We all carry things we don’t need – physically and mentally. And I think you know as well as I do that carrying things that weigh you down affects mood. It can make life feel heavy and even unfulfilled. That is no way to feel any day and especially as we enter into the holiday season.
This year the holidays are a little different and we need all the help we can get to make them light and happy. Many of you have spent a lot of time inside the house, looking at a lot of stuff, and feeling the negative affects of it.
Now is a great time to change all of that.
Before the holiday season really gets into full swing, consider this list of 10 ways you can declutter, lighten your load, and carve out more room for happiness.
Lightening the load in the kitchen is a great thing to do regardless of the season. This is the area where you create delicious meals and share space with loved ones. Having it be uncluttered will help you cook with less stress. Start with food that is in the pantry and then move to the fridge. There are probably many things in your pantry that you are never going to eat, or that have expired – or both. Time to clear the those shelves! If you don’t like it you aren’t going to use it. But if the expiration dates are still good, someone else will. Drop off all canned goods to your local food bank. That is one great way to spread the joy.
In the fridge, toss all old food and give those shelves a little wipe down. Put items back in the fridge grouped by like item – so you can find them again more easily!
Purging closets is something I always suggest be done every 4-6 months. They are those closed off spaces where you can easily shove or tuck things away. And often what you tuck away is an unmade decision that quickly becomes clutter. With the holidays you have the opportunity to not only lighten the load of the things you no longer like, need, or use, but you have the chance to give back. Go through the coat closet, clothing closet, even the storage closet you have in the basement. Purge those unmade decisions and let go of the clothing that no longer serves you. Bring them to shelters (especially those extra warm winter clothes) and pass on the happy to those in need.
I recently went through my books for the second time in a year. I love books. I love to read. And I don’t need to keep as many books as I do. I am going to suggest neither do you. Take 20 minutes and one shelf at a time, purge the books you don’t like, have read and don’t refer to, or like but won’t read/refer to again. Donate them to school or your local library – and while there, grab yourself a library card so you can read to your heart’s content without adding clutter to your space.
4. Ditch digital
What a great time to purge apps and old contacts. It lightens up the device with which you tend to spend a lot of time. While you are at it, un-follow and unsubscribe to make a little space in your inbox. You’ll be more productive when you aren’t weeding through emails (and texts) that you have no need for.
5. The linen closet
I know I already mentioned closets but this kind of closet needs it own reference. Who doesn’t have a linen closet that is probably a bit stuffed with excess? Excess towels, bed linens, pillow cases, as well as medications that have gone off, and toiletries that never get used. I can almost guarantee you will find things you haven’t used since Clinton was president. I filled a few bags when I dug into my closet (check out the video here). May it inspire you to do the same.
6. Paper purge
This means junk mail, catalogs, magazines you are never going to read. It also means paper on your desk that needs to be either filed, recycled or shredded. The reality is, around this time of year, when so much gift giving is done on line, you are going to get even more catalogs and mailings. Lighten the load now, and then do this simple work to keep all of that junk mail at bay after the holidays.
Speaking of gift giving…you can avoid a lot of extra paper (catalogs and the like), and save a little money if instead of buying physical gifts, you consider a lighter way to give. Give the gift of an experience or something homemade. There is often more meaning in those gifts. Plus, fun, happy, different experiences are things you will remember and “use” to lift your spirits for a long time to come.
Here are some experience gift ideas:
8. Inner clutter
How good would it feel to lighten the inside clutter, to let go of the perfection, comparisons and limiting beliefs that have you believing you aren’t good enough? When you do, just like with all decluttering, you make room to enjoy more of what matters, bring in more joy, and ultimately find deeper happiness and meaning in life.
9. The utility drawer
Otherwise known as the “junk drawer”, this place is where you will find all the little things you have kept the past 6 months “just in case”. That is a dead end phrase and keeping things with this label will only serve to keep you cluttered. Just in case is now. Use it. Or dump it. Either way, clear that drawer so you can find the actual utilities for which the drawer is meant to house.
10. Your schedule
Make room on your calendar for you, and for the things that will make the holidays special. Get rid of so called obligations that serve to keep you busy, but not fulfilled. Practice this now so you can enjoy the season. And let the practice of it spread into the new year.