1. Embrace the process of letting go: In my younger years, I possessed a fearless spirit and formed deep connections, resulting in a collection of sentimental mementos. However, these cherished artifacts started to dominate my living space, leaving no room for the present. Realizing the need for change, I decided to capture the essence of those belongings through photographs and then bid them farewell, creating space for the next exciting chapters of my life.
  2. Reevaluate the true worth: Among the possessions I had accumulated, a significant portion consisted of outdated computer equipment. Initially, I viewed them with a sense of value based on the amount I had invested. However, a wise economist friend reminded me about the fallacy of sunk costs. It was crucial to recognize that their present value was close to zero. I made the decision to sell the lot to a used-electronics store, earning $60, which I then wisely spent on a much-needed haircut.
  3. Discover your authentic self: I had a perception of myself as someone who religiously exercised on a massive motorized treadmill, indulged in reading literary classics, and baked cookies for every special occasion. The truth was, I wasn’t an avid runner, I preferred reading pop fiction, and baking cookies wasn’t my passion. Consequently, I found myself surrounded by a treadmill, boxes of books, and various kitchen gadgets that didn’t align with my true interests. It was time to let them find new homes.
  4. Embrace reality: Among the broken items I clung to were a multitude of damaged shoes, convincing myself that I would eventually have them repaired. My husband, however, presented a simple yet poignant challenge. He held up each pair and asked me two questions: “If you stumbled upon these shoes in a store today, would you purchase them?” and “If you answered yes, how much would you be willing to pay?” In nearly all cases, I admitted that I wouldn’t buy those shoes again. As for the red kitten heels with a broken sole, the amount I was willing to pay for their repair was less than the cost of fixing them.
  5. Be selective with gifts: Over time, I had accumulated a variety of unattractive presents, including rhinestone-accented paintings featuring eerie clowns. I held onto them out of a sense of obligation, thinking it was the decent thing to do. Additionally, I worried about potential inquiries from the gift givers regarding the missing items. Surprisingly, no one noticed their absence, not even the original presenters of the scary clown artwork.
  6. Adapt to your environment: I had previously owned a used Volvo 740 GLE, which served as my first car after college. However, my living situation had changed. In the Midwest, owning a car was essential, but in my current location of Washington, D.C., we resided near a convenient metro station, with a grocery store just two blocks away. The exorbitant monthly parking fee of $150 made the decision clear: It was time to bid farewell to the GLE.
  7. Admit when you’re not fond of something: As I sorted through my belongings, I gradually realized that there were items I didn’t particularly like but kept due to pure apathy. These were the easiest things to let go of. With a little motivation, I packed up a few boxes and donated them to a local charity, freeing myself from the burden of possessions I had no genuine attachment to.
  8. Identify true necessities: Often, our needs are only tangentially related to the physical items we possess. For instance, I owned a large popcorn maker, but in reality, I could easily prepare the modest amount of popcorn we consumed using a small pot on the stove. It was clear that the popcorn maker had to go.