New Year: Simplify

New Year: Simplify

posted in: Productivity | 2

It completes the triad of New Year’s resolutions: diet, exercise, and…simplify!  At this time of year, there’s something so appealing about putting away the frills and excesses of the holidays and getting back to simplicity. (Or, in my case, *closer* to simplicity! Hey, I’m working on it…) For me, there are three areas in my life that need a fresh look, reevaluation, and a little love. See if you feel the same:

 

 

Belongings

 

If you’re anything like me, regular housekeeping takes a backseat (like I said, it was never in the front seat!) to festivities during December. Add a pile of new Christmas gifts, and the living space starts to feel a little bit like this scene from The Labrynth!

 

I like a little help and an upbeat guide to get back on track. Here are three different gurus that have helped me put the “fun” back into functional living space:

 

  • Apartment Therapy runs a yearly decluttering challenge called The January Cure. Sign up for regular emails containing quick steps to a happier space.

 

  • The Flylady is all about loving yourself, first, then loving your home. Her site is loaded with resources and helpful, nurturing baby steps.

 

  • Best-selling author, Marie Kondo, created the now-famous KonMari Method. Her advice has certainly worked for me. The best part? Your space stays neat. (I’m still in the paper clutter phase!)

 

 

 

Routines

 

Winter is a great time to cut back on commitments, busyness, and habits. It may be that we’ve been running the same errands the same way for so long that it doesn’t make sense anymore–it’s just routine. Take a hard look at your schedule. Are all your appointments and obligations still serving your family? Or have you outgrown them? Try to detach from guilt and the pressure that you may let someone down. Consider this: by resigning your position of club president/leader, you may allow someone else to step forward and grow into the opportunity. Or, maybe, by holding on to an activity that no longer inspires you, solely out of guilt, you’re only prolonging the inevitable. Maybe your participation is preventing the out-dated organization from gracefully fading into its own sunset. Either way, don’t take all the responsibility on yourself. (If you need a little courage, check out Essentialism by Greg McKeown.)

 

 

 

Mental Clutter

 

Once, when I was a teenager, I told a friend of mine I wanted to write a book. “A book?” he asked, with undisguised embarrassment. “Who wants to write a book?” Ridiculous, right? I mean *tons* of people want to write a book. As in, 80% of people say they’d like to write a book.

 

And, yet, as I get my novel ready for publication, there are moments of fear and doubt–that’s normal. It was only recently that I admitted to myself that my friend’s off-hand comment was still lodged in my heart. Almost 20 years later, the words still scare me.

 

And that’s silly. I’m sure he never meant to affect me that way. So let’s call it what it is: mental clutter. Maybe, like me, you’ve been carrying around a comment for far too long. Let it go. I imagined myself as an adult–the me I am now–facing my old friend, a teenager. And I feel only compassion and fondness. Do you have mental clutter that someone never meant to cause? Release it, and set both of you free.

 

 

 

Whether you love or loathe New Year’s resolutions, January is a natural time to reassess where we are on the path. Grab a hot drink and a cozy blanket, put your feet up and consider these three areas. Is there clutter–physical or emotional–that you need to release? Are your daily routines still serving you?

 

 

 

Sign up for the free 5 Day Clean Desk Challenge

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Writingdianet

    I need to simplify my physical space, specifically our basement. This is how I clean: anything I don’t want to deal with goes to the basement. To a pile or stack. If someone saw our basement, they might nominate us for that hoarders’ TV show:/
    I do my best to gather up 1-3 boxes or bags a month to throw or give away. But then my DH (dear husband) brings home a bag or box of stuff, from work or his folks’ house. Sigh…

    • Cole Smith

      I know! I’m looking forward to the peace of mind I’ll have when I get all the clutter stashes tossed/put away… But given the choice between writing a book and having a neat-as-a-pin house? BOOK. 🙂

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