March 25, 2016

Spring Cleaning Beyond the Closet: 6 Ways to Clear Out our “Life Junk.”

Lauren McKinnon/Flickr

By now, most of us have heard of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

The book was huge success and still has plenty of momentum. Closets across the planet are next-to-bare, underwear is folded neatly and any knickknacks left on that shelf because they bring absolute joy.

Sound familiar?

For those of us who have read it, we can look confidently around our houses and know we’re surrounded only by things that bring us happiness and add value to our lives.

But what about everything else? What about the “Life Junk” that’s been nagging at us, stealing our time and energy?

What about the emotional junk drawer that’s been overflowing for some time now?

Spring is a natural time of year to make changes and clean out anything that’s been weighing us down. When we hold onto “stuff,” we hold ourselves back. Emotional and physical baggage can stop us from moving forward and trying new things, it blocks creative energy and keeps us stuck in our comfort zone.

And since the new season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to step away from closet-cleaning and clear out other areas of our lives!

6 tips to gain clarity for Spring and clean out our “Life Junk”

Take Inventory

Are we truly grateful for all we have or constantly in search of more “stuff?” Gratitude is one of the greatest ways to feel joy, satisfaction and abundance in life.

Cleaner Mindset

Checking in with our thoughts every hour for a day or so and jotting down any noticeable patterns can reveal a lot. Is there a pattern of negative or self-limiting beliefs? We have inner convos with ourselves constantly, and they can make or break us. When we start to notice (and focus!) on our thoughts, we’re able to reframe them with affirmations and other techniques.

Clearing out the negative head trash is the first step to reprogramming the way we think.

Cleaner Diet

Zapped of energy by 3pm? Feeling sluggish on Sundays because all weekend was spent vegging out in front of the TV and plowing through carb-laden food? Bloated and uncomfortable after meals? These are all signs that bodies could benefit from healthier, more nutritious habits. Try drinking more water or eating smaller meals more frequently. Probiotics can also help regulate gut flora and have a big impact on how we feel physically and emotionally.

Instead of getting lost in a bag of candy or chips, schedule activities that are fun and enjoyable.

Cleaner workouts.

I’m a big fan of working smarter not harder. It’s something I teach my clients, because when we learn to get the most bang for our buck, it can be an absolute game-changer! Incorporating circuits and interval training can help blast more fat and calories. For those newer to working out or strapped for time, scheduling a few full-body workouts each week can feel less intimidating and stressful than thinking we have to get in an hour workout six days a week.

And don’t forget about the fun stuff—instead of immediately thinking about how much we hate exercising, we can  list physical activities we enjoy and build around those; when we like what we’re doing, it’s a near-guarantee that we’ll actually do it.

Cleaner social media.

When we find ourselves scrolling through Facebook and getting sucked in to the drama of everyone else’s lives, it might be time to detox the feed. It’s okay to support and empathize with friends but there’s no need to see a stream of complaints every time we log in. A quick clean out for this is to turn off notifications for people who are notorious for venting and follow more people who provide inspiration and positivity.

Same thing with Instagram, other social media channels and emails; if it isn’t beneficial most of the time, there’s no reason to stay subscribed or continue following. (Hint: we should also pay attention to how much we complain and vent. Leading with motivation, positivity and love is much more inspiring and encouraging.)

Clean up old habits.  

We all have “bad” habits. The excuses and other things we use to distract ourselves from being productive. Ah-hem…Candy Crush or virtual games anyone?

I’m not saying to sell the iPad or stop relaxing with a favorite TV show; I’m suggesting to take note of how we’re spending our time and being honest with ourselves when we’re using these things as a way to get out of what we should be doing.

This is something I’ve experienced personally and see many of my clients struggle with.

If we’re constantly feeling like we never reach our goals, maybe it’s time to explore the root of why that keeps happening. How we do one thing is how we do everything, so pay attention to daily habits and recognize where making a shift might be helpful in the long run.

If you haven’t read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I recommend it. Kondo provides a fresh perspective on tidiness and amazing ways to clean up the physical “stuff.” The cool part is that we can take it one step further and generalize her “Does it bring me joy” philosophy to the rest of our lives.

Now is the perfect time to start clearing space and making improvements in our lives.

If something isn’t adding to your life it may be time to clean it out.





Author: Lori Streator

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Lauren McKinnon/Flickr




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