Spring cleaning and 30 day Challenges – Are they just another April Fool’s Day joke?

I have seen lots of cleaning and decluttering challenges. I should definitely be doing those… But most don’t seem to be in the same direction I am in the mood for. Or I start and derail quickly… Some are great guidelines yet others require more energy and strength than I have. Then there is the time they take… because we are already so busy so how do you find time in your already busy schedule?

How many challenges are there these days? How many really work? Have you done any? Are they like New Year’s Resolutions? Start and give up quickly for whatever reasons? A silly April Fool’s Day joke you play on yourself when you realize it just doesn’t work for you?

I did do a year of decluttering one item each day a couple of years ago. I wrote each item on the calendar. If I missed a day I was able to catch up on a different day. Sometimes I got rid of a whole bunch and if it were small easy stuff it counted as one day’s worth of stuff.

Doing this one item declutter each day really did help me get into the mindset of letting go. I practiced the skill and let go of a lot. I still had a lot further to go, but it started me in the right direction again. Hoarding was feeling like a real possible word I was contemplating for my thoughts and behaviours.

I used to be pretty good at keeping control. Then life happened. It got too difficult to find the time, physical strength and mental clarity to make those decisions and do that work. So I let it slide.

Down hill I rolled… far into a rut. It hurt on the way down. It hurt to hit rock bottom. Punishing myself. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling guilty. Feeling like a slob and many other negative self talk thoughts. I had reasons. But I had to find a way to not become defined by those issues, reasons, problems, thoughts…I had to see they couldn’t become excuses for bad behaviour. I had to find my way back out of the mess of stuff and feelings.

I learnt I could easily find one thing to let go of each day. I didn’t have to tackle the whole house and do it all at once. I didn’t have to be perfect. I also learnt I could choose what I keep and feel the feelings necessary to make the right choice to let go of what no longer serves me. This applied to stuff, feelings, unrealistic ideals, and even some toxic thoughts. It also showed me toxic relationships with myself, my stuff, and unfortunately – some other people’s toxic and abusive behaviours towards me that I needed to stop allowing.

If we only get rid of the stuff but don’t deal with the thoughts and behaviours, we will find ourselves returning to the troubles we face. My mess showed me many messages hidden within. The messages aren’t pretty. They aren’t easy to face. Some I deal with right away. Some I leave for another day – and that is OK.

I am learning the lessons of less – less stuff, less guilt, less worry and stress. Less doesn’t mean I will do without. The scarcity mindset is a real trigger for me. Less means I no longer have to hold tight onto what I am meant to let go. I do appreciate what I have. I can let go of what no longer serves me.

Learn my lessons and deal with my feelings as I go. Face those fears of scarcity. Feel the discomfort of anxiety and know I will be OK.

I know the konmari method teaches us to concentrate on what to keep. Paying attention to what sparks joy is so important. My thought is to choose one item that sparks joy every day and keep it. I will also look to let go of at least one item that does not spark joy each day. Many items give me joy when I realize they no longer work for me but I can feel joy again in giving them to someone else.

I am learning the difference and being OK with today’s decisions. Even if I start small, I am still making a difference. I can revisit each item again when I have finished my first round of konmari method decluttering. I will gain strength, skill and insight as I continue. I don’t have to be perfect the first time. I don’t have to feel guilty for making bad choices in the past. I learn that lesson, feel how I feel, and move forward. On to a better life one small step or big leap every day. Depending on what I face and what I can handle at that time.

Even on days where I feel unwell or conflicted about decluttering, I can choose a small something and still feel like I am following through on making real changes. If I miss a day because I feel really awful (like yesterday when I was only out of bed for bathroom and medicating), I can make up for it the next day and kind of play catch up.

Many days I am hoping to do a huge declutter or spring cleaning. (Dust bunnies should count right?) If I only find one item or feel up to one item to go, I will still be making progress. I take Sundays off of working, so Saturdays or Mondays will have to make up for this. I know on some Sundays I will be getting ready for church and find something doesn’t fit right or something is broken. I won’t wait on these items, I will be immediately putting them into the donate, recycle or trash. The one minute rule still applies on Sundays.

Are you needing to declutter and spring clean but feel you never have time? Join me on this 30 day challenge and see where it leads you. It might turn into a 90 day spring cleaning challenge. Better yet, it might just turn into a better lifestyle and no longer feel like a challenge!

Time to get a less cluttered home, an easier time cleaning, and a happier life!

Tracey, GYST2020

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