I moved into my flat only two years ago and I already have too much stuff: piles of papers I’ll never attend to, old magazines I’ll never read, clothes and jewelry I’ll never wear. I’m not a hoarder, I often enter give-away/throw-away sprees and I try to consume reasonably. But I still have too much stuff and I feel like I could move faster in my life if I didn’t.
Get out of my closet
I got a kick to start de-cluttering my closet after reading The Cost of Clutter on the excellent blog Truth and Cake. The author Rian explains how a strong emotional memory may be attached to this old top you still have in your wardrobe but never wear. All these little things you keep are emotional baggage weighing on your life. She gives an example:
I looked at a polka dot shirt that I had been holding onto and realized why I hated it so much: it was a shirt I bought one day towards the end of my real estate career. Exhausted, fed up, and stressed beyond belief, I spent all of my money on clothes and facials, anything for a little endorphin kick between the never-ending phone calls and showings. The shirt looked perfectly fine, but it reminded me of that stressful time, of my ultimate inability to cope, of a completely different version of myself. No wonder I never wanted to wear it.
Reading this, it hit me how much emotional baggage I was carrying. Why was I keeping these pyjama my mum had bought for me while I was in the hospital? And these earrings my ex-boyfriend had given me? I started going through my mess and got 4 bags full of stuff to give away. They all carried some significance. Whether good or bad, I didn’t want it to be part of my life anymore.
Get out of my work
I felt so much lighter after de-cluttering my closet that I decided to tidy up other parts of my life. Work came first. I have a class that makes me feel defeated every week. The students are not motivated and don’t seem to care much about learning French. Every week I am unhappy before and after going there and bored while teaching. However much money I can make from it, it isn’t worth it anymore. So I decided to quit teaching this class and make room for new motivated students instead. How light and relieved I felt after sending my letter of resignation!
Get out of my diet
My diet also became cluttered recently. My brain refuses to switch to spring mode when it comes to food. It wants to keep on eating like it was minus ten degrees outside. And it also wants lots of comfort food. Hence the almost daily Starbucks stop, the piece of chocolate with afternoon coffee and a piece of candy in the evening. It all weighs a ton on my body, my wallet and my well-being. Time to get rid of my Starbucks addiction, to replace my daily ration of chocolate with fruits and evening snacks with cucumber and carrots slices.
Get out of my mental space
The way I spend my time could also use a little de-cluttering. More specifically, a part of the time I spend in front of my computer or my iphone needs to be replaced by creating something, going outside biking, climbing or just reading a book in the sun. I don’t feel mentally healthy when I check Facebook several times an hour. It adds the clutter from other people’s lives to mine, which is already important enough. Passive consumption of information through the internet eventually makes my head spin. Creating something of my own makes me feel much more connected to the world than spending time on Facebook anyway.
With all this new space in my closet, my schedule, my stomach and my head, I can see things clearly and fill-in the space with fresh ideas.
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