Spring has started on the northern part of our planet, which for a lot of people means time to clean! It is time to create space in your life: have a clean house, clean computer, clean body and clean habits.
And even though we all think about it, we often find it too hard to start. In the beginning of 2015 I was forced to do one of the biggest cleanings I have ever done: two moves (São Paulo to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to San Francisco) which meant getting rid of stuff in my house, my mind and life.
As I sat down in the middle of all the things that had created my life in São Paulo and all the things that defined my life in Amsterdam, I felt like I was being thrown back and forth between relief and despair. It was amazing to not have the responsibility over so much stuff anymore, but at the same time I emotionally had to let go of things I had been guarding.
While cleaning for days in a row, I realised there are a few basic rules when it comes to cleaning your life:
- A clean environment equals a clean mind. So do a detox for your body to get rid of unnecessary toxins in your body, clean your house, your desk, your social life, your social networks, your computer, your phone, etc. Simplify your life, it creates space in your mind and life.
- Focus on one thing at the time. Either a box, a pile of papers, an emotion, one folder on your computer: one thing each time. NO multi-tasking, because you never know what comes up when the next box opens.
- Only keep things of value, either because you use it or it has emotional value to you. Stuff that is worth something but you don’t use: sell!
- Everything should have it’s own place; you need to be able to find your belongings in a fixed place in your house or on your computer. When it comes to emotional things, when it did not find a place yet, you haven’t dealt with it properly.
But how to get yourself started when there is no deadline or real pressure?
- Don’t set your goals too high and don’t spoil a sunny day inside.
- Start with 1 pile of papers, one box of stuff, one folder on your computer.
- What you pick up NEEDS to be dealt with: keep it, throw it away, sell it, keep maybe.
- Start small: do it 15 mins each day. Don’t overdo it.
- Make it a game, challenge, connect it to something you like, reward yourself properly.
Other fun ways to clean up:
- Every day give something away. It cleans out your house slowly and it is rewarding to give something away you don’t use anymore.
- Take part in a Buy Nothing New Month.
- Do a meditation course to clear your mind
- Built up a discipline with yoga (or something else you like): 15 mins of cleaning, is followed by 15 mins of yoga
- Take up the 12-12-12 challenge (or other fun challenge): 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, 12 items to return to their own homes.
Once you get in the flow, the fun will start and space is created. Space you can use for new thoughts, fun activities you wanted to pick up for a while, new films and music, or simply just to let the space be… We don’t always need to fill up what we have cleared.