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What to keep and what to let go of — Spring Clean #3

Quick recap of the Spring Clean series:

The stuff in your life takes up so much more than the physical space in your life. Things you love contribute to uplifting your mood, enable you to create and do your thing, and support the identity of who you want to be.

Things you don’t love waste your time and energy by getting in your way or not performing as needed, support a “you” that you’ve outgrown, and generally add to a downward cycle of frustration.

In other words, it’s important to look at your stuff with a critical eye on a regular basis.

The gamification of stuff

I love reusing, reclaiming, rediverting from destination: landfill, hacking, upcycling, repurposing — you get the picture.

It makes for a fun game. How little new stuff can you buy? What do you have on hand that can substitute for something that you don’t have? Can you find a new use for something you love but is no longer useful?

For my recent winter travels, I borrowed wrist warmers, a fleece vest and hat and then found other cold weather items at Goodwill (warm, light and fast drying acrylic sweater and long johns).

In addition to buying less stuff, borrowing or thrifting supports my view that my stuff Must Be Useful to deserve the honor of having a place in my life.

Fill your home with Love, or with Clutter?

While this is critical for traveling, it’s Just As Important at a permanent home — maybe even more so as it’s that much easier to accumulate stuff when you have somewhere to put it.

And what happens when you have a bunch of non-useful stuff all around? Clutter. That’s what. And clutter is an energy suck.

Today’s Spring Clean focus is out of the office. I encourage you to take on one of the following areas: your car, your closet, or your kitchen.

The approach for all three is the same: What’s no longer serving you?
What’s no longer useful to you?
What’s broken or expired and can be let go of?
What doesn’t support who you want to be or how you want to feel?

What is “useful”, anyways?

Let’s look at the essence of the term “useful” because it’s a flexible term without black & white definition.

Literally, useful means “able to be used for a practical purpose or in several ways”. This isn’t helpful because the fact that something is able to be used for something, doesn’t mean that you will.

Example: That green raincoat that’s been in your closet for seven years is useful and practical in that it can keep you dry during a wild rain storm.

However, you haven’t worn it for seven years because you live in California—just kidding—you don’t use it because you prefer to use an umbrella. That raincoat is not “useful” to you.

Thus, why is it taking up space in your closet?

Another example: That beautiful little bowl that someone gave you ages ago. It probably has lead in the glaze so you don’t use it in the kitchen. It has no practical purpose whatsoever—does this mean “not useful”? Not necessarily. If it brings you joy to behold or adds beauty to the aesthetics of your space, then you can call that useful.

Here’s the general rule of thumb, if it contributes to you feeling mo’ betta, i.e. spacious, peaceful, confident, beautiful, centered, capable, competent etc, then it’s useful.

Another way of evaluating an item:

  • If something makes you happy, that’s a vote in favor of keeping it.
  • If something gives you even the smallest twinge of irritation, that’s a vote in favor of getting rid of it.
  • If something seems to be in the neutral camp, then it must be actively useful to deserve a place in your space.
Choose your adventure and get groovy

Pick one: Car, Clothes, or Kitchen (didja catch the alliteration?) to focus your attention on and give it some good spring clean lovin’.

Whichever you pick, cue up your favorite fun, dance music and get your groove on. Think: soundtrack of your Awesomeness. This suggestion is about more than just upping-the-fun-factor. Music has a fabulous and mysterious way of affecting your mood.

You probably know that big biz takes music selection in their restaurants and stores Very Seriously. Do they want you to buy, consume and leave? Or do they want you to take your time, be mellow, and make impulse buys? It’s all part of the mood they want to create for their customers.

Therefore, your chosen soundtrack is important. You want music that supports you feeling like YOU. Ya know what I mean? The beat and rhythms that help you feel quintessentially like your best self.

Your car
When’s the last time you gave your trusty metal steed a good suck? Nothing like a good vacuum to instigate a thorough clean out of your car.

  • Throw out the trash.
  • Wipe out the spilled coffee and smoothie spots.
  • Put things where they belong.
  • Put the stuff you no longer need in the “To Thrift Store” bag.
  • Vacuum away!

Seasonal clothes swap
No need to wade through the clothes that you won’t be wearing until next winter.

This is also the ideal time to pop those sweaters that you didn’t wear into a bag designated for the thrift store. While you’re at it, pass along those clothes that made you feel anything less than fabulous when you wear them. Make space for awesomeness!

This is where the music is an awesome strategy to help keep you in a space of feeling good. Nothing like pondering the contents of your closet to start a downward spiral of indecision.

When you stay in a good vibe, not only will the clean out go faster, you’ll stay aligned with your fabulous self when choosing which clothes to keep and which to send on to make someone else happy.

The culinary excavation can be fascinating, indeed. Take a pass at the fridge and your dry goods area. Toss the expired foods, bag up the canned goods that you’re never going to use for food bank, and clear out the mystery unmarked containers of leftovers.

When I moved out of my house 2+ years ago, I put all the dry goods in bags, did a general inventory from memory and offered them up on Facebook. They all went to a new kitchen!

Clear off your counters, give them a good wipe down then put back only those appliances and containers that deserve the prime real estate.

Remember, when beginning a session,

  • get clear on which task you’re going to do,
  • turn your phone to airplane mode,
  • stay out of email,
  • set a timer.
Get the Checklist for this Spring Clean series

If you don’t already get the New Wow, then sign up below and you will get the checklist. (You’ll also get the helpful Insomniac’s Guide to Getting Rest!)

Let me know if you have questions or if you want some kudos for progress at the Facebook page!


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