Lately, I’ve been an anxious mess. It may have something to do with starting my new job (which has been crazy stressful), or it could be the after effect of some very last minute and hectic renovations we’ve recently done on our home (which I’ll post more about, later). Either way, I’ve found myself feeling just as anxious around home these days as I do at the office.
That tight feeling in my chest at home is usually my signal that it’s time to de-clutter. My fiancé thinks I’m crazy. I swear he does. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by clutter and mess like I do. He thinks we’ve already got rid of enough “stuff”. But we’ve only just begun (in my view, anyway… I’ll have to work on convincing him).
I have one room in my home that makes me feel calm: my living room. Most say it looks empty, it’s perfect to me. It’s always clean and clutter free, and it makes me so ridiculously happy. I aspire to make every room in my home feel as calming as this one does (although we still have some work to do to it…).
If your home has become more of a stressor and less of a sanctuary and you’re looking to start the decluttering process, here are five “things” to get rid of to lighten your figurative (and literal) load:
1) CLOTHING. I cannot emphasize this enough. For me, this is single-handedly the most stressful category of items I own. They pile up, some don’t fit properly and I’m trying to squeeze into them when I’m low on options (which makes me feel awful all day long), some just don’t look flattering, some don’t coordinate with most items in my closet, and some have holes or spots I try to hide because I’m too busy or tired or cheap to sew/mend/replace them. My suggestion: pair your wardrobe down. Every item should coordinate with at least three others in your closet. Toss out a garbage bag full of the clothes that don’t “spark joy”. Don’t keep clothing around that doesn’t fit you RIGHT now. You can always buy more later in a different size. Keeping them around will just make you feel worse about yourself. Focus on building a smaller, coordinated, high quality wardrobe with pieces that flatter you today.
2) Kids’ toys. Another source of stress for me. Bag up five items (better yet, get your kids involved in the process) that don’t get used anymore and add them to the donation pile. Ask your kids to choose some toys — maybe even go the extra mile and find a family who would really benefit from your donation and use it as a teachable moment.
3) Kitchen items. My kitchen has to be clutter free at all times — for some reason it’s my worst anxiety trigger (followed closely by our master bedroom). Go through your drawers and remove duplicates. Sort through your pantry for expired food or food you know won’t get eaten. Donate what you can and toss the rest. Teachable moment #2.
4) TOWELS. Why do we have a million towels? Keep 2-4 per person and move on with your life.
5) Your car. [Okay, tossing the car itself may not be the best idea — although I have strongly considered it as a viable alternative to cleaning the car.] I didn’t realize until lately how anxious the inside of my car was making me. (If you’re a Mom, I hope you can relate). It was full of kids’ clothing, ground up cheerios, goldfish crackers, junk from daycare (rocks and strips of paper), my own clothing and makeup, Tupperware and travel mugs, and the list goes on. I finally cleaned my car this weekend and it has been life changing. My cleaner (and better smelling) car has seriously made driving so much less stressful.
Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to the “stuff” that is holding you down. Take a few minutes and be mindful of what is at the root of your anxiety or tension – what’s keeping you from feeling like your home is a sanctuary. Decluttering is a process, I won’t lie. But it’s a more than worthwhile endeavour if you’re feeling as though you’re “drowning” in stuff. Your mental health (and your family!) will thank you.
Stay tuned for some exciting news on the forefront – especially if you’re interested in learning more about minimalism and decluttering. I’ve got you covered! 😉