We live in a society of excess so it is no surprise that our lives, our houses, even down to our inboxes are overflowing with stuff. Letting go of things is not something that most people do. Houses have gotten bigger over the years and our need to fill them has grown exponentially. But are we happier? That is a question that each person has to answer for themselves because in truth one person’s happiness may be another person’s idea of hell. My own house is definitely full, I have a million things on the go and my inbox just topped 5000 unread (yup unread) emails.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
It got me to thinking…and reading about letting go. Living in Canada, one of the things I love is the changing of the seasons. We are just entering that time of year when all the leaves put on a beautiful display of colour and then fall to the ground. It made me think of the beauty in letting go of things. There are a few things I have been thinking about doing and now seems to be a perfect time. I’m hoping this whole process will also help with my anxiety as I definitely feel calmer when everything is in its “place”, neat and tidy. What easier way for that to happen, than to have less stuff to mess things up!
So let’s begin, what are some of the things you can do to start letting go?
Clean up your inbox
As I mentioned my inbox just topped 5000 emails, 5280 to be exact. Which is INSANE! So I have spent the last two days going through and reading/deleting them. Which is all fine and dandy but without changes that number is just going to spiral back up soon enough. So I started by filtering by the sender, which gave me a good view of who was actually sending me emails. Sadly enough very few were from actual people. I was getting 10-15 emails a day and they were mostly from stores, Facebook notifications, mailing lists. Which when you think about it, is a truly sad state of affairs.
So as I looked through each sender, I really questioned whether I needed to get emails from them. Was it something really important to me? Would it just lead to another purchase? Basically trying to attribute some value to each sender, if I couldn’t find any then I quickly unsubscribed! So as I sit and write this I am down to 739 unread, which is an accomplishment but I still have some work to do! Once I have my inbox in order, I plan on spending a few minutes each morning. Just setting aside a few minutes each day going through and reading/deleting emails! That should help to prevent this from reoccurring in the future.
Clean up your house
Another easy thing you can do is aim to get rid of 50 things a week….over a single month that is 200 less things in your house! I don’t mean that you need to throw them out, you could have a yard sale, sell them online, give them to friends, donate them or if appropriate throw them out. It doesn’t have to be 50 big things, just 50. I started small and got 50 easily from the drawers in my kitchen. I felt lighter, accomplished and smiled (for about a week) every time I opened any of the drawers I had gone through as I saw a tangible difference! I’m a huge nerd (of the book and school variety) and I must admit
I hoarded a few books. So it was very difficult for me to part with those, but I did manage to get rid of some of them. Not with all of them, that would be crazy, but I got rid of the ones that weren’t my favourite. Letting go is not easy but it can have such an impact. Just walk around and look at what you have and ask “ Do I get value in my life from this”. You decide the value, I have a white ceramic pineapple with gold “leaves” and I’ll be damned if I ever get rid of it. Just looking at it makes me happy (don’t ask me why), but in that respect, it adds value to my life and so I keep it. I have since challenged myself to a 1-hour decluttering challenge and I am trying to do it once a month. You can download my free guide below.
Clean up your closet
Another great place to start purging is your closet (yes your closet!). This doesn’t have to be done quickly but it should be done. I have heard of multiple ways to address this issue but the two that stand out to me are the turnaround method (for lack of a better name) and doing a Project 333. In the turnaround method, start by making sure ALL your hangers are facing in the same direction. Then after you wear something when you hang it back up (after it’s washed or that night…no judging) you flip the hanger the opposite way. Do this for 3 months or even 6 months and then you start to see what you are actually wearing, rather than what you wish/want to use. Maybe you are keeping some of those clothes because you feel like you have to (if it was a gift), or that you are hoping you will fit back into it, or any other host of reasons.
Another great option (the one I am choosing) is to do a Project 333. To very simply sum up the concept, you allow yourself 33 articles of clothing (including shows, purses etc..but excluding underwear) for 3 months. Crazy talk right? I will be posting more about my own Project 333 as I get started (very soon), so stay tuned. But if you want to learn more about the original you can click here or you can pick up the book which I am currently reading.
Clean up your kitchen
Be it the fridge or the pantry, set aside a few hours and pull everything (yes everything) out of the cupboards and the fridge (except maybe the milk). This is a great time to give the fridge a full cleaning. Then you need to start taking stock of everything and start the process of letting go. Are there any “science experiments” that are too scary to even contemplate? Any sour cream from 2018? Or things you bought to make that recipe that you never did…that you will never actually use? Well, now is the time to get rid of them.
Wash out any recyclable packing and get it to the curb! Get rid of anything that is past its best before date, I recently found some quinoa from 2017 (oops). The worst part is I love quinoa BUT it was buried behind something I don’t use and I didn’t realize it was there! Then put whatever makes the cut back into the cupboards/fridge. It’s amazing how much space you can free up so you don’t lose the quinoa or anything else! Fridge cleaning is a great way to save money and simplify your life. You can check out my post on how keeping a clean fridge has helped me.