You will not find a more sentimental person than me. I have kept napkins from weddings I have been to of friends that I’m not even close to. I wish I made that up.
I think it comes from my time as a missionary kid. By the time I was 18 I had spent my 18 birthdays on two continents, in three different countries, and 6 different towns, and 13 different places.
Not much was constant in my life. But from each place I carried tiny pieces of them with me. Small keepsakes that when I revisit it feels like home.
One of my strangest keepsakes is probably a small plastic soap bottle. When my husband and I were married our first home was a tiny half apartment. We didn’t even have a kitchen sink. So I would fill a tub with water and use it to wash dishes. With little room around the tub I bought a small bottle of dishwashing liquid and would refill it from a larger one to save money and plastic waste. 8 years later I still use it every day. It has a spot of paint on it from one time I was painting and used it to wash my hands.
That silly little bottle is a daily reminder to me to be humble and thankful for all I have. It also encourages me to reuse as much as possible to be good stewards of the earth.
Now what does this have to do with women’s health!?
last year I purged my house for the first real time. I had given things away and had yard sale before of course. But this time it was systematic. I had watched a few episodes of the show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. She also has written books on the subject.
With new motivation I was ready to get rid of my junk. I went through every room of my house with a comb. The second time I purged I went through every room of the house with a fine tooth comb. And every purge, every box in my car for giveaway, every sale I made on facebook, I felt better. I felt lighter. I was honestly shocked at how much better I felt.
Why? Why did losing things that I rarely even touched having such a strong effect on my mood and energy level. It was then that I realized that each unneeded item in my home was sucking the life from me. Every time I had to move it, clean it, think about it, or consider giving it away it took energy from me. Multiply that by every thing in my home I didn’t need I was living in an environment that was draining me at every turn.
And for the first time I felt awake. And I haven’t stopped moving since. And I move without stopping eliminating items left and right until I came full stop at a jar with flowers that Joe had given me when we were dating. I had carefully dried them and placed them in a jar and they had lived on my kitchen counter ever since. All 8 years of life and love those flowers have been within eyesight.
And without a single tear in my eye I opened the jar breathed in the smell of the roses. I pulled one of the rose buds out and disposed of the rest.
And I gained a power over my keepsake obsession that I had never had before. I didn’t need to save ever little thing. I had never realized before that my keepsake obsession was making me sick. Sick from the inside out and often times that sickness infected my family. Since purging I am calmer, more patient, and happier.
Purging unnecessary clutter may not be the change your life needs. Maybe you need to purge toxic friendships. Maybe you need to purge excess hours from work. Maybe you need to purge what you are watching on tv or reading in books.
I think each one of us could say that there are things in our life that are making us sick. And if there was a poison in my house I would not hesitate but throw it out and I wouldn’t feel sorry.
I feel like I am only beginning to scratch the surface of this topic so I plan on going much deeper soon! So keep an eye out!
I can’t lay out all the options for purging all the things from your life. But I can share simple steps that I found to help me purge the unnecessary things from my life. I hope it helps you with no matter what you need to purge.
Eliminate Duplicates: Can You Cut the Excess?
If we are honest we have a lot of extra things that we just don’t need. We don’t need 4 spatulas or 3 shirts that are basically the same top. Comb through your items and see how many duplicates you can eliminate. You’ll have less clutter, less dishes, and more room in your cabinets, closets, and drawers.
This can be applied to other areas of your life too.
- TV watching: Maybe you don’t need to cut what you’re watching so much as how much you are watching. Or even maybe instead of watching 5 crime tv shows eliminate one of them to make more room.
- Your friends: Maybe you are investing 1 percent into a dozen friends when you could be giving 10 percent to your true and dear friends.
- Social media: Maybe you don’t need to cut it entirely but need to cut some of your social media. You don’t need to be on twitter, instagram, facebook, and all of the others. Maybe choose your favorite one or two. And for sure unfollow all the toxic things!
Make It More Compact: It Doesn’t Have To Be A Big Part of Your Life
- Stuff: We can’t get rid of everything but we can make what we do have fit better. This is something I am doing with some of my keepsakes. Because even though I don’t want to keep every single thing I would like to save some small things from life to show my children as they grow. So I am working on making them more compact. I am trying to eliminate keepsake boxes by taking pictures of bigger objects and putting as many of them that are flat into scrapbooks.
- TV watching: Maybe you could cut how many TV shows you are watching. Or cut how often or how long you watch them.
- Your friends: Maybe trying to get one on one time with all of your friends is taking up too much time. Maybe you could do group activities to free up more time in your week or month. There is also the possibility that you don’t need to cut anyone but maybe set better boundaries for how often you hang out with your friends.
- Social media: It’s possible that you may need to post less often on social media or change what kinds of things you are posting to social media. Or maybe you could wait to post until the end of the day that way you just post a few things at once and you spend less time browsing.
Weigh its value: What is it giving you?
- Stuff: While you are purging be brutally honest with yourself. One of my favorite shows is the great British baking show. I love everything about baking. But honestly I rarely bake and when I do I find comfort in the simple baked items like garlic bread which don’t require much equipment. So I got rid of a lot of my baking items. I was even able to sell a few of them! Now I have more room in my kitchen for cooking items I use regularly. And with that extra cash I am saving up to visit family this summer!
- TV watching: Maybe what you are watching doesn’t lift you up in any way. Maybe it even stresses you out (crime dramas do this to me!) Analyze what you want more of in your life and find programming that fits that. I am interested in history so I have been enjoying historical dramas.
- Your friends: Maybe some of your friends take more than they give. And that doesn’t mean they have less value as people but maybe you could start investing more in the friends who build you up to help sustain you. Sometimes we need to stop expecting the toxic friends in your life to be a source of energy to us but instead a place where you can pour good in to hope they improve. But that doesn’t mean you have to pour into them all the time. Learn to say no, even earn to say not right now.
- Social media: What are you getting from social media? There are many ways to get a better value out of social media. Adjust your privacy settings, unfollow toxic people and toxic pages, unfollow annoying facebook friends, maybe leave groups that are too big and find smaller support groups (even start one of your own!).
Stuff: Collect things that can serve dual purposes. For instance I have serving spoons that are plastic and they are great for serving but not effective at stirring because they are kind of flimsy. So I am going to slowly collect more sturdy serving spoons so that I can eliminate my plastic serving spoons and wooden stirring spoons. Soon I will just have cooking/serving spoons.
- TV watching: Maybe while you’re watching tv you can work on a project. Or watch something with a family member that you both enjoy so that it’s a group activity. Avoid just sitting watching tv and nothing else.
- Your friends: Maybe when you hang out with your friends it can be doing positive activities that boost your health or mood. Workout together, start a book club, or even pray with each other.
- Social media: Make your social media a positive place if it isn’t already. Share encouraging things and maybe less sarcastic or negative things, follow encouraging pages and people.
There is no easy fix to purging and all of this is only scratching the surface. But take one step today. You are worth it.
And what’s more God is worth it. We cannot expect to be everything God has called us to be, and reach everyone that God has called us to reach if we are constantly burdened by our own lives.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3
What can you cast off today? Share it with me in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.
Abbey is a Birth, Postpartum, Bereavement, and Sibling Doula, Breastfeeding Educator, Post Abortion Counselor, Photographer, and Artisan in Fort Worth Texas. Abbey strives to make services available to everyone through financial assistance, income based services, and more!