I have anxiety. I believe we have established that. I’m not cool with it by any means but I am learning to let it be and acknowledge it. Pretending it isn’t there is toxic. Ignoring the racing thoughts and the heaviness is my chest is unhealthy and prolongs the episode. There are categories to my anxiety; legitimate panic because of shitty life things, unknown panic that comes out of nowhere, panic induced by false thoughts and then unnecessary panic that can be solved by completing a task weighing on my mind.
My house was causing me unnecessary anxiety. Unnecessary panic. As we approach the end of summer with sports starting up and back to school for the kids and myself I had to find a solution.
I have made countless attempts to organize and sort, purge and store. I even thought I did it before we moved 11 months ago. I didn’t. I had boxes still in storage in the basement and elsewhere. Piles here and there that are moved from one place to another. I’m not at the ‘hoarder level’ by any means. We just have things. “Things” that at one point were useful but are no longer.
The kids were gone for a week of summer fun with their dad and grandparents. I thought “well isn’t this a great opportunity to really get the house in order!”
I read this book; The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And listened to it on audible.
I was super jazzed. We were going to change the world in five days!
We started on Saturday and finished on Wednesday having taken off a few days from work. We touched every item we own.
EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM.
We started with our clothing. That took an entire day (don’t judge). We asked ourselves when was the last time we wore it, does it fit properly, do we love it, do we need it?
This was tough for me. I love clothes. But I don’t have a need to wear professional dress to work anymore. So I don’t need such a variety in this category. I don’t need 30 dresses. That’s right! THIRTY DRESSES. After it was said and done…we removed 271 items of clothing from our lives. Not including belts, scarves, ties and shoes. And we kept going….
We moved to the bathroom; getting rid of expired items, half full & not used items and so on. Closets, cabinets, the kitchen cupboards, basement….every room, every item.
The books tells us to first discard (which I prefer to say PURGE) and then organize. Not to do the two at the same time. We listened.
We purged the entire home and our storage in three days. The rest of the time was spent organizing what remained.
We still have a few odds and ends to find an organization solution for (photographs are one of them). We had to pause on finishing out the hearty task so we could go to work and prepare for a yard sale. We did have a successful yard sale (and met cool neighbors!) and what didn’t sell was donated to various community organizations.
As we moved through each space and through each day I felt lighter and lighter, calmer and happier. All of these things were weighing me down. And all of these things were part of this forever scrolling “to-do” list inside my head. I was surprised at how much space it consumed inside my head.
I discovered a bonus delight as a result of dramatically reducing the size of my wardrobe. Less variety means faster, less stressful decisions. Everything I kept fits me, no more putting it on and taking it off because it doesn’t “feel right” that day. Some mornings I would waste so much time finding something to wear.
We are by no means nearing a minimalist lifestyle BUT I can see why it is so attractive to so many. All of these things just get in the way of the stuff that matters.
I highly recommend taking the time to do this. Solving the root of unnecessary anxiety can be a huge win, giving you the brain power and confidence to manage other anxieties. It could be a coincidence or a result of The Purge but my social anxiety has improved over the last ten days as well.
Read the book! Plan time to Purge! It is just a small sacrifice of time for a huge peace of mind payout.