**Update**: I had a great conversation with a dear friend and she confirmed my thoughts that this post may be a bit…rude. I knew it was and I knew I was in a mood when I wrote it. Here’s why. My personal life had been feeling out of control that particular week. It’s the holidays and no matter how much we try to mentally prepare, clients still come in sick, give us colds, pack our schedules to the brim, and leave us with 15 minutes to eat lunch. They guy I was dating (and growing to like more and more each day), liked drugs and alcohol more, and another year passed where I met every personal goal I had set for myself with one exception: love. So I took it out on the hoarders and the clutterers, believing my life was more put-together than theirs. But when you do that, you lose sight of the message. IF you want to purge your home of old energy and IF you want to learn how to clear out spaces, then please continue to read. I’ve tried to clean up the points in this post where I came across as harsh, and I apologize if I left anything that made anyone feel less-than, the fact is, I get bossy when I feel powerless.
It’s Christmas Eve in the US, which means in about 24 hours y’all are going to be opening presents. That means more possessions. More stuff. More clutter. Listen, I love new stuff; clothes, candles, dishes, books, furniture…but when something becomes a “display” or when you can’t fit that new dress in the closet, yet you still have “nothing to wear”, it’s time to clean out that old energy. I mentioned something about this in my 5 Favorite Spiritual Habits, but I’d like to go a bit further into it. We’re a country full of project starters but not finishers. We’re also wasteful, wantful people. And we seem to be a county tinged with anxiety and fear. I know I’ve felt fear of losing my possessions; my home, my car, my money, and I was also afraid to let go of things, like the dress I wore when I made the move from Missouri to Los Angeles in 2009, jeans that were not quite right, but nothing is really wrong, wedding invitations from friends who have since gotten divorced and remarried. It’s interesting because it’s not like I would forget that drive from Missouri to LA, and there are jeans that fit me so much better than that old pair from Topshop. But why couldn’t I let them go? What was I afraid of? I was afraid there wouldn’t be more. I feared lack; lack of money, lack of success, lack of being able to replace those items with something I really love and let’s take that dress for example. To me the dress represented the struggle it took to get in my car and drive to LA with $500 to my name. What if by getting rid of the dress, I forgot about that memory? What if I got rid of those black skinny jeans and could not afford to buy another pair? Holding on to those old material items caused me to hold on fear and anxiety.
Another habit I’ve seen is people who have a ton of cheap, low-quality items rather than a curated closet of things they love. Now I’m not saying all your shirts should be from Rag & Bone, I like to buy Hanes t-shirts from the kid’s section at Walmart. But I am saying if you know you love black flats, maybe consider investing in a nice pair rather than buying several pairs of black “manmade leather” flats. If it’s in your budget, stop buying classic pieces (a black wool coat, jeans, sweaters, simple boots) that are from quick fashion places, save up and spend a little bit more on these pieces. You’re going to wear them over and over so why not make a budget and get something that will last longer? Save the cheap shops (Forever 21, H&M, Zara) for fast fashion, like midi dresses and peplum dresses and basically anything trendy. Invest in your evergreen (lasts a long time) clothes and pick up a few trendy pieces here and there.
Y’all know I believe that getting the old stuff out makes space for the new. We could (should) always be evolving, improving, getting better. I’m not saying CONSUME, I’m saying if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hard no. A clean space is less chaotic, and it can still be cozy. Everything in its right place. And for the love of God, either use those state spoons in your next cup of tea or put them in a shadow box and call it an eccentric day.
Here are a few ways to go through your house, one room at a time, one section of that room at a time and declutter. Out with the old (unless it is very sentimental and in that case let’s find a way to display it!), in with the new. I suggest keeping a to-do list to keep you on track. For example:
1. Living Room – get rid of old magazines DO NOT pile them and stack them in a corner. Get rid of them, and your subscription. Have 30 knick knacks on an end table? Cool, pick out your three favorites or most sentimental and donate the rest. Put your books back on the bookshelf, I promise you will not forget to read them. Put blankets in a basket, DVDs (do we still do this?) in their case and back on the shelf. Remove anything broken from the room.
2. Office – scan and file important documents, recycle the rest. Go through your file cabinet every six months after that. Properly dispose of any broken equipment, monitors, keyboards, etc. Clean out your drawers and create a storage system for all your office supplies. Remove anything that doesn’t serve to make you money. This is your office. It is a money-making tool. Treat is well.
3. Kitchen – Empty everything out of the cupboards and the pantry and put it in the middle of the kitchen. If you don’t use it, it’s old or expired, throw it away or donate. Replace the clutter on your kitchen and dining room tables with a vase a fresh flowers. Take a look at your countertops and ask yourself “what do I use every day?” Put away anything that doesn’t answer that question.
4. Bathroom – Use up or dispose of extra bathroom products. Try not to buy seven different bottles of lotion and then have seven half-empty bottles collecting dust. Keep q-tips and cotton balls in easy access glass containers. Do not leave your toothbrush out on the counter, if you don’t have an alternative, get one of those amazing toothbrush covers – you’d be shocked to know what’s flying around in your bathroom. If it is in your budget, go get some new towels, Bed Bath & Beyond has some good deals on towels, just FYI.
5. Bedroom/closet – Take EVERY.SINGLE.ITEM. out of your closet. All of it. Separate into piles of love, like it, trash it (or donate). It’s difficult to do this at first because you have all that fear of getting rid of possessions right? We’ve come to believe an empty closet is a sign of poverty or failure. But I know some broke people with closets stuffed to the gills with cheap, out of style clothes. If it doesn’t make you feel great, get rid of it. As time goes on you’ll get better and better at this – it takes practice. Once I started to believe that more money will come, I began to drop off giant black trash bags full of clothes. I wore them all one last time, just to be sure I didn’t want to keep them. If it didn’t feel like me, it went into the bag. It was like shedding layers of lack and fear. If you don’t have the budget to go out and buy a new wardrobe, check out Poshmark, The RealReal and Tradesy. Even after I got out of debt I still shopped at these places. I got the cutest Monsur Gavriel boots for $180, regularly $650. Also make a vision board on your Pinterest and discover what your classic (not your trendy) style is. What is your go-to? And, this may be weird but buy new underwear. There’s a lot of energy in underwear. Target, Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters all have great options for good prices. Go buy five pairs and get rid of five pairs. Do that every four months until all the old stuff is gone. Get some new linens. Target is great for good quality, well-priced sheets, they have a brand called Threshold and it is one of my favorites. Don’t have the money for new sheets and towels? Sell your state spoons. Throw out old perfume, and moreover, stop collecting perfume. Scents are supposed to go with our body chemistry and maturity. Donate old jewelry. Don’t have things just to have them, if you have trendy stuff that you bought from the mall 10 years ago, get rid of it.
People collect things to have memories and possessions; magnets from places you’ve been, state spoons, snow globes, and ticket stubs. Why not take a picture, frame it and put it on your mantle? It’s still the memory, isn’t it? Leave the collections for the kids.
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