The term seems to take on a different meaning for me every year. Some years it's about deep cleaning, scrubbing down every surface in my home and leaving it feeling refreshed, with my spirit ready to start anew. Other times, it's about sorting and purging unwanted and outdated personal items. Passing on and donating these "old" things helps me make room in my life for what is new, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
What I find so interesting is, if I decide to change my life, I usually have to transform my environment to support that change in some significant way. Conversely, if I change my environment, it automatically changes my life: how I feel and what feels possible. I enjoy this back and forth dynamic between my inner world and goals, and my physical surroundings. It's a dance I've been moving with for a long time.
I recently read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which has helped me address my current clutter build up. Marie has taken the art of clutter clearing to a whole new level. After years of study and personal practice, she devised a surefire method of helping even the most ardent pack rat clear their space and complete this task before giving up. She believes if everyone can follow her method to completion, they will discover their new set point for how many possessions they truly feel comfortable and happy with. She calls it the "just-right click point".
Here are a few of her best tips found in the book:
1. Keep only those things that bring you joy.
Hold the item and ask "does this spark joy?" If it doesn’t, let it go.
2. Clear by category rather than by room.
Marie starts you off clearing easier, less emotionally charged categories such as clothing and books, and then once you are used to the process, tackle the harder categories, like family photos and gifts/mementos.
3. Every item has a home.
Once you have finished discarding, find a permanent resting place for everything you are keeping.
4. Only bring new items into your home if they spark joy.
Get used to asking yourself this question often when shopping or accepting free items from friends and family. Get used to graciously saying "No."
5. Prepare for emotional shifts.
Lastly, understand that letting go of an unwanted possession may also free you from emotionally stuck places, and this new freedom often leads to fresh and surprising insights into your life direction.
This last point is where I get excited. Our homes reflect back at us all that we are. If we want to change our lives, then tackling our cluttered environment is an amazing way to transform our world. Sound good? Pick up the book and make this year's spring cleaning your best one yet.