I feel like when someone even mentions the word de-cluttering to me I immediately eye-roll. It’s just one of those things isn’t it? If you are not on that “buzz” I think people who are simply irritate you. However, I was one of those people last week and now that I’m on the “other side” I’m hoping I might be able to encourage other people to give the whole thing some thought.
So for the last week or so I’ve been doing a fair bit of, you guessed it, de-cluttering. It’s been so much more than organizing clothes and dumping things we don’t need though (although that has been a prominent activity too). I’ve been de-cluttering in so many different areas of my life to try make some space for… myself. Mad isn’t it? You would think that we would all naturally feature in our day to day lives but so many of us struggle to find time for ourselves. In recent months I have discovered the link between stress and self-care. The very things that stress me out distance me from any kind of self care and then in turn make me feel resentful and totally unproductive. This leads to a bit of an oxymoron where you are wasting time reporting (to yourself) about all of the things you wish you could be doing and listing the reasons why you can’t (but doing nothing about it). The list grows longer, the resentment grows stronger and weeks turn in to days that turn in to months. You can see where this is going right? Another birthday rolls around and you find your circumstances haven’t really changed all that much – which of course is fine if you are happy. But if you’re not? Well it’s time to sh** or get off the pot so to speak. Well at least that’s what I told myself recently anyway. You do you.
Rather than going in to too much detail I thought I might give you some ideas as to how I’ve been de-cluttering to make space for myself. I saw someone refer to it as “sacred space” recently and it’s so apt. I’ve discovered at the ripe age of 30 that I absolutely need certain self-care practices to feature in my life. In fact I need them to feature daily and that doesn’t make me a selfish person. The very opposite actually. When I’m finding space for myself I show up on a whole new level for those around me. Self care, therefore, is the gift that keeps on giving.
So here are some of the ways that I have been de-cluttering my life to make space for me, myself and I.
OK so no award for guessing this one but I have been de-cluttering some of the usual suspects. Clothes, toys and appliances/accessories that are literally ornaments and have been for years. It’s freeing up space to find what I need when I’m getting dressed in the morning or cooking during the day. A perfect example of how de-cluttering has a massive positive affect on day to day life. I’ve passed on what I can to charity shops and friends but in the end we got a skip because we had a LOT of things that wouldn’t serve anybody at this stage. I was surprised by just how much we could fit in the thing. Having the skip helped me be a little bit ruthless as it was all very “now or never” knowing that it was being collected in two days.
I feel like this one is huge. I’ve stopped following accounts and TV shows that have a negative affect on me. I know it might seem a bit mad to be going back to these things time and time again but so many of us do. We watch people/shows/reports because it’s what everyone else is doing. Take a step back and really think about what you are letting in to your space. A simple story or news report could trigger you in a huge way. If someone irritates you or brings out the worst in you then un-follow. For me a lot of that would be news related. Yes it’s important to be informed but a lot of the “bad” news I read about/watch/hear people talking about is news that puts me in bad form, makes me feel anxious and is the kind of news/situation that I can do nothing to change or help.
I’ve Given Up Meat And Poultry
I guess you could call me a vegetarian. Or a pescetarian more specifically. I gave up meat and poultry about a month ago just to see how I would get on. By removing meat I’ve made space for a different relationship with food and my body/mind. I’ve always felt funny about meat. Like I adore chicken wings and had the best steak imagineable in FX Buckley a few months ago, but I’ve always been one of those people who it never sat right with. Most people don’t think about this stuff but I have to constantly talk myself out of the fact that I’m eating an animal.
My brother gave up meat for a couple of weeks for health reasons and it massively inspired me. He stopped snoring, lots weight and his skin/mood/energy levels all improved. It gave me the push to give it a go. I’m intrigued by veganism for ethical reasons but I also just know in my gut feeling that I’ll never give up cheese. I know there are some really good alternatives out there but for now it just doesn’t seem realistic for me. Milk I could say goodbye to any day. I eat yoghurts daily but again I think I could get over that. Eggs on the other hand? I love me an egg. So for now I’ve decided to try to reduce my dairy/eggs and to only buy free range eggs too. I’ve loved trying new dishes and I’m naturally eating a lot more salad/vegetables in general now which can only be a good thing. I said I was giving it a shot but never say never and all of that. Right now I kind of feel like this could be forever though. As it turns out so many people feel the same as me. I posted about it on my Mindful Eating Facebook page and couldn’t believe how many people were in the same boat as me.
Separating Work From Family Life
I won’t get in to this one too much because it’s been a really rough couple of months for me in this department. What I will say is that I have a whole new perspective on the internet and the affect that it can have on a person’s life. I’ve made some big changes that involve being on my phone less, relaxing (instead of working) in the evenings and nurturing friendships in-person. I’m seeing friends more, spending more time off-line and sharing less than I ever have. I’m SO much happier for it. Sometimes the darkest times can lead you to the brightest places.
I’ve Fallen Back In Love With Lists
Oh how I used to love a list. But then my lists started growing lists and before I new it I was swimming in lists and spending more time compiling them than actually acting on any of the “to-do”s. I wrote a piece for Family Friendly HQ about making “to-be” lists rather than to-do lists. Well I think I’ve finally found a balance. I’m making a weekly list which includes bits around the house that need doing, work stuff, appointments, bills that need paying and everything in between. It’s keeping me on the straight and narrow and helping me stay organized but in less of a hyper way. Striking things off the list brings me so much joy. I’m enjoying the down-time and space in between each “thing” so much more because I don’t have that weird niggling feeling hanging over me. I’m telling you, get it out of your head and on to a piece of paper. It’ll totally de-clutter your mind.
Ways I’m Enjoying Some Me-Time
The whole point of the above is to find more time to enjoy myself whether that’s on my own or with family and friends. But get this, I’m even de-cluttering how I’m doing this. I’ve switched from books to audible and I am so much happier for it. The “should” voice was telling me to stick to books because they’re better but my heart was eager to learn more, know more and experience more books. Audible has helped me so much. I now listen to audio books when I’m folding clothes, making the dinner or cleaning the house. It means that the “job” is actually feeding me something and it feels like me-time. I’m also loving podcasts. Sure I’ve even started my own, and it’s all about self-care. You can subscribe here.
Planning in advance is a big one too. I find that I’m in a much better head space when I have something to look forward to. So I’m planning brunch with friends even if it’s a month away and we can’t find a date until then. I’m penciling in a date night wherever I can and we’re even (squeels) going away for the weekend KID FREE in a few weeks. My poor mother will require a week of sleep after two nights of Willow watch.
On top of this I’m having a bath wherever I can and adding to my mug collection because you all know how much joy a cup of tea brings me. Especially THAT cup of tea with some choccy in the evening.