I recently did a big spring clean of my home. Pretty typical event for this time of year but I decided to get extreme. To begin, I sorted through some clothes to donate, recycled some magazines that had piled up and cleaned some hard to reach places. Basically, I took care of all of the usual suspects.
I took a deep breath at the end of the process and looked around. I waited for a feeling of spaciousness and relief. Hmmm… I took another deep breath. Squinting slightly, I looked around again. This time I was gently suspicious of my home and spring-cleaning efforts.
Where was my feeling of relief?
I’d gotten rid of all the obvious crap. I was just left with the stuff I really use and the stuff I was definitely going to use someday.
Actually, there was a lot of stuff I was going to use someday. There were a bunch of free hair and beauty product samples in the bathroom. There were spices and flavored oils that I’d bought on a whim. I had been in Vom Fass, a local oil and spice shop, and had done some fantasy-life shopping.
Fantasy-life shopping definition: When you buy something for a life you dream of living but have no intention of actually pursuing.
You know, I imagined my life as a person who is constantly having dinner parties and serving baguettes with rosemary oil. That’s fantasy shopping. I don’t think I’ve bought a single baguette in the past five years. In my fantasy though, I was buying baguettes left and right and serving them with my collection of French wines.Full disclosure, in the fantasy I was wearing a cute vintage apron and had mastered doing my hair in a French twist.
In real life, I’m more likely to meet friends at a restaurant after a hike than to have a dinner party. Yet, the oil assortment remained, taking up valuable space in my cabinet.
A few cabinets over, I had risotto, brown rice, millet, goulash mix, and some crazy wild rice with bean thing. Who knows how long those have all been there. Turns out I love buying rice type things and hate cooking them. I know that about myself now.
I had to take care of this hidden clutter. There were practical items everywhere that I just didn’t want to use. So, I got extreme.
1) Take inventory. I gave my cabinets in the bathroom, laundry room and kitchen a good once over. I looked closely and starting brainstorming possibile uses. I moved the back items of the cabinet to the front.
2) Commit. I committed to six weeks of using up what I already had and limiting my shopping.
3) Get creative. Since I was committed to using what I already had in my home, I had to get creative. I was trying out new hairstyles and make-up with the free samples I had accumulated. I was also Googling new recipes and literally spicing it up in the kitchen.
4) Get rid of it. I did my absolute best for six weeks but a few things were just never going to be used. I donated those final items or gave them to a friend.
In the end, I saved a lot of money on groceries and random buys for the six weeks. I finally got to take a deep breath, look around and feel relief and spaciousness.