Do you always think you need to clean out your apartment, but you never find the time?
Has it topped your resolution list every year for the past few years?
My apartment in New York City needed some major reorganization. While my “outside” life was pretty zen with a focus on personal and spiritual development, my “home” life was not the oasis I wanted.
I came to a realization: my inability to fully embrace the present (and hence, efficiently create my future) stemmed from an inability to let go of objects and create the kind of sanctuary I needed at home.
If you are in the same boat — maybe you have years of “stuff” that you need to let go of, or you just *know* you need to spend more time restoring your environment, then take a look at the top 4 ways to motivate you to create the space you love.
1. The more you let go of the past, the more you can walk fully in the present.
As someone who did not grow up with affluence, saving things “just in case we needed it in the future” or using things up “to get our money’s worth” was ingrained into my psyche. That meant I didn’t like throwing certain things away – even things that had gone way past their prime. In Kohn Marie’s book “Art of Tidying,” she emphasizes asking yourself “does this bring me joy?” and saying “thank you for your service” before throwing something away or donating it.
This was a completely new outlook for us to let things go with gratitude. My husband and I repeated these mantras throughout the house as we finally threw out papers from our old jobs, worn-out shoes and new shoes that I never wore, and random things from former side projects and businesses. It was therapeutic to let go of them and thank them for the many lessons they taught us and how much they supported us on our path.
Grab a copy of that book and be prepared to spend the time to go through each item. Remember that taking small steps everyday will help you see the immediate results in front of you and prevent you from getting overwhelmed. Letting go of things will leave your home (and your inner mind) lighter and more prepared to focus on the present moment.
2. Memories are important and bring lasting joy. Start a scrapbook.
That said, there were many things that I didn’t want to throw out because they gave me joy and beautiful memories — the program from our wedding, souvenirs, and newspaper clippings from my projects. I’m the kind of person who loves leafing through something sentimental every now and then, and the digital world doesn’t quite meet the bar.
Consolidate the few things you do want as keepsakes and start a scrapbook. I have a binder with photos, brochures, and handwritten notes that are protected in clear, plastic sheets. My mom even gave me a scrapbook for my birthday recently that includes everything from my college admissions letters to birthday cards we wrote to each other from when I was a kid.
Cherish the memories you’ve made and use them to remind yourself of the path that got you to where you are. Take this as an opportunity to acknowledge what you’ve done and accomplished!
3. Rearrange furniture for a fresh, new perspective.
When you rearrange furniture, not only do you get to use them in new or different ways, but it adds an air of novelty and perspective. We moved wardrobes, desks and piano keyboards around, changing up each of the rooms and how we interacted with it.
After getting money back for an Ikea Malm dresser (post-recall), we had new space to play around with. An antique sewing machine became a desk in the bedroom and our wardrobe (with new hardware in antique brass) found a home in the bedroom instead of our study.
Consider what pieces of furniture could be creatively used in other spaces. What can you sell? What would make you utilize a piece of furniture more often — would you want it near the window or away from transition areas (like keeping a table or piano/keyboard away from where things can accumulate on it)?
4. Every city-dweller’s dream: you can find a whole new room in your apartment!
If this isn’t a motivator, then I don’t know what is. Last year, I literally woke up laughing out loud because I had dreamed I found a whole new room in my living room closet. I didn’t think much of it (even though I have intuitive / psychic abilities), and it wasn’t until we had decluttered so much a few weeks ago that we discovered we could turn our closet into a brand. new. room. This is every New Yorker’s dream come true!
We put in our antique secretary desk, strung up some lighting, and used the extra wall space for the art that we collected in our travels. It’s become our favorite place!
If we can find a new room, so can you. It can be a closet, a corner, or a cupboard. Whatever space you can open up can inspire you in ways you never thought possible.
What will motivate you to tackle cleaning up that closet or finally seeing what’s in that kitchen cabinet? Leave me a comment!
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