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6 Ways To Create S P A C E In Your Life

Those tips I promised in yesterday's post:

1 Keepsakes. Always a hard one to justify. Try allowing yourself a certain, reasonable amount of space. Something small enough that you could sift through in 30 min or an hour maybe. I allowed myself one quart size ziplock bag for ticket stubs, cards, etc., and one shelf for yearbooks and whatnot. Also, see #2.

2 Digitize. This is super helpful for some of those “keepsakes” that are flirting with the border between junk and funny (i.e. not the ticket stub from your first Phish show, but maybe the flyer for an aftershow that you didn't even make it to). I spent the better part of Tuesday texting, emailing, and Instagramming so many memories that I came across. Not only did it make for an evening filled with laughs and connecting with old friends, but it also helped me realize what a great gift the digital era has brought. Now instead of saving that flyer, send a mass text ("next time we'll make it for sure..."), have a few laughs, and toss it. You now have a digital copy somewhere when you feel the need to see it again (which you probably won’t, because let’s face it, it’s a old flyer).

3 Prioritize. Take a moment to meditate on what’s really true and meaningful for you in your life. Certainly this important information to know about yourself (you’re thinking “DUH”, but, ummm, you’d be surprised...), and it definitely makes for a more efficient life-cleaning-process. For me, music is everything. So I decided to keep my record collection, but sell the majority of my books. Per #2, I figure Kindle is the way to go in my reading endeavors. Even though most of my music is digital (Spotify premium has even helped me clear most of my hard drive -- score!), there’s something about that beautiful vinyl that holds meaning for me, not least of which is the sound quality. So I’m keepin’ it.

4 Clothing. A good friend of mine once said, “If you haven’t worn it in 2 years, get rid of it.” That’s a good place to start, but it’s relatively easy to part with things you haven’t really thought about in years. The next step I took was the “Would I wear it this weekend?” question. This helps weed out the clothes you actually like. This final step separates the boys from the men: “How do I feel when I wear this?” If it’s something less than “amazing”, let it go. Think about this. What we wear has the ability to empower us, make our day, our life, better. It affects our environments. It could be amazing because it’s super comfortable, flattering, or simply expresses your style. All are great reasons to wear something. Because it’s sitting in your drawer and clean... not so much.

5 Burn. Not just found in abodes of hippies and yogis, sage and incense can provide much needed cleansing to any space. When burning, bring the sage to the corners of the room, windows and doors, and anywhere else your intuition calls. Clearing the energy will allow for peace, stillness. And space.

6 Cloud. I love the cloud. A few months ago I purchased a Macbook Air and really discovered its benefit. Even with the upgraded hard drive, this baby has minimal space. And who needs it? Dropbox. Spotify. Netflix. It’s the 21st century people! Stop hoarding, start streaming. Try backing up all of your files and clearing your hard drive or phone every once in a while. Who doesn’t love the feeling of a brand new gadget?

Alright, that should get you started. Ready? Go!

Creating Space

I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll say it again. I’m cleaning out my life. And this time I mean it.

Ok, I really have said that countless times. But this time I really do mean it. Well, I guess we’ll see...

For someone that has moved as much as I have in the past 8 years -- ok, I’ll count... 18 times. Give or take a few, but yes, 18ish moves. 13 different homes. 6 cities. 3 countries. Actually 3 continents. You get the picture, I’m a nomad.

And I really do love my wandering ways. Meeting people, learning about life, love, self-care. Mmmm goodness. Let’s make that another post for another time though and focus for now. Stuff. I have a lot of it. Eeevery time I move I become more and more aware of it. The Stuff. (cue pseudo-scary dramatic sitcom sounds here)

So much stuff.

So what’s a girl to do? Well -- (is this obvious?) -- get rid of it. Donate to Goodwill. Donate to a friend. Have a garage sale. Recycle. Use as fire wood. Do anything, just make it go away. This is my new mantra.

Now clearly one has useful items in their life. I’m not suggesting to go über Buddhist and renounce all possessions, but take a good survey of all of the stuff that you have and be honest with yourself on what you actually use and what you should part with. If you aren’t utilizing it, someone else could, or you could benefit from the money you’d get from selling it or (spoiler alert) the space that you create.

How? I’m currently smack dab in the middle of “cleaning out my life” and I’ve posted a few helpful tips in a subsequent post that have made this time, the time, that the first statement in this post will be true.

While this is the place that my little journey began, you might be surprised that the best part about it is not the tidy dresser or clean shelves or even the $33.09 in Amazon credit from trading in old books (though that was pretty sweet). It’s the other space it creates and the realizations that have come along with that.

Physical space creates mental space. Mental space allows change, softness, growth. When our minds are cluttered we are often stressed (or the clutter is because of the stress). We forget to breathe. When we create space, we allow ourselves the opportunity to live a more mindful life by making a greater amount of our resources available in the present moment. This past summer I worked with a biofeedback device that measured heart rate variability. The more constricted your heart, the lower the variability, the less adaptable you were to change. Conversely, with greater variability -- or more space in the heart -- came greater adaptability, less stress.

Ridding your life of stuff is not the only way to create physical (and mental) space. During my yoga class this week I realized that this is one of its benefits. Moving the body as one does in yoga stretches muscles, loosens fascia, creates space. The detox that I’m planning for next week flushes toxins out of the system, helps rid the body of excess fat, creates space. Staying hydrated keeps all of your cells happy, creating space in the body’s cells for optimal efficiency. Creating space in life for an optimal state of being.

Optimal state of being. Seems like reason enough to succeed in the life-cleaning, space-making, more-room-to-breathe-and-live endeavor this time around.

Background image by Sebastian Glasl.