Why I detoxed and opted for clean living in 2018. (It’s probably not what you think.)

Long title? Yes. Long story? No. Well, maybe.

2017, and to be honest, for a couple years leading up to it… okay, to be real honest, for several years leading up to it… was kind of a clutterf*ck. Clutter was around me literally everywhere. The kitchen, living room, dining room (hello, #diningroomtabledumpingground), entryway, bathroom, bedroom, my work office… You get the idea. Pretty much every space I inhabited was enmeshed with stuff. Much of it was just shit that needed to get pitched or donated.

Over the holidays, I was off work for a little over two weeks. It was glorious. After about 10 days, I looked around – really seeing this time – and became (even more) disgusted with myself about how my living space had gotten out of control with clutter. My “lifestyle” had become paralyzing. Anyone been there? It’s too much. Too much to do, too much to think about, too much to deal with. Too time-consuming. Too mindboggling. Too depressing. It feels like there is so much to do that you don’t know where to begin. So you don’t. And you don’t. And you don’t. And before you know it, you’re on the Jerry Springer episode of I’m an Accidental Hoarder. I don’t even like the Jerry Springer Show. Is he even still around? I didn’t want to find out.

I would walk into my house and instantly be drained of all good vibes. One step through the doorway had the power to strip me of not only a good mood, but my spiritual well-being. A cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. And a cluttered mind makes it hard for you to connect with the Universe. And when you can’t get connected with the Universe, you get stuck in this heavy, static state of spiritual toxicity. I was heading into about page 36 of my Give a Mouse a Cookie sort of life. I didn’t want to get to page 40 and watch the cycle repeat itself.

So little by little, I began the arduous task of detoxing my living space. Yes, it was overwhelming. Yes, it was exhausting. I stayed up until 2 or 3 a.m. most nights. And yes, it was embarrassing, even if I only shared pictures with a close friend. Verrrry close friend. But I did share pictures because I needed to come clean. Literally and figuratively. At times I felt like I was just moving shit from one room to another and I wondered if I was actually making it worse. But as I began to see progress, one room at a time, I picked up momentum. Every day became more productive than the last. And guess what? Every day I was in a better mood than the day before. Looking around was no longer as overwhelming. It wasn’t depressing. It wasn’t even disgusting. I took bags and boxes of unused stuff to local charity, and as each room became clean and tidy, not only did my home begin to feel lighter, but my spirit did as well.

I got into daily habits of making my bed, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, and actually opening and doing something with every single piece of mail. Novel concept. Granted, it has only been two weeks (ha!), but walking into a room that is clean, organized, and clutter-free is so gratifying and peaceful. Before detoxing my bedroom space, I avoided going there except to sleep. It was oppressive. I didn’t sleep well and woke up exhausted. Now I look forward to going to bed early so that I can climb under the crisp covers to read before heading into dreamland. I sleep well and I wake up in a good mood. And when I venture into the kitchen for that first cup of coffee, I actually look forward to it rather than dreading the sink full of dishes or the clutter on the counter. And I can actually serve dinner on the dining room table because the only thing on it is the centerpiece.

Since coming clean, a few times I’ve started to absent-mindedly travel down the thoughtpath of how my living space had turned into what felt like a toxic landfill. But chaos can be a chatty bitch, so each time she’s wandered into my mental space, I tune out the static by turning to the Universe. And each time, it complies, washing over me in a soothing cleanse of mind and spirit. Along with my daily cleaning habits, I’m back into my daily spiritual practice that includes meditation, and have carved out bits of “me” time throughout the day. I feel connected again. I’m realigned.

End of story? I hope so. But chaos is not just a chatty bitch. She’s a persistent one, too.

Static
 

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9 thoughts on “Why I detoxed and opted for clean living in 2018. (It’s probably not what you think.)

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, this kept me busy for a good many days! I’m happy to report I’ve kept up with keeping things tidy. 🙂
      Kim
      P.S. I tried commenting on one of your posts but I couldn’t without logging in to Facebook.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Kim,

      I use FB Comments, which I believe requires that commenters have an FB login.

      I was receiving too much spam, which is why I switched to FB Comments. Now, I do not have to waste time on spammers!

      I moderate the Comments using FB’s Developer tools.

      Additionally, by logging in and Commenting, does not mean that one automatically becomes FB friends with me. It simply gives access to the commenting functionality on my website.

      What do you use to manage your Comments?

      Cheers,
      Debbie

      Like

    3. Ah, gotcha. I rarely go on to Facebook so that wouldn’t work as an option for me. The plug-in akismet on my blog theme is supposed to catch a lot of spam, but my blog is pretty new so i don’t get much traffic right now anyway. It’s nice to know that for future reference in case I need it!

      Good luck with your blog. Thank you for sharing such a personal piece of your past. What a horrible, painful experience. Never forget how much adversity you have overcome!💜
      Kim

      Like

  1. I am so impressed and quite honestly flabbergasted that you have been able to do this in two weeks! I’ve been wanting to do this for so long. But I’ve procrastinated and procrastinated because I literally DON’T know where to start. Like you say, it feels so overwhelming and so I think about it every hour of every day and never get started because the monumental task of it all paralyzes me. The thought of getting my house decluttered and organized in only two weeks feels impossible. I’m not even sure I could do it in 2 years! To other people, my house looks clean but to me it’s cluttered and chaotic. I tend to keep junk I don’t really need. I’ve started many times on my basement and get so overwhelmed that I usually am in tears after one or two days and abandon the whole project. Can I ask, did you go room to room or have a certain technique?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gail,

      Thanks for reading my post and for your comment! Yes, two weeks does seem to be a monumental feat, but I was incredibly determined. I also have a relatively small house and there is very little storage on the main floor (I have an unfinished basement, which I fondly refer to as the dungeon…), so I really had to do something with all of the stuff I cleaned and not just stick it in a closet. In all fairness, I should also say that post-detox, my house isn’t exactly Martha Stewart Living. 🙂

      I can’t say that I started with any real method to my madness, but once I got an initial rhythm going that seemed to work, it became my “technique.” It really does seem overwhelming at first, and I totally get being paralyzed!

      If you’re anything like me with the clutter, I found that the mental overwhelm was just as big, and even more debilitating, as the physical overwhelm. Psyching myself up mentally was more important, and harder to do, than the physical cleaning. Once you get into the right head space, the rest is becomes sort of robotic.

      I’ll offer some suggestions that you might try.

      – Forgive yourself! I beat myself up repeatedly for a long time before actually tackling my house. But we are human. We have priorities and there are things in life we want to do. There are also things we must do that often take priority over cleaning or decluttering. It’s okay to be human! It’s what we are.
      – Take pictures! Take several pictures of each room before you get started so that you can see your progress.
      – Eliminate your go-to distractions, such as your phone, laptop/computer, avoidance eating (a big one for me!) , running an errand “real quick”… I got in the habit of putting my phone on silent and keeping it in another room.
      – Enlist the support of a close friend. Even if you are doing the work alone, having a friend cheer you on and support your mission is huge. It also helps you to be more accountable.
      – Reward yourself for accomplishments! As an example, I love dark chocolate. I usually have 2 small pieces (Dove Promises) every day. But during the detox period, I told myself that I would “get” (= reward) extra chocolate that day if I got “x” accomplished. It may seem kinda dumb, but on days that I had set bigger goals, my reward was also bigger. I celebrated with a big bowl of popcorn when I got the dining room table cleaned off! When I finished my bedroom, my reward was new flannel sheets. 🙂
      – Start with the easiest room. For me, it was the kitchen. Our kitchen is small, so any amount of clutter makes it feel even smaller.
      – For bigger rooms or those that have more clutter, break it down into sections. This could be either part of the room or “types” of clutter. My sun room, for example, isn’t really that big, but it had become the catch-all for things I couldn’t figure out what to do with … or just plain didn’t want to deal with… So in that room, I started with magazines. I had amassed a HUGE amount of magazines. I love magazines. I had years worth of certain ones. But for the sake of my sanity, I decided I wasn’t really ever going to go back through all of them, so I started boxing them up to get rid of them. The night before trash pickup, I’d haul a few boxes to the curb. Once they were out of the room, it was already better! That gave me the momentum to keep going with other stuff in that room.
      – Unless your basement is living space or that’s the primary source of clutter, ignore it. For now. Focus on clearing (physical and mental) space in the areas of your home that you spend the most time.
      – Get rid of stuff, even if you have to throw away “perfectly good” stuff. I would keep something because there was nothing wrong with it – regardless of the fact that I was never going to wear, use, read, look, … at it, probably ever again. As painful as it was in the moment, I actually threw stuff away, even if someone maybe could have used it. I kept reminding myself of the point of the task: clean your space, free your mind of the clutter. So I did.
      – *Key* – once a room is clean, uncluttered, and organized, get into the habit of immediately cleaning up after yourself and putting the room back together exactly as it was. This has been instrumental for me. Every single day I make my bed, arrange the pillows and throw blanket, and put my clothes away – no.matter.what. It only takes a few minutes every day. And before I walk out of the room, I turn around and look at it and pat myself on the back. Truly. I love how clean and tidy it is and I want to keep it that way.
      – When you pick something up, make a decision about it and follow through. 1) Keep it and put it away where it belongs. 2) Get rid of it and throw it in the trash. You might have to walk outside to the big bin for some things so that you aren’t tempted to take it back out of the trash can in the house. 🙂 3) Give it to someone who will actually put it to good use.
      – Put a box by the door and start filling it with things you will donate. When the box is full, put it in your trunk and slam the trunk shut. Don’t open it and go back through the box looking for “that one treasure…” Let it be someone else’s treasure!

      I know that’s a lot, and maybe all of that is just as overwhelming as the clutter itself!! I hope not! The most important part for me was to just start. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Momentum kept me going after I got started. And be kind to yourself! It didn’t get like that overnight, and it won’t get to the point where you want it to be overnight. That’s okay. Strive for progress, not perfection. A little bit every day is enough to start with. For me, once I started and began to see visible progress, I just wanted to keep going. I was literally like the Energizer bunny some nights. Some days I didn’t even really get into a groove until about 6 p.m., but then I would often be up until 2 or 3 a.m. because I just got so excited about getting so much accomplished.

      Good luck to you! I’ll be your cheerleader from the sidelines! Detoxing my living space really has freed up so much space in my spiritual space. I wish that for you as well! 🙂

      Kim

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Wow! Thank you for such a kind and detailed response! I really appreciate you taking the time to do that! It was very helpful. You have encouraged me more than you will ever know.

      Liked by 1 person

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