I’ve always been an overachiever, always ambitiously chasing that elusive mark called ‘success’. At some point, although young and perhaps very naive, I looked around at my life and said “you know what? I think I made it.” I had a fantastic job, owned the cutest little yellow car, had a wonderful apartment, and was in college working hard toward a degree that promised a good career and future. I was independent, making a solid income, I had a good social life, went to the gym, and had hobbies. In a nutshell, doing better than most other 20 year olds I knew at the time.
I looked around, surveying what I’d been taught to believe was success, and my heart sank as I discovered just one teeny tiny little problem; I was absolutely miserable. I’d gotten the job, the college, the car, the friends… but I’d forgotten a golden rule: Happiness does not lie outside of self. Looking inward I could tell those insides of mine were in sore need of some major feng shui.
The first step, I realized, before I could get my thoughts in order, was to get my home and my possessions in order. Not only that, but I decided to do a complete overhaul and begin to cut away everything that wasn’t me, everything that no longer served me. I needed more choice and freedom in my life, to think and create and expand into a truer more developed and aligned version of myself.
So began the clearing. A little at first, and then more and more. It felt good. It was cathartic. I began to notice changes in my mental space as my physical area slowly tidied up. I was forced to face emotional attachments to my possessions and what it all meant. I began to emotionally and psychologically purge. I cleared and cleared and cleared and at the end of it all was able to give myself the gift of a completely clean slate, a new beginning to do with as I wished. I gave myself the space to re-birth, and re-birth I did. To this day, it’s one of the most powerful and transformative gifts I’ve been able to grant myself and I’d like to share the process with you so that you can have the tools to go ahead and do the same.
How I did it; a practical step-by-step guide:
For clarity purposes I’m going to use my sock drawer as an example of how it works.
Step 1: Before opening the drawer, inventory how many pairs of socks you actually use and practically need on a weekly basis. This is to help stay clear-headed and focused when you get faced with them all. Pick a number of pairs that you practically will want and need to keep. Let’s say that number is 6.
Step 2: Take every pair of socks your own and put them all out on the floor in front of you. [Collect every last pair from around the house so you can properly look at, inventory, and give them the same home by the end of the day.]
Step 3: For this step, I borrow from the KonMari method (from the life-changing magic of tidying up) of only keeping what you love. So rather than asking yourself what to get rid of, ask yourself what to keep. Choose the 3 pairs you love best. Now pick three more that serve you well. Voila you’re at your magic 6. Get rid of the rest.
Phase 2 involves what to do with all the stuff you’re getting rid of.
There will be four piles to separate your things into:
1. Keep 2. Throw 3. Donate 4. Sell
1. Keep: These are the 6 pairs from phase 1. These you get to keep.
2. Throw: Trash that can’t otherwise be put to better use.
3. Donate: Giving things away makes you feel good. Spread the blessing and abundance. Good karma will always come back when you need it most.
4. Sell: Make a little cash. Put what’s in good condition on E-bay or Craigslist, post it on a Facebook group, or ask around to see if a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance wants what you have to offer.
What I learned:
- Everything needs a home. Set up a creation station, a utensil drawer, etc. Set a space and get rid of whatever doesn’t fit. This way you don’t misplace things, you can always find your way to what you’re looking for, and everything you keep suddenly has purpose and gets used.
- There is so much self-worth we attach to our things, when self-worth can only be cultivated inside.
- There’s an incredible amount of value we assign to accumulating items and possessions and I would much rather place value on people and experiences than on objects and things.
- Junk drawers/ rooms/ closets/ shelves are a waste of space. They never get used and they can be put to better use.
- Extra storage is a shame as well. If you’re not using it, why keep it?
- And lastly, hanging on to things you don’t love is completely exhausting and draining to all your energy resources!
A last tidbit to get you through:
People and experiences do not live on in things. They live on through you and your memories of them, in how they’ve changed and affected you and continue to do so. That all lives inside of you, not outside, and not in any physical object. People are not things. A good lesson to take you through this process.
We’ve gone through why, we’ve gone through how, what I learned, and a tidbit to help get you through. At this point I presume the conclusion is clear; Make the choice today. Take action now.