// Clean Out. Let Go. Repeat.
I’ve always been really good at cleaning out and clearing out. Clutter signaled anxiety and I wanted to do everything I could to avoid feeling overwhelmed by my space; a place that should represent peace, safety, and serve as a refuge from the world at large.
Thankfully, I grew up in a home where altruism was the norm, and we were brought up to give back as much as we could, as we could. As an adult, I clean out often. In mass amounts when I’m moving or the seasons are changing, and almost weekly now as I try to keep my NYC apartment streamlined. An excess of “stuff” means little to me, and I worry we are becoming obsessed with “things” and not qualities, life experiences, and personal interactions.
Cleaning out is not only good for those you can donate items to, but is a practice in letting go of that which no longer serves us. It gives us the space to be free from the worries we have around “stuff” and the feelings we have attached to “stuff.” From the practical side of having a more clean space, you will mostly likely also have a more clean mind, and what better way to find more happiness, and more joy than a clear mind. Sometimes the stuff we hold onto, is the very stuff holding us back.
I’ve never felt “things” were that important, but certain items, and necessities, you no longer need can better serve the lives of others who might not have the same access and resources.
Below are some tips on things I do and have done, and ways you, too, can start cleaning it all out.
Your soul will thank you. Your space will thank you. Your community will thank you.
// Pick a time, put on music, and get comfortable. Have bags set up to clean out, and separate your items into give to charity, gift to friends/family, or throw away (or recycle.**)
** Recycling clothes is real. I took bags to H&M during their recycling push. I also recycled all my old underwear and bras since those items cannot be donated to thrift shops once used. Google where you can do this,
** Recycling technology items is also available so these items do not end up in landfills.
** Don't just "throw things away" unless you have to. Trying to keep as much as we can out of landfills is worthwhile to keep in mind as well.
// The Life Changing Magic of Tidying was my way of living before it was even written but it reminds us to only have things in our space that bring us joy (and it has great tips for those who want to lighten their life through cleaning out, give it a read.)
Look at your items. Do they bring you joy? Many things either have us stuck in the past (nostalgic) or worried about the future (scarcity mentality.) To be in the present means to look at the item as it is now, to current day you.
// Think of friends and family. Often time, brand new things won’t get opened or used, and someone close to you might need just what you never used.
// Use social outlets if you so choose. I did a snapchat yard sale once with new fitness apparel I’d never worn. I ended up gifting most of it for free.99, but it was a way to share things with people who support my journey, and would value things I was already overly saturated with.
// Donate unopened beauty and hygiene items to a women’s shelter. Unopened shampoo, and other items, like all those hotel bits you pack “just in case” you need them can usually be donated. Google options in your area, and what is and isn’t accepted for donation.
// Donate linens and old towels to pet shelters. I always do this and say a little prayer for my Dukers who was in a shelter when he was rescued as a baby. Animals need donations, too.
// Donate any large items you don’t need as well. I remember moving to the city the first time around, and donating my luxury microwave to Goodwill. I don’t use microwaves, but someone who needed it could use it. Anything like lamps, chairs, or anything in working order that can still be used can typically be donated.