The time of year when moods lift and energy brims, and for good reason! The air feels crisp and clean. The sun is out and it’s time to prepare last year’s frostbitten planters and put away the duvet-like coat I buried myself in all winter long. Gathering inspiration from those warm sunshine hugs, I realize, what a perfect time to de-clutter my home and life. I know I’m not the only one overcrowding my cozy one bedroom apartment with things, and while most of my belongings are well loved, there are plenty of things I can send to a new home. If I’m not loving it or using it, someone else will. You can use the Marie Kondo method (does this item bring me joy?), or simply just know it’s time to let go of an item. It feels so good to purge and keep only what you need.
There are so many ways to de-clutter your life. It can be overwhelming and hard to figure out where to even begin. I will check in with myself a couple times a year to overhaul my home, my phone and my routine. I think about the most used areas in my life, so my apartment. I make sure to keep my kitchen, bathroom and bedroom tidy on a regular basis, but inside the cabinets and closets could use some attention. So this is where I start.
Setting up is crucial for success. I sort items into three categories – one box for items I can sell (more valuable things – like never worn shoes), another one for donations (anything in good condition that I don’t ever use), and one garbage bag. You will know which category something is as you look in each cabinet and realize you haven’t touched that meat slicer since you first bought it. I found a couple sweaters I didn’t wear once over the winter, and to me that is wasteful. Someone else could be kept warm next year, so I donated them. The broom closet had unused products, empty bottles and torn up rags I could throw out. Go through each room in your house and do this until you have only things you actually use. Seeing only the things you love makes you think more clearly and makes you happier.
Even with a clean house, in the age of technology, we can still feel the overbearing attitude of “too much”. I usually take five photos of the same thing, clogging up space on my phone. This is where I go next, to clear my virtual life. I pick the best shot and delete the rest – from everywhere (my photos auto save to Dropbox, so I delete it “everywhere”). Filter through photos and apps that you won’t ever need again. Go through your social media and decide if you really want to keep following that account you got inspired from that one post, eight months ago.
It’s true when you clear out the old you make room for the new. I invite the next chapter by being thankful and grateful for what has brought me to this new time in my life. If your winter felt extra long and challenging like mine, rest assured we can come out of hibernation with big grins and hungry for change.
My choice for change this season is to pay more attention to the products I bring into my space. I think about where I donate my clothing before dropping it off at a big retail second hand store. Additionally, I try to source new-to-me products instead of buying brand new. Supporting ethical, fair wage companies has become important as well. There are so many amazing products available now that help make a positive impact in the world. Check out the home goods from Mango + Moose, like these Pillowcases and Belly Baskets.
The pillows are sustainably sourced from Mali and the designs are hand-painted on each pillow, making them a unique statement, perfect to throw on your bed or patio furniture. These baskets are super versatile – I’ve seen them used as beach bags, laundry hampers, or to accessorize a planter. They can help keep your newly de-cluttered home stay that way! All these amazing functions, AND you’re supporting Artisans in Vietnam. How neat that while updating your home, you are also helping someone else maintain his or her home and community.
Purging your things is a major key to a healthy mentality, but it doesn’t have to stop with your belongings. When making a change in my life, I like to take a look at the people I spend my days with – are they helping me grow in the direction I want to be faced? Most of them are people I’m blessed to know, and I am grateful for what they bring to my perspective. Sometimes, however, I will reflect on a friendship that feels more draining than energizing. I don’t need to go out of my way to tell this person the way I feel, as that is just rude. Instead, I actively pay more attention and ask ‘what is this relationship really about?’. If it’s more one-sided I make the conscious decision to let distance grow, creating more room in my life for the successful relationships to flourish. It’s a natural part of growing, learning and maturing.