I can think of no better way to set the stage for a brand new year, 2023, to be full of expression and growth than to simplify and declutter at the start of the year.
You need space to expand, it’s as simple as that.
Clutter stops growth and expansion, and it affects your health, both mentally and physically.
I want you to feel like your living space — whether it is a single room, an entire apartment, or a massive multilevel home — just wraps you up in a big hug of safety and security and joy, with plenty of space to take a deep breath in and let it fully out.
We spend so much time in our homes, we cook there, we sleep there, we talk to our loved ones there, we let our hair down and wash our face and put our feet up and read books there and most importantly… we dream there.
We think there. We create our lives there. So it’s important to take a few moments to walk through our living space and make sure that we can feel a positive energy movement within it.
1. Begin by entering your home.
Try to see it as if you were walking through the front door for the first time.
What sights greet you? Do you immediately see a home that has *room* for you? Do you see space for you to *be*? Do you see things that you love, that are meaningful to you, that you cherish?
Do you see things you’d like to let go of… clutter, or things you have held onto out of guilt (furniture you don’t want to throw away, a gift or family heirloom that you really don’t want?)
Do you step into the space and feel like you can take a deep breath?
Clutter crowds you out. It is the living equivalent of a pointless worksheet full of math problems. Spitting out memorized facts to give your mind a bunch of busywork to distract it from actually *thinking*.
Clutter gives your soul a bunch of objects to be surrounded by that distracts you from actually *being*.
If you notice clutter in your home, try removing a third of the furniture and other stuff from your entryway and hallways, from your main rooms or your walls… and see how you feel.
Do you feel more expansive? Lighter? Freer?
If you aren’t ready to part with the items, just consider storing them all in another room just for this exercise, just for this hour… push it all into the garage or a different room… now re-enter your house again. Does this feel like a welcome change? Do you have space to breath, to unwind, to sit?
Tweak these changes as necessary… return items that you instantly missed, and consider truly tossing (ideally, gifting to charity or a friend) items that you don’t want to bring back into the space.
2. Consider allowing a flow of energy in through the front door.
Walk through your home from the entryway as if you were a wave of water.
You want your energy to flow through your house as easily as a wave would, washing through the room.
If you walk into a room, try to visualize how the energy would flow around the space… are there any dead ends or dark corners that a wave of water would get caught in?
If so, consider re-arranging the furniture in the room, or hanging a mirror on the wall. Mirrors and light are a fabulous way to get energy flowing again… The light bouncing around the room is an instant energy lift.
Lamps are another way to get energy to flow in a blocked area… consider rearranging furniture so that you have a light source along any solid walls or windowless corners. Double check that the lights all work and replace any bulbs that need replacing.
I don’t think you need to purchase a single thing in order to completely mix up the energy flow in your living spaces. Switching furniture around is a fun and easy way to get some new movement into a room… sometimes just angling an existing piece in a different way can get the energy flowing again.
Continue to walk through your home as if you were a wave of water entering each room, flowing down the hallways and through your living spaces… asking yourself two things as you enter each room:
First, do I absolutely LOVE this furniture/item/decor that is in front of me?
If not, do not rush to replace it… simply remove the item(s) from the room temporarily and walk back into the room and *feel* what this does for the space… does removing some of the items for the room give you more *space* back, more room for energy to flow?
Does it give you a new idea of how to switch the remaining furniture around?
Does it give you a new idea of how to bring back some of the pieces?
And second, does the area allow for the flow of an imaginary wave of water to circle around?
If there are dead ends, dark corners, or places that feel *stuck* energetically to you, respond to those.
Re-arrange your walls to put a mirror or two in corners that feel dark.
Re-arrange the furniture, angling an item in the dark corner, so that you soften the angles of the corner and allow the wave to flow around.
Consider adding a lighting element to the room… swapping out a lamp from another room or even just propping a metal bowl on a table, a candle, or consider re-painting a lighter, brighter color.
Even just rearranging the wall art… hanging a brightly colored picture or photograph on the wall can often be just as effective at lightening the space as a window or mirror.
Another option is to add a plant to the space… often the least expensive way to soften a corner of a room or add energy flow to a space is to add a plant. One leafy fern in a corner is usually much less expensive and much more relaxing then the thought of re-painting the room or needing to go out thrifting for a mirror or a lamp.
So when in doubt… add a plant!
3. Clear out the old cobwebs, both literally and metaphorically.
View this time of cleaning as a fresh start.
Intend it to be such.
Even if you only spend ten minutes wiping down the furniture in your main entry/living area, it’s not so much about physically cleaning it as it is about spreading a new fresh intention about the space… your loving soul, tending to your living space and allowing your body to reside in a place that brings you peace.
It’s not about the level of clean; it’s about refreshing the momentum in your home.
It’s about the sacred space you are creating for your body to live in, because you honor and cherish every cell in your body and you trust it to work its beautiful magic every single day in supporting your spirit in physical form.
Just freshen the space up energetically and physically with a quick dusting or vacuuming.
Disinfectants are on short supply during this pandemic. So in a pinch, if you want to make your own homemade disinfecting spray, give this a try. It is eco-friendly, antibacterial, degreases, and shines. And it is so cheap that the cost is reason enough to use it. It involves recycling and is all natural. Win, win, win, win, win, win and win.
And hopefully you already have everything you need to create it: just vinegar and a citrus peel.
Any time you use lemons or limes in cooking, or any time you eat a citrus fruit, just pop the rinds into a glass jar, pour vinegar over it, store it in the fridge… and voila!
Instant citrus vinegar EO spray!
The EO (essential oils) come out of the rind of the fruit and scent the vinegar, as well as provide antimicrobial and degreasing properties.
I pour the vinegar into my spray bottle and use it 1:1 with water… and every time I eat a grapefruit or squeeze orange juice, I just start a fresh jar!
4. Declutter your bathroom
After attending to your main living space (living, eating and sleeping spaces) consider moving to your bathroom. Or heck, skip the main areas and just start in your bathroom.
Bathrooms are sacred to me — after all, this is the area where we literally strip down, get absolutely naked, bathe, clean and refresh our physical bodies, and even re-invent ourselves by styling our hair and make up at times.
We look in the mirror, take stock of what we look like (which can greatly affect how we feel) brush our teeth, wash our hands, get centered to walk back out into the rest of our day on the other side of that bathroom door.
When living with others, especially small children, sometimes a minute or two stollen in the bathroom is the only privacy we get, our only time to clear our minds and think.
So honestly, the bathroom is the prefect place to make sure we are decluttered and feeling free. Clean the toilet, sink and bathing area. Wash towels and bath mats. Remove duplicate items from the countertop and store away for future use. Slim down the amount of products you use, and consider taking a break from most of them.
Sometimes the large amounts of creams, lotions, serums, make up, hair products, special soaps and ointments and on and on… give the general feeling that in order to feel good, we need to be high maintenance.
This is an illusion… we think we are surrounding ourselves with a safety net by surrounding ourselves with our preferred beauty supplies, our rows of vitamins and health care products… and really we are giving ourselves the impression that we *need* these things to just feel like ourselves.
Try stepping back, even if it is just for a moment, and allow your natural well-being to shine. Focus on hydrating, drinking lots and lots of water, and feeling gratitude for the health that you do have.
Let everything else fall away for a few days.
Your body can self sustain for quite a long time nourished off of only gratitude and water. Take care to see that everything else you add on top of gratitude and water is simple and pure.
Start your mornings with a cup of hot water and a splash of lemon juice or honey… go outside in the fresh cold morning air to drink it. Take a walk. Focus on fresh fruits and veggies for food this weekend. Slather on coconut oil in the shower… take a break from all the body washes and lotions and face creams and eye creams.
All you really need is to stand under the water, soaking in the love, and then sealing the moisture in with some olive or coconut oil. Getting out, towel off… get dressed and go about your day in simplicity. Try using no makeup, body or hair care products for a few days to just take a break from it all… and reassure your body that you are trusting in its natural state of well being.
5. Declutter your closets, garage, attic and other storage spaces…
If you are feeling particularly inspired, after decluttering your main living spaces and your bathroom, consider moving into the areas that you typically don’t live in at all, storage areas like closets, attics, garages. Let go, let go, let go.
During a particularly hard life transition (over a decade ago now, my then-husband of 15 years disappeared one night out of the blue — just left letter on the kitchen table and that was that, never to return… in 24 hours I lost a husband, my children lost a father, and we lost our home as well, so obviously downsizing was a absolute must) and I would repeat in my head, as I was letting go of almost everything we owned:
“freedom… freedom… freedom…“. over and over and over with each thing I released, donated, let go of.
You can do the same. It’s actually wonderful.
6. Declutter just one room at a time.
Taking care to focus on the entryway and your main living area is plenty for one day.
Or if the bedroom is calling you, do that first.
If you are feeling ambitious, continue this exercise throughout the rest of your home over the following few weeks as 2023 begins. I think once you feel how much freeing space up in your home helps you be able to relax into your home, you will be encouraged to keep going.
Once you have your main entryway and living room feeling comforting and alive… the type of room you can sit in and let your body relax and your mind open… consider doing one last walk through with a lit candle, a piece of sage, or a stick of incense.
I burn incense frequently in our home as a way to start over with a fresh slate and clearing out the old. You are saying to your home and your spirit that you are ready for the new; ready for the new fresh energy, the new fresh insights, the new fresh level of health that you are welcoming in.
Light the candle or incense, then walk through each space of your home, allowing the smoke to gently drift in the same pattern that you imagined your wave of water… and intend that the burning of the light or the burning of the incense is a new beginning… burning away all negativity, doubt, dark thoughts, old patterns that are no longer working for you… and release them all to the loving arms of the universe.
Allow this to be a new start to a new phase in your life… one of health freedom.
Beginning right here, inside your home.
7. Refresh your pet too!
If you have a pet (or two, or three) at home with you, you are so lucky. In addition to clearing out your home of old energy, also clear and refresh any toys and bedding your pet uses, and enjoy spending some quality time grooming them. They can feel the energy lift!
Not only is it so fun to have a pet to connect with and entertain you and give you physical touch, but living with a pet is actually a boost for your health. It’s true! From childhood throughout our entire adult life and elderly years, owning a pet gives us a a significant health boost that lasts a lifetime. I wrote a blog post for you (you can read it here) on what the medical literature has to say about why caring for an animal just might be one of the best things you can do to protect your health over a lifetime.
In fact, this is one of the topics I talk about in my podcast here — how a few minutes spent with a dog was actually the very best stress relief out of several interventions studied. Even five minutes with a dog was found to lower stress levels and even decrease blood cortisol levels on stressed out study participants. It’s true. Connecting with a pet for five minutes was actually superior to taking a break for five minutes and peace and quiet, and also superior to a mindful centering activity (coloring a mandala for five minutes.)
8. Declutter your car
If you are fortunate enough to have a car, it can feel so good to clean it out.
Remove trash, wipe down windows and seats, shake out floor mats, even wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and rinse down with a hose if you can!
Even if all you can do is declutter your glove compartment and door pockets and wipe down the steering wheel and windshield, now is the time to do it… and the next time you need to use your car it will feel so uplifting to get into a freshened space.
9. Declutter your books & photos.
Don’t forget to declutter your media!
Old bookshelves filled with books you do not intend to re-read can weigh you down. Trust that your soul got the information that you were meant to get from it at the time when you read the book, and move on.
The start of a new year is a lovely time to reflect on, enjoy, and re-organize pictures you love (maybe it will inspire you to write some memoirs down and start a biography rough draft!) and release those that you don’t. Let go, let go, let go. Even just organizing your computer desk top and online photo storage can be hugely energetically liberating!!!
Put all of your pics into a big photobook (many online companies make it super easy to upload pictures right from instagram and/or facebook and will automatically create a photobook for you!) having them bound into a physical book will not only allow you to look at them whenever you want, it will also help you let go of extra copies or versions of pictures that you don’t love.
You don’t have to save every single picture just because it was taken!!! Save the ones you love and release the rest.
10. Declutter the future
This is the time to take a moment to re-examine the trajectory of your life, and if your current situation is setting you up to step forward in your life or keep you stuck.
If you are holding on to old energy items, like pieces of furniture you took in from your aunt that don’t feel right in your space, old clothing hanging in your closet that you don’t enjoy putting on, the old mattress you used to have before the divorce, now’s the time to release it.
It generally feels better to do without and have the space of possibility open than to have an item that doesn’t align with where you life is heading.
Maybe you can hang one of these sayings in your living space to encourage you as you let go:
Your future needs you. Your past doesn’t.
Don’t look behind you, you aren’t going that way.
If you want to fly,
give up everything that weights you down.
If you want some real inspiration, grab one of these books below (all of them are available on Kindle so you don’t even have to order anything in the mail or wait for the books to arrive, if you want to get started right away!)
I have read all of these books and find them all valuable in different ways — click the button below to be taken to their Amazon page where you can read reviews and look inside the books to decide which one vibes most with you.
There is no way you can read one of these books and not be inspired to simplify your living space… and there is no better time to refresh your space, anticipating a wonderful fresh new start after the pandemic lifts, than right now!!! No, I don’t get any commission at all nor do I know any of these authors, these are literally just books I’ve enjoyed that I think you might too:
- Soul Space by Xorin Balbes
- Breathing Room by Lauren Rosenfeld
- Making Space Clutter Free by Tracy Mccubin
- A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
Today walk through your living space as if you were a fresh wave of water, bringing new energy into the room full of possibility.
Can you move freely?
Are there stuck, dark, stagnant areas that are catching your eye?
Focus on cleaning, clearing, simplifying and decluttering those. Enjoy the release, you are making room for the future! Woot!
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To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!
Laura Koniver MD