40 Days Lighter – Day 17: Is It in the Right Pile?

Hangers

In my efforts to declutter my closet and dresser, I have repeatedly come across items that I was, at first, either sure I wanted to keep, or I was seriously considering throwing out. This internal wrestling with myself became cumbersome, so I followed the instructions of decluttering expert Marie Kondo, and simply pulled everything out into the open, covering my bed in clothes and accessories.

Now, with all of my belongings in one heap, I was able to form 2 more accurate piles: what I loved and would keep, what I no longer needed/wanted and would remove. That second pile was then split into two more piles – items in excellent condition to be donated, and a “straight to the trash” pile. I would never have guessed the amount of will power it actually takes to  properly prioritize one’s clothing.

I had jeans that I haven’t worn in years – whether it was because I was too big, or they were too small, no need to point the finger – but I still struggled to put them in the donate or trash pile! I wish that I could say that they were only a size or two away, but I found a pair of jeans that were upwards of 3 sizes from my being wearable, so even with my recent weight loss adventure, it would be quite a while before I could even squeeze a leg in them!

I asked myself why it was so difficult to part with items that I was not using, and simply did not need. I came up with a variety of answers – one pair was the most comfortable jeans I had ever owned; another was a design and color that just have not seen anywhere recently. I had tops that – if I’m being painfully transparent – were a style that I liked…on other people… but I probably wore once… or would never actually get around to wearing. Because sometimes, we wish we could embrace someone else’s sense of style…right?

As I thought about my reasons for hesitation with my clothes, I realized that these were often the same excuses that sometimes keep us from making transformative decisions in life. This particular role, or way of living is so comfortable. That’s just my style, just the way I am. Or the opposite – I want to try doing it like “So and so”, because they did it that way and they were successful – not realizing that another person’s style or life will never be the “right fit” for us. 

Some of us are afraid to make the difficult decision to let relationships, jobs, downright messy and unhealthy situations go – because we’re afraid we will never find another one like it. Even though that person isn’t helping us grow, even though that job is clearly dead end, even if our very future is in jeopardy, we simply can’t let it go because it’s familiar.

Tonight, I am challenging myself, as I encourage you, to make sure that we are properly – and prayerfully – prioritizing our life, so that we can be positioned to fulfill our purpose!

 

 

40 Days Lighter – Day 6: Making Room for Change

Workout Drawer

Today I decided to get a refresher lesson in the art of folding clothes. I know, it sounds basic, but in this mission to declutter and organize our home, folding properly – and not cutting corners – seemed like a necessary skill to revisit.

Naturally, since I am reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I started my search for a step by step guide with her videos. Here are a few that you can check out for yourself:

Marie Kondo Folds a Perfect Underwear Drawer

Marie Kondo: Basic Folding Method

I started with my workout clothes drawer, as I’ve been going to the gym early in the morning, essentially grabbing an outfit while still technically half asleep. An organized drawer would mean less time to find something to wear, less time to get ready.

The first thing I became shamefully aware of as I removed everything from the drawer, was the number of lost and lonely items in the mix – belts for outfits I no longer own, gloves and socks without a match, hats I abandoned long ago.

I had become comfortable with taking the “process” of decluttering and organizing for granted, living with the hidden mess, snatching out what I needed, and then when laundry was done, cramming them back in (folded in a hurry), all while refusing to disturb the unwanted items.

There are times in life when the “process” we need to endure for a more “ordered” life seems so daunting that it is easy to just continue on our way, business as usual, day in, day out, as if we don’t see that a dramatic change is needed. We cling to our consistent but cumbersome clutter until we become comfortable with the inconvenience of it all, rather than just facing the music and making a change.

I’ll share more about this in a future post, but my decision to finally lose the extra 30 lbs I’ve been carrying, after years of urging from my doctors, has prompted an incredible number of related changes in my life. My commitment to eating well and working out, guided, pushed and inspired by my coach and work out partner, also meant the need for easy access to my work out clothes.

For anyone who has had to make such a lifestyle change, you understand the need to set up systems to ensure success in changing the way you think about health and eating and exercise. I could not let “I can’t find anything to wear” be the hiccup that derailed my progress.

This. Process. Was. Necessary.

I stood back beaming with pride as I admired the finished project, having carefully followed the instructions in the video, folding as Marie folded.

And I promised myself that drawer by drawer, room by room, thought by thought, and pound by pound, I’m going to take my health and sanity back by continuing this journey to declutter my life.

I hope you will do the same!

 

 

Ready to join me on my journey to being 40 days Lighter? Check out the challenge that inspired my journey, and my Day 1 post!

 

 

 

40 Days Lighter: My Journey through 40 Days of Decluttering

declutter-photos

I was recently inspired by a Facebook post from a friend sharing a link to participate in 40 Bags in 40 Days, a challenge that asks participants to declutter their homes, work spaces, email inboxes, among a host of other “non-stuff” ways to declutter and incorporate healthy, beneficial habits. The challenge is aligned with the period of Lent, where many people give something up for the period of 40 days.

I found this particular idea to be a timely one, as I have recently been in a season of “letting go” – of unhealthy habits and routines, and of things that no longer have a place in my closet, home or life.

What I quickly discovered is that once you get a taste of the freedom that release brings, a new, simpler yet satisfying way of living begins to emerge. I also discovered that giving into the process of letting go of the “way I’ve always done things” has made so much room for new habits, opportunities, and simple joys that I didn’t imagine achievable at this stage in my life.

Over the next 40 days, I would like to share with you, my experience as I take daily, intentional steps to release the “extra weight” in my life. (I’ll talk about dropping the literal weight in an upcoming post!)

During this time I’ll share my journey to release the emotional baggage that this newly embraced way of living has revealed, that still hides in the corners of my heart. I’ll talk about shedding the doubts and fears that have held me back from bringing my dreams to life. I will also be making observations on my journey to become more consistent in the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, fasting, reading my Bible and meditation.

And of course, I will be setting aside time each day to write, and provide even a small update on my progress through this challenge.

I hope that you will join me in my journey, and that you might take a journey of your own to live a lighter, freer life.

I can’t wait to be 40 Days Lighter!

P.s. Here is a list of some of the tools/books I’ll be using/reading as I go through this process:

Garbage Bags!

A Journal

ESV Journaling Bible

Fitbit App

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith

the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun