Growth Through Spring Cleaning (Your Home AND Your Mind)
Spring is known as a season of new beginnings, new life and a fresh start. For many of us, it is also a time for spring cleaning. Ridding ourselves of outgrown clothes, out of date pantry items, and opening up our windows for the first time in months to let out the stale winter air. We plant new seeds in our gardens, gear up for summer days, and welcome more sunlight into our evening routines. It’s a wonderful season for change that can include decluttering our minds as well as our homes. I always want this time of year to last, and I usually end up asking myself, “How can I make the most of this season of rebirth?” You may have your own spring traditions and ways of making these first few weeks of the new season last, and I applaud you! For those who are looking for a few more ideas on how to incorporate personal growth, here are a few of my favorite tips that may help you start thinking about the internal along with the external:
- Out with the old!
- This is a great time to purge all of the out of date items or unnecessary clutter around your home. To accomplish this task create three piles (or boxes) labeled “trash it,” “donate it,” and “keep it” Haven’t used it in a year? Into the boxes it goes. Haven’t worn it in a year? Off to the donation box. Doesn’t work anymore? Trash it. Just realized you still had it? Keep it!
- Give yourself some guidelines. Hard and fast rules for determining which box to utilize can help you avoid pack-ratting and prevent this task from making matters worse. Ask yourself these questions for each item you uncover:
- Do I use it or have I used it in the last year?
- Does this item bring me joy?
- Does this item add anything to my life?
- Would someone else find this item more useful or find more joy in it than I do?
- Go Slow
- Don’t overwhelm yourself with the idea that everything has to happen all at once. Not every closet has to be cleaned out in a day nor does that junk drawer have to get organized right away.
- Pick one area to start with, then break that down into smaller areas. For example: The master closet. Break that into starting with one shelf, making that the only goal.
- Focus only on that one piece, and when that piece is done, pick one more (the next shelf). Make sure you celebrate your hard work after each task!
- Time matters
- For larger projects, (say the great garage clean out of 2019,) set time limits on your work. For example: Clean out sections of the area for 30 minutes at a time, and take a break in between. Celebrate the process rather than the result because some tasks are larger than others. If we don’t stop and focus on the positive, we are likely to give up quickly.
This exact same process can be applied to all aspects of your life, not just your home organization. Think about how you feel when you’ve finally completed the task of cleaning out the closet or can finally park your car in the garage. It can be empowering to have taken control of your surroundings and doing what you had been longing to do. The same is true for changing yourself. When we make changes we have been wanting to make in our lives, we feel emboldened to continue down that path–taking control of our lives and our thoughts. Here is how to utilize these same techniques for decluttering your life.
- Out with the old!
- Purge negative thoughts, expectations of others, fears, and unhealthy habits from your life. Create 3 lists: “Things I like about my life and thinking,” “Things I don’t like about my life and thinking,” and, “How I want my life and thinking to be.”
- Ask yourself these questions about the various aspects of your daily life, thoughts, or expectations:
- Does this thought, activity, or expectation bring me joy?
- Does this thought, activity, or expectation fit with my personal value system?
- Where did I learn this thought, activity, or expectation?
- Would my life improve if I changed this thought, activity, or expectation?
- How would I like those things to change, and what do I expect to happen when they do?
- Go Slow
- Thinking about sweeping changes to your life can easily start to feel overwhelming and seem impossible when you are looking at multiple changes you want to make at once.
- Pick one area and start there. Set realistic, measurable goals for yourself in that one area, and begin to track your progress.
- Celebrate the wins! You won’t get it right every time, so celebrate the moments when you do.
- Example 1: “I want to be healthier. I will set a goal of taking a multivitamin daily. I will set a reminder on my phone for 8 AM to help me remember to do that. I will put a mark on my calendar every day that I take my vitamins.”
- Example 2: “I don’t want to feel responsible for everyone’s happiness. I will create a mantra to remind me to let others take responsibility for their joy. I will put a mark in my journal every time I remember to say my mantra and give up the control of their happiness.”
- Time Matters
- Changing one’s lifestyle is a slow and methodical process. Breaking old habits and creating new ones takes time. Let yourself enjoy the process of getting it right and getting it wrong. You have to mess it up along the way to make the change stick. There is simply no other way. Cut yourself some slack and muster forward along your chosen path!
Enjoy this season of change and new beginnings. Let yourself lean into the feelings of joy as you take control over your environment, externally as well as internally. Your opportunity for growth exists in every moment. Remember to trust the journey and stay present to keep yourself focused on the changes you want to make rather than just the outcome that sometimes seems far away. This is your season of becoming! If you need help with this growth process or feel so stuck that even the idea of un-junking the junk drawer leaves you paralyzed with self doubt, we would be honored to help you find your path towards change, and create the lifestyle you deserve!