Whether downsizing, becoming an empty nester or simply deciding it’s time to declutter and enjoy some newfound space, parting with possessions – while potentially emotionally painful – can feel amazingly cleansing. But what if after having saved all those wonderful things for your children all those years, they don’t want them? How do you then feel? For years I held onto a piece of china my mother-in-law re-gifted to me when they decluttered their home in anticipation of a move. I never liked it, and finally, very gently, asked if she’d mind if I passed it on. Her “Sweetheart, get rid of anything you don’t want, you won’t offend me” response was incredibly liberating.After all, why should people keep something they don’t like, use or feel good about? While recognizing that loving the giver and the gift are not the same, loving someone often has us holding onto possessions so as not to offend them. Letting go of something does not mean you’ve relinquished a connection to either the person or the memories attached to the object. In other words, one does not need to hold on to an object in order to appreciate the wonderful (or painful) memories it elicits. For someone emotionally attached to their possessions, this is a challenging concept to internalize.Some 24 years ago, my sister and I spent three long weeks cleaning out, donating to charity and taking to our homes, stacks of clothing and other things my dad desperately wanted out of the house the minute my mom’s shiva ended, thinking it might help lessen his pain. I’ve since promised myself that I would not force my once-treasured possessions on my children or burden them with cleaning out “too many” hoarded items when I am no longer here. I’ve jokingly told them what three things they might want to save, and said the rest was up to them.