Putting a Slightly Different Spin on Clearing Life’s Clutter

published Jan 3, 2015
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Christmas is often a time of accumulation, while New Year’s is often a time for starting fresh. Often, this means getting rid of things, taking stock, and cleaning up one’s house and life. But before you dive into the “gotta get rid of it” mode, make sure you’re approaching the process from a positive mindset.

It’s a wonderful process to evaluate one’s life and one’s belongings, figuring out how to make space for new belongings and habits, but sometimes all the reflection can take a negative turn. “These are the things I need to change. Here are my bad habits. Here’s a bunch of stuff I don’t need. I shouldn’t have kept all these things. I don’t look right. I don’t feel right. I don’t live up to my own expectations in such-and-such ways.”

When we’re clearing the clutter of our lives, whether that’s physical or emotional, it’s easier in many ways to think about the things that need to be dumped. But if you only focus on the things that you need to get rid of, you can fall into a pattern of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or defeat.

As you approach your resolutions for yourself and for your home this January, try to reframe them by thinking about what you want to keep, not what you want to purge. To give a concrete example, as you sort through your mementos, don’t look for the worthless ones you can stand to part with. Look for the ones that kindle a spark, that bring a smile, or that make you feel happy. These are the ones that you can set aside, and they’re the ones that can ensure that your life is richer.