The holidays are upon us and I have been thinking a lot about CLUTTER. Right before Thanksgiving, I was thinking of a game plan and rereading some old notes when I was last working with a nutritionist. She said, “Think about removing the clutter foods.” What did that even mean? For me at the time, it meant coffee without an accompanying cookie, less post-dinner chip & salsa binges, a few tablespoons less dressing on my salad – things like that. It wasn’t a lot, actually it just helped me realize that I didn’t need a lot of these extra things I was eating that were upsetting my digestion. I was just eating to eat – out of boredom, sadness, or whatever it was at the time.
This became a good life mantra – being mindful to keep the clutter down. A few years ago, my family decided to stop buying each other gifts for Christmas. Part of it was a financial decision, but mostly it was because we all started realizing that our “It’s-the-thought-that-counts!” gifts were piling up in our closets. In fact, these “thoughtful” gifts were mostly our own shopping & consuming addictions – we would find something cute, buy it, and save it for someone, maybe without them really in mind at the time. A couple of years ago, I realized how stuffed my closets (yep, plural) and storages (yep, again!) had become. That nutritionist friend told me to check out this blog, Live Simply by Annie – a Seattle-based organizer, designer & decluttering specialist. I started reading the blog and was hooked! She made everything seem so easy and streamlined to start getting rid of things and organizing, and I had never been good at that. That Christmas, instead of giving gifts, I gave things to Goodwill – I started getting rid of things, and started to stop feeling anxious about receiving gifts from others that were causing me guilt and anxiety because I didn’t want or need them.
Other things in my life started changing once I started simplifying. I didn’t need two curling irons, eight wine openers, four extra pillows when I only slept on one, and so on. I piled bags and bags of crap out. I started feeling lighter, sleeping better, and no joke – I lost weight. Once the burden of clutter started leaving my life, my spirit became lighter, my room more spacious, and there was a lot more room for other good things. It really has a ripple effect in your whole life – to live more simply, needing less “things” and replacing that with more self-care, time with family and friends, exercise, and nature.
Maybe you’ve heard of this idea, and maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t, check out this book. It’s a really simple, beautiful way to teach you to let go of things in a step-by-step way.
You could also try this article on shopping alternatives – for those of you that just love to shop (like me!) you might find this interesting. Browse around Annie’s website too and see if any other articles sprout interest.
Think about what’s important to you this month. Prioritize those things and spend time with those people. If you happen to find something you know they’ll love, maybe gift them that, but be mindful of where you’re putting that energy.
xo WD Renzetti