In the weeks leading up to our big move, I had to downsize a lot. Why do I have all this stuff? But then I started going through everything. My next thought, I need all this stuff. I didn’t know where to start.

I walked into the boy’s room and noticed their lullaby CDs I played for them at night. Maybe I should keep these.

In my office, I walked over to my bookshelf. I ran my hands along the covers of so many books I have yet to read. Maybe I should keep these.

I walked into my bedroom and opened my closet. There hung clothes in different sizes. Some reminded me of specific dates with Jeff. The red dress I wore when he proposed. The leather jacket I wore on our first motorcycle ride. Maybe I should keep these?

My life coach is teaching me what she calls The Model. It’s brilliant and simple. The principle is that our pain can be traced back to our thoughts about our circumstances. When I find myself having trouble letting go of something, I go through The Model. The circumstance is the thing that is 100% truth. The rest is up to the way you think about it. Here it is:

Circumstance (truth) -> Thought -> Feeling -> Action -> Result (CTFAR)

While downsizing there were dozens of times I was paralyzed in trying to let go of things like clothes in the wrong size, kitchen items, fitness equipment and kid stuff. In as many cases as I could, I’d plug it into a model.

Circumstance – The kid’s craft stuff is overflowing the cupboard.
Thought – I can’t let go of it because it helps me be a creative, fun mom.
Feeling – Scarcity about my mothering skills and being a fun mom.
Action – I keep it.
Result – Overwhelm from the messy cupboard and less energy for my kids.

My thoughts are so backward, right? Because my thought is that keeping it makes me feel like a better mom, but the truth is it drains my energy, making me a tired mom. Change the thought about it:

Circumstance – The kid’s craft stuff is overflowing the cupboard.
Thought – I don’t need this stuff and we never really use it.
Feeling – Freedom.
Action – I get rid of it.
Result – More time and energy to have fun with the kids.

Questioning the thought behind WHY you can’t let go will change everything.

If you hold on to things out of obligation then ask why do you feel obligated?

Do you hold on out of fear you might need it one day? Why do you feel scarcity? Maybe you grew up poor with few items and you feel safer with more around you. Or you want to make sure your children never go without.

The best thing about discovering the thoughts surrounding our stuff is that we have the power to change our thoughts. If your thought is that you don’t want to waste the item, think of the person you might help by donating it.

The hardest things for me to let go were the things I felt I wasted money or time on. My subconscious thought was, “I will feel pain/sadness/regret if I let it go. It will be wasted.” But what I didn’t realize was keeping it was causing me even more pain. I was just numb to it.