Does it Bring Me Joy? Decluttering My Life in the New Year

Here we are – 2018! A new year and I’m still the same old hot mess momma that I’ve always been. But this year is going to be different! This year I am going to make changes! In my house, for my health, and for my family. The first thing I need to do – let go of the clutter! For anyone who knows me, this is a big deal. I have a hard time letting go of things, but I feel like I’m in a rut and something has to change!

A while back I read about a method to help let go of unnecessary items in your life. The idea is to hold an item in your hand and ask yourself, “Does this item bring me joy?” As the queen of procrastination, I do a lot of talking about things that need to change and take very little action. I have every excuse in the book, some legit, some just a crutch. “I have 2 kids.” “There’s no time.” “I’m too tired.” “I’ll finish the dishes tomorrow.” “I can’t fold the  clothes because I have to do the dishes.” I thought working from home two days of the week was going to help me get things in order, but I feel like I have even less time, like I have no real schedule or order. Certainly not feeling a lot of joy. Instead, I’m left feeling frustrated and frazzled. So when I finally have time to myself, or alone with my husband, the last thing I want to do is clean or go through all the junk we’ve collected over the years.

Alas, all procrastination must come to an end – starting with the copious amount of clothes that I own. Clothes I haven’t fit in since before I was pregnant with my oldest, clothes in bins in the basement, clothes laying unfolded on top of my dresser – meanwhile every drawer is full to the brim! So many clothes I hoped to fit into by now, you know, once I lost the baby weight. Ugh. Another change that needs to happen. Anyway, back to clothes – each piece passing through my hands brings back a distinct memory and feeling, making letting go even harder. The dress I wore to my grandmother’s funeral. The dress I wore the first time I went out to dinner with my husband, his sister, and his brother-in-law. The shirt I wore the last time I saw my cousin Rachel. The jeans I wore dancing the night away with my friends so long ago.

Did each piece bring me joy? No. Most just reminded me of my pre-pregnancy body and life. A lot has changed. I was never in super good shape, but I was comfortable with who I was. A feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. Four large garbage bags of donations later, I started to feel a weight lifted off my shoulders.

The hardest items, so far, for me to let go of have been anything belonging to my kids. The heartache of watching them grow so fast makes me want to hang on to them for as long as I can. But, that’s the thing, isn’t it? These items aren’t bringing me joy, they just make me nostalgic for different times and keep me in the past, instead of looking ahead. Through this process, I am learning there’s a difference between holding onto something because of a memory attached vs holding onto something because it makes me happy. And that’s my end game. If the last 5 years of my life were a cup, it’d be ¾ full with stress and exhaustion, leaving little time to enjoy the good things in life and to see the joy I have in my life.

There’s still a long road ahead of me. I mean, we still haven’t fully unpacked our garage since we bought our house back in 2015. However, I am determined to make 2018 my year to cleanse and break free from all the clutter, junk, and unnecessary stress in my life. I’m taking ownership of my life this year and I’ll be damned if by 2019 my cup isn’t ¾ filled with joy.

Here’s looking at you, 2019!

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