|Photography by Russ Shugart|
Every January, people rush out and get a gym membership, set a list of goals or resolutions, and get ready to take on a new year of frenetic activity.
Unfortunately, we don’t often clear space to make room for all this new stuff.
The beginning of the year is a great time for renewal of energy and taking on the things we’ve always wanted to tackle — clutter, fitness, work we’re passionate about, debt, and so on. But it’s also a great time to clear out your life, starting out the year on a blank page that’s ready to be filled.
While everyone’s life is different, I’ll share some of what I do to clear out my life.
- Review the year to think about what I learned, what mistakes I made, what I accomplished.
- Clear my schedule as much as possible. That often means saying no to people.
- Wrap up old projects, end commitments to people, so that my work plate is clearer than normal.
- Toss out old fitness and eating plans, to make room for new experiments.
- Clear my email inbox. If I haven’t answered the email recently, it’s probably not important, so I archive it. Act on or answer other emails, so that my inbox is emptied.
- Clear out other inboxes. That might be an inbox on a social network, or a list of things I wanted to do or read, or any kind of list really. File them away under someday, or delete or archive. Anything that’s taking some mental energy because I know I need to get to it, gets cleared.
- Clear my computer files. Usually this means deleting a bunch of files I don’t need, but I also just consolidate files into one folder or put them in an online archive (like in Dropbox).
- Clear paperwork. I rarely have any papers these days — I’ve slowly turned everything digital. But I still get things in the mail sometimes, so if I have any lying around, I dispose of them to clear out any remaining paperwork.
- Clear clutter. If there are areas that have become cluttered, I clear them out. Often it just means taking a box or bag of things that I’ve been meaning to donate to Goodwill.
- Clear my errands. I’ll make a list of all the errands I’ve been putting off, and do them in one afternoon.
- Clear my finances. I’ll take a few minutes to review my checking and savings accounts, Paypal, investments, etc. and make sure everything is in order. If there are little things that need taking care of, I do them so that my mind is cleared.
- Clear pantry and refrigerator of junk. Old crap that’s been lying around. Junk food if there’s any there (I don’t usually have any anymore, but I used to). Left with just good whole ingredients for healthy foods.
To be honest, I do these things regularly throughout the year, and it’s great to keep a clean slate most of the time. But the new year is always a perfect opportunity to clear everything at once.