Letting Go Without Regret: A Tip for Giving Up Things You Don't Need (But Might Miss)

Letting Go Without Regret: A Tip for Giving Up Things You Don't Need (But Might Miss)

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Adrienne Breaux
Jan 20, 2015
My filing cabinet in its new stylish home.
(Image credit: Adam Carnes)

I'm moving...sort of. My lease is up this month and my apartment building needs major repairs, so us tenants have to up and scoot ourselves, our things and our pets (sorry Angus cat) up and out of our beloved apartments for a few months. I'm looking on the bright side and seeing it as an opportunity to travel rent-free and purge stuff I've had a long time. But as someone who has spent years collecting fun furniture and accessories full of cherished stories and memories, the purging part isn't going as smoothly as I thought it would.

I actually made a list of the items I didn't want to have to move and stick into storage easily and quickly enough. They were things I loved — a handful of chairs, a couple of stools I always meant to reupholster and a hefty fire-engine red filing cabinet I loved — but things that in recent years I hadn't really used all that much. The filing cabinet was actually on the first of my list to go — it cost nearly nothing, but it's heavy and frankly five moves with it had been enough for me.

The plan was to sell items on Craigslist and donate those I couldn't sell to Goodwill. But when it came time to actually get rid of these things, my heart started breaking. I'd had these items for a LONG time and they came with stories! That red filing cabinet? Bought at a favorite spot in Austin eight years ago and I amazed everyone that day by fitting it into a 2001 Nissan Altima (which I almost had to sell with that thing stuck inside — but thankfully was able to wrestle it out with the help of three neighbors).

What's helping me get rid of these items guilt-free and without being overwhelmed with regret? I'm not selling them to strangers on Craigslist — I'm giving them away to friends I know will give them a good home (by just posting some photos in an album on Facebook with the word "free" in the title!).
Not everyone can do this; some folks need money from the items they sell to fund other things. But a lot of these items I'm giving away aren't worth much (and I found for free or nearly-free). So for me giving them away — and giving them away to people I like, know and know to be stylish — isn't just cultivating (what I hope) to be good-future-furniture-finding karma, it's also giving myself peace of mind knowing that though these pieces' stories with me are coming to an end, their next chapters will be just as sleek and stylish. So special thanks to all my friends for giving my cherished (though quite a bit old and beat-up) furniture pieces new homes this weekend. It's much appreciated!

Do you like to sell your stuff, or have you ever softened the blow of having to give a beloved furniture piece away by making sure it was given to someone who would give it a good home? Have you ever "checked in" to how a furniture piece fit into someone's home after you gave it away or sold it? Tell us in the comments below!
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