“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” Marie Kondo
Spring is upon us and just as the Earth makes room for new growth, it is important that we do the same. There is something about finally breathing in the fresh, crisp and cool air of spring that re-energizes us for a new season. With that breath of fresh air comes a rare opportunity. This opportunity is one that I encourage to be habitual. I am a firm believer in spring cleansing and not just in the materialistic way but in a very personal way. Spring cleansing does not just mean de-cluttering of items, but also getting rid of unhealthy relationships and bad habits.
I try to live my life investing in experiences, not things. That said, if someone were to walk into my closet, they might call me out. My closet consists of clothes that I wear far too often, clothes that have sentimental meaning (concert T’s, organization T’s, etc.), and my “wishful thinking” clothes that I convince myself I will wear “someday”. Due to this … issue, I try to make it a habit to regularly go through my possessions and get rid of anything that is unnecessary. When de-cluttering, one thing that I do is go through my home and look at items that I haven’t used in the last few months. If there is anything that I can live without, I throw it in the “dueces” pile. The dueces pile includes clothes, shoes, toiletries, old linens, kitchen ware, office supplies, food, and more.
Once I have my “dueces” pile ready, I further divide that into a donate or a $$ pile. All of the items listed above can easily be donated to Goodwill or the many other charities that I guarantee your community has. This is a great way to give back to the community and a great way to support those in need. My $$ pile is for items that I feel could have some earning potential. For clothes, I tend to go to Plato’s Closet/Uptown Cheapskate or any of their equivalents to see if they will pay me for some of my clothes. For the other items, I will use apps like OfferUp to sell locally. Note: OfferUp is easy to use, easy to sell, and easy to buy. I have both sold and purchased items using OfferUp and have always had good experiences. That said, always be safe when using these types of apps. For example, never exchange your personal information and always exchange your items in public places, never alone.
“Spring cleaning” can also include getting rid of bad habits that may be negatively impacting your life. I am no stranger to binge-watching Netflix shows. That is definitely a bad habit that I can get rid of. Instead of Netflix, I am trying to swap out for podcasts. I can multi-task with podcasts or audio books and I don’t tend to binge-listen. I have also tried swapping out desserts for fruits. Full disclosure, it could be going better. I started by swapping out every night but it was unrealistic and I didn’t follow my rule of baby-steps, so I now swap out a few days a week and it is getting easier and easier.
Due to the nature of my work in higher education, I am a big fan of getting rid of toxic or unhealthy relationships. This shouldn’t be limited to spring. I recently went through a very challenging process of letting go of a relationship that had become very unhealthy in my life. It was so hard because this person meant so much to me. The good times were incredible, however, the bad times came more often and were very challenging to navigate. It drained our friendship and drained me as a person. I recognized that I was also exhibiting unhealthy behaviors after a while and I hated that about myself. Once I was able to distance myself from them, it became clear to me that it was the right choice. Though it is always a hard process, I already feel much better and have learned so much from the process.
Getting rid of things is arguably the easiest part of the process. Once you start the process of spring cleaning, it is important to understand how to maintain that cleanse. For example, when it comes to clothes, one rule that I follow is that for every new item that I purchase, I must get rid of two or three old ones. This rule helps me consider if that new item is worth it because I know I will have to get rid of others. When it comes to bad habits, it is important to start small and build from there. If you set too high a goal in the beginning, you have higher chances of not maintaining that effort in the long-run. Lastly, when it comes to those unhealthy relationships, remember to take it easy on yourself. When cleansing yourself of a toxic relationship, understand that it is a hard process and that it takes time. Also, be fair to the other person. No matter what they have done to you, they are also working through their own troubles, so don’t do anything you might regret.
So, now that you have these suggestions, I encourage you to take them and mold them into some spring cleansing habits that work best for you. The more you regularly incorporate these practices into your life, you will see more opportunities for growth, and you may even find that growth becomes easier! One thing that spring teaches us is that the seasons always change, and as long as we continue to learn, we will continue to grow!
“If we watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.” – Bernie Siegel