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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

Getting Clutter-Free for 2019

Heading into a new year is always a good excuse to wipe the slate clean and start afresh in my opinion. So many people are made fun of as each year comes to a close for having plans, resolutions, promises they want to keep for themselves but is there any harm in them? If people use the start of a new year happening as an excuse to give themself a kick up the butt in some shape or form, I will be the last person to shoot down that kind of positivity. I like to set myself some goals each year that I know are attainable (and a couple that are designed to make me push myself out of my comfort zone) but I've realised over the last couple of years that it's really quite hard to just wake up in this fresh mindset, ready to face all of these new challenges you have set for yourself. That's why this year I'm doing a few things to shut down 2018 and bring it to a healthy, obvious close in the hopes that I can move forward with more clarity and certainty.

I don't believe having this sort of attitude requires too much from an individual, but by already doing some of these things, I feel like I am preparing myself for the future in a good way and starting things off on the right foot - it's helping me provide the best environment possible to reap the best benefit as possible. I've just got my fingers and toes crossed that I can keep this motivation up! So here's some of the small last-minute changes I am making to my life and world around me in order to start January 2019 in the best light (and simply some other suggestions that might suit some more common NY resolutions!):

Sort out your bookcase. If your household is anything like mine, your bookshelves will be bursting at the seams with a wide variety of literature that doesn't always get the attention it all deserves. Bookcases seem to have a knack for collecting clutter because we tend to place things there then forget about them so I'm making an effort to tidy them up heading into the first week of January. I know for a fact our bookshelves have doubles of some books and there's things there that I don't even care about owning anymore therefore, having a declutter and knowing I can donate some nice books to my local charity shops is a positive way to head into the new year.

Sort out your spice rack.... and your kitchen cupboards in general. Another place that hordes clutter for me is our kitchen. There's lots of tins, jars, half-opened items etc. that seem to linger in the kitchen for months on end and it brings that positive environment rating down. Something I am doing as the year draws to a close and the new year starts is using up this clutter in new recipes which means not only are food items not being wasted, but I'm testing and trying new recipes, cuisines, and meals I otherwise wouldn't have experienced or researched for. The big major tidy-up in this area for me is the spice cupboard. I am very much a spices and herbs kinda gal when it comes to cooking so it should be no surprise that one whole cupboard is dedicated to just these ingredients alone, but when your 5ft 2 on a tall day, you can imagine the dilemma I have trying to find anything in there without everything coming crashing down around me. Having a system, some organisers, and just a general clear out of this space is going to vastly improve my kitchen and minimise clutter!

Get rid of food that might hinder you. Before anyone berates me, I am very firmly situated in the camp "eat what you want and do what makes you happy" but I know for many people heading into the New Year, a goal of weight loss or gain, fitness, health etc. is often on the cards so setting yourself up for the start of the year the right way is the best way to kickstart it all. After Christmas my house tends to have a lot of junk lingering around in the form of chocolate, excess booze, savoury snacks... you get the jist. By donating anything to food banks, neighbours, the local church, or simply using it up before 2019 rolls around can be helpful for those of you who might have goals in mind which rely in some part on your eating/drinking habits. Particularly those of you who are trying Veganuary this January (well done to *any* and all of you who are trying this - I really wanted to this year but can't due to some health reasons!), ensuring your kitchen cupboards and fridges are only stocked full of vegan foods etc. can make the transition easier as there's less temptation and less opportunity for you to be swayed by other items.

Get ready to donate! I mentioned donating food earlier if you can, but something I think people wildly overlook after the Christmas period is donating unwanted Christmas gifts. Now, that's not me saying that anyone is ungrateful, but receiving gifts that you know you are not going to use or don't suit you, aren't your cup of tea etc. is commonplace during Christmas and seeing those things just cluttering up your home and gathering dust when someone else may absolutely *love* them is reason enough in my book to get donating. It's never too soon to donated unwanted gifts and of course, your local high street charity shops will take more things gladly. However, also investigate things like your local homeless shelters, women's shelters and children's hospitals in case they are in need of anything. Items like clothing and accessories are easily managed and moved onto loving homes but organisations such as Toiletries Amnesty help share unwanted toiletries and cosmetics with those who may need them most. Even if you've opened something and tested it out or you're sat there with 8 Lynx Africa gift sets and at your whits end, places such as Toiletries Amnesty can take it all off your hands and help you put it to good use elsewhere.

Get back on that capsule wardrobe wagon. Back in September, I pledged to minimise my spending habits when it came to fashion once again and revisited the idea of sustaining a capsule wardrobe. I honestly believe that even if you're not interested in a minimal lifestyle, having a basic capsule wardrobe to build on can be extremely beneficial - even if you find it difficult to stick to like me! I find I give myself a hard reset with my wardrobe at certain points throughout the year and always follow my capsule wardrobe rules to achieve this. Having a big clear out can be very cleansing for the soul and the act of organising this part of my life always impacts me positively which has a ripple effect into other areas of my life. Get organising, get donating, and get bettering yourself via a clean and tidy wardrobe and I promise you'll see some benefits.

Hit that budgeting and/or planning hard. Something I'm very keen to do from the get-go this year is plan plan plan. I'm quite an organised person generally anyway, but when I can efficiently plan things out, I always feel so much more collected and also more confident with what's going on in my life and managing any hurdles that may come my way. One thing I always struggle with however is budgeting and thus, this is one of my big focuses and motivators this year. I find I can budget really well when I know I have something particular to save towards and whilst I know I have some big things planned this coming year that definitely need some savings behind them, creating smaller, more monthly budgeting goals is also going to help me keep that focus. I've already pledged to only buy a small number of fashion items that I need this year and not to buy anything else other than the items of that very concise list. Another way I'm aiming to budget is to plan and prep meals thoroughly so I can try to minimise expensive meals - both in and out the house - to see how much of a difference this makes. Planning can often get a bad rep as people see it as "boring" and try to take the mick out of those who do it but when you see just how much you can achieve with a little bit of organisation to back you up, it should only ever boost you and your life in a good way - ignore the Negative Nigels!

Shut down any and all negative relationships. Lastly, something I wanted to touch on is something I have thought I needed to do in the past but never did, only for things to blow up in my face further down the line anyway. Decluttering your life doesn't need to include just physical objects or materialistic things, it can also relate to any relationships you have. These can be with family members, friends, partners... if you're not happy parties on both sides of the fence, then it may be time to step back and ask yourself why and also question whether things can improve or not. I'm not suggesting here that if you're going through any sort of difficulties with a loved one right now that you just completely stop speaking to them - that's often not the right course of action for anyone and doesn't always result in the right response. However, if you feel a relationship of any sort has run it's course, it's feeling like a lot of effort (and not the good kind), or it's simply turning toxic, don't bring that bad energy into your new year that you're shaping with so much promise. Relationships of all types can be tricky to manage and sustain but those that are genuine and reciprocated can get through a lot. Those in which an individual (which could be them or you) is toxic where it is effecting the happiness of either party or the relationship as a whole may not be the best idea to drag into your new year which could hold so much for you. Cutting ties isn't a sign of weakness or heartlessness, but this sense of "decluttering" could be so rewarding for you.

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