To Decluttering for a Stress Free New Year
Confession: I am a neat freak. Sure, my overflowing laundry basket may say otherwise — but my room is my temple. My messy, hidden from the public, temple.
I’m a firm believer that everything has a place and that it should only live in that space. I have a few friends that say my house is like a hotel — and honestly, it’s one of the biggest compliments. What I don’t believe in is “spring cleaning”. The concept of only deep cleaning and organizing once a year absolutely terrifies me.
Here’s the thing: life can be a bitch. It’s messy, stressful and occasionally, a little too much to manage. It’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with day-to-day duties, weekend plans and other obligations; but also absolutely imperative to stop, power down and declutter from time-to-time. Not only will a regular deep clean make you feel better physically, the mental benefit of being void of clutter is one of the world’s best feelings — not dissimilar to eating gluten. Man, do I miss bread… and chicken nuggets. 😔
Stress usually slingshots me into my home-cleaning hurricanes at least three to four times a year — it’s almost seasonal for me. This ends up working out quite nicely as I can use this time to pack up the current season’s decor and swap it out for the upcoming season. Can you guess what category storm I am today? 😉 While these seasonal deep cleans are usually sponsored by Clorox bleach, it’s not only the surfaces around the house that get scrubbed clean.
Declutter your life and cut the stress in 2017 with these three tips:
Get your home in order, boo.
Carve out some time to go through every room of your house, take note of things that no longer suit your needs or taste and get rid of the items that you no longer connect with — including your spouse if they’re particularly irritating. (kidding… maybe?) When cleaning, remember to look high, low and under. Cobwebs usually go from zero to a hundred so keep an eye on moldings, corners and other nooks and crannies. Baseboards could always use a little love from a magic eraser and dust bunnies (or pet hair) usually congregate in scary proportions under furniture. That said, these are my three favorite places to go ham:
A clean bedroom will not only help you feel better, but it’s practically guaranteed to give you a better nights sleep. Think about it, on Sundays, after you wash your sheets, put away your laundry and light your favorite candle, don’t you sleep like a dream? (Aside from the impending doom of Monday.)
I love the ancient Chinese tradition of Feng Shui and try to follow the rules, so to speak, for a better “flow” in my spaces. One rule I finally started following recently: nothing under the bed. I relocated (read: donated) the junk I was holding onto to, and I feel like I get better rest. Placebo effect? Maybe, but who cares if I’m more rested, right? Try cleaning out your dresser drawers, closet and bedside tables — toss or donate anything that doesn’t serve you. Also, I know some of you have ex-boyfriend boxes tucked on closet shelves… hang onto them, if you must, but put them in storage — they don’t deserve precious space in your sanctuary. Byeeee!
My favorite room to organize, probably stemming from the organization goals I formed from my Aunt Nicole as a kid. When it comes to the kitchen, set aside a few hours, this isn’t a quick clean. Raid your pantry, toss anything that’s expired (and make a note not to buy as much of the repeat offenders.) I like to place all like items together — pantry Tetris — pasta pals, breakfast buds and snack squads to your assigned places please!
The pièce de résistance, however, is the refrigerator. Even if you’re borderline OCD and clean that baby out on a regular basis — take it a step further for this clean and take everything out, including the shelves and drawers. I’ve found that the best way to clean any crumbs, caked on grossness and whatever else may be lurking on these pieces is to send them straight to the tub. Scrub quickly and get your now warming food items back into the fridge A$AP Rocky status, in an organized way. These clear containers make it incredibly easy to keep everything where it belongs. If you want to be a little extra, face all your beverages (click here for fridge porn.)
I recently upped the ante of my seasonal item storage. I opted to ditch the cardboard and go the plastic tub route. Knowing that any leaks, spills or even broken glass will stay in (or out) of my bins soothes my soul. I ordered a roll of heavy duty craft paper from Amazon to wrap all the fragile or scratch-prone items — which made it a bit difficult to see what was in each bin (aside from a sea of brown orbs.)
I quickly developed a system to organize the items (again playing Tetris) while wrapping and packing to create an inventory sheet that goes along with each corresponding bin number. As this project is not quite done, I’m going to adhere these inventory sheets to the inside of the bin — showing exactly what’s inside at-a-glance. I also marked the heavier bins with a label on the sheet, so that when I move them around, I don’t accidentally break my back. It sounds crazy, and yes, it’s taking a considerable amount of time, but how nice will it be when it’s done? Consider being crazy with me — the water’s great!
Audit and act on your digital presence
Take some time to really scan through your social feeds. Is there any value in following your cousin’s ex girlfriend anymore? Her #OOTD posts aren’t even that good anyway. Unfollow the people that aren’t adding anything to your day-to-day — or at the very least mute them. Review your privacy settings on different apps to make sure that only the audience you intend to read your posts can see them. Lastly, take a look at your feed, is the content you're publishing to the internet what you want to represent your personal brand? Clean it up if it’s not, especially if you’re going to be making a career move in the next couple of months.
How many emails do you get a day? My guess is, probably a lot, most of which are from mailing lists that you signed up for to get a discount. Completely fine — I’m all about a deal, but once you’ve redeemed it, do you really need to get emails every couple of days begging you to spend money? The answer is no! Each day this week, as the ads come rolling in, unsubscribe from the companies that you don’t particularly care for (or for the ones you need to cut back on spending at — I’m looking at you Target.)
I did this last week and I have to say that it’s nice to wake up to an inbox with only one or two emails. I unsubscribed from a ton of mailing lists, a couple of blogs and unmarked a setting in Facebook that was blowing me up every time I got a comment. I already feel lighter!
This is probably one of the most overlooked areas (aside from when you get the storage notification when you’re hurriedly trying to snap a picture.) Grab a glass of rosé, a comfy throw and settle in — it's time to go on a deleting spree. This morning, it’s absolutely pouring in the Bay Area, and I found a cozy spot on the couch and got to deleting. I started with 6,601 photos and 420 videos — and finished with 2,311 photos and 368 videos. Literally 4,000 photos that didn’t make the cut for Instagram, screenshots of ideas (or conversations) and bad GIFs. Try it, pleeeeease! (I did it in batches of about 500 so I wouldn’t put my phone into a panic, and it seemed to work just fine.)
Evaluate your relationships
Last, but certainly not least! This area can cause you the most mental upset and ruin your rest patterns, happiness and overall quality of life. Make it your mission to really think about those you surround yourself with as we move into the new year. Do you have a friend that’s a little too Vanderpump Rules for you, or a coworker that you “can’t even” deal with? It may be time to cut that cord.
Severing ties doesn’t need to be a big commotion — after all, we’re a little old for blowouts and public scenes, regardless of how the Real Housewives act. You could either slowly bow out, or have a very respectful and civil conversation with them about your thoughts, feelings and needs. While it may give you anxiety IBS to think about initially, the reward is definitely worth cutting any dead weight — romantic, platonic or otherwise.
So, What’s next?
Uhm, a life worth living? This purging/organizing process isn’t a one-day task — if you found that it is, let’s talk because I need to take life tips from you, clearly. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to get it all done in a certain time period, just chip away at it every day until it’s done. I promise that you’ll feel like a new person once it's complete. You’ll have a cleaner, lighter home and energy about yourself as well. I can assure you that you’ll sleep better and be a tad more smiley than usual each time you open that refrigerator or pantry door. Go now! 😘