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GUEST COLUMN: Letting Go Can Be Rewarding

By Susan Gardner, CPO-CD, MDiv

Right-sizing possessions happens any time we cull through our lifetime of treasures. You don’t have to wait for a move. Here are some things which help: a sense of proportion, an eye for aesthetics, a balance of emotion and practicality, and positive outlets for things being culled.

A sense of proportion

We need things that fit in our space comfortably and that are most liked. Exchange quantity of things for the quality of life they provide. Also, with furniture, keep or buy what will fit best in a smaller home if you are downsizing soon.

An eye for aesthetics

Keep what you love and love what you keep! If you have held onto something because you feel guilty letting it go, it’s time to feel guilty! Now is the time to surround yourself with things that give you the most pleasure and speak deeply to your soul.

Balance of emotion with practicality

The china cabinet holds your wedding china as well as your mother’s and grandmother’s. The joy of having choice during dinner parties over the years may now be a burden. Such realizations come with emotion rooted in a life-time of relationships. When culling, memories must be gone through just like things. If this is difficult, I suggest you do it with someone who can hear you speak about your feelings and give support while you make difficult decisions.

Joy finding outlets for culled items

First offer things to family and friends. It is nice to choose a handful of items especially for your children and grandchildren. Then let them tell you what else they would like to keep. Next, consider how you want to dispose of the rest of your things: yard sale, donation, consignment, estate sale, etc.

If you are ready to let something go, don’t wait! There is a positive release that happens when we are surrounded by our most meaningful things and not burdened by superfluous things.

Susan Gardner, CPO-CD, MDiv, is a professional organizer in the Nashville Area and a member of NAPO Nashville (National Association of Professional Organizers). She has organized homes and home offices for six years, including those which are excessively cluttered or even hoarded. Susan brings to her clients an organizer’s practicality, a pastor’s sensitivity, and a mediator’s skill. She may be contacted at (615) 477-9795 or Learn more at


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