The Power of Letting Go

November 19, 2015

My wife Michelle read the bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and has transformed our house over the past few months. I’ve enjoyed and appreciated all that she has shared with me about the book, and especially all that she has done to de-clutter and tidy up. However, until this past weekend, I hadn’t really engaged in the process much myself. But, starting with my clothes and then moving onto my books, I had a transformational experience over the past few days going through everything and letting go of a LOT.

My understanding of the basic premise of the book and the process is to touch everything in your house and ask yourself the question, “Does this bring me joy?” If the answer is yes, keep it and put is back (in an organized way), but if the answer is no, thank it and let it go. While this is a fairly simple concept, it’s not all that easy.

In this video, I talk a bit about some of my challenges with letting go, as well as what we can do to let go of not just things, but thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs that may be holding us back…thus creating space for new things (as well as thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and more) to emerge.

What are you willing to let go of? What support do you need to let go? Feel free to share your thoughts, insights, or any questions you have below.


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  1. Mike, as always a thoughtful and inspiring message today. Making the space is important in our thoughts, as you have said, but in letting go of the things that do not bring us joy and clutter our lives, we make room for new experiences and people. I have seen in my life a direct correlation to cleaning out and a new friend arriving. I have also let go of old relationships in much the same way. Once it no longer brings me joy, or adds to my life, it is time to move on. All the best to you, the girls and Michele for a very Happy Thanksgiving. A time for stopping and being grateful for the many blessings we have in our lives. Best wishes,

    • Hello there,

      So interesting… I was walking my son to school today and pondering a blog post about this very topic. I, too, have not read the book, but my husband has, and we both try to practice voluntary simplicity in a lot of ways. (We have four people in a house that is 962 square feet. Not small compared to many people, but in our society it seems so.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the larger issue of letting go.


  2. Greetings Mike,

    I really enjoyed this message! I have also been on a path of letting go, and “tidying up”, which has been exciting and very freeing for me and my 11 year old daughter. I relate to the feeling of scarcity that came from a childhood of perceiving that we didn’t have enough, or that I was doing without. It has created a “need” for me to hold on to things “just in case”

    What is making my path more magical is finding the right homes for all of the precious things that I am letting go of. As I pass on my things to someone who might enjoy it, I find myself creating new joy through connection, and new appreciation for items that have been in drawers and on shelves at my house. I have had many reports of kids loving their new horse backpacks, or friends who love a book or jacket that I passed on.

    For the holiday, I have been packing boxes with books, special clothes, photos, etc, for family and friends. As I gift those items, I will honor my things by reviving the joy through shared memory, or shared interest. I will also add to the gift, the request that when that person wants to move that item on, that I will love it, because it will add to the magic of the gift through circulation.

    I find myself more excited about the holidays than I have been in a long time. Garage gift giving is a blast, and will bless my things as I let them go into the world.

    Thank you Michele

  3. I am the opposite, I let go all the time. I feel the need to get rid of all the time. Is that OCD?or therapy for me?? I feel great every time I do it. But I do it quite often.

  4. Mike,

    Thank you for bringing this topic to your listeners. I have always prided myself in getting rid of things on a regular basis. My theory is if I haven’t used it in a year, I don’t need it. My husband has a much harder time with that. I think it is more the work involved in going through things than anything else. I love the concept of deciding if it brings joy, value to my life. I think this will work with my husband in helping him to understand the need to clean out clutter. When my children were little, I used to go through their toys with them before Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, and put together a bag of things for donation to “free up” space for the new things. It worked very well and they were excited to give to others who would find joy in their donated items.

    I still can do more because I have an issue with not changing things in my home such as pictures, decorations, etc., because I fee it is wasteful of good money spent. So I tend to keep everything decorated the same for YEARS. I think the concept of deciding if it still brings joy will help because it will make me see that I have gotten my enjoyment out of it and can now let it go.

    Thanks again. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

  5. Dear Mike I held on to this e-mail for a while and never read or listen to what you had to say but today I read it and listen to your massage for some time now I have been in a relationship that is not good or god like. I need to let it go and move on for the both of us it’s painful but I know it is the best thing when you speak through your videos I am very in tuned to what you have to say there are times I feel people like you are so god like I will never match up but today I realized I must let go and start over and make room for the good things God has in store for me. Thank you please email me back with your thoughts if you have time. Thanks Tony

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