Having trouble deciding what stays and what goes as you declutter your home?
We all do. Because, purple beaded bracelets your daughter made, or a collection of barware you inherited from Granny.
The good news is decluttering isn’t just about letting go: It’s also about deciding what you keep.
As I decluttered my home last month, (and over the past several months) I took a close look at my belongings, including memberships and products or services, with a couple of questions in mind:
- Do we use this?
- Do we enjoy having this?
Whatever was in question only had to meet one of those criteria. If we didn’t use it and don’t enjoy it, then it got tossed or cut.
This process reminded that the secret to a decluttered life is in hidden in what you keep; within that “yes pile,” with some examination and introspection, you can uncover your priorities and wants and needs for creating a home and life you love.
I’m sharing the results of my own examining and reflection as an example, and in hopes you will discover there’s more to what you choose to keep (and what you let go) than meets the eye. I’ve also included resource links where possible, including my affiliate and referral links.
My personal growth goal is to shine; to expose any “bushels” hiding my light so I can realize my fullest potential and calling. I want to be everything God created me to be.
Journaling – I couldn’t have predicted how life-changing this would be! I started journaling again as a part of my morning ritual. Writing to-dos’, goals, plans and thoughts help declutter my mind and are an integral part of achieving my goals. I’ve done lots of reckoning, exposing and truth finding in the process. Journaling is a practice I’m not only keeping, but recommending as well.
You can use any type of notebook you like, but, I did find that hardbound journals lasted better than the ones with cardstock type covers. Target has a beautiful selection to choose from.
Word of the Year – I admit, when I first started picking a word of the year, I’d jumped on the cool kids bandwagon. I had no idea what it was really about and never accomplished much with it.
Until last year.
I attribute that success to two things: 1) learning more about the intention behind My One Word and 2) journaling. And, man did my word take me by surprise as it morphed and grew. By the end of 2017, Quietude took me on a journey that led to using tea kettles and popping popcorn “old school” on the stove, as well as personal clarity and a more decluttered life. I feel so much more freedom to be me.
I’m so glad I didn’t quit this one!
Music – I’ve always loved live music, but I didn’t realize just how much of an impact music had on me until I started listening to it for quiet time, reading, working, cleaning of and course entertaining. Music has become the background of my day, inspiring and encouraging my soul to do, be and create.
I use both the Amazon Music and Pandora apps on my t.v., but I think I prefer Pandora. It seems to have more flexibility, and I know how to turn it off. I cannot figure out how to turn off Amazon Music.
Health & Fitness
I learned the hard way that when my body isn’t functioning, neither am I. So, Self-care in the form of health and fitness is a top priority for me.
Tongue Scraper – It grosses me out to use my toothbrush to brush my tongue, but I consider tongue brushing very necessary for oral and overall health. So, a tongue scraper had been on my wish list for a couple of years when I happened across one in the health section of H.E.B. (a Texas grocery store). It does a much better job of cleaning my tongue than my toothbrush, and makes my mouth (and breath) feel clean, making the tongue scraper a necessary addition to my dental hygiene.
Yoga – I’ve tried all kinds of exercise, but yoga is by far my favorite. It seems that no matter the circumstances, I can do yoga. ( I’ve practiced it to get rid of migraines, relieve stiffness and to help heal my body from illness.)
I started out following along with Yoga With Adrienne, who is an excellent instructor for beginners. As my abilities improved, I started turning more to Sara Beth Yoga. Sara Beth is also an easy-to-follow instructor.
Taking care of myself through yoga has made me feel strong and aware, and certainly has given me an appreciation for the mind/body connection.
Movement – Galina Denzel’s Every BODY Moves course put tools in my hand I didn’t know I needed.
It blows my mind how such simple, small movements can provide strength and mobility. Practicing movement when my body needs it feels like I’m giving myself a hug; being kind and gentle to my body instead of giving up on it or forcing it to do more than it can right now. This restorative course is a great place to start if you have pain from chronic illness or an injury. And, I love Galina! She’s such a kind, gentle, supportive teacher.
My health journey has proved the adage that food is medicine. So, with my health at stake, I’m very careful with what I eat, wanting it to nourish and fuel my body with good health for doing good things.
Trader Joes’ dark chocolate peanut butter cups – Do I really need to say anything else? Actually, I will say I’ve narrowed this sweet treat down as the only one I want in my home, which feels like a victory since I’ve been a sugar addict most of my life.
The Real Food Reset – Because of this course, I’m no longer a sugar addict and have a whole new appreciation for food. I’m far more mindful of how my body responds to food, for better or worse. This experience put me in awe of my Creator and the marvelous workings of our bodies.
Tinkyada pasta – I have loved substituting zucchini and spaghetti squash for pasta, but there are a few recipes where only the real deal will do. I discovered Tinkyada online, and was intrigued by all the positive reviews. So, I was excited to try it when I spotted it in the grocery store.
It did not disappoint.
The taste is very close to regular pasta and it cooks very well. The best part for me is, that it’s simply brown rice pasta. Nothing else. So, I feel good about it putting it in my body.
From makeup to hairstyle, beauty has always been a primary form of self-expression for me. It allowed me to shine, even when I was afraid to use my God-given voice.
Body Oil Spray – I’d just assume not put on anything than slather lotion all over my body. I can’t stand the texture and feel of it. Not to mention, it seems to take forever to soak in.
Enter body oil sprays.
I learned about them through Beautycounter, but couldn’t afford theirs, so I was really excited to find an affordable option from Acure. Their rose body oil easily absorbs into my skin without the slathery mess. And, now my skin is getting the attention and moisture it needs. It’s a such small act of kindness toward myself, but it goes a long way in nurturing my soul.
Beautycounter rejuvenating toner pads – Skincare in general has become a priority for me. My goal right now is to get rid of the hyperpigmentation so I feel more confident wearing bare skin.
I wasn’t expecting much from this product. I thought, “How great can it be? It’s just a pad with toner on it.” But, I was so wrong. Nothing has made as noticeable of a difference with the hyperpigmentation on my face as these rejuvenating toner pads have. So worth the price.
Beautycounter’s Color Define Pencil – It’s amazing how a little brow work can brighten your whole face. When people look at me, I want them to see the sparkle in my eyes, not the droopy eyelids or dark circles. Defining my brows has become a must-do in even my simplest beauty routine.
I’d thought I’d found the perfect brow definer in Benefit’s Gimme Brow, until I tried this pencil! The color define pencil glides on so easily, gives a fuller look, and stays on all day. And, it’s a safer option.
Like beauty, fashion has been a form of self-expression for me since I can remember. Again, allowing me to express myself even when my voice was buried under insecurity.
Capsule wardrobe – One day I glanced up and noticed that I loved every piece of clothing hanging in my closet. I’d purged everything else and wanted to learn how to make the most of the pieces I had.
The Get Your Pretty On SAHM Wardrobe Basics Builder and the 14 Day Style Challenge helped with that, and I have joined every style challenge since. Now that I’ve participated for three seasons, I finally feel like I have a wardrobe that represents my style.
The Winter 2017 challenge is on sale right now. If you have long winters, I highly recommend taking advantage of this sale.
Maidenform strapless bra – So many of my tops went unworn because I didn’t have a strapless bra.
I tried going braless…um, too much to hide.
Flower petals weren’t much better.
And, have you ever tried removing a stick-on bra? It hurts!
Then one day, I found the Maidenform strapless bra and decided to take a gamble. I’m so glad I did. The bra fits, lifts and holds really well, and I get to wear my carefully chosen blouses without worrying about tugging, slipping or jiggling.
I believe comfort is as mainstay of creating a home and life I love. Not the kind of comfort we get from having lots of things or plenty of money, neither of which I have. But, the kind that comes from the little things; the kind that warms our hearts and sends little love notes to our soul.
Sherpa throw blanket; – I am always cold. I can’t stand being cold. So, this blanket has been a favorite of mine for a couple of years now because it’s so dang warm and cozy. It truly takes the chill off.
I snuggle up under this one by Eddie Bauer.
Flameless candles – This little home decor secret gets most valuable player in my book, especially the kind with a timer. There’s just something so inviting about walking into a room with glowing candles that “magically” turn on at dusk. It’s like a little whisper calling you to slow down and slip into the quiet of the evening.
Luminara candles are the most realistic looking and have very long-lasting batteries.
I don’t like cleaning, but I love the look and feel of a clean home. I also believe that a clean home lifts our moods and is a way to be a good steward of what we’ve been given. So, my goal is to set myself up for success so that I can create a cleaning routine I can stick to.
Glass spray bottles – This was one of those small purchases I kept putting off until one day, I decided to just buy them already. So, I added them to my monthly Grove.co order and now I have glass bottles for all my DIY cleaners and sprays.
DIY Cleaners – I make everything, from dry cleaning spray to linen and room spray to kitchen, bathroom and all-purpose cleaners, using ingredients I already have in my home. Using on-hand ingredients allows me to declutter my cleaning caddy. I also get a lot of satisfaction from making cleaners myself and knowing that they’re safer to use.
We are created for order. I’ve personally discovered that when there’s order in our physical space, it opens the door to create order in our soul. That is my ultimate goal; for it to be well with my soul.
Black Velvet Hangers from Dollar Tree – There’s no need to spend your money on any other hangers! These space-saving hangers are sturdy and keep your clothes from slipping. And, you get two for a dollar.
Space Planning – This is one of the best ways to make the most of the home you have. I started rethinking how I use my space last Fall, followed by rearranging, decluttering and organizing. Now, what was once a teen lounge is a cozy study space where I write and work.
The closet contents make more sense.
My kitchen is more functional.
The living room is more open and inviting.
Basically, my home is more of what I need it to be.
The Have Nots:
Throughout this process, I also learned what I don’t like which is just as important as knowing what you do like. Discernment serves us all well in living a life we love. It makes our yes a yes and our no a no. Learning to say no breeds trust in yourself and in your relationships.
Schmidt’s deodorant – I tested quiet a few natural deodorants before I settled on Schmidt’s. It works, but it’s hard and crumbly and not easy to apply. It also stains my under arms. The whole experience seriously puts a damper on my morning routine. And, experience matters.
Juice Beauty Mascara – I really wanted to love this mascara since it’s one of the top rated ones in all the “best of green mascara” round-ups. I tried it three times, and each time found it to be too wet and hard to apply. At a $24 price tag, it was hard to toss, but I knew I wasn’t going to finish the tube. Getting rid of it allowed me to find a less expensive mascara that works really well. Sometimes you have to declutter to make room for something better.
4-in-1 pedicure paddle – I thought this tool would provide salon like results, but the paddle started peeling and falling apart after just one use. I kept it longer than I should have, until one day, I finally realized I was forcing a compromised experience on myself over a few bucks. That was the real waste.
Hangers from TJ Maxx – The handles on the black, flocked hangers fell off before I even took them out of the package. The hangers were also very flimsy. I returned them for a store credit and found much better hangers at Dollar Tree. This was a great lesson in not settling.
What I’ve learned over the years is sorting your belongings into “yes” or “no” can be very empowering; allowing you to truly curate what serves your lifestyle.
By the way, I find it very interesting that the first definition of curate is “minister with pastoral responsibility,” since I believe what you keep can nurture your soul and foster a sense of well-being.
It’s certainly true for the purple beaded bracelet and the barware collection I kept.
See you in class,