During the holidays, I had invited friends to join my family for Christmas dinner. To prepare for the big day, I had made a pretty extensive schedule of what household chores needed to be completed and by when, so that I could be certain to enjoy the day with my loved ones. It was a lot of work, but my house has never looked so clean and organized. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed that one day, I also had an unexpected realization leading up to Christmas that has stayed with me ever since: I am far more likely to put my coat in the closet, when there is room in the closet for my coat.
Obvious, right? Except my ability to put my coat away night after night has led me to reconsider all the spaces in my life where I store more things than I need or use, while the things that I require daily are left out in the open, not receiving the attention or care it deserves. Now, I could pretend my life has changed irrevocably since my holiday cleaning spree realization, but this idea is but a seed that I have only just planted, nevertheless allowed to take root. So, if you are looking for de-cluttering your life advice, seek out the wisdom of Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant. She will tidy your life in no time.
Instead, I want to extrapolate my coat theory into the mental and emotional closets of my life. There are places where I keep thoughts that no longer serve my current goals, and feelings that are mere copies of once traumatic experiences. My inner world is cluttered with “has been, ought to be” realities that no longer exist anywhere but in my mind. Life has since moved on, but have I?
How many times has a new idea come into my life and it might just be the most brilliantly useful potential for my life, but I have no room to entertain such a thought? Or worse, the idea, if nurtured properly, could possibly solve many of the problems that currently preoccupy my time and attention. What life habits and patterns do I continuously repeat out of comfort? And do they really comfort me, or are they band-aids holding back a dam that, if allowed to flow, would bring me closer to my hopes and dreams than I currently dare to explore? Are the things I am keeping even the things I value most?
New Year’s Intentions
Rather than make a new year’s list of things I resolve to do, or things that I am willing to release, the transition to 2016 has prompted me to re-evaluate how I spend my time and energy. One of my newer realizations is the importance of keeping things simple, as that is often far more sustainable. Instead of a total overhaul of outmoded thinking, I am going to make a point to regularly re-evaluate my mental and emotional expenditures throughout the year. This graphic shows just how simple this process can be.
I want to start making space for the things I enjoy and that starts by letting go of the things I keep out of obligation and expectation. Life is too short to waste time and energy constantly trying to fit in all the drudgery, simply because that’s how it’s always been done, or worse, all I have ever known. In order for joy to fit in my life, I need to make room in my life for the things that make me happy. If I don’t carve out the time and space for joy in my life, who will? Decluttering my life has never felt so good.