We Need To Talk About…How To Detach & Let Go of Things

Are You Attached to Your Things?

Are you attached to your things? Recently, while listening to Jim Fortin’s podcast, he said something that really struck me, “Do not attach to things.” (If you’re interested, Jim Fortin is a subconscious transformation coach, and you can check out his podcast here.) He went on to explain that by detaching from things, you can actually bring more abundance into your life.  You are literally making space for other things. The question lingered in my mind. Am I attached to my things?

When we sold our house in Colorado, we put a majority of our things in storage; Not furniture because you sell houses furnished here, which honestly felt great, but all of the other things like clothes, sporting goods, kitchen stuff, etc. I remember agonizing over what to bring to storage and what to leave in the house. It felt like a series of really hard choices. We basically defaulted to… “let’s bring it” for most things and subsequently had a pretty full storage unit which you can see below. 

After renting a house for a bit, we decided as a family to take an epic cross-country road trip and then move to Spain.  During that time, I had two suitcases and a duffel bag. Upon returning to the US, we still didn’t have a home (we are building a house that is almost finished). That means our family has been living out of suitcases for… 9 months! Wow.

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Before moving into our new house, Chris and I wanted to make sure that we really wanted and needed everything in our storage unit. Looking around at everything, we were both totally overwhelmed. We have no furniture and yet somehow we had accumulated SO MUCH STUFF. I looked at Chris with a dumbfounded expression and said, “We don’t need ANY of this!” I meant it. He immediately agreed and added, “What were we thinking keeping ALL of this??

Having lived with so little for so long provided a certain freedom and lightness that both of us not only grew to accept, but actually loved. And, as we looked around at all the stuff, the heaviness was palpable.

Jim’s quote was top of mind. “Do not attach to things.” I realized in this moment of overwhelm that there wasn’t ONE SINGLE THING in that unit I really cared about.

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tin mirror hanging on a stone walltin mirror hanging on a stone wall
The Mirror

I didn’t even care about keeping the one piece that I’ve had since my early 20’s… my tin mirror (pictured above).

I bought this beautiful mirror at a flea market in New York City for my studio apartment on the upper west side.  It was my first “grown-up” purchase and has always been really special to me.

I’ve moved that mirror like 5 times over 20 years! It was the first thing I hung up at our house in Boerne, Texas (above). I also brought it with us when we moved to Telluride, Colorado. It felt like an important piece…and a connection to my old self and former life before being a wife and mother.

Upon closer inspection I noticed the paint was chipping away on my mirror. I immediately panicked a little and then asked Chris if we could dissolve the paint and restore the natural silver color of the tin? He asked me, “Do you really want to do that?

I paused and then answered, “No. No, I don’t. Let’s donate it.”

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Letting Go & Moving On

The thrift shop told us it was “too big” for them to store and sell so Chris mentioned The Free Box. The Free Box is a place where people put free stuff in Telluride.

We carefully placed the mirror next to The Free Box. I paused for a moment before getting back in the car, staring at this beauty one last time. I snapped a picture, wished it well and smiled. I smiled knowing that someone would find this mirror on the street, and excitedly scoop it up.  It will no doubt be the perfect piece for their apartment… as it once was for me.

Driving away, I realized that I don’t need to hold onto any part of the past anymore. In fact, I don’t need any “thing” in my house to make it feel like a home. All I really need is my family, our dog, Travy and a couple of suitcases.

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Are you attached to your things? Please share your thoughts in the comments. If you’re interested in getting more blog posts like this delivered directly to your inbox, along with some incredible resources for women over 40, be sure to sign up for my newsletter here.

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16 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About…How To Detach & Let Go of Things

  1. I can totally relate. Somehow I managed to be the sibling who “inherited “ all my parents stuff. Some things I’ve been ok with donating but I have some furniture that I have no room for, is soooo out of style,and is just taking up space in a very cluttered basement. My mom loved this stuff and it actually hurts to get rid of it. I will have to part with them soon but it’s not easy. Can I also just say wow to having to include your furniture in your home sale! I can’t imagine that most people have the budget to buy all new furniture. Regardless I like topics you are moving towards and I appreciate you!

    1. Rebecca, it can be so tough… remember to be kind to yourself through the process. I’m glad to hear you are enjoying my content, I appreciate YOU! xo

  2. OMG I so needed to read this. I am about to move to Spain with my husband and our son. And we are trying to figure out what to keep what to take with us. I was getting overwhelmed with how much we need to get rid off, since it’s too much to take with us. But it pained me to separate from my “stuff”. I have such a hard time giving them away or selling. Your post inspired me, and I “got it” into my heart, that I do need to let go of things, and it’s ok to do so. Thank you.
    I actually found your youtube channel by searching about moving to Spain. And I love your channel, and your website. I found that I connect with you through not your fashion posts (though I love those too) but through your move to Spain, your post about stopping drinking, the work you have done on yourself, the breathwork you mention (it has helped me a lot as well), the manifestation babe (I started listening to her now). SO thank you for being so real, and posting not just about fashion but about your life and yourself.

    1. Congrats on the move to Spain, Agnes! That’s very exciting! We’re so glad this post resonated with you and that you’re enjoying the YouTube channel! ~Team Busbee xo

  3. This is so true! I have just moved with my boyfriend after 4 years of relationship. I truly underestimated all things I kept with me after my divorce. I thought that I would only need to load the car a few times and leave the big furniture for the moving truck. Things kept coming out of the closets, drawers and I also realized I have kept so much stuff UNTOUCHED for seven years below the stairs. I never saw myself as a person that clutters but during the moving process I found out I owned 63 lipsticks, most of them have gone bad and since in my country it is mandatory to wear a mask everywhere, I am not even wearing lipstick on a regular basis.
    I also saw my not-on-purpose scented candles stash, so many of them! I don’t need that many, what is more, I don’t need even one!
    I got rid of almost everything I had under the stairs. I thought if I didn’t touch any of that in years, I don’t think I will need all that stuff in the future.
    I got ride of a lot of photocopies (I am a university professor), makeup, shoes, coats, jeans, books, a lot of kitchen stuff, especially mugs. I owned mugs of many places I have visited, like I was going to forget I went there if I didn’t see the mug in my kitchen ha!
    I learnt so much from this, I found pieces of clothing that was worn only a couple of times. So from now on, if I buy any piece of clothing I won’t wait for that special occasion to wear it. It may never happen. I will wear it the next day.
    I have become more aware of the things I want to buy, “will I really use it?” “Do I really like it?”
    You are right, we shouldn’t get attached to stuff. And also, old things need to go for new things to come in.
    Reading this entry makes me realized it is not only me, many people keep so much stuff.
    Before packing my shoes in the old apartment, I started looking for a shoe rack that fitted all of them because the space I would get in my boyfriend’s house was only the half. Then, I started packing and also sorting shoes out. I sold a couple of them, I gave away others, Even some pairs went to the garbage so now I only have with me the shoes I really wear and like.
    It wasn’t easy, but who needs more than 15 lip balms? Or tons of Starbucks tumblers? I got rid of a lot of stuff and I have became more aware of the things I own and the way I used to spend my money.
    Uff! This was long! I learnt a lot from my moving process, I hope you take something useful from my experience.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story and your thought process, Iris! Super helpful! I’m so glad you are finding freedom and clarity. ~Erin xo

  4. I used to think I loved the things I had…until I got divorced. I ended up moving halfway across the country within a matter of days with a plan to return and box up my possessions after a month. When I actually did that, I realized there were very few things I really ‘needed’ to take with me. Since then I have purchased a home (with my partner) but have not really accumulated many new things. I enjoy the simplicity. BTW, I remember the free box from my visit to Telluride last November! Great idea!

  5. I think that it is definitely a personality thing. There are things that my family has that mean a great deal to us because they represent our history. Hand-me-down pieces of furniture, books, photo albums, a set of china, etc. all bring us joy because of who they came from. I think that objects can trigger memories and those memories can be good or bad. Since I choose to only hold on to the “good” stuff, I don’t have a desire to purge any of it.
    From a practical, financial stand point, I don’t want to re-purchase things that I have bought in the past. So, I wouldn’t purge things that I will need in the future. I think that is just being a good steward of what God has blessed us with.
    On a side note, I laughed after I finished reading and looked at your picture of the mirror sitting on the sidewalk with signs all around saying not to leave items on the sidewalk. 🙂 But, I’m sure someone scooped up the mirror pretty quickly.

    1. Surrounding yourself with items that bring you joy and evoke beautiful memories is wonderful, Stacey…just remember that when we have too much other clutter sometimes those precious items get lost. ~Erin xo

  6. This is so appropriate for me. Last year we moved about 1500 miles -from outside of Los Angeles to a small town in Texas. We moved a lot of STUFF! Furniture kitchen stuff, kid stuff.2 Semi-trailers of stuff, and I would have been just as happy to have donated most of it and replaced it as we needed it. A lot of our original furniture is gone, replaced with new pieces the new home! As a 20something, in my own for the first time, I bought things slowly, that I loved, over the years they have been broken, given away or found a new home my sweet memories are there if them, but as for the pieces, I’ve outgrown them, my family and life are different now. I treasure the memories, but know that freeing up the space of “stuff “ will make room for new memories.

  7. Wow, this is so timely for me as I plan for a move out of state and debating whether to get rid of things I have an emotional attachment to. Pay to move or start fresh?

    1. It can be a challenging process, Patricia. I had held on to my mirror because of the memory I attached to it.

      I read once that when we are having a tough time letting go of an item, we need to dig deeper into why we are hanging on to that item. Those memories will always be with us, we don’t necessarily need that item to stay connected to that memory.

      Perhaps you could also take a picture of that item and create a memory book where you can journal the memory with the photo. ~Erin xo

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