Autumn for me is a time to clean up! Maybe it is all of the signs of change. I just noticed the first signs of autumn in the trees. After careful inspection realized that the color is from our buckeye trees! I guess I feel this need to clean because summer was a time to play as much as possible. So the clutter accumulated in more ways than one! For some of you, the clutter may accumulate during holidays when you are living a life of excess. But this summer was especially disorganized for me and now I am surrounded by junk inside and out.
A few years back, I was prompted to read Marie Kondo's book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In this book she provides strategies for reorganizing your stuff. But the secret she reveals is that tidying up is really about getting rid of junk you don't need or junk that is not serving you any more.
So how do you do this? I used to be able to spend a day or weekend at least once a year going through closets and drawers to get rid of junk. But now, I find doing a little each day serves me better. And then to create habits of getting rid of junk as you come in contact with it. So here are some ways to start.
Mind: Yes, your mind can be full of junk too! Realize that what you are putting into your mind mostly via media these days, is what fills you up. You might ask, "what junk do I have in my mind?" You would be surprised! If you feed yourself negative information, that just means negativity is going to come out. And what about the negative stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. You may not even realize how many times to tell yourself: "you're not good enough", "you can't do that", "you're not smart enough, tall enough, pretty enough, etc." Limit your exposure to negative media and people (i.e. the news and a few of those Facebook friends). Create a regular meditation or mindfulness practice to create space for more positive. Even just 10 minutes a day creates a mental hygiene practice so helpful for cleaning out the junk.
Body: Your body cannot heal or even function well in a cluttered junked up environment. I love a good detox diet for getting my body unjunked. Some signs I needs to detox are: bloating and other GI symptoms I won't mention, joint pain, poor sleep (i.e. waking up each night at 3am), fatigue, and headaches. I recommend Alejandro Junger's book Clean (he also has a website but don't think you need to buy anything!). This is a serious detox, so you will need some time to study and prepare. But for me, it was life-changing. This diet highlighted foods that I can tolerate and taught me about foods that promote inflammation. You may only need to do the full diet one time, but I still do a short or modified version when I feel the need to de-junk a bit, like after a weekend of excess.
Along with promoting an optimal environment inside with nutrients, physical activity is necessary. But rather than that sweaty, almost dying, beating ourselves up exercise experience, gentle movement may be more of what you need. Walking, slow yoga, tai chi or another mindful type of exercise would be best, specially at a time when you feel "off" emotional, mentally or physically. If you engage in vigorous exercise to just "escape" you current situation, I believe that you are setting yourself up for injury.
Environment: I admit it: I create piles of "stuff" that I think I will eventually get to. It results in piles of stuff around the house. (I am not the only one that does this in my house). But by the time I get to it, due dates and significance of the item has been lost. I need to get back to creating the habit of touching it once and either deal with it or get rid of it. For example: as mail and papers and artwork from school land on the counter, decide immediately what to do with it.
It is time to change your closet from summer clothes to fall and winter clothes. In doing this, GET RID of several items. You know you didn't wear it this past season, so GET RID of it! I tell my daughter as she is in search of something to wear, "if you touch a shirt and you know you're not going to wear again, GET RID of it!"
Email: I love to go through my emails and instead of just deleting all the unwanted solicitation, open it, scroll to the bottom and UNSUBSCRIBE! Only keep emails from people (or retailers) that you consistently read. If you have saved several emails/newsletters from the same person/organization and have not read them, then UNSUBSCRIBE. That includes me! It won't hurt my feelings if you unsubscribe from my email list. The last thing I want to do is to clutter your life in any way.