Ahhhhhhhh. Take a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Now that the holidays are over, we can take time to reflect and bask in the glory of ...ALL THIS CLUTTER. OH MY GOSH. *sobbing*
I don't know about you, but my house looks like an F-5 tornado ripped through, left, and came back with a vengeance. Well, it isn't that bad but it's giving me all kinds of anxiety and causing stress. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays (see here, and here, and here, too). I am Christmas obsessed and there is nothing I love more than spoiling my loved ones with gifts and food. BUT. There comes that faithful day, every single year, where I stop and look around me and I can't help but say "What in the $%#!@ am I going to do now?". Literally, from top to bottom, I feel like I am being suffocated with stuff. There is so much going on during the holidays that you almost don't realize all the clutter, mess and crap that gets spewed around you until everything has calmed down and you are stuck with gift wrap, things you haven't used that have resurfaced, and unnecessary items you may have purchased thinking you will need it and end up collecting dust somewhere. If you feel me on any of these, then this guide is just what you need to start fresh in the new year.
Assess the damage if you will. First thing's first--look at what is around you. Really take it all in -- this is where you will need to build that foundation that will help you get through the aftermath of the holidays. Take pictures of everything, make a mental inventory list, and start to devise a rough plan of attack.
2. Make a Plan
Okay, so here is the part that may get hard or tricky. It is for me, so don't get discouraged. You will need to take your mental inventory list and start thinking about what you are going to do with everything. All of that wrapping paper -- can you save it or give it away? Is it old, can you reuse it for next year, or is it faded and will be better off in a fire pit or recycled? That sweater you impulsively bought that really doesn't fit but you got it during a massive sale (I AM SO GUILTY OF THIS)--can you give it to someone who can really use it or donate it to Goodwill? This is also where you will want to bring that mental inventory list to life -- make a spreadsheet, write it down in your notebook, cell phone, wherever. It is always easier seeing your ideas written down on paper (physical or virtual).
Okay, this may not seem important, but you will get overwhelmed. You will get a little stressed and confused. And frustrated. But this will all be worth it. Everything happened over a course of a few months (or longer) and landed you where you are now, but you have to remember that you will get over this little hump and it will prove to be a very rewarding experience. Also, do not do this in one day. You may feel defeated, but this is a process and may take a few days for you to get completely back to normal. Stay with it!
4. Take Action
Get your sweats on, throw your hair in a bun, put some fun music on, maybe some snacks, and get to work! Take your inventory list, your pictures, whatever it is you needed to prepare and attack! Are you tackling your closet that is bursting and spilling into your room? Are you tackling a junk room where everything you have acquired has been piled into one space? Whatever it is, take it all out so you can start with a clean slate (assess), organize everything into piles (keep, discard, or donate) and then take action. You will be amazed at how rewarding and satisfying this will all be--trust me.
Now that you have everything in order, you know what you want to keep, throw out or donate, you can now organize everything and put everything where it should be.
This is where you will need to channel your inner Leslie Knope.
My problem is parting with things due to sentimental value. Sometimes I put a sentimental value on something even if there is no purpose or just to keep it because I like it. But the truth of the matter is, it tends to drag us down and adds to stress. If we keep things that have no value to us anymore and doesn't add to a purposeful life, then why are we holding on to it? Clutter tends to add chaos, which adds to stress, and I don't know about you, but I don't need any added stress in my life. No one does. This is also where you will get really creative with having less than what you are used to. Re-purposing clothing, creating a new wardrobe, incorporating things you have never used before will all be something you will utilize to help with this process. It may feel like you are ripping off a band-aid (hurts at first but will feel so much better later), but in order to grow, you have to make a change!
This will definitely be a goal of mine in 2017 -- de-stressing and de-cluttering! I need a desperate cleanse, so to speak. What are some ways you de-clutter and de-stress? How do you plan on starting off 2017? Leave me some feedback--I'd love to hear your goals and plans for the new year!