I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that everything in our universe is made up of energy and that all of that energy is connected. The more I learn, the more astounded I am by just how connected EVERYTHING is. It’s clear to me that our inner world – our thoughts, beliefs and emotions – affects our outer lives. But did you know that our outer world – our physical surroundings both in nature and in our homes – greatly affects our inner landscape? If you’ve been feeling the urge to do some spring cleaning, you’re not alone. It’s in the air! Spring actually brings with it the natural energy of needing to detox our bodies, our minds and our homes. The energy within our homes has a great effect on us personally. Have you ever felt like you needed to clean your room before you could study for a test or write a paper? Putting our space in order can literally help clear our minds. Have you ever cleaned out a closet and immediately felt like you could breathe easier? That’s not a coincidence! My curiosity has led me to read a lot on the topics of feng shui and organization. Over and over again, I have come across information specifically about clutter and its effect on us. Clutter is the number one energy blocker we can have in our homes. Besides affecting our ability to concentrate, it can block new opportunities and even money from coming into our lives. It can also be related to excess weight in our bodies. Simply put, the “heaviness” we feel in our homes can be reflected in our bodies, our minds and our lives. The best advice I’ve ever found about organizing comes from Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’d love to share with you my favorite takeaways from her book to help you with your spring cleaning.
1. Before you organize, you must purge.
2. Instead of focusing on what you’re getting rid of, focus on what you’re keeping.
3. Keep only the things that give you JOY! Instead of asking if you “need” an item, ask yourself if it sparks excitement. Clearly there may be things you need to keep that don’t meet this criteria, but it should be your main focus.
4. Get rid of everything you can that doesn’t spark joy.
5. Express gratitude for your belongings. Say thank you – both to the items you’re keeping and to the items you let go. When I have an object that’s difficult to let go of, I speak directly to it. I thank it for coming into my life and fulfilling a need. Using gratitude as a way to say goodbye makes it so much easier to release. And the bonus is that I’m actually filled with gratitude for all the abundance in my life.
6. Once you’re done purging, make your organizational system spark joy. Everything you own should have its own space to be. Marie has her own system of folding clothes that keeps them perfectly neat. I've followed her plan, and I can honestly say that my sock drawer gives me joy when I open it. I even enjoy folding laundry more now. (Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see images of my joy-filled drawers!)
7. Focus on one category of items at a time. Start with clothes. Divide your clothes into categories – like shirts, pants, sweaters, socks, etc. Purge and organize one item at a time. After finishing clothes, do books, then papers, followed by miscellaneous items and things that have sentimental value, like photos.
Most people find it hard to part with their things. If that's you, here are some helpful tips for those things we find hard to let go of. Every object we own has a purpose. Respect the item and its purpose as if it were alive. Jewelry wants to be worn! Books want to be read! So much of what we own is no longer serving a purpose. If you’re keeping old things in a box, for example, they’re not being used for what they were intended for. Do you have a gift that you’re keeping just because a loved one gave it to you? Perhaps the gift already served its purpose – to give you joy when you opened it. If you give your items away, they can go back to serving their purpose in someone else’s life. Guilt is not a reason to keep something. We often keep clothes we no longer wear because we feel guilty about poor purchase decisions. Maybe we only wore something once. Maybe we splurged when we bought it, but then realized we didn’t actually like it. If so, the lesson we learned may be the purpose it served. Perhaps we need to learn not to buy things impulsively, or we may need to learn to pay attention to our own sense of style. It played a role in our lives – now let it go! The things we don’t want to part with are usually binding us to the past or the future. Some items we keep remind us of a past we don’t want to let go of. Think of those pants you’ve kept since you were 19. Other items tie us to the future. Do you have 27 tubes of toothpaste or 113 bottles of hair products? If so, that’s probably due to a fear of the future – that you won’t be able to buy what you need. Come back to the present and trust that you will be able to have everything you need in the future. If it doesn’t add joy to your life right now, get rid of it! If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t let it get you down. Imagine for a moment all the clutter you currently have in your home and all the things you own that you don’t really need or want. Now imagine only being surrounded by things that you really love, all organized in a neat and efficient way. Do you feel lighter just thinking about it? If we think of our homes as living things that deserve to be respected and cherished, it makes this task of putting them in order much more special and even sacred. If you see your home as an extension of your body, you can imagine how much better it will feel as it loses the excess weight. As you follow these steps, be open and ready for the life-changing magic. I went through this process a few years ago. As I focused on keeping only things that give me joy, I began to notice joy in other areas of my life, and I began to look for ways to add more. What activities gave me joy? What activities could I let go of? What people filled me up and how could I spend more time with them? What else could I add to my days that sparked joy? Music during dinner? Candles lit while I’m working? Lemon wedges in my water? The more I got curious about creating joy, the more joy I experienced. See, life-changing magic! Inspired to get started? Try it and let me know how it goes! Happy Spring! Love and light,