At first we sold items to help pay down debt. We had a big yard sale, sold a few things with online ads, and then got down to the stuff that wasn’t worth selling and gave it away. We gave away clothes, books, furniture, tools, and other things that we had held on to for years decades.
When we downsized and got to the everything must go phase, we were placing our stuff in the driveway, putting a picture of it on a local website with the caption “free” and usually, within 30 minutes or less, everything did go.
Give money to causes that mean something to you, local churches, organizations and people in need. Money can be the hardest thing to part with, but it’s been my experience that whatever you give comes back in so many ways. Don’t compare your giving to others. How and what you give is up to you. When you give because you feel pressured to measure up, it’s not nearly as powerful as when you give from your heart.
Giving can really help with the process of letting go. I recently received an email from a very kind soul who was having trouble letting go of stuff. She placed an ad on Craigslist for some pet related items and a young couple came over to purchase it. She discovered that they had a small animal rescue organization. With the love of animals as a common connection, she was moved to give them several other items to help with their cause and is more motivated then ever to continue to let go.
Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve worked in someway with the homeless community. I know there is some controversy with that, but I’ve always felt that it’s not my place to judge, only to give. If I have extra cash on hand, I’ll give that, but what I like to give lately is sandwiches. It’s a simple way to feed people and to remind them that people care. You can read more about how I give sandwiches here.
One of the biggest benefits of simplifying your life is to reclaim your time. This non-renewable resource is so valuable. Give your time to:
- family members
- communities you care about
- volunteer efforts
- mentoring opportunities
- taking care of yourself
- sharing great ideas
There are times when I get caught up in protecting my money, my time, or my stuff. Those are the times when letting go feels like a struggle. Those are also the times when I’m caught up in fear and scarcity, and I am not acting from a place of love. I didn’t recognize that for a long time, especially when I was accumulating stuff. Letting it go provides the clarity you need to tell if you are acting out of fear and love. It’s impossible to do both at the same time. Give with love and letting go becomes a wonderful side effect instead of a struggle.
If you get stuck, start by giving loving gestures like smiles, hugs, and compliments. The more loving your actions are, the more loving you will feel and the easier it will be to give.
I still give away my stuff when it isn’t serving my life, but there is much less coming in and going out. Giving is such a powerful experience that I will be looking for new ways to do more of it in my life and my work.