This article is taken from my December 2016 Newsletter. To read the newsletter, please click here.
Many years ago I had a client who had moved five times in two years. She made a joke saying, “Moving five times in two years was as good as a fire”, meaning that moving that often had given her many opportunities to get rid of lots of stuff. Many times when we think of letting go of items in our homes we think of cleaning out our closets, but real letting go involves reevaluating everything in our homes, not just the things we have tucked away.
When I moved from California to Hawaii, I moved out of a rather large home that I’d lived in for 17 years. Prior to moving into that home my mother had passed away, so not only did I have 17 years of my own stuff I had a lot of her things too. Moving over the ocean is a completely different experience than moving over land. I had to evaluate each item I owned; determining whether or not it was worth the expense of shipping it thousands of miles away. In the end, I managed to get rid of about 90 percent of what I owned; shipping only the items that were small enough and/or meaningful enough to warrant the hassle and expense of doing so. The process was emotional, exhausting, and ultimately freeing.
Feng Shui is about living and working in spaces that feel as good as they look. Part of having those spaces feel good has to do with the emotional connections we have with the things we choose to surround ourselves. Our homes are our sanctuaries, and we need to treat them as such. When the items in our homes lose their purpose and meaning, the energy in our homes and in turn in our lives can start to feel like dull, ordinary, and burdensome. Letting go of what no longer serves an emotional or practical purpose is very liberating, and that fresh new feeling can transfer over to other aspects of our life as well.
You don’t need to wait for a move to get started. Here are ten tips to get you going right now.
1. Go through each room in your home with a box and force yourself to get rid of five things in each room. If you don’t want it, need it, love it, or use it, get rid of it!
2. When you bring in something new, get rid of something old.
3. Take photos of items that you no longer wish to keep or store, but that may have sentimental meaning. For example, I got rid of a box of childhood toys that I’d kept for decades. Taking a photo of those items before letting them go helped me to give them up.
4. Remember that you are under no obligation to keep something that someone gives you. It’s your home and you need to be the one who decides what goes and what stays.
5. Cull out seasonal decorations. When it’s time to pack up holiday decorations, make sure to discard or give away any that have lost their luster, are broken, or no longer have meaning.
6. Go through your closet and get rid of clothes that no longer fit. Many people keep clothes thinking “some day” I’ll get into those jeans again. If you’ve been hanging onto them for more than a year, your clothes are giving you a guilt trip, not happiness. Opening your closet knowing that everything in there fits is much more pleasant than the self-shaming that comes along with a closet full of clothes that are too small.
7. If something in your home makes you feel sad, then consider whether or not it’s worth keeping. Your home should uplift your spirits, not bring you down.
8. Find out how long you need to keep your tax records and receipts and shred the ones you no longer need. You may be surprised at how good it feels to do that!
9. Donate books to the library that you won’t read again. It will give you more room and it’s tax-deductible!
10. Before purchasing something new for your home, ask yourself if this is a want rather than a need. Give yourself a cooling off period before you make that purchase. If it’s meant to be yours it will still be there in a couple of days if you decide that you really must have it.
Sure, it may take a little work and time, but you’ll find that less really is more when you decide to live only with what you love. Once you do that, your house will become a place of beauty, comfort, and refuge rather than simply an over-sized storage unit!
For more ideas on what to get rid of, click here
for a great article that lists 37 items you can get rid of right away.
Copyright 2016, Cathleen McCandless, ALL rights reserved.