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Out With the Old, in With the New

Around this time every year I start to get the cleaning itch. I look around my home and notice that some of my belongings don’t serve me any more. They have become items taking up space in my life and I roam from room to room gathering them up to donate. It is also during this time that my husband follows me around the house, franticly searching through our donation boxes trying to convince me to keep these long forgotten possessions.

This is one of those instances where our oppositions help each other out. For instance, I have been known to go a little overboard and give away items that I actually need and wind up purchasing them again a few months later. My husband on the other hand would hold on to every item he has been given since childhood if I didn’t encourage him to commit to this yearly adventure. Since we live in Southern California and only need one season of clothes, we work with the motto “if we haven’t used/worn it within the last year, it goes.” This helps us to keep random belongings we only use seldomly, while acquiring the space needed to rid ourselves of clutter.

The clearing out of any space in your life is cathartic, whether that be clutter from your shelves or closets or the mental clutter of thoughts that no longer serve you. Giving yourself permission to rid your life of mess will bring about clearer thoughts and make room for what you need. When you hold on to behavior patterns, ideas, or physical objects for too long, the space they once held in your life becomes stagnant and starts to prevent you from moving forward. In order to break free from these constraints, you need to purge whatever it is you are hoarding.

Sorting through your thoughts and belongings to discover what still has value and what no longer is of service to you can be an empowering experience. It allows you to develop boundaries while holding yourself accountable for the outcome. As refreshing as this process can be, for some people it creates a deep sense of anxiety. This is because we tie worth and comfort from what we have in our lives. Although, this can be positive when associated with loved ones and sentimental belongings, it can become problematic when this feeling is broadened across all items and thought patterns. In these cases, it is still important to rid your home of clutter. The finished product will elicit a better living environment and lifestyle by creating space and establishing a sense of freedom.

There are many different approaches to clearing space, but the one I found that works most efficiently for me is to get rid of anything that I haven’t used in the last year. If I start asking myself whether or not I will use it in the upcoming year, the answer is almost always “probably,” and then the clutter stays in my home for another year. If you are one of the people who has anxiety attached to this process, start small. Go through your sock drawer or your filing cabinet to see what you can get rid of. Once you understand that this is a safe process which only serves to benefit you, try tackling something else.

Additionally, thought patterns and emotional connections can also take up space in your mind and life. When you maintain a negative perception of yourself, you are withholding an opportunity of personal growth from yourself. If you continually tell yourself that something “can’t” happen, there is no room for what can. Start to break free from these inhibiting patterns so you can grow into the best version of yourself. Finally, there may be a person you are holding on to that is preventing you from moving forward. The sooner you acknowledge this negative relationship and leave it behind, the sooner you will open yourself up to receiving what you need.

Letting go of excess doesn’t have to be scary, especially when you look at it as an inhibitor. Clutter inhibits personal growth, mental clarity, freedom, and so much more. Give yourself permission to cultivate a deeper sense of self.




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