONE spot first. Because we tend to have so much stuff all over, it makes repeated cleaning necessary.

      The theory has worked well for me. You can see at a glance how much of a surplus we really do have!

  12. Well, I used to find it difficult to let go of stuff because I only bought what I really liked, and I didn’t like throwing those dollars away.

    But we moved internationally 3 times in the last 7 years and I now find that you can buy, love and then willingly sell/donate/trash when you have to move. So, when we came to open the boxes that had been in storage for the last 7 years it was easy to say “goodbye” to the majority of it because we have moved on from that past life. Yes, it was a pain going through each box to determine what needed to go in the “sell”/”donate”/”trash” piles, but we made some money, blessed some other homes through donation, and only trashed what had deteriorated while in storage.

    We’re moving(again) domestically in July and downsizing, with an international move to our retirement home next couple of years – at that time everything, bar clothes and personal effects that can fit into suitcases will have to go. I find it liberating!

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