Is Your Space Weighing You Down

January 18th, 2012

Does it feel good to be in your space?  Does it make you smile; feel light and happy?

Sometimes when we’re thinking about wanting to make a change to the space we live in we immediately think it has to be big. We take the attitude of needing new furniture, new paint, new stuff and can only think, “get rid of the old and in with the new” and sometimes this is exactly what is needed.  If it weren’t my job as a designer would be pretty limited.  However, sometimes what is really needed is a purge.   Getting rid of stuff but not necessarily the big obvious stuff but the stuff that’s hiding in our drawers and behind our closed doors. Trust me, a little de-cluttering can go a long way in completely making your space feel completely different.

When was the last time to took a good look through your closet filled with clothes, your shoe rack, all those drawers that you cram things into when you don’t know where else to put them, the pile of magazines and books, your kitchen cupboards filled with dishes, spices, etc. that haven’t been used in ages.  I could go on but I think you’re starting to see the point and even more so is how quickly stuff collects without us even realizing.

It might seem a little overwhelming to tackle every corner of your home at once but if you start with one room and work your way through each I promise you at the end of this you will feel a shift, a physical lightness to your space!

Regardless of where you start I believe the two most important steps are to decide if you’re strong enough to do this on your own and if not, find a friend to be your conscience or hire a professional and where there is an opportunity to donate/recycle items work with the idea creating three piles – “things to keep”, “things to throw away” and “things to donate/recycle”.  This process works especially well when you tackle your closet filled with all those clothes and shoes you haven’t worn in ages.

Admittedly I think our closet is our toughest go.  We become so attached to clothes that either remind us of amazing moments when we’ve worn them or it’s that piece of clothing that no longer fits us but somehow we hold onto to the idea of fitting into it again which could happen and thinking we’ll feel amazing in it again.  Unfortunately here’s what I’ve learned, regardless of what I paid for it, how amazing it felt when I wore it, if I haven’t worn it in a long time I can’t recapture that original feeling.  I feel like I’ve put something old on and can’t get past this feeling and when that’s the feeling you get, you know it’s time to get rid of it.  The classic pieces that are timeless are keepers as long as when you put them on you still feel amazing in it; remember it’s about the way you feel.   I know when my closet is filled with the things that I love to put on even if there are fewer pieces, this is were less can be more, I feel amazing, pretty and authentic.  I am the best expression of myself.

When it comes to all the paper in your place, go through the magazines that you’re holding onto and decide if it’s an article you want to save then pull it out and put into a file or binder.   If you’re still a lover of physical books then again keep the ones that really mean something to you but otherwise pass along the joy of a good read to another deserving recipient.  If you have a home office like I do then you know how quickly the paper piles up and on a monthly basis you should be rifling through and shredding if required and cleaning off your desk.  This is a pretty simple “just do” requirement.

When it comes to your bathroom and kitchen.  A simple rule to follow for a lot of items is the “expiry” date.  If it’s expired – toss! When it comes to dishes, china and glassware. Keep the things you love and pass along the things that no longer serve you and are just collecting dust; it just might be something that someone else can use and fall in love with.   After all, how many serving trays does no person need!

The end result of de-cluttering, purging and letting go of is a feeling of lightness.  Your space will feel physically lighter, you will feel physically lighter and without a drop of paint or anything new in your space, your space will feel different and new.

The most important and final piece of advice is, don’t have any regrets.  Once it’s gone, don’t look back and think you wish you hadn’t done so.  Many years ago, when I was doing a major purge I without realizing tossed a journal I had kept while my mother was ill and felt heart sick about it, to the point that I dug through the recycling bins thinking that I could still find it and get it back and of course it was gone.  What I came to realize is that ultimately I didn’t need the journal to hold onto the memories.  All the stuff that we surround ourselves with is just stuff, don’t get me wrong I love my stuff but like the idea of the memories created by my stuff rather than just having stuff.  After all, too much stuff is just too much!

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