Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.

Cleaning up and letting go


I’m sorting through my stuff. We might have to move. To a much smaller place. I couldn’t take much with me.

I’m holding all the books, all the shirts, all the letters, all my small boxes in my hands, and I am choosing which ones I can take, which ones I have to let go. I’m crying. I’m feeling a sadness and a sense of loss as I see the little book on love, hope, and faith my mother gave me years ago to encourage me through my divorce. The poetry a colleague gave me as a farewell gift when I left my job. The tap dancing shoes I bought for my new-found and never-pursued hobby. The plastic eggs I wanted to reuse with Easter. The left-over wool to knit Christmas decoration with.

Image courtesy to these projects I never finished. These books I never read. These clothes I never wore. These gifts of love I had forgot about.

I sort through them. Keep. Go. Keep. Go. Go. Go. Keep.

I bring two bags of clothes to Buffalo Exchange. They offer $12.50 store credit for one pair of shorts. They’ll donate the rest to local charity. I bring 12 books to Half Prize Books. They offer $11. A friend will pick up kitchen utensils and a food processor tomorrow.

I’m sorting through my stuff and I’m getting a sense of freedom. Spaciousness. Clarity.

These are the values I use as my selection criteria. This is what I want my loved ones to find if I die today. This is what I want to leave behind.

The rest is ballast, burden, attachment.

I’m sorting through my stuff and are getting to the bone of who I am and want to be. Light in body, spirit, and mind.

I’m sorting through my stuff and get to the essence of my life. This is what I want to do, read, wear. This is how I want to be. I am feeling a sense of deep peace arise in me. Life is not difficult. Life is not about having, keeping, planning. Life is about being open, loving, joyful. Life is about enjoying each and every moment, and give the best of yourself.

My favorite artist Ramses Shaffy has this fantastic song:

“De wereld heeft my failliet verklaard, ik heb me nog nooit zo goed en licht gevoeld als nu. Ik heb me nog nooit zo schoon en bevrijd gevoeld als nu.”

Listen to it. Even if you don’t understand the words, you’ll get the jubilant energy of dropping all your luggage and walking light and free. Bankruptcy is a gift of God, not of society. Gosh, I love cleaning up and letting go!


You want help to sort through your stuff, mourn and letting go? Read testimonials of people who hired me as their personal organizer. I would love to help you too! Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a free, discovery session.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping mission-driven professionals bring their lives into balance. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I'm currently in an ICF-coaching certification program. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Cleaning up and letting go

  1. I am more inspired now to continue letting go of the “things” I do not need anymore!


    • Happy to read that. Today a friend picked up glasses, plates, a bracelet, and small stuff, and I felt so delighted to know that she was happy with getting it, and I was happy getting rid of it. Totally win/win.


  2. I read the book The Psychic Pathway by Sonia Choquette. In the book she talks about organization. If you haven’t used it in the last year, chances are, you’re not ever going to. I did a lot of throwing away of useless things, and I remember how light I felt after that. Good blog Elly, thanks.


    • The cleaning helps me to get more and more clarity what my life is about. Last night I realized that if I could only take one thing out of the house, it would be the Certificate of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, with my Dharma name in it (Joyful Harmony of the Heart), signed by Thich Nhat Hanh. I felt touched, when I realized that that is all my life is about: to relieve suffering, and to bring more mindfulness, compassion, love, joy, and appreciation into the world. Pretty simple. Besides that, I am excited again to pick up sewing, knitting, and ceramics. Long forgotten hobby’s I felt passionate about. That feeling is back!


I am curious to read your response

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.