The Art of Letting Go

Personal advice

May 24, 2021

I’ve cleaned out my closet 15 times during the pandemic. 

Each time, I dump every single thing that’s hanging up, stuffed on shelves, hiding in the depths of the dark dusty corners, outside of the closet and make big decisions.

Do I keep the shirt with a mustard and ketchup stain that I love so much? 

Yes, of course, I tell myself. I’ll save it to wear for a nighttime function with really bad lighting. The stains will look like they belong there.

Do I keep the pair of shoes that give all five of my toes the gnarliest blisters but were the first pair of high-heels I bought almost 10-years ago when I moved to NYC and serve as a symbol of freedom, fun, and fantasticism? 

Yes, they must be treasured and I’ll just invest in some heavy duty band-aids instead. 

Finally, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, for the 16th time, I decided it was time to clean out my closet again. 

This time, I planned to be ruthless.

If it does not spark joy! If it does not fit! If it does not make sense! If I have not worn it in a decade! 

I chanted these phrases on repeat, my own personal meditative mantras, and began the process.

Within three hours, I filled up six garbage bags of stuff to donate.It turns out, the other 15 times I attempted to get rid of things, I was simply slow dancing around the inevitable.

This past week, for the first time in almost a year, i went back home to visit my parents. I have a closet there filled with more than stuff – it’s filled with memories.

How do you toss photographs, yearbooks, a sorority t-shirt that’s signed by all the friends you once had in college? How do you toss your prom dress, high school leopard print sweater you wore every day for four years, bag of books you read when you were just a child?

Those things can’t just go. 

Those things push back when you chant things like: 

If it does not spark joy! If it does not fit! If it does not make sense! If I have not worn it in a decade! 

Those things shout back – HOLD ON A SECOND YOUNG LADY!  NOW HOLD ON! 

I’ve done this one time before when my parents moved out of my childhood house and into a smaller place where there was not room for 12-years worth of yearbooks or handwritten notes that friends passed in middle school.

Cleaning out your stuff is something you’ll have to do a handful of times in your life – when you make a big move, when someone else moves, when something really bad happens, when something really mesmerizing happens, when life happens. 

Stuff isn’t forever and the items that hold onto your memories won’t linger forever either.

When you find yourself crying over a pile of diaries you kept in the fourth grade, sticking them in a trash bag and taking them out, sticking them in a trash bag and then taking them out and hiding them under your mattress, give yourself a break / give yourself some time/ give yourself some space and remember that the art of letting go is harder than actually letting go.

I tossed all those yearbooks five years ago and I miss them dearly, once in a while. 

Life is just that – you let go and you miss things –

Once in a while…..

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Hey! I’m Jen Glantz

I’m a Brooklyn-based writer who turned a Craigslist ad into a viral business and a six-figure empire. I’m sharing all of my secrets so together, we can work on getting you started on that *thing* you’ve been daydreaming about for far too long.