Hey gang! Happy New Year! I realize it’s a cliche often mimicked on social media, but a brand new year really does excite me! It’s less about creating a “new me”, and more about releasing what no longer serves me. A chance to detox, and restore. Contrary to popular belief, detoxing extends far beyond the idea of sipping green smoothies and skipping sugar (although I hope you do this too!). Today, I’m sharing with you what I consider to be one of the single most important factors in cultivating personal wellness… a HOME DETOX.
And before I get any further into this post, make sure you grab my “Ultimate Home Detox Checklist” to help you detox even the most cluttered and congested living space! Click on the image below for this easy peasy 9 page guide : )
When I speak or write about wellness, I like to emphasize that what you consume as food is really only a small section of the total wellness pie, per se. You can eat all the greens in the world, but if you’re not giving any attention to your mental health, your home, your relationships, your careers, your physical activity, etc, then chances are you’ve got other areas in your life that aren’t healthy or thriving.
Let me be honest, here. That’s going to happen to all of us, in some respect, all the time. Life’s a delicate balance and the process of finding it is ever evolving.
It’s a process you have to actively participate in though. While I think all of these pieces of the “pie” deserve tending, I personally always connect a new year with my home. It’s the foundation and living space of so much of the other wellness pie pieces!
It’s also one of the easiest to neglect.
You’ve got closets to hide messes, drawers to host junk, and attics of clutter to pretend don’t exist.
What happens when you open that closet/drawer/attic and all the shit falls out? If you’re like me, you sort of cringe inside and then quickly try to close it. Out of sight, out of mind? It’s not though, because things begin to accumulate. THINGS begin to take over once tidy areas. Small messes culminate into bigger messes, and we lose inspiration to deal with it all because it all just seems like too much effort. Eventually we might even get sick of looking at it all, so we tuck it away somewhere. And the cycle begins again.
Ever ask yourself why you’re holding onto something that makes you feel this way? Sounds silly, right? Asking yourself to be emotional about a sweater you’ve never worn but still has its tags… or a bunch of birthday cards from the people you care most about but you haven’t read since you opened them… or DVDs (yes, those things we used to watch before Netflix) of your favorite movies you’re keeping JUST in case you need to watch them again. By the way, you haven’t watched that movie in probably 10 years, but there’s ALWAYS a chance, right?
We attach sentimental value to THINGS for a number of reasons. The object reminds us of someone, somewhere, or something we love. Throwing it away, hell– even giving it away– can evoke a sense of guilt. Like we’ve cheapened the value of whatever it is or think less of whatever experience we had when we decided to hang onto it. But this isn’t the truth. Memories, gratitude, and appreciation don’t need physical tokens. And the best part? You can actually access those feelings whenever you want– even in an empty space– because they exist in your heart and mind. Almost everything else, you can let go of its physical form if it no longer serves a purpose!
Ya know what DOES serve most of us (there’s always one…)? Organization, because it mitigates mental stress, improves focus, and aids in better clarity. Open space, because it generates more opportunities for creative inspiration, and fosters a sense of peaceful calm. Cleanliness, because it prevents us from sickness and chronic mold related ailments. THIS IS ALSO WELLNESS, y’all! THIS IS A DETOX!
I’m also a big believer that in order for us to bring more of what we want into our lives, we have to let go of what no longer needs to take up space. How DO you want your living space to feel? What helps create that energy?
Yes, we’re getting to the part where I tell you how to declutter your home. I promise.
However, in order to understand how to choose what to keep, and yes– find the motivation to get this whole thing started, you need to wrap your head around what I’ve just said. Does this all make sense? What I’m trying to explain is not novel. In fact, there have even been books written about it, like this one (p.s. HIGHLY rec this read!). This notion of asking yourself to assess the need, purpose, and emotional value of holding onto something is part of what I call ‘The Sentimental Rule’.
And here’s how I define the rule. Pick up something you’ve been holding onto because of a feeling you’ve attached to it (yes, YOU attached it). Ask yourself this– “If I were to never see this THING (not the person who gave it to you…not the place you purchased it… but the physical item, itself), would I be devastated?”
Give yourself permission to release holding onto presents from people you love but you’ll never wear or use. You don’t love them any less. You are so appreciative they thought of you! Even if it was something expensive or a gift for a monumental occasion, if it meant that much, you’ll always remember their generous act of kindness. But, you don’t need to hold onto something if your only reason for doing so is guilt. Their feelings are not going to be hurt, because you’re not going to call them up and tell them, ya weirdo! I’m an incredibly transparent person and pride myself on my integrity, but this isn’t an honesty issue.
Same goes for cards, pictures, token of appreciation items. Ya know what the intention of sending 99% of cards is? To make someone smile. And I LOVE that, and smile every time I get one in the mail. But that’s it– a smile. So if you did that, why are you hanging onto it if you wouldn’t be devastated if you never saw it again?
Right about now, you’re probably scrolling your mental rolodex for all the things that mean the world to you that came in the form of a category I mentioned above. Remember the rule, folks. I’m not saying toss everything in your house. Just the stuff you wouldn’t be beyond sad, DEVASTATED, if you never held in your hands again.
The rest of these “to have or to hold” decisions of a home detox are easy peasy.
How to find motivation to get started:
1. Block out time on your schedule, and write that shit down. CEMENT YOUR INTENTION. When you schedule plans with your BFF/favorite person in this world, do you blow them off? Nope. This is a self-care practice, and you need to be your own best friend. Don’t blow yourself off. Don’t have heaping blocks of open space in your schedule to spend all day cleaning out a house you haven’t detoxed since you moved in 20 years ago? Welcome to reality. That’s okay and also not an excuse. Schedule, repeatedly, time in your planner (like once a week) for time to do this, until you’ve completed your entire home.
-Start small. Make a list, or use my free list, of all the areas in your home, room by room. Then write down any “sticky” areas– i.e. areas where clutter tends to accumulate. For me, that’s places like the end of the kitchen counter where we have a mail organizer (Ha!), but tends to host everything from pennies to phone chargers, chapsticks, bills, receipts, and literally… trash.
-Do you have 30 minutes? Perfect, go through one of those areas. This doesn’t need to be a whole day thing, if you don’t have that kind of free time. Bring with you three garbage bags. One for stuff you are throwing away, one for recycling, and one for giving away.
Side note- please, please, please do not “give away” or “gift” the stuff you deemed to be sentimental-but-not-enough-to-be-devastated-if-you-lost-but-feel-less-guilty-giving-it-to-a-family-member. Don’t make someone else take on your stuff because it somehow minimizes the guilt or feels less wasted. Just let go of it and drop the guilt, entirely. The stuff you choose to give away should be because it actually serves someone a purpose. Clothes and toys to shelters, books to libraries and schools, canned goods to kitchens, etc. You get the point.
2. Get help from those that share your living space. They are responsible for their own personal areas, and together, you are responsible for common areas. But don’t make this a tit-for-tat thing… i.e. don’t be a jerk. Show some love and don’t stress who has done more. Again, they don’t need all day to get this party started. Ask them for 30 minutes. You would be amazed at what you can do in 30 minutes!
3. Turn on your favorite music, television show, movie, audible book, or podcast.
-Haven’t had time to listen because you’ve been so busy? Great, now’s your chance! Ever heard of the books and podcast service ‘Audible’? It’s amazing– you can listen to almost any book you’ve ever wanted! They also have a free month trial! You can check it out here
4. Reward yourself as you go. Tell yourself after 45 minutes, you can enjoy a cup of coffee/tea/wine/whatevs. Or, make it conditional. You can not purchase another sweater until you’ve cleaned out the ones you aren’t keeping. Have kids? Kindly explain to them the same thing, and also help them understand how giving away something may bring a smile, etc to someone in need. Teach them young. Guess who taught ME all this stuff? (Thanks, Mom. You were right.)
5. When you’ve finished one area, ask yourself how you feel? No, seriously. Do you feel lighter? Take note of that. Literally. Write down somewhere (even if it’s on a napkin or in your phone’s note section) EXACTLY how you felt accomplishing the task. Why? Because next time you’re getting tempted to blow off your scheduled home detox plans, it’s a lot easier to convince yourself it didn’t feel THAT great if you’re just recalling by memory. Minds are tricky that way. So write it down!
Okay, peeps! That’s my take on how to detox your home! Remember, this does not need to happen all in one day, one week, or even one month. So don’t be overwhelmed getting started. The fear of it all is always worse than the actual action. The good news is that once you begin to this practice, it’s like strengthening a muscle. It gets easier, and easier as you go.
And don’t forget to grab your FREE HOME DETOX CHECKLIST!
Do you have any other ideas, tips, or suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below and share! We all get by with a little help from our friends ; )
Also, a little shameless self-promotion… if you ARE looking to detox in other areas of your life, take a peek at my newest program– SUGAR DETOX, a 6 week holistic approach to breaking up with sugar! (click on link) I’m currently offering a 20% markdown, by entering the code SUGARDETOX20 at checkout.
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