Spring clean your mind
You’ve heard the saying ‘tidy house, tidy mind’, right?
You have no doubt realised at this stage in your life that the environment around you heavily influences how you feel on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is different –some people leave a house full of mess – yesterdays take away on the counter, clothes lying around the floor, and a suspicious gnawing sound behind the fridge – and are still on top of their game at work that day. I am not one of those people. If there’s one thing that seriously stresses me out, it’s mess.
So that got me to thinking – if I know that this stresses me out so much, why do I let myself buy more stuff to add to the mountain off stuff to create more stressful stuff?
You’ve probably heard of minimalism. Whether or not it’s something that’s appealed to you before, it’s become more popular recently as people are beginning to realise that ‘stuff’ simply doesn’t equate to happiness. On the contrary, the more ‘stuff’ you have, the more you have to clean, pay for, look after and worry about…
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about minimalism as some radical movement where you can’t buy anything except a bed and a fridge. It’s about buying things, and keeping things in your home, that add value to your life. It’s about buying less, but better stuff. If you’re an artist, I’m in no way suggesting you throw away all your paints and works of art because they ‘clutter’ a room – because they still add value to your life. But I would suggest, for example, that maybe 12 coffee mugs are more than enough for one person, so maybe clean out your cupboards…
A lot of people hang on to items because of their sentimental value. But think about it, and answer honestly here – if I were to ask you “what three things would you take to a desert island?” I’m guessing that for most people, none of those sentimental items wouldn’t be on that list.
It’s time to knuckle down and think about what really matters to you here. It can be so therapeutic to let go of some objects. As you clean, make sure you are consciously considering what matters, what you value and what you need to just….let go of. You can see how it starts benefiting you before you’ve even finished!
Depending on how much time you have to do this, you can make a little money for yourself by selling your items at boot fairs or online. If you’d rather just clean everything out and get it over with, I would really recommend taking anything you can to a charity/thrift shop, rather than throw it all away (if you haven’t already seen the documentary “The True Cost” on Netflix, please do! It’s so important we are more aware about ‘fast fashion’ and the impact on other cultures and our planet.)
Without further adieu, here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to have…
The best spring clean of your life, ever (probably).
- First things first – let’s start small. Clean out your handbag, gym kit, or any bag you may carry around on a daily basis.
- Next, take out all your clothes and have a pile on the bed. Have a pile for ‘clothes to keep’, ‘clothes to throw’ and ‘clothes to give away/sell’. Be BRUTAL here. Have you worn it in the last 6 months? If not, chuck it. Do you even like it? CHUCK IT!
- Go through your shoes. Which ones are old and worn? Throw them.
- Now your handbags, belts and accessories.
- Now your underwear and socks – and whilst your at it, pair your socks!
- Time for make up – if you don’t wear much anyway this will be easy – but if you haven’t used it in the last 6 months – get rid of it
- DVD’s – when was the last time you watched a DVD? This is the era of streaming, which means no clutter and easy Netflix binging. Win win!
- Books are always a little more sentimental – you’re either a hardback person or a kindle person. Again – if you’re a total bookworm and books add value to your life, by all means, keep them. But throw out any you haven’t read in years or haven’t yet gotten round to reading – because let’s be honest, you probably wont.
- Old magazines can be given to schools. Otherwise, recycle recycle recycle!
- Time for the kitchen – how many coffee mugs do you own? I’m guessing a lot.
- Bit’s and bobs draws – this one is tedious, it’s all about dead batteries, take away menus and unopened letters. Take photos of any letters you need to keep, shred the rest.
- Tupper–where-the-heck-is-the-lid? Time to go through and get rid of any old, cracked or stained tupperware and pair up your sets.
- Time for the bathroom – any beauty products that you haven’t used recently or even opened, throw/give them away. Old razors, mostly empty bottles of product – throw them out.
- Throw out any candles with little or no wax left.
- Are there any bits of décor that you’re just not keen on? Maybe you were given a frame or picture as a present? Maybe your throw pillows just don’t match your style anymore? Give them away.
- You will probably find hundreds of hair pins during this process. Keep them in a little jar or bag in the bathroom as and when you find them.
- Similarly for pens. You don’t need hundreds of pens, so I suggest you take some to a restaurant or café. Servers always need pens.
- Go through your phone and back up any important photos or texts. Then delete them all!
- Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from any annoying emails
- Chuck or sell any technology you no longer use. Now where was that ipod Nano?
- Collect any user manuals for technology/appliances/receipts, put them in a binder and keep them in a suitable place.
- Clean up your desktop/mac and change the background.
- Delete any unused apps that take up space on your phone
- Go through your friends list on social media and have a good clean out. Don’t feel bad here. If these people aren’t adding value to your life, then why do you need to keep on seeing their latest car/baby/wife/holiday/meal?
- Old birthday cards, photos, letters, gifts. These are the things that people struggle to throw away as they have sentimental value. But think about it. Most of the time, the value isn’t in the item itself, but in the memories attached to it. Take a photo if you want, but through them out.
- Go through your fridge and clean out any expired food.
- Thinking about it, your medicine cabinet probably still has cough medicine you used 4 years ago. In the bin it goes!
- If you have half used packets of fruit and vegetables lying around, get rid of the plastic wrappers/boxes. See how much space there is now?
- Check your recipe books – have you really used any in the past year? If there’re some recipes you like, take one or two pictures and give the books to charity.
- If you have packets of snacks like nuts, keep them in mason jars as opposed to piles of boxes in the cupboard. That looks nice too!
- Do you still use that fitbit/sports watch/sports shaker/yoga mat?
Yes, it’s a workout and a half – but you’ll feel refreshed, and a little lighter, afterwards. As William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Next time you notice yourself keeping something for the sake of it, ask yourself whether it adds value to your life. Once you start curating an environment of self love and value, you will start to reap the benefits!
What are your tactics for clearing the clutter?