Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Declutter Your Life


Like any good lil' blogger I planned out my posts for the month. Today I was planning to share with you a few tips on winter running. But I changed my mind.

Lately I've been focusing on decluttering my life. And gosh, does it feel good.

Our lives can so easily become cluttered-- physically, mentally and emotionally. Every once in awhile we need to reassess what is important and remove the things that bog us down.

"Every once in awhile we need to reassess what is important and remove the things that bog us down."

So, what sparked the most recent "cleaning spree"?

I spent 23 days in the Grand Canyon with only two bags of personal gear {and my sleeping bag took up a good chunk of one of those bags}. Two bags to contain everything I needed for an extended stay in the wilderness-- and not once did I pine away for something I left at home. There might have been a few pieces of gear that could have made the trip more comfortable, but never did I think "Darn, I wish I would have packed _____ instead of _____." I didn't miss much of my excessive stuff back home.

Fast forward. I'm home from the Grand Canyon, standing in my closet staring at a section of cream/white sweaters. 

I had a whole section of cream/white sweaters-- at least 7. 


And guess what? They were all only slightly different from each other. So I'm standing there at a loss-- why does anyone need that many sweaters of the same color?

Right at that moment I start tossing things out of my closet. Things I can't remember the last time I wore. Things I've had for years that I only wear as part of one very specific outfit. Things that I'm holding on to "just in case I make it back for a football game"

So.Many.Things.

After tossing the stuff from my closet I took a big sigh of relief. That felt good. 

I spent the next week or so thoroughly cleaning things out. Clothes, shoes, bags, makeup, books, movies, games, dishes, spices, linens, decorations, papers and more. 

If you were to walk into my house, honestly, you probably wouldn't notice. But I knew those things were there. Things we didn't need. Things we didn't use. And I didn't want them cluttering up my life anymore.

We should keep things because they serve a purpose or they make us happy.

Clutter, even hidden away in a cabinet or closet, does not make me happy. It actually makes me annoyed and anxious. 

Clean, organized, streamlined. Everything in it's place. Now, that makes me happy.

So, what can you do to declutter your life a little bit? There are probably a bunch of things you could toss right now, with little thought, that you would never miss. 

. Tupperware without lids, plastic cups from restaurants and broken or empty pens, pencils, markers. Rubber bands, twisty ties and plastic takeout food containers are also fair game.

. Clothes that no longer fit. I know.. maybe you'll need them again someday. But if you do. Go buy a new outfit. If they are in good condition, donate these.

. Shoes with holes or worn-out running shoes. There are several groups who recycle old running shoes. A quick Google search will give you a list. 

. Books and movies you'll never read or watch again. You can donate these to the local library.

. Extra or old linens. If you're like us, you claim you'll use these as cleaning rags or shop towels. But let's be honest, you probably won't. And if you do, how many do you really need at any given time? Keep one or two, toss the rest. If they are in poor condition you could donate these to a local animal shelter to use as bedding. If they are still in decent condition you could donate these to a local homeless shelter. 

. Old makeup, nail polish and toiletries. They technically have expiration dates anyway. Also toss those mini toiletries you've collected from hotel stays. If no one has used them yet, what makes you think someone is going to? Stop taking them home with you while you're at it.

Need some more inspiration? This article from Embracing Homemaking gives you 200+ things to throw away today. It's a pretty good list.

It can be tough to get rid of things. We tend to latch onto physical things that evoke emotion, good or bad, or remind of us an event or time in our lives. Then we feel guilt when it's time to remove that item from our lives. Stop feeling guilty. If it no longer serves a purpose, and keeping it gives you any other emotion than happiness-- it's time to toss it. 

If you're still unsure, you could always take a photo of the item. Then you'll have your memories, but will be rid of the physical clutter.

Start small. Start with the easy stuff {goodbye mismatched tupperware!}. See how you feel. Maybe even jot down some thoughts in your journal about the process. In the end you'll probably be similar to me-- breathing a sigh of relieve over having less stuff in your life.       

"Declutter your life. Keep things because they serve a purpose or make you #happy."

Your turn! Do you regularly declutter your life? How do you chose what to keep and what to toss?

♥AK