Growing up, at the start of every year, my mom would deep clean our entire house. She’d delegated tasks to my siblings and I, and the entire process often took several days. It wasn’t your ordinary dust and vacuum — we wiped down every nook and cranny, while simultaneously sorting through items to donate or keep.
I hated this process as a kid, but as an adult, I deeply appreciate the habit my mom instilled in me.
A new year is a new slate, it’s a time to sweep out the old and usher in what’s to come. And my mom’s enthusiasm over cleaning our home was a tangible, literal way of expressing that.
This month I’ve spent some time establishing goals I’d like to accomplish over the next twelve months, I’ve even uttered the word “resolutions” a few times. But I also decided to bring my mother’s tradition to 2017, and I have to say it’s been refreshing.
It’s not just the act of wiping surfaces and washing linens, it’s the intentionality behind going through items in my home to discern what I truly need and want. Sorting through the clutter has become a wonderful focus for me over the past month.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of or even read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I love this quote,
“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”
I have been housing so many objects that I don't use or need and I would rather only have items that I cherish. I’ve been sifting through closets and drawers discovering items that have long fallen into disuse, have been well-loved, but ready to be passed on, or cheap things that no longer function. I now have several full bags sitting by the door waiting to find a new home through my local thrift store.
My home feels a little lighter now, and I can honestly say it’s filled with things that we need, use and love. The process of sorting helped me review what I own and appreciate what I do have.
Most surprising was that through this process I also formed a list of things we’re in need of replacing. This includes things like new sheets, a rug and hangers to free up dresser space. As I start the task of tackling my list this year, I’m challenging myself to fully research each item before making a purchase.
I even created a list of questions to ask myself before purchasing, to not only hold me accountable to wiser investments, but also to ensure I don’t replace items with more disposable things.
Where was this item made? And who made it?
What is it made of? Were any harmful chemicals used in the process?
How is the environment impacted by my purchase? (I.e. is it wiser for me to spend more to buy local to reduce carbon footprints with shipping?)
Does it have a warranty?
Is it classic enough to still enjoy for years to come?
These questions won’t apply to every purchase, but they are helping me to find items I can be proud of and sort through the overwhelming amount of home goods on the market.
As I invest in this new year, I desire to invest in things for my home that do bring joy. Not just to me, but to the people making and selling them