Happy New Year, everyone! It’s almost noon here in Cali, and though I’m feeling a little worse for the wear, I’m also excited to begin a new year. Being Jewish, I get to experience this excitement twice a year — at Rosh Hashanah, which I use as a time to reflect on my personal life and relationships, and on January 1st, as a time to reflect on my business, and other practical matters.
One of my favorite New Year’s traditions is The Great Purge. Every year my husband and I go through the house, room by room, and take everything out of every drawer, closet and container. We give/throw away what we no longer need, and clean and reorganize what we do need.
This tradition was born from Christmas. We always finished up the holidays with bags of unwanted or duplicate gifts, and the gifts we wanted to keep, we didn’t have room for. It therefore became necessary to purge the old to make way for the new. Every year it seemed like we would be able to part with fewer and fewer of our carefully curated possessions, but in fact we end up with about the same amount of free shelf space every time.
The Great Purge is extremely therapeutic. Every box we take to Goodwill feels like a great weight has been lifted. Uncluttering my work and living space makes my mind feel similarly uncluttered. I feel less stressed and sleep better at night. I’m also able to work on larger goals without all the little stuff to get in my way. With my house, files, and finances all perfectly in order, I feel ready and eager to tackle the year ahead. After all, nothing inspires like a blank page.
Want to perform your own Great Purge? The following resources can help you get started:
- If you don’t even know where to begin, try the book, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, by Peter Walsh.
- “What financial records to keep, and how long to keep them,” from Bankrate.com.
- Green cleaning: Grist suggests Borax for the heavy-duty stuff. Most everything else can be handled by combining 5 simple and inexpensive ingredients, as suggested by Annie Bond.
- “How to Clean Out Your Closet,” from Mahalo. A fantastic, well-annotated article.
- Five rules for removing clutter by Come2Order, and five more from Nikki LeRoi.
- “Quick Tips for Processing your E-mail Inbox,” by Merlin Mann of 43Folders. Part of his “Becoming an E-mail Ninja” re-cap.
- My previous post about Things.
Good luck and happy purging!