I am a giant fan of new year’s resolutions. I know a lot of people make them, most of us ditch them, and the gym is always close to empty by February 10th. But I love the promise and hope of earnest intentions, the nobility of trying to be our best selves, and the clean slate of January 1st. I had a friend once tell me that she’s careful to shave every New Year’s Eve, because she likes to enter the new year feeling fresh and clean “like a baby.” We laughed our asses off but, also, these days, I always shave my legs (already a rare occasion) on New Year’s Eve.
For a variety of reasons, I found myself in a bit of a funk on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, and I was tempted to wallow and spend a lot of time plays “Threes” on my phone. However, I really wanted to make something special out of this self-help loving girl’s High Holiday. So I rallied and began what can only be described as a a mad cleaning and purging frenzy. (This is where I should confess that I’ve been obsessed with Tiny Houses lately, and this was not my first mad purge. Recently my husband pointed out that I have too much crap to live in a tiny house and, never one to back down from a challenge, he came home two days later to find every item of my clothing and most of my shoes strewn across the floor, including a “goodwill” pile large enough to sleep on. A few days later, I spent 25 minutes scrubbing my (seriously disgusting) bathtub and celebrated after by rewatching this guy.) Continuing with this theme, on New Year’s Eve, I threw away a giant trash bag of cosmetics, some of which I’d been hauling around since college (I think? I don’t actually know where most of that stuff came from.), recycled mountains of paper, and discovered an alarming number of dust bunnies.
For years my philosophy has been: Just slam the drawer/closet door shut and look the other way. This has resulted in a mad accumulation of crap, and the only thing keeping me on this side of hoarder-dom was a period in my recent past where I moved every year for about ten years, the itty-bitty nature of my current apartment (only so many closet doors to jam shut), and the patient insistence on the part of my husband that I have “way too much shit.”
The trouble with the just-shove-the-door-closed approach is that nothing ever actually feels clean. Best case there’s always clutter, worse (and more likely) case you have a giant pile of clothes taking up half of your bedroom floor because you’ve run out of room in that closet and the door hasn’t actually closed in months. My new approach is glorious: I’m just throwing everything in the donation bin, the recycling basket, or the trash heap. Turns out I don’t miss any of it! And I found a ton of things, like my most favorite boots from Christmas last year; they were buried behind a yoga mat, my wedding dress, and my L. L. Bean tent in said closet.
Sometimes we gravitate towards things, and we don’t know why or even that we’re doing so. I didn’t know, when I first started sorting through my clothes, that I was angling for a month long house-cleaning and crap-purging project, but I’m so glad I got sucked into this insanity. Because for the first time, maybe ever, my house is really clean. As in “everything has a place” clean. As in “this feels very grownup and I like it” clean. I often focus on some serious self-improvement projects to start the new year; it’s a ritual that I love. For the first time, however, I’ve entered the new year feeling clean and ready, slightly less burdened from the crap we all carry around, and breathing a bit easier as a result. (Seriously those dust bunnies were gross!)
How about you: How has the energy of the new year affected you? Eight days in, how are your resolutions feeling?