Each year we celebrate January 1—a date that serves as a metaphor for cleansing and reclaiming our lives. Aside from glittery dresses, fancy cocktails, and late-night dance parties, the new year oftentimes encourages new goals and dreams. Resolutions vary from more vague ideas like saving money and eating healthier to specific goals, such as losing 20 pounds by August; crossing the finish line of an Ironman; and wrapping up an art project that was started five years ago. The sad truth is, we rarely follow through. Over time, the promises we made to ourselves at the start of the year lose their luster. And rather than manifesting our potential, we let it dissolve. Our top priorities merely become back burner projects, and when we finally want to take the reins again, it can feel too late. Well, not this year! 2018 will be different. How? It starts with a tidy closet.
Why Your Space Needs a Deep-Clean
It might sound hokey, but decluttering your living and working spaces is surprisingly synonymous with decluttering your life. You want a fresh start this year? Well, it starts with a literal fresh start: a scrubbed down kitchen, an organized filing cabinet, and a clean set of sheets. Not only does a tidy closet feel better physically, but it feels better mentally. You envelop enough stress already, so why worry so much about finding a missing shoe or washing a towering stack of dishes? Here are some tricks to decluttering your space:
Step One: Ask Yourself: What Matters Most?
When digging through your closet and cabinetry, you’ll likely find wardrobe treasure troves from the 70s (LINK TO ARTICLE ON 70s TRENDS) and cobwebbed photo albums from your high school prom. Take a long hard look at the things that have been collecting dust, and ask yourself if these items really matter to you. Sure, you’ve got a lot of great memories in your high-waist bell bottoms, but chances are you’ll never wear them again. And sure, you used to love tennis, but do you really need the ancient rackets? The answer is probably no.
Yet, the photo album is a keeper. Not only will you get a kick out of flipping through your school picture hair days, but your kids and grandkids and so on will love it too! Old photo albums are a great opportunity to give your kids a window into your life, long before they came into the world!
Bottom line: if the items found in your closet and cabinets don’t add direct value to your life, it’s time to ditch them! Rule of thumb: If you haven’t used something in over a year, or you forget the item even existed, ditch it. Nostalgia is better kept in photographed moments than material possessions.
Organizing Your Sentimental Items
Speaking of nostalgia and old photo albums… Remember how that album was covered in cobwebs and stuck under the weight of your dumbbell? Well, it might be time to go digital. Gather up all the old cassette tapes, VHSs, and photo albums, and consider digitizing. (LINK TO STORY) Sure, keep some of the hard copy photos, but the home videos and voice recordings can be tossed! Not only does having a downloadable, digital version eternalize your memories, but it saves you a lot of space. Those book shelves full of 1.5-inch thick videos can now be used for other things—or better yet, toss the shelves and have a corner of nothingness. Extra space to move around, wouldn’t that be nice?
Keep It Clean
When the work is done, keep it that way. The trick is making the cleanliness last. Rather than letting things pile up throughout the week—leaving an overwhelming mess to deal with come the weekend—try tackling the little messes as they happen. Take an extra minute to hang up your coat and put away your shoes. Do the dishes immediately after eating, rather than letting food crust to your plate. Put away your toothpaste after use, rather than leaving the cap open to leak onto your counter. Taking five extra minutes a day to tidy up will help immensely in clearing your mental space for more important things. And when setting goals, having the right headspace is vital.
2018 is a fresh start, and an opportunity to re-evaluate your hopes and dreams. It’s time to take charge of the things you promised yourself years ago. This year will be different. It starts with a tidy closet.