Today, I’m finally sharing something I have been wanting to talk about for a while and haven’t had a chance. This blog came about partially because of my organizational tendencies; I wanted a space to talk about food but also to have room for other passions. Running. Organizing. Now Minimizing. And soon Community and Socially Conscious endeavors. (Thus the “Neat” part of Neat & Nutritious.)
Moving is the perfect time for cleaning out and starting fresh. After moving 8 times in the past 8 years, I have learned to start thinking of it positively instead of another hassle. Every time we move, we toss, we donate, we recycle. Yet somehow we still have SO MUCH STUFF. I don’t feel like we buy that much, but it keeps appearing, piling up. Over the past year, I’ve been hit with a desire to severely minimize my stuff. And not just belongings. Busyness easily consumes us. Technology sucks us in. Excess is everywhere. Distracting. Taunting. Blinding. I’m tired of it. I want to LIVE my life with purpose. In community. Not through social media. Not on my phone. Not comparing what I have to what my neighbor has.
So this is the year of Clearing the Clutter. Mental clutter. Physical clutter. Emotional clutter. Comparison clutter. It’s all getting tossed.
How? Here are the baby steps I am taking to clear the clutter out of my life.
1. Remove Technology. I work from home. We live in a technology-necessary world. But that doesn’t mean my face needs to be glued to a screen 24/7. I deleted almost all the apps of my phone for Lent. My phone was my security blanket in uncomfortable social situations. When I was bored. I had to stay connected all the time. Now I just have work email. My expense report app. Southwest. The few essentials I need to travel and complete my job successfully. I also removed my phone from my bedside table. In our Chicago loft, my phone only has so many places to charge. It was also my alarm clock. So it had a permanent charging spot right next to my bed. It was SO HARD to not check email first thing in the morning. I don’t have notifications enabled, which helped. But I still saw a screen first thing when I turn off my alarm. Thankfully, we now live somewhere with space to charge my phone separate from where I sleep. Out of sight, out of mind.
2. The Simplified Planner. Everything I need to keep track of was in Outlook or my Google Calendar. So if I was going to remove technology from my life, I still needed a way to not miss deadlines and appointments. I love writing things down, and I’ve always kept a paper to-do list on top of my Outlook calendar. Having a paper calendar that wants blank space makes me so happy. The goal is to NOT fill it up every day with stuff. Leave space for life. So far, it has been an interesting transition, but I have yet to miss anything important. It took about a month to actually DELETE my Google Calendar, but I have not missed it at all since.
3. #Project333. This is a concept of paring down your wardrobe to 33 items for 3 months. Jewelry, shoes, accessories included. I’ve always wanted to do this but been way too scared. What if I need something that wasn’t on my list? I just had to hold on to my stuff. JUST IN CASE. Ridiculous. I work from home. In sweats most days. I do NOT need a wardrobe of clothes that I hardly wear. Granted, this is not a “get rid of all your clothes” project. I don’t have to donate everything in my closet. I am committing to simplifying my daily routine by having fewer choices. And actually being forced to put on real clothes each day, instead of yoga pants, which honestly is a good thing. I started in April, and began round 2 in July when we moved. It’s been SO NICE. Packing is easier. Mornings are easier. And I even like what I have more.
4. Set Goals. I have so many things I want to do. All scattered up in my head. And each day, week, month that passes I find myself not making any progress and getting frustrated with myself. Nothing happens without intentionality. So instead of staring at the TV, my computer, TECHNOLOGY every night after staring at a screen all day working, I have an intentional focus. Each month, I am putting to paper my dreams and ideas to make them come to life. 3-5 things. Sometimes that carry over. But I love seeing the progress, the results, the joy.
5. Leave Room. I love filling my schedule. Putting things in my day. DOING something. Yes, when I get home from a work trip, I just want to crash on the couch. But the next day, I need to get back into doing. I think part of this is working from home. Alone. All day. And I live in an awesome city that has so much to offer. So I try to fill up all my space with doing. And then somehow end up feeling like I haven’t done anything. It’s OK to do both. To do. And to be still.
Want to clear the clutter with me? Here are some of my favorite resources for creating space:
- The Simplified Planner: emilyley.com
- Simplifying: #Project333 and Be More With Less by Courtney Carver
- Goal Setting: Power Sheets and The Challenge (read this!) by Lara Casey