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February 3, 2020

Letter from the Editor: A Chance to Declutter

in, Personal

It is, perhaps, one of the greatest joys in my life to un-clutter a physical space. I do it slowly, methodically, often with a thermos of coffee and Olafur Arnolds playing in the background.

Honestly, I think I like the process more than the end result.

You may have caught wind of it in a few January blog posts, but my clutter-less loving self has been tackling closets that needed TLC and drawers with a bit too many papers. I’ve embarked on a 10X10 challenge with my wardrobe and cleared out beauty products that don’t have a place in my routine anymore. I’ve set my sights on the pots and pans cupboard then plan to move outside to our shed once the weather turns a bit warmer.

But January – this slow, beautiful, chilly month – has taught me so much more than the importance of decluttering a space. It’s taught me the absolute importance of decluttering my mind.

I didn’t know, or just refused to believe, that the mind above all else is one of the messiest spaces. And who has the time to go through the process of removing the excess?

2019 was a busy year for us. And I don’t say busy lightly. Jobs piled on top of jobs piled on top of being first-time homeowners and staring down the throat of a massive renovation project. We moved, we traveled, we bought a dog (and then gave the dog back). We fell into a routine of constant movement, constant busy, constant management. Our minds were filling up with clutter without us even realizing it.

Then in December we crashed. We took stock of the year and then had some big conversations about the new decade approaching and our goals for it. And it was then that I realized just how cluttered my mind was.

I made the decision to focus on only one business and to do it well. I shut down my SEO site and now only take on consulting clients on a limited case-by-case basis. We cleared our calendars (and kept them clear) to start out the year. We put a temporary hold on house projects.

We ate every meal at home – foregoing unnecessary, extra spending – and paid off credit cards and a car. We spent every evening at home together, reading books and watching Harry Potter, doing yoga and going on walks. And above all we spent time luxuriating in the freedom of mental space.

I truly believe that when your head is crammed full of the to-dos, events, jobs, tasks, bills, debt, repairs, and activities, you lose the ability to do anything really well. I’m guilty of trying to do it all. Trying to be everything to everybody. And every so often it’s good to take a step back and weed out of the junk in the cluttered closets of your mind.

That’s not to say life doesn’t get busy and people need things and you need things. An uncluttered mind just simply means that you’ve been kind to yourself for a bit so that you have the mental capacity to take on the projects and people that might need a bit more love.

So cheers to another month of slow on purpose and staying focused on what truly matters.

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