Let’s start with what we know
The act of spring cleaning gives us the opportunity to cleanse our homes of the things that are making our lives less efficient and, in the process, dragging our happiness down the drain. Things like the clutter on the counter or the stack of papers you’ve been meaning to file for the last few months are obvious places to start.
But if you take a moment and dig a little deeper, there are sure to be other things that are consciously or subconsciously dragging you down every day. For example, what about that piece of furniture you keep telling yourself that you want to restore and haven’t gotten to since you bought it years ago? Or what about the clothes in your closet you keep pushing aside because they have either gone out of style or simply don’t fit? These kinds of things take up mental and emotional space in our lives and simply by donating or otherwise getting rid of them, it clears a path for the things that bring us happiness or satisfaction.
Now let’s dig a little deeper
Remember that pile of papers we spoke about earlier? Yes, that mixture of old junk-mail, bills, and other financial papers. It’s time to go through those and apply the same idea as we did earlier by not only filing away the things we need to keep but by creating an environment that helps both our emotional and financial states.
1 Go Paperless
It’s amazing how easy it is in today’s world to become more paperless through enrolling in online billing and automatic payments for the bills we have to pay each month.
2 Eliminate Subscriptions
We can also save time and money by cutting out the bills for the things that no longer bring us happiness… like that expensive gym membership that is no longer getting used as you originally planned and now causes resentment every time you pay it. There are a million and one ways to continue to get your exercise fix without a gym membership just by utilizing the things you already have… if you even need to go that far, i.e., there’s no equipment needed for sit-ups or pushups and last time I checked we are all free to walk or run outside.
3 Extraneous Account
Fees Another place to look for a financial stack of “clutter” might be all your extraneous accounts. It’s often overlooked, but you may be paying for the 401k from your old employer or other ancillary accounts that you’ve accumulated over the years that could potentially be consolidated to cut back those nickel and dime fees that are staring at you while filing away the quarterly statements.
4 Spending Plan
Another way to spring clean a path to financial happiness is to think ahead and create a spending plan. To learn more about what makes a spending plan different from a budget, stay tuned for a future blog that digs into this even further.
Now, the most difficult
Relationships. There are some people in your life that know just how to lift you up no matter if it’s been a day or a decade since you talked with them last. And then there are the “others.” In this digital-friend-collecting world we seem to live in today, so many people put a value on the actual number of friends they have over the quality and depth of those relationships. The challenge is to let go of the relationships that are dragging you down or are simply no longer contributing to your happiness… at all.
The need for relationships to be “spring cleaned” could be for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps there is a lack of trust or loyalty or maybe things have gotten to the point where the relationship is toxic. There are other more subtle reasons: like you’ve grown apart and no longer see eye to eye or you could even just be unsure where the relationship stands.
The easy ones to identify are those that you are fighting to make things work or there is just no sense of mutual support. The key is to let go of those relationships that are no longer bringing you what you want and need: happiness. It can be hard at first to move on from certain relationships, but if they are truly meant to be with you, they will lift you up and perhaps someday again be a welcomed addition to your life.
We all know life is too short to be trying to carry all the physical and emotional baggage that comes with the things and people that weigh us down. With springtime upon us now, I wish you all the best in your own personal spring cleaning and know you will flourish more and more as you continue to “declutter” your life and start surrounding yourself with the things and people that you love.
“If you have but only two coins left, buy a loaf of bread with one and a flower with the other. The first is to sustain life and the second is to have a life worth living.” ~ Ancient Chinese Proverb
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris