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  • Writer's pictureViolet

Declutter Your Way to Happy

The first step in creating the life you want is to rid yourself of everything you don't!

Growing up I never cared to get rid of things. Unlike my minimalistic big sis who'd so easily toss things into the trash, I never saw the point.

“What if I need that belt or fluffy, blue scarf? I know it doesn’t snow in SF, but Tahoe is just a few hours away. And even though I can’t ski for the life of me, I may need it. Ya never know.”

Sound familiar?

I guess growing up in a hispanic, lower-middle class... aka poor family will make you wanna keep things f o r e v e r since it took so much time, effort and crappy hourly paychecks to get them in the first place.

But - that was the past!

My newfound fascination: d e c l u t t e r i n g

My very first apartment was a beautiful spacious loft with ultra high ceilings.

Sounds divine right?

Well, it was, on the inside, once I made it that way. It was located on the corner of Indiana and Cesar Chavez. If you’re familiar with this part of SF, you know that it's a lonely, crummy corner across a mega public bus parking lot where both me and my bf’s cars were broken into. I'll never forget the crazy guy who would sing each time a bus passed by, even at 4am - right outside my window.

My first loft apartment, and Charlie tanning.

My apartment had no AC, the laundry room was always full or the quarter machine broken, and half the loft was covered in floor to ceiling windows. It felt as though the blazing sun was my next door neighbor. Luckily, this was great for growing my pretty plants, but not exactly great for me.

Little by little, I noticed that the heat would make me toss out the things I no longer needed. In the moment I felt the heat rise, I'd become annoyed with seeing something take up space, so I quickly said, buh-bye!

Strange, but, somehow the heat ignited this new little habit and bit by bit, the clutter would lessen making room so I could b r e a t h e again. As I unboxed things from my last home, I realized they didn’t hold the love I once had for them, so into the donate box they went.

Every weekend I'd spend a little more time emptying boxes of books, photos, sweaters and even a box of gifts from exes. Why did I ever bother to keep these things? SMH. Sure, some things mattered more than others, but I was becoming a new person, living on her own in the city.

These feelings made me re-evaluate what I chose to keep, and quickly decided that I wanted none of it! Sure, I kept the essentials. The first thing my gorgeous gay friends, Deyvis and Jaime noticed when they came to visit were my perfectly organized wine glasses. Essentials, right?

Soon after moving in, I came across the book, Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo.

After reading it that evening, I too decided that I only wanted to be surrounded by things that genuinely SPARKED JOY. It sounded so magical!

I learned that if I held something in my hands and it drained me or made me feel absolutely nothing, it was meant to go. Why didn’t I do this before I moved in? I surely would’ve saved tons of money in packing materials. But hey, I learned and so can you.

It was never my intention to get attached to things that no longer served me. Perhaps it was that I didn’t wanna let go of something I thought I needed. I simply had never learned about dedicating time into intentionally living with items that actually made me happy. My "backpack of belongings" had become too heavy with old hand-me-downs, unwanted gifts I felt too guilty to give up, and diary journals with pages I didn't want to part with, but in the moment I let them go, I became so f r e e.

Wanna give it a go?

Below are my 5 ways to quickly spark joy:

1. Start small. Pick a drawer or even a bookshelf.

2. Grab 3 containers or bags.

3. Label each with 3 signs:

1) Keep 2) Sell 3) Donate/Dump

4. Work quickly! If you don't, you’ll get distracted and end up drinking a bottle of wine on your kitchen floor reminiscing on the past… don’t waste time thinking twice about your decision. Your first gut instinct is always right. Listen to it.

5. Lastly, take 3 seconds to decide what you do with the item. Consider it a timed game to make it more fun. Read, set, go play!

Stuck on an item? Ask yourself these q's to help speed things up:

1. Does it bring joy? - Keep!

2. Does it no longer fit? - Donate or Sell!

3. Is it torn, old or does it not bring you joy? - Toss!

Note: if you have sentimental items that you're having difficulty parting with such as those left behind by a loved one, placed them in their own bucket to be dealt with later when you have the time and emotional capacity to handle them. Don't rush this one.

For now, focus on everything else including: clothing, bedding, shoes, books, documents, kitchen items, gadgets, decorations, and gifts received. This also includes pet items and old toys too!

When you get rid of what no longer serves you, you open space to attract what you do desire.

Now, Charlie says to go spark some joy!

Sending love,

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