Spring time is in full swing (for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere), the days are getting longer, the mornings lighter, the trees buddier: it all smells fresh and new and clean as a promise of a new summer rolls out in front of us.
It’s the traditional time for a Spring Clean and I have embraced it with gusto this year. I have gone through the entire house, room by room, cupboard by cupboard. If it’s not useful (and being actually used) or beautiful (and being actually admired) then it’s gone to charity. I have been ruthless, absolutely ruthless I tell you! Crates and crates and bags and bags of stuff have found their way to people who need them and will appreciate them far more than I am.
I have to tell you it feels a whole slice of good. The house feels cleaner, lighter, fresher. I feel cleaner, lighter, fresher. I’ve rediscovered some things I owned that I love that I had totally forgotten even existed. It’s like I have been shopping! But for free! I have a necklace that I adore that I wear now each day but that had been sitting unloved in a drawer for I think about 6 years. Now I wear it every day.
It’s also SO much easier to keep the house tidy. There is a place for everything now it is not overflowing with old, tired, useless crap. I had NO idea how much easier it would be to keep the place effortlessly tidy when I had ruthlessly decluttered. That’s pleasing. I used to feel like I was always tidying up before.
It’s given me a heap of fresh headspace in a way that’s hard to define. It’s a lighter, happier, fresher space to live in. Our outer world mirrors our inner world (I write about that in my book, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness” which you can grab here) so I guess that’s not that surprising. There have also been some emotional upsides in terms of what I call clearing Emotional Landmines…more on that in a moment.
I thought I might have a frenzy of buying new stuff to fill the vacuum. But no. Now my space is clean and minimal I want to keep it that way. I evaluate every purchase really carefully. Do I really, really want to bring that item into my space?
I am recommending you do a spring clean of your own, mentally, emotionally and spiritually there is a payoff to the physical task of clearing your space. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Don’t do it all in one go. It’s a huge task. Start with one room, or one drawer even, and set a timer for 20 minutes and just take it from there. Don’t think you are going to get it all done in one go, but just commit to STARTING.
2. Be prepared. Have a box for charity next to you. A bin bag for rubbish. A box for selling (Trademe) and gifting (friends).
3. Clean as you go. Spray and wipe. Clear it then clean it.
4. MAKE DECISIONS! And don’t sweat the small stuff. Really. If in doubt get rid of it. In a weeks time you will have forgotten you even owned it.
5. For each item ask:
- Is it useful – AND ACTUALLY BEING USED. So the exercise bike is useful yes, but if you haven’t got on it since 2008 then it’s not actually being used. Get rid of it and free yourself to find a type of exercise you love, rather than looking at it and feeling guilty all the time.
- Is it beautiful – AND ACTUALLY BEING APPRECIATED. If you love that cup or painting or dress and it pleases your soul, then don’t tuck it away for best. Like is short – get it out, have it on display, use it now. That’s the whole point of having it in the first place!
6. Don’t procrastinate over every item. Just make a call and move on.
“If it no longer creates happiness in your heart it has no place in your home. Clear out the emotional landmines”
7. Get rid of stuff with an emotionally negative charge. Having stuff around you that makes you sad or is a reminder of something upsetting is like filling your house with emotional landmines. You gotta get rid of that stuff. Yes, the vase your ex gave you is pretty but if it sparks a feeling of sadness every time you fill it with flowers it’s not helping you. It’s an emotional landmine. Clear them out, If it no longer creates happiness in your heart it has no place in your home. Yes, even if it was expensive. Emotional landmines are like traps hiding in your home waiting to spring on you when you least expect it to cloud or ruin your day. They are situational triggers that cause downers. Take control of your environment and get rid of them. Clear the emotional landmines. Sell it. Give it away. Get it gone.
8. Display stuff with an emotionally positive charge. If Aunty Gladys’ old tea set warms the cockles of your heart, have it out where you can see it, every day. Fill your space with stuff that gladdens your heart. Release what doesn’t.
9. Get some happy tunes blasting out loud to create good energy, roll up your sleeves and get cracking. Make a rule with yourself THAT YOU ONLY TOUCH AN ITEM ONCE. You pick it up and decide right then – keep it, sell it, charity it, gift it. You don’t just pick stuff up and put it down and shuffle it about to make a decision another day. That’s not de-cluttering. That’s procrastinating. MAKE A CALL! You really can’t get the decision wrong so make it!
10. Keep asking yourself: is it useful – AND ACTUALLY BEING USED. Is is beautiful – AND ACTUALLY BEING APPRECIATED.
You will feel lighter and freer. Taking all those things to the charity shop feels GOOD! Walking into a home that is free of emotional landmines feels GOOD. Capture this spring time energy and get to it, you will feel so much better after. A minimal home filled only with things that work, look beautiful, are essential to your everyday functioning and make you feel good when you look at them can change your whole appreciation of your space.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below…