Out with the Old – In with Less Junk

BW BroomSpring has sprung, which means it’s time for most of us to begin that age-old ritual of spring cleaning, A.K.A. “How the heck did I collect all of this junk and what am I going to do with it?” I am a firm believer in spring cleaning. Some years I don’t begin spring cleaning until Labor Day weekend, but I get it done eventually!

I was curious where the ritual of spring cleaning came from and was surprised to discover it originated in Chinese culture. Apparently the Chinese clean their homes to prepare for the New Year and rid any bad luck and misfortune they may have accumulated the previous year.

I do the same thing, only instead of ridding my life of bad luck and misfortune I rid it of bad and misfortunate buying choices I made the previous year. Like, did I really need that 13 piece Cuisinart set? Wouldn't five pieces have sufficed? And what about those bright orange yoga pants? Was that really the wisest use of $29.95?

I love going through my closets, drawers, the shed and the garage and getting rid of stuff! But I do try very hard not to throw anything away if somebody else can use it. I donate a lot of my clothes to Albuquerque's only transgender program, and sometimes find good homes for things through Craigslist. Sometimes I even put stuff on eBay as a joke and make a fat profit so I can buy stuff I don't need and sell it on eBay next year. I just like to simplify, reorganize & repurpose.

For me, though, spring cleaning doesn't end when my house feels lighter and more organized – it only ends after my life in general feels lighter and more organized as well. Think of all the junk and clutter our hearts, minds and souls collect throughout the year. As much as I love getting rid of old paint cans and broken lawn chairs, I love getting rid of false and limiting beliefs even more.

Besides decluttering your home this spring, here are some other ways you can spring clean your life:

Let Go of Old Resentments

Red BalloonWhy do we hang on to resentments like they're valuable antiques? Believe me, old resentments are about as useful to your life as a cracked fondue pot. This spring make the commitment to rid your life of any resentments you've been hanging onto. A great way to symbolize the release of anger and resentment is to take a sharpie and write the initials on a helium-filled balloon of the person or people you believe “done you wrong.” When you release the balloon and watch it get smaller and smaller as it climbs way up into the sky, feel your anger and resentment get smaller and smaller as well until it’s gone completely.

Make Space for Healthier Relationships

This goes for romantic as well as platonic relationships. You can’t invite new and wonderful relationships into your life when old and toxic ones are hogging up all the space. It’s never easy facing reality when the reality is you've attracted some messy relationships into your life. Take stock of the people you spend time with and ask yourself if that person/relationship adds value to your life or not. Does that person make you feel good or bad? Is your relationship deep or shallow? Those relationships that are lacking need to be cleaned out so that space is made to receive relationships that will enrich your life.

Clean Up Your Finances

Let’s face it - one of the greatest factors of stress in life is when our finances (or lack of) keep us up at night. It’s not easy to face your finances head on, but doing so will help you gain control over them and give you peace of mind.

Sit down with your credit card statements and bank statements from the last six months and review them carefully to see exactly what you are spending your money on. You may think all of those stops at Dunkin Donuts don't really cost much, but when you do some math and see you’ve spent $700 over the last six months, you realize that $700 could be going toward your school or home loan (time to start brewing your own coffee at home and toasting your own bagels). The weekly happy hour outings are fun, sure, but once you realize you've spent $2400 in the last 6 months, you may want to consider having friends and coworkers over to your house for a few (cheaper) beers after work.

Don't turn your nose up at the idea of spring cleaning – embrace it this year and clean out all of the garbage in your life. I've spent the past couple of weekends doing it and feel much better inside and out. Now I just have to find a new home for those ski pants I bought on sale last year. NOTE TO SELF: You don't ski – stop buying cute ski outfits.


Devon is a Personal Life Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, licensed mental health/substance abuse counselor, experienced consultant, and nationally certified teacher.  As a Life Coach, she focuses on supporting and encouraging achievement of personal best outcomes or goals in a specific challenging area.  Her expertise, enthusiasm, energy and educational background serve to create a unique blend of services and techniques employed to help you reach your goals.  For training, coaching, or counseling sessions, please contact her at 505.469.0779 or herndonconsulting@gmail.com.