A few days ago on Instagram, I shared that simplifying is a area of focus for me this year. I didn’t set any specific resolutions, but I have been focusing on simplifying areas of my life that cause me unnecessary stress or do not meaningfully contribute to my day. I realized my life is full of a lot of “stuff” that does not necessarily make me consciously sad, but it certainly does not contribute to my overall well-being. I still have a long ways to go on this journey, but I have finally begun the daunting task of facing my years of “stuff-ness.” Today, I wanted to share a few mindset shifts I have been trying to make to support my goal of simplifying my life:
- I want to keep everything. I am notoriously a keeper of “stuff.” The birthday card from 6 years ago. The dress I *might* wear one day to a (TBD) event that still has the tags on it. I feel terrible throwing or giving away items that hold any kind of sentimental value or that convince myself may be helpful one day. After so many years, though, I finally feel ready to let. stuff. go. My new rule: if it no longer serves me, brings me joy, or serves a specific purpose (especially if it has sat untouched for a year or more), it has to go.
Action: 1 hour + a trash bag…and go to town! I began with my closet because it was a small, manageable space I engage with every day. Whether your bag is to throw away, donate, or sell, stuffing a bag filled with “stuff” that no longer serves you is an awesome feeling. Once a got a small taste of how great it felt to purge, I wanted to keep going. But I knew this was the first step. I am so happy I took it!
- The more, the better. Having countless clothes to pick from or coming home from the Target dollar section with a $1 binder and random pink stickers sounds great, but in reality, it was contributing to the clutter in my life. I’ve tried to transitioned to a “quality over quantity” mentality, and find a lot more joy in choosing from 5 tops instead of going through 20 (of which 75% I will never wear again) and feeling stressed at the end of it. I realized a lot of my “stuff” served a temporary purpose in my life, but didn’t fulfill a long-term need. Which brings me to my next point…
Action: What do you have the most of in your life? Whether you keep a lot of black tops, jeans, fuzzy blankets, notebooks, containers, or whatever… recognizing what you continue to purchase over and over again is so important. Personally, I realized I had a lot of dresses that I have not and will not likely ever wear again (I have a thing for dresses). Now, I am able to recognize when I am falling back into old habits and think more intentionally about my purchases.
- If I only had… Fill in the blank. If I only had _______, I would feel so much better about coming to work each day. Or, If I only had a new ________, I would be a lot more organized and happy. I lived moment to moment, fulfilling a long-term need with a short-term solution, believing the “thing” or “stuff” would help me. I still get caught up in this mindset sometimes, thinking a “thing” will solve an issue that actually requires a whole lot more than a new “something”. While I have not perfected this, I am better able to identify when I am falling into this mindset and pull myself out of it. It has helped me learn to dig a little deeper for a solution instead of defaulting to a quick fix.
Action: Is there something you’re wishing for to “fix” something in your life? I am definitely guilty of this. After years of buying organization tools and kits, I realized the underlying issue wasn’t the organization… but it was my approach and mentality. Instead of focusing on organizing from the outside in, I am focusing on organizing from the inside out.. which means changing my mindset is the most important step in this process. The “stuff” was a material fix for a very non-material issue.
I would love to hear about your tips and experiences with shifting your mindset! What are you focusing on simplifying this year?