One of the best ways I take care of myself is by giving myself less to take care of so I decided to kick off 2018 by seeing if I could let go of 100 items that weren’t serving me.
I try to maintain a relatively minimalist life, but adding a husband and a house in the last year really threw me and things had started to pile up.
I think I’m overly dramatic but I swear I can feel the weight of material clutter, which manifests in all kinds of negativity from stunting productivity (“Ooh, I’ll reorganize this junk drawer instead of tackling that project I’m avoiding”) to straining my relationship with my husband (“WHERE DID YOU PUT THE SCISSORS??”).
When I’m able to clear away and control physical clutter it frees up time and mental space that I can then devote to things I actually care about. So I dedicated my Sunday to doing just that.
After a full day of sorting, my house looked exactly the same as it did at the start but I had managed to fill six bags with hidden things from drawers, cabinets and closets that I could donate, trash and sell.
The number was arbitrary but I ended up losing count just under 200. And it felt fantastic.
Self care to me isn’t a bubble bath or pint of ice cream or any other kind of cheap, fleeting “you earned it!” indulgence. It’s a relentless restructuring of my everyday life into an existence I’m thrilled to experience, not escape. It’s mundane and it takes discipline and it satisfies me in ways cute little treats just don’t.
The kind of self care I’m talking about is slow and methodical and cumulative. It’s unsexy and Instagram unworthy — like saving money and paying off debt and cleaning the car and consistently showing up to the gym. Sometimes the best self care is just the boring admin work behind a composed life, and it’s a privilege not a punishment. Last weekend it just so happened to be ruthlessly auditing the stuff I accumulate.
The exercise gave me the opportunity to examine the abundance in my life and then to think critically about whether or not all of it belonged there. All of the things that filled my bags last weekend — like clothes that make me feel bad about myself and a broken necklace from an ex-boyfriend — did not.
It’s funny how the act of emptying can fill you up.
Because I know I’ll get questions, my Charlotte skyline print in the header is by Yoni Alter and available in his shop here.