In my first two posts, I covered how living with clutter and excess can affect our productivity and psyche as well as some reasons we find ourselves holding onto more than we need or can even use. In my final post, I wanted to give you some practical steps to clearing your physical space and, to some degree, your mind space so you can live lighter and with ease and flow.
If you’ve been following along, I’m guessing that by now you’ve identified multiple areas in your living or work space that could use a little “releasing”. So let’s get you started! Follow these steps to a create space in your life!
STEP 1 – IDENTIFY the areas needing attention. Jot down all the areas you want to de-clutter and release excess.
STEP 2 – DIVIDE AND CONQUER. Take your list, divide the tasks and schedule them on your calendar. For instance, maybe you have identified all the spaces that are “behind closed doors” in your house i.e. closets, cabinets and drawers. I suggest tackling one room at a time. Schedule the kitchen cupboards and drawers for week one. Carve out a chunk of time on Saturday to finish it all (2-8 hours depending on the size of your kitchen) or break it down into smaller tasks and schedule the pantry on one day and a drawer and cabinet each day that week. Tailor this to your needs. If you have identified an area like the basement on your list, maybe divide it into sections and take on one section a day.
The idea is to be able to have a sense of accomplishment – at the end of the week you have finished a room! Don’t forget to schedule time to take the items to their new home – more about this later.
STEP 3 – CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE TO RELEASING(Keep this in mind when scheduling as well). I find it works best if you can through this process by yourself – with as little distraction as possible. Turn off your phone, no computer or tablet near to tempt you. Immerse yourself in the process. Either no kids or completely occupied kiddos if possible.
STEP 4 – BE PRESENT when you take on the task and BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF as you do the work. Consider each and every item in the space you are working with. Hold every item in your hands and ask yourself these questions:
- when is the last time I used this?
- when will I use it again?
- is it something I could easily get or borrow the next time I need it instead of storing?
- is it something beautiful? (allow yourself to keep some of these to create the type of aesthetic you want in your home)
If the answer is longer than 3 months for the first two questions, you will want to consider releasing it to it’s next owner. If you use it twice a year, but could borrow one, it’s time to release it. If it fell under the beautiful realm, ask yourself why you want to keep it. Often times, wall decor and nick knacks stay with us out of laziness. Contrary to popular belief, “fill every corner, countertop and shelf with stuff” is not a good design strategy. Are you surrounding yourself with the only pieces you truly want and love?
If you are going through clothing, the questions are slightly different:
- when is the last time you wore it?
- did it fit?
- how did you feel in it? (if you didn’t feel like you could conquer the world in it, then it is time to release it!)
- when will you wear it again?
Again, consider the 3-month guideline, making adjustments for seasonal needs. Keeping clothes that don’t fit anymore is just a constant reminder of how you “aren’t measuring up” – who needs that?!
The key in this entire process is being honest with your self. You are not doing yourself any favors when you convince yourself you need to keep something when your gut is telling you differently. Let me share an example of two items that were given to me by my now deceased Grandmother – a chest of drawers that opens to small desk space and a porcelain figurine of a woman – both items are beautiful, both have sentimental value and both bring back a flood of memories. After sitting with them both, I decided to keep the furniture piece because I use it most every day and release the figurine to a new owner. I took a photo of the figurine and will cherish the memories through the photo and feelings it brings when I look at it, but there was no honest reason for me to keep it.
STEP 5 – RELEASE THE ITEMS WITH CARE. Last post I spoke about the negative feel the phrase “getting rid of” has – it’s as if the piece is a bad thing or maybe it stems from wanting to forget about why you acquired it or that it no longer fits us. The fact is, there’s a myriad of reasons we may want to “get rid of” things, but I advocate for speaking in terms of releasing pieces with good intentions. If you are taking your items to a resale shop or donations outlet, do it right away. At the end of your week, schedule the time and take every thing to their new home, arrange for their pickup and set out of sight or post for sale right then and bid them farewell as the items leave your possession.
That’s it! As with many things, it is a simple process, but not necessarily an easy process. However, I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by it. My hope is that you will be energized by the promise it brings once you are finished.
I guarantee, living lighter is such a freeing feeling! Here’s to “creating space” in your life and to a healthier mind, body and soul because of it! You are worthy! Cheers!