Cleanses are all the rage these days. Amazon.com carries over 1,000 books on the topic and there are thousands more on the web. A good cleanse can have numerous health benefits for the body by eliminating toxins. And just as the body benefits from an opportunity to detoxify, see if these areas of your life could benefit from a purge:
1. Books and magazines.
Do you have piles of magazines and books laying around your house? Perhaps you have read them once and kept them just in case you want to read them again?
Or maybe you subscribe to more magazines than you actually read. So they pile up in the corner or nightstand waiting for some magical day when you will have time to catch up on them all. But if you're totally honest with yourself you realize that day may never come.
Instead, they sit there collecting dust and taking up space, a reminder of one more thing you intend to get done but never do.
Try selling the books you don't read anymore at a used book store or online. I recently got $12 for 3 bags full of books and cleared a whole shelf of space. Or put them in the donation bins found in grocery store parking lots. Or try recycling them.
Consider which magazines are important enough to make time to read and stop subscribing to the rest. This cleanse could put some money in your pocket and clear up some space on your night stand (and save a few trees).
The beauty (and danger) of DVR's is that you can record your favorite shows without actually being in front of your TV. It's so easy to add season passes for all the new primetimes shows every fall, but before you know it, you have hours of television to watch everyday.
This may not seem so bad at first, but eventually watching all that TV may begin to feel like a chore. At some point it becomes difficult to keep up and the DVR begins displaying messages that it is nearing capacity. Americans average about five hours of television per day and all that TV actually results on lower life satisfaction and happiness.
Buck the trend by narrowing down your season passes to the fewest amount of shows that you really want to watch. This cleanse free up time for other things (for example: reading all those magazines or books).
When was the last time you cleaned out one these spaces? I don't mean just the things in the front; I'm talking about all the way to the back. Do you just keep pushing back last month's groceries with this month's groceries? Do you fear the things that might be growing in your pantry?
It's time start over and pull out everything. Decide what is worth keeping and what needs to be thrown away. Consider updating your storage containers for basics like flour, sugar, tea, and coffee to keep them organized and last longer.
This is also a great time to replace staples with healthier options such as replacing white rice with brown rice or quinoa. You will have better access to what you keep and more space for what you buy in the future.
This cleanse has two parts, one or both of which could apply to you. The first part is dealing with all the email you don't really want. Do you wake up every morning to a slew of new emails that you don't care about? Do you get e-mails for stores you don't really shop at? Perhaps you have signed up to receive various newsletters but you just don't want to make the time to actually read them.
Instead, everyday you spend a few minutes deleting all these emails or letting them sit in your inbox for that magical day when you will have time (this will also be the day when have time to read all those books and magazines).
Begin unsubscribing from the lists that you really don't care about or don't have time for. It may take a few weeks or even months to whittle it down but there will come a morning when you only have a few new emails and they will be for things that are truly important to you.
Once you have minimized all the new email, the second part of the cleanse is to organize all of your old email. If you are you one of those people who never, EVER, deletes any emails, this will be challenging.
This is the electronic equivalent of hoarding. Consider which ones can be deleted and use folders to organize the rest.
5. Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media.
Facebook and Twitter make it so easy to friend or follow people. Just one click of a button and you increase the size of your social network. It's so tempting to collect "friends" like kids collect comic books, the more the better. Thanks to Facebook you can be friends with all of your high school acquaintances.
Before you realize it, you are connected to hundreds of people. But have you stopped to consider how many of these people you speak with on a regular basis or if you even care about what they are up to (or their new high score on Zynga Bingo)?
Is your newsfeed so full that you have trouble picking out the stuff from the people are actually close to (or want to be)? Unfriending or unfollowing those you are honestly not interested in connecting with. If this feels too harsh, on Facebook you can change settings so their updates won't show up in your news feed.
If you find these cleanses challenging consider what you get out of clinging to the things or people which no longer serve you as you intended. How does holding on to these things serve you (i.e. security, familiarity, popularity) and what are they costing you (i.e. time, relationships, health, space)?
The purpose of any cleanse is to purge the old and make room for something new and better. It's an opportunity to hit the reset button and start fresh. If you need extra motivation watch an episode or two of Hoarders and then get to work.