Clearing Out Clutter: A Goodbye Ritual for a Loved Object

We alll know that clearing out unnecessary clutter is good for us. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Some of the items we hold onto, whether they’re a favourite T-shirt, an out-of-date knick-knack, a trusty old couch or a once-cherished piece of jewellery, have such strong memories and emotions attached to them that it’s hard to let them go, even when they’re well past their practical use-by date.
Perhaps we associate them with a past relationship, or a version of ourselves that we’ve outgrown; perhaps we fear that the fond memories will disappear if we send them off to the op or thrift shop, or put them on the curb for the council's next hard rubbish collection. One way of preparing yourself to let go of a cherished item is to conduct a simple farewell ritual. This gives you the chance to acknowledge your feelings for the item, and makes it easier to give it up. Think of it as giving your loved object a send-off! 
You’ll need:
  • the item itself
  • a plastic bag or cardboard box suitable for storing the item ready for disposal
  • a box of tissues.
Set aside 10 to 15 minutes. Go somewhere quiet and warm where you can be alone. Sit on a cushion on the floor, in front of the item you need to let go of. Place the bag or box on the floor behind you. Close your eyes and think about some of the emotions and memories you associate with the item. Experience what the item means to you. Let yourself feel any feelings that come up. Do this for as long as you need to.
Open your eyes. You’re now ready to say goodbye to the item. For this part of the exercise you will need to speak out loud. This can seem odd, but remember you’re doing this for your own benefit, and no-one else is watching!
The exact words you use will depend on the item and its role in your life, but the following will give you an idea:
You’ve been an important part of my life, and meant a lot to me. [Include some words on why the item has meant so much, and its role in your life.] But now it’s time for me to let you go [either ‘to a new owner’ or ‘for the next phase of your journey’]. Thank you for being a part of my life.
Now pick up the item and experience its energy. If you want to, you can touch or hug it. If the item is associated with especially sad or happy experiences, you might want to have a bit of a weep.
Now slowly and symbolically place the item in the bag or box. Put it somewhere ready for disposal, such as the garage, a spare room or even your car (but don’t put it back in the cupboard).
Deal with any feelings of grief that arise by treating yourself gently.
You can easily adapt this ritual for a group of items that have particular associations for you. If the item is particuarly large, conduct the ritual where the item is located, and symbolically throw a sheet over it, or simply shut the door and walk away, when you've said farewell.

Until next time!
If you enjoyed this blog post, you might like Staying Mindful at Sale Time.

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