Most of us get attached to things ... a favorite sweater or coffee mug ... a morning routine ... even habits and behaviors, whether they serve us or not. Sometimes it can be helpful to step back and clear space.
We might need to do this physically, tossing old clothes we don't wear, getting rid of old papers and magazines gathering dust, or reorganizing to make more space for things we use or need. You might feel like you somtimes need to clear space in your mind, when life is sending you one curve-ball after the next, and the worry, anxiety, or regret is mounting. Clearning the mind can feel more challenging but these two ways of clearing can actually support each other. When the to-do list is long and life feels overwhelming, it might be a good practice to start by clearing your physical space.
There's plenty of consensus that if your space is cluttered, you're not going to be as productive, plus it can contribute to anxiety. So here's a step by step method to clear your physical space, to help make space in your mind.
- First, acknowledge and assess your habits. If you have the tendency to save magazines, for instance, recognize that and then ask yourself ... How often have I gone back to old issues and looked at them? How are these stacks of magazines supporting me in my life? If you either don't have an answer or if your answer is "no," and "they're not," then get rid of them. Change is hard, but we don't grow or clear space in our minds, unless we manage this step. Assess your habits and your belongings and ask how they're supporting you in your life.
- Pitch obvious trash. This might seem like a no-brainer, but I'm always surprised at how much I can recycle or throw away when I walk around my house with the intention to minimize clutter.
- Gather together everything that you haven't looked at, used, or worn in the last year. This might be a significant pile. But if it's not a part of your life, supporting you, why do you need it? Put these items in a bag to donate to a church or Goodwill. Consider any feelings of attachment - that you "need something" even though it's not a part of your daily life. Be gentle with yourself, but be strong in letting go and clearing out.
- Finally, reorder and reorganize your space with your remaining belongings. Then clean it till it sparkles.
Some of these steps might be more challenging for you than others. A clearing can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on your space. Stick with it, then revel in your accomplishment.
The final step of clearing space, both physically and mentally is to BE in your new space. Be present there, meditate, do yoga, eat, dance, read ... make a little corner that's all yours where you can do what you love and visit this space at least once a day. Notice what shifts within you, after clearning the space around you. It might feel like a new beginning. Just what we all need sometimes.