Eccentric Life Advice #21 – How to Let Things Go

Each week Astrid Crosland provides instructions on how to improve your life in some small but important ways.

It is normal to invest emotional attachment to objects, especially things that cost us a significant amount of money or other limited resources. However, if there comes a point where the emotive effect of that object no longer increases your happiness, it may be time to remove it from your life. By no means does this mean you must become a minimalist, in fact, I would describe my personal aesthetic as maximalist, but I encourage the self-awareness that you are an ever-changing being, and the objects that you thought were indicative of yourself some time ago need not be the same objects your present self holds on to.

It has greatly helped me to reframe my thoughts from obligation of capital investment – that I need to hold onto these things because I spent money on them, to a more fluid conceptualisation where objects can be manifest experiments – things I learned from but don’t need to keep the results of. For this reason, I sometimes note in my diary what I am letting go and why because if I learned anything from taking three kinds of science in high school it was that experimentation without documentation is just messing around.

You are not obligated to keep things that don’t make you happy. It is not your job to find a place for everything you liked or thought you would like, used or thought you would use. Even museums, great pillars or preservation, recognise the need for curation. If something no longer is of functional or aesthetic use to you, send it to a new home. Pop it on TradeMe, ask your friends if they want it, or donate it to one of the many charity services that help unite objects and seekers.

If these objects happen to be clothes, especially gently used and clean garments, may I suggest you bring them along to the exchange I am hosting on Thursday the 4th of October from 12 pm in the new Queerspace.