In the last few weeks, I’ve started to feel the shift. When all of a sudden you’re dreaming of plants in your garden, fresh produce on your plate, and longer days spent in the backyard with friends and family. We’re only in the beginning weeks of February, which for Colorado means we have three more months of winter…whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow.
After months of staying indoors and warming up by the fireplace, I’m starting to itch to move and get out. But it’s not quite time yet, so my antsy mind wanders to spring cleaning.
For me, spring cleaning comes in 3 waves.
The first wave is the usual decluttering of the house. It’s about dusting the top shelf and maybe the ceiling fan too. It’s a deep clean of the floors and bathrooms. Then I head to the closets that became overloaded with junk, unorganized, and filled with stuff I didn’t even know we owned. Like shedding the layers I’ve added to my wardrobe for these colder months, I start to shed the excess that my house has accumulated. I recycle, donate, or find a new home for as much as possible and toss the rest.
No closet, bookshelf, or box is safe. I roam my house like a tornado looking for my next space to suck up all that isn’t serving us, everything that is taking up physical and mental space, and I shed it. Creating an energetic release that feels so satisfying as I build up my piles to discard.
After a detox of stuff, I’m ready to do more. It feels good to remove this layer of me and I know that there’s more I can cleanout. I’m out of objects to remove but the next biggest thing that fills our world are to-do lists (even the pads of paper I keep to hold my to-lists take up too much space). So while I’m on a roll tearing through my home letting go of all that doesn’t serve me, I apply the same thought process to the tasks in my life, the obligations and yeses I’ve built up over the months and figure out what I can let go of that aren’t serving me.
One by one, tasks on your to-do list from learning French (even though you haven’t even opened the app you downloaded) to painting the den can be removed if they no longer light you up or add value to your life. The tasks that have to be done but cause dread might have to stay but perhaps you can find a way to outsource those or ask a friend to do it with you so that you at least have good company while you do it.
In this last wave, I clean out all that causes me stress, or at least all that I can. For me, less stress means creating clear boundaries and prioritizing my time based on what’s most important to me.
This can be difficult as we play a mind game going through all the stories of what others will think of us when we say no or when we put ourselves first. But just like you did with your overstuffed closet and your to-do list, you simply hold the task in front of you (Written on a sticky note if that helps) and ask “does this add value?” If the answer is no then it’s time to let it go.
You’ll see that the weekly meetings you started in December that don’t do anything but waste time is one place to let things go. Send out an email and figure out a new way the team could better use this time. The yes you said to every wedding, baby shower, birthday party, and happy hour probably feels overwhelming and is causing stress, so it’s time to prioritize the ones you’re excited about and let go of the rest.
Saying no, creating clear work time vs. personal time, limiting your time on social media, or whatever boundaries you decide on, can feel strange at first. But by prioritizing less–less stuff, less tasks, less stress– you are creating space to live your best life. To say yes to the things that matter most. After all, when you say yes to one thing you automatically say no to another. So what will you choose to say no to so you have space for the best yeses?
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