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The New Year Purge


A new year is a fresh slate in a myriad of ways. We have the opportunity to take advantage of the newness to start fresh in our lives, cleanse our palettes, and leave behind the baggage–both physical and not–that we don’t need to drag along into the new year. Discard, but don’t forget; we can always reflect on those things at a later date.

For years, we hold onto items and memories and emotions, even if they no longer serve the beings that we are today. There’s never a wrong time to make a change in your life, but if you need a reason, a new year is as good as any. Take the time to get rid of the thoughts that no longer serve you, as well as anything negative pulling you down in life. It’s time to declutter and purge the physical, mental, and emotional baggage in our lives.

Declutter your belongings

No matter your home, your environment is everything. It’s where you live, where you sleep, where you nourish yourself, and what influences your thoughts and emotions. Having decluttered spaces has an actual effect on our health and happiness, promoting reduced stress and distraction and improved sleep. It’s so much more than just a place where you keep your things, and it’s important to treat it as such. Think of all of the areas that you touch daily. Do you find a use for every single item more than just once or twice a year? Start to think more mindfully about the possessions that you have, even if you have space for them. You never know what may come into your life during the new year that you’ll need the space for.

You can begin with your fridge and pantries. Look at expiration dates to assess whether the contents of your cupboards are safe to consume. Take into account what waste you’re creating before your first shop of the new year and keep that in mind before putting it on the list. If there’s anything still safe to eat that’s unopened and approved for local shelters, make a conscious effort to take a trip to a donation center and make good use of what you couldn’t bring yourself to use.

Take a similar approach with your belongings, too. Do your clothes still fit? Are they your style? Have you worn that blazer you absolutely “needed” more than one time since you bought it two years ago? It’s difficult to not have attachments to physical items, but reassessing your relationship to things can help remove attachments to the inanimate objects in your life and make room for your face-to-face relationships. For anything that’s still in good condition, consider a donation to a local organization to pay it forward with your gently used pieces.

Declutter your physical space

Now that your space is decluttered from your belongings, take a look at your furniture philosophy. Whether you’re embracing the practice of Vastu Shastra or Feng Shui, begin to think about how you may want to switch things up for the year to come to shape a new interior design. Vastu Shastra follows three simple principles: the space should be easy to live in and design, all items, and materials within should be aesthetically pleasing, and it should evoke a feeling of well-being. Feng-Shui, however, follows the belief that by shifting around the dynamics of our spaces, we can achieve harmony with the life force energy flow in our homes. As long as the space makes you feel like your best self and promotes a positive feeling within, you’ll be in good shape.

After (and maybe before, too) you shift around the furniture within your space to find your definition of balance, a deep clean will quite literally start off your year with a fresh start. Cleanse your surfaces, disinfect your items, and try to purge the room of any allergens or unwanted microorganisms. And as one last step, energy cleanses in your space to start the year is never a bad idea.

Declutter your mental space

Do your thoughts run a mile a minute? Are you constantly lugging around incomplete ideas, a nagging feeling that’s forming a pit in your stomach, or a story within you that you just can’t shake? Write it out. Expel the thoughts from your mind and put pen to paper (or type it out, whichever your preference). You don’t have to hold onto these things in your head. Journaling does not have to be an intense activity, it can just be a time with you and you alone to get your thoughts written out somewhere so they aren’t stuck in your head forever.

In a similar vein, while journaling is communicating with your innermost self, communicating externally can help dispel some of those thoughts that may be plaguing you. Whether you’re with friends, family, or a stranger you met five minutes ago, don’t trap in your thoughts and save them for a rainy day – communicate them aloud and let your voice be heard.

The temptation to multitask is ever-present. We’re taught to be efficient, to try to finish everything at once so we are done first and can get more work done. Not surprisingly, this isn’t always productive for our minds. It creates clutter and disorganization and has our minds moving a mile a minute to try to complete multiple tasks at once. This year, try to focus on one task at a time before moving on to the next so you can give it your full self and attention.

Declutter your emotional space

Our emotional space is, not surprisingly, more difficult to declutter. It requires a connection to oneself and a deep understanding of our emotions. We have to acknowledge them, no more hiding or turning a blind eye to pretend they don’t exist. Understand the emotions that you carry, both good and bad.

We know and love the emotions that evoke positive feelings within us. Then, there are others that we continue to hold onto, despite the anguish they cause us over time. Feelings like regret, fear, anger, and pain, even if they’re linked to events in our lives, we have to learn how to acknowledge that they are there and begin the work to find ourselves outside of those feelings. They can manifest into physical issues in our lives and begin to live outside of our bodies. We can’t obsess over things that did or did not happen to us in the past, or allow ourselves to get stuck because we can’t move beyond our comfort zones. Once we move past those emotions that bog us down, we can live life in a way we previously did not know it.

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