Spring: A Season For Letting Go


Spring: A Season For Letting GoIsn’t it amazing how various objects begin collecting around the house? Okay, maybe amazing isn’t the word; annoying is probably a better fit. Before you know it, you have a ton of unused things sitting on your counters or stuffed in a drawer. If you’re like me, this stuff stresses you out. Our homes should provide a lot of things, but stress should not be one of them.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Whether it is a trash bag bound for the garbage bin or a bag that will ride around in the back of your minivan for the next two weeks before you donate it, let this be your sign to grab the bags and start tossing. It is time to bag up those unused items that are taking up space and collecting dust around your house.

Some things are easier to toss, like old and tangled computer cords or expired coupons sitting in the junk drawer. In these cases, it’s better to just empty out the whole drawer

and declutter. And what about the books (gasp!) you’re never going to pick up again or those extra throws and blankets that do not get used? It’s time to part with them too. These unsentimental items, which have accumulated over time, are easy to toss though it can be hard to find the time to go through them. I recommend focusing on one room a week. Put a bag or box in that room and as you encounter unused or unwanted items, toss them in. Then, move onto the next room the next week. This process has helped me tremendously when decluttering.

What about sentimental items, the ones that aren’t so easy to part with, like boxes full of possessions your parents likely packed years ago with your once loved and played with toys?

Each toy holds a special place in your heart and memory; it is, after all, a glimpse into your childhood. Do we even want to get into the two crammed totes of my childhood stuffed animals? I blame Disney for anthropomorphizing my childhood toys. I am an adult and I understand my plush dalmatian does not communicate with the other toys and that they do not have feelings, so why do I still feel immense guilt when considering getting rid of them.

Parker and Cove playing in Barbie Corvette.

I have a few of those containers kept in my garage. Some of the relics even still smell like my childhood home. How do you toss that? It’s easy, you don’t. You cannot prematurely get rid of something. After feeling pressured by others to toss certain things in the past, I still feel grief because I was not ready. At the same time, you don’t have to keep all those treasures you’ve held onto. I have discovered that the key for saying good-bye to items that hold a special place in your heart is time. When you’re ready, you can start going through the keepsakes, but only if and when you’re ready. This is not a process you should force. I recognize that perhaps I am holding onto some things because of the strong ties it has to my youth. It was not that I necessarily wanted some of the toys, but rather the pressure to keep what was left of my childhood was too great to part with the items. Waiting until you are completely ready allows you to give yourself permission to let them go, helping create a guilt-free process.

Cove and Parker playing with my childhood Town and Country red wagon full of my stuffed animals.

As I began this journey of letting go of my childhood possessions, I thought a lot about  how these material items caused stress and even anxiety at times. My eyes were opened to a tactic of the enemy and sin in my life, as we are instructed in the book of Matthew to not store up treasures of this earth. I’m in no way saying that keeping stuff or not decluttering is sinful, but what I am saying is I was convicted by all my stuff…junk, if you will. For reference, the biblical text says: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

My daughter playing with my childhood doll.

Earlier this year, I accepted that I am ready to begin parting with some of these lifelong treasures. A few things I could not say goodbye to prior to this year are memorabilia like the purple flowered covered bike I got when I was a teenager that’s been hanging in the garage with rims beginning to rust; a piece of my great-grandmother’s furniture; a dresser with drawers that won’t open because it’s falling apart; and other objects like old papers from high school, clothes, shoes, rocks (I know, I know)…

It was time I let go of these items. Since both of my parents passed, these materialistic objects do not hold as much value as they once did. I recognize I am not as emotionally connected to some of these possessions and it is time to let them go. The memories are still here, even if the objects are not. Admittedly, for now, I’m still holding onto the totes of stuffed animals, but I have begun allowing my youngest children to play with them. My biggest regret is not getting them out sooner, so my older two children could enjoy them too. What’s the use of keeping them stored away? It’s special seeing my children making memories with toys I have lasting memories with. I would encourage you to do the same if you have old toys stored away.

Cove and Parker playing in my 1991 Barbie Corvette. Parker was holding my childhood doll, Hopscotch Heather.

So, this spring, as you begin to let go of things, remember to do so only if you’re ready. What are some tips you have for decluttering and letting go of childhood toys?