Life Like a House: Clearing Out the Clutter in Your Life

We take great pains to keep our homes clean, but we tend to forget the fact that our lives could use a good cleaning, too. In fact, that is what we plan to do at the beginning of each year, don’t we? We make the resolutions to stop worrying so much, not to eat things that are bad for us, or finally clean out the garage. Then the months go by and more things clutter up in the garage and you find yourself scarfing down a bag or chips watching bad television. What if we look at each week or each first of the month as a “new year” and perform a “cleaning” in our lives? After all, we take at least one day a week to clean our toilets, right?

There’s no right or wrong way to go about this, nor is there a formal way either. Treat your life the same way you treat your home in the sense that you want people to come into a home that is welcoming, clean, and smells fresh. With that said, you cannot accept new friendships, begin a new job or a new intimate relationships into your life if you’ve got piles of garbage in your mind and toxic odors coming from the company you keep.

Disinfect... Let’s face it: it is not just germs that make us sick. It is stress from a job or a toxic relationship. Take time to examine your relationships and find out which ones you could do without.  Sometimes we hang onto relationships – both intimate and friendships – because we do not have the heart or strength to say farewell. What happens when that relationship or friendships begins to infect your life where you’re constantly on the defense, trying to scrub the relationship clean only to have scratched the surface of the underlying issue? Like a biological infection, toxic relationships or jobs can swell up and cause major problems. Find which relationships are infecting your life and eliminate them. No use in hanging onto stuff that can cause further damage.

Get down on your hands and knees... Cleaning can be hard work, especially when you’ve got a ton of build up. Society expects us to keep going and going and the next thing we know we’ve got a massive “to do” list that we cannot manage. Instead of freaking out, make a list of things that have to be done and take joy in crossing out things on that to do list. Set up a time schedule for yourself and stick to it! For example, you can set time aside after dinner for an hour to work on an assignment. Once you complete a certain amount of it, then you can watch one episode of your show – not six – then move onto the next task. I’m sure you’d rather be catching up on your favorite television show, but finishing that important email or research paper will not get done without you.

Take out the garbage... Both literally and metaphorically. We own so many things and put them up on shelves on in boxes for storage. Take time about once a month or so to go through your boxes, closets, and shelves and toss anything you do not need or use. I’m sure you do not need that graded research paper from 2005 or those old birthday cards from friends you no longer talk to. Cleaning out physical clutter will free up your mind to do other more productive things. In a metaphorical sense, take a moment to write down some things that you’ve been hanging onto that is cluttering your mind. You could be obsessing about a recent job interview, a past friend and what exactly went wrong, but the truth is those things are emotional and mental garbage. Toss them out and free up some space for positive and productive things.

image via populicio

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