The start of a New Year is always filled with the hope of all things new and organised. I tend not to overstretch myself with my resolutions as there's no point in experiencing crushing disappointment before it's absolutely necessary, is there?
I try to give myself smaller tasks so there's more chance I'll carry them out without suddenly feeling overwhelmed and having to go for a lie down. This is my official To Do list for January:
|So many dresses, so few parties...|
We all have clothes in wardrobes, shelves and cupboards (or in my case, all of these) that we never wear. Whether you can no longer squeeze into them, they're simply out of fashion, or you were clearly drunk when you bought them, there's usually little need to hold on to them. Personally, I have the biggest part of three full closets and a large airing cupboard literally crammed full of dresses, shoes, jackets and other assorted outfits that I either haven't worn or don't fit. Why I keep them is anyone's business, but the longer they spend hanging around my house, the shorter the time they could be spending in my local charity shops and then, hopefully, in the homes of other 39 year old women with Too Much Stuff.
If you're hanging on to that strapless party dress that you absolutely cannot envisage yourself EVER having cause to wear (for me, this is mainly because I don't like going to parties...), or you think you'll eventually get back to being the size 8 you once were; the start of a new year is the perfect time to go through every item of clothing you own and get rid of anything you haven't worn for the past 6 months. You'll be amazed (if not a little stunned) by just how many items end up in a sorry pile on the bedroom floor. However, not only will it give you all the feels to donate your clothes to your local charity store, the extra space will make it SO much easier to find what you're looking for on a freezing Monday morning when you needed to be in the car ages ago and have spent the past 10 minutes raking through unsuitable attire for something acceptable for a day in the office.
Bric a Brac
I'm talking books, CDs, DVDs and all the other crap that builds up in our homes that collects dust and, quite frankly, we could live without. I have piles of CDs in a box under the bed in my guest room and I don't even own a facility capable of playing them at home. I seem to have kept them purely for sentimental reasons (I'm looking at you, first Barenaked Ladies album I ever bought...). Whilst I could play them in the car, I tend to use my phone these days and most of the CDs I own I now have on iTunes. I'm not suggesting you throw everything out as, but in the age of Netflix, Kindle and Apple Music; do you really need to have a physical copy? Now, although I do think having a massive clear out is good for the soul, I also admit to having things I will just never ever part with. These are mainly books, with the occasional CD and DVD that is no longer available. This is partly because I wish to impose some of my crap on my nephews when I die and don't see why they should get away with not having to sit through a viewing of Big Business or tune into The Eagles Greatest Hits, if just teach them just how incredibly cool their Auntie Suzi was. Decide what you want to keep for posterity and get rid of the rest to your local charity store.
I honestly couldn't count the sheer volume of cosmetics that I have in my bathroom. My cabinet alone houses 4 mascaras, a huge range of eye and brow pencils, and about 5 bottles of foundation at various stages of life. I am the type of person who buys something, gets bored, and then buys something to replace it without getting rid of the original thing I don't use. My everyday make-up consists of foundation. That's literally all I have time for. If I'm feeling particularly upbeat, I might even use some bronzer. Quite how I've come to amass so much make up that I don't use is anyone's guess. I haven't worn eye shadow more than a handful of times in my entire adult life, but I've got it in a range of colours from a plethora of expensive brands. Why? I know not. For the New Year, I've promised myself that I'm not allowed to buy any more foundation until I finish all the bottles I have and I will NOT buy any more eyebrow pencils when I am, quite frankly, too lazy to use them on a normal day. Instead, I've been slowly getting rid of the stuff I do have and don't use. No one needs 4 tubes of mascara, regardless of how much they plaster on. A single quality brand is more than sufficient. Otherwise, it'll just end up wasting away in a dingy make-up bag getting clumpy and gross. Go through all that pretty packaging and put anything you haven't used for months in a pile. Either offer it to your more make-up friendly family members or mates, or simply throw it out. I swear you'll feel better. Honest.
The Shit Under The Sink
I think every home has a cupboard under the sink that is full of unknown stuff. I have a nasty habit of buying polish and fruity smelling air freshener that festers away in the dark recesses beneath my kitchen sink in the vain hope that they'll ever fulfil their purpose of making my utility room smell like a really small orchard. In amongst the crap I keep in there are several bottles of Flash liquid, candles, wax melts, scourers, feather dusters, various bottles of bleach, and a few hundred bottles of liquid soap. For reasons unknown, I continue to purchase stuff that I see on sale, despite the fact that I don't need it. I have now decanted all the bottle of Flash into one big bottle, cleared out the candles and lined them up for use, chucked out a few rather disturbing looking cloth dusters and a bag full of utter crap from 2003. Tidy it up, chuck it out and only keep what you actually use around the house. Or in my case, what your husband actually uses around the house....
Moving on slightly from actual stuff that lies around the house, apps are another thing that take up space on my phone and iPad and which I largely have no use for. I can't tell you the number of things I've downloaded over the years and then barely used. My rule now is: if I haven't used it in a month, it gets deleted. This leaves me enough room for the apps I *do* use, and space to download true crime podcasts, country music and gory stuff from Netflix. It also helps my phone to run a bit quicker and stops me swearing every time I want something that my iPad tells me I have no room for. As well as clearing out my devices, I now also store my apps in handy folders on my desktop under excellent titles, such as 'Music', 'Social Media' and, I kid you not, 'Random Shit'. This way, I instantly know where everything is and don’t have to scroll through four or five screen trying to locate something I want to log in to.
I'm talking all the crap that takes up your time and stops you doing something, well...more productive. I use social media a LOT, but much of this is to do with my blogs as it is as a vehicle to communicate with friends and family back home in Scotland and across the world. As life transforming as social media can be, it also has a really dark side and can be a pretty negative influence on mental health, in some cases. Over the past few months, I've had a wee clear out of people that I honestly have nothing in common with; those that post things that get my back right up (racist, xenophobic, sectarian nonsense, mainly). I also have to block posts on animal cruelty because I just can't bear looking at it. I like my feed to be filled with immature memes, stupidity, and dogs dressed as lobster. I also find it difficult to look at pictures of people's babies all the time. I guess they feel exactly the same way about constant photos of my dog, but that's just the way the world goes round, isn't it? If we all liked the same thing, it'd be a pretty dull life.
I spend a large percentage of my time scrolling through my emails, just trying to locate the ones I actually need to read. I have a main email and one for each of my two blogs, so it's not wonder I get bogged down from time to time. I have started unsubscribing from all emails that I tend to simply delete unread. If I'm not reading them, I clearly don't need them and this saves me so much time in the long run. Sometimes I feel a pang of regret about that Nigerian Prince that once reached out to me, but then I get a Buzzfeed's 'A Dog a Day' newsletter and then all's well with the world once again. Simply selecting a few emails each day that I don't need and subscribing from them makes life so much easier over the course of a few weeks and helps me not to miss the important emails I actually need to see.
What are you clearing out in the New Year?