Getting rid of stuff. Ughhh. The dreaded mission to pair down and live with less. The movement of minimalism has obviously swept the nation, and icons like Marie Kondo have made the concept “easy”. I have to admit I am hooked, I am officially addicted to purging. Making a house a home has more to do with letting go of things that no longer serve you than it has to do with what style you are. As a designer and artist, style obviously is important to me but it is the relationship I have with my stuff that matters more to me than what it actually is. Is it serving me or am I serving it?
Does this sound like you?
My self declared addiction to purging actually started out as the opposite. I started hosting clothing swaps about six years ago when I had my first daughter. All my clothes either didn’t fit, didn’t suit me and I had a baby so shopping for clothes was a pain in the ass. I started clothing swaps in my house in efforts to get free clothes. There I said it. The truth of it all – wanting more started this journey towards letting go of it all. It turned my world upside down.
Now, six years later I have become a seasoned pro at swapping and my closet grows up and down seasonally along side the swaps, but the budget has gone waaaay down and so has the impact of material waste in the landfills. But today I want to talk to you about the mindset that helps us let go. The more I talk to new and seasoned “swappers” the more I realize the mental challenges that block us from parting with our material goods are very common and very relatable.
“I love how it fits….I should buy it in every colour”
“But I paid so much for it….I better keep it”
“It’s so pretty….even tho it doesn’t fit”
“I used to wear it ALL THE TIME….but haven’t in years”
“It’s grubby, full of holes, makes me look bad….but it’s ok to dress down sometimes”
I am guilty of all of the above. So in efforts to inspire you here are my top 6 mindful thoughts that made it easier for me to let go of material goods. I hope it inspires breakthrough for you.
Do you have duplicates?
Look for like items, yes we are all going to have a couple hoodies or jeans or t shirts. What I am talking about is those unique items like a straw hat that you may wear to a summer event. IF you have more than one or two of these, chances are you are going to pick your fave over the others every time. Look for those duplicates in the “wear every once in a while category” and then purge the least fave. Even if it’s only one it’s a start. Think about keeping the one that will serve you the best. Think about the fit, the style and the purpose. You get it.
The old you – ghosts of past trends – are they hanging around just waiting to pop out and scare you?
Remember when you wore that favourite (Whatever) over and over again and you loved it so much it moulded perfectly to your body? But for some reason now looks like a sheet? We all have those pieces that used to serve us. Thing is we do change over time. Not the core of who we are, but the places we go, the people we see – those experiences change over time and the need for the clothes that go with those times change too. If you have those pieces in your closet that you no longer wear, they are no longer serving you. Get rid of them! It’s just taking up your space.
Get rid of clothes that make you feel bad about yourself
This seems like no brainer. But it’s a sneaky one. I am talking about those dingy clothes we wear at home when no one is looking. Think about it. Whether you realize it or not you are sending a message of value to yourself. If you put on something knowingly that it makes you feel ugly and you wouldn’t want anyone to see you in it, then guess what message you are sending to yourself? You’re ugly and no one cares. This is just not true. Get rid of the negative clothes that make you feel like no one cares and that it doesn’t matter. Think about it like this; if it doesn’t serve you in a way that makes you feel better then get rid of it.
I am not saying that your clothes are what matter, I am saying it’s how you feel in them that does. Go look. You will find equally comfy clothes to lounge around the house in that you won’t mind answering the door wearing. And then you will find that ratty gross shirt that hangs off you like a garbage bag. Get rid of that one. You deserve to actually feel good about yourself even in your secret comfy at home clothes.
Don’t stop at the closet – let go of household things that no longer serve you
This mindfulness can be taken all through the house. Think about it. Although I realize a woman and her closet will always have a special love hate relationship. I find that it trickles over into our home decor too. As someone who loves to represent my personality with colours and textures in my clothes, the same goes for my home. This is where things got very real for me as someone who had to face the hoarding demon. I had a manageable sized closet….but the rest of my house had design disorder. And not because it didn’t go together but simply because there was too much STUFF! I had to learn this mantra “Let go of things that no longer serve you.” Are you starting to get it?
Do you have things you keep moving around?
Think about it. Do you have things that you keep moving around trying to find a home for? Is it a small lamp that is so small it doesn’t actually serve a purpose but you keep it because it is small enough “to put anywhere”. This is the first sign it doesn’t belong. Take a long good look around. What small furnishing or home decor item have you been moving around a lot? Get rid of it. It simply doesn’t belong. Don’t over think it, it’s never going to work, it’s no longer serving you.
Do you have sh*tty decor items?
I mean no disrespect but if it’s crap, it’s crap and if you’re honest with yourself you know it is. I’m not talking about the weird thing that you love! I am talking about that random artrium you bought because it was trending. But now all the plants are dead and the water stains are revealing the neglect you gave it. Now your crap decor is staring you in the face making you feel bad about yourself. Or the candle with chud on the top that has no home, no dish, and never gets used. Sure it was pretty on the table in the furniture store (you know the place that pays people to perfectly stage it so you will buy it). Get rid of it. You are not representing your best self by displaying crap.
Does the entire collection still serve you?
If you find that you have a collection of books, dvds, cd’s, you know the things you buy one at a time (or 2 or 3 at a time) and you take great pride in your collection. First ask yourself does this collection organize neatly into one space or is it bursting all around the room?
Once you get the entire collection together is it even necessary to keep all of them? This can be tough because as a collector myself sometimes quantity can disguise itself as the goal, but I have learnt that if there is one or two or three that no longer serve the over all collection as a whole then those are the ones to get rid of. A good collection is not about quantity, it’s about quality. Commit to one space and what ever doesn’t fit into that one space – guess what!? Get rid of it.
Go for it – Look for items that no longer serve you.
Now it’s your turn. Go for it. I know it can be overwhelming and you may not know where to start. Start with these 6 mindful ideas and see what happens. Let go of the things that no longer serve you.
I am convinced there is enough stuff in our homes that we could swap around other stuff too. Stay tuned for home decor swaps, plant and gardening swaps, book swaps, you name it. It’s coming, it’s just a matter of time.
If you’re not on FB contact me here and I will keep you in the loop in a special clothing swap e-newsletter.
Let’s go one step deeper, and this is just because I am so passionate about the results, if you want help letting go of things contact me. I would love to help you discern what to keep and what to let go of. I can be very good at the tough love stuff, not to mention I love moving furniture around. Warning tho, I get really into it. I can be high energy and I am highly motivated to get rid of things. Either way, I encourage you to let go of things that no longer serve you.
These mindful thoughts helped me to get real with my stuff and I always come back to the same practices when I feel my house it bursting at the seems. Constantly working on my making a house a home and letting go of things that no longer serve me. I trust it will work for you too!