Let it go – Part 2 (it’s not just about ‘stuff’)

Last week we talked about some reasons why we keep stuff and also the psychology of clutter but there’s more to this ‘letting go’ business than just dealing with your physical clutter.  Here at apartment diet, we always like to start with the physical as it’s much easier to let go of things (yes, really) than it is to let go of our beliefs, fears and expectations in life. What we have experienced is that physical change can start the process of creating new (better for us) habits and emotional changes too. Having said that, it would be remiss of us to simply say that moving things around the house will equate to happiness – there’s a little bit more to it than that!

So, I wanted to share something that helped me with my overwhelm, as I am a typical type ‘A’ personality with a history of perfectionism, martydom and a delusional belief that I am a superwoman!




You see, it was all going swimmingly until motherhood happened to me.  First my daughter, 7 years ago, then 2 years later my son + several renovations before, during and after both pregnancies + returning to work running my own financial consultancy + sitting on a few boards + coaching + mentoring + studying and … well, there’s the rest of life of being a wife, a friend, a daughter and trying to squeeze in me time (yeah right) + a child that woke 3 or 4 times at night until age two and well, you get the picture. I was stressed, tired, fat and completely overwhelmed with life. Luckily for me, someone magical called Natalie re-appeared in my life to save me from total destruction and together we created apartment diet. We tested all our theories and made mistakes on ourselves (or more correctly, on me!) and came up with our unique approach of dealing with the stress, the tired and the overwhelm by starting with physical actions. Teeny tiny steps that even someone that’s ‘losing the plot’ could imagine taking. Like ‘remove 1 thing’ or starting with a corner etc … since we started, I have slowly but surely dealt with many years of clutter and thrown out more things than I own! I have let go of a lot of things and the reasons for them that I talked about last week but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I decided to let go of more than just stuff.

Perhaps this happened because I did the work on letting go of my clutter and I now have space to deal with the real issues at hand, I’m not sure, but actually that’s not the point.  The point is that I decided to let go of ‘doing or having it all’. Yes, that’s right – I have let go of my superwoman disguise and am now embracing the idea of asking for help.

ask for help quote

I have let go of perfectionism (well mostly) and am settling for ‘good enough’…with that, I have also incorporated my beloved 5 minute rule into all aspects of my life which not only helps me get more things done, whether they’re to do with personal friendships or work emails, but more importantly, help me feel more secure as I still have the feeling of being on top of the gazillion things that come my way on a daily basis.  I think this is particularly relevant these days as most of us have less time and many more things to deal with! But the biggest part of what I am doing is letting go of my expectations of myself – as a wife, a mother, a woman. What started as a joke about 6 months ago has now turned into the way we do things in this house – I {shock horror gasp} decided to go on a cooking strike. Now before you say anything like many folk have (“that would never work in our house” or “but we’d starve if I stopped cooking” etc) let me just tell you what happened.  I told my husband that I could no longer cope with cooking dinner on top of my daily demands and gave him one easy recipe book to use. Then, I simply stopped cooking dinner. It freed me from a breakdown (I’m convinced of it!) but it also planted the seed of the idea that I don’t have to do everything all the time. I’ll be honest here, I still occasionally feel guilty for “not being a good wife” as I watch the hubs cook but with time it’s subsiding – and, if I’m being completely honest, I actually think that we’re eating much more interesting and healthy meals, now that he’s in charge!

The BIG lesson for me here is to let go of control. Give someone else the space to ‘shine’ (in this case, my own masterchef!). The other big lesson is learning how to say ‘No’ (I am notoriously good at saying yes, sure, of course) – and I don’t just mean say no and then feel guilty about it but to actually say no, GUILT FREE. You’ll be suprised how much time you can free up this way, just by saying no like you really really mean it!

Anways, I’ve waffled on enough for now so will leave you with this experiment.

Just say you’re taking a break and stop doing something that someone else could reasonably help with for the next week and see what happens.

You never know who might surprise you!




  1. debbie mac

    Hi…I have been doing this same thing for years.. Out of necessity however, you see I became a single parent and through shear necessity to stay sane even though I was never at home to clean anyway due to full time jobs giving 200%(bad mistake)…i never had enough energy left over for much anything else except some fun at night and then back to work…so because I never got any fairy dust to become a super mom .I was very comfortable in being able to “not do it all” and everyone thinks I m ten years to 15 yrs younger than my age ..and there are the ones that think I m not doing my job…Pity them…what do they know?..I have to confess that I was an older mom so I did have alot of wisdom before the young one came so there is an advantage if your smart to having children when your older…Love this website and validates my messy house!!!..LOL….

    • tip Author

      Hahahaha – thank you for the website love AND yes, older and wiser! (I was an older mum too at 36 for my first!) At the end of the day, messy isn’t the problem … whether or not your home supports your time with your child and your much needed rest is what is truly important – that is what we focus on here! (And we don’t much care what other folk think of our homes – they’re for the people living in them. That’s it!)

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