Decluttering for intentional growth: Things to throw away

Welcome to 2016! Articles this month will take a very thoughtful approach to the idea "New Year, New You!" First up - letting go of meaningless possessions to make room for purposeful growth.

I read Marie Kondo's The life-changing magic of tidying up in an effort to become less of a slob. I'm still a slob (and no longer ashamed of it), but I am a big fan of her decluttering philosophy. In the book, she challenges you to discard anything that does not bring you joy when you hold it in your hand. I challenge you in 2016 to be more thoughtful about your life, that includes the items that surround you on a daily basis.


I live by these three rules:

1. Never bring anything into your home that does not bring you joy

2. Discard or donate anything you come across that does not bring you joy

3. Discard or donate anything that does not fit into your personal brand.


Listed below are a few suggestions to start the discarding process:

Clothing & shoes

Throw away anything that has holes, stains, tears, broken zippers, etc. These items look sloppy. This is not a sloppy year. In 2016, we are going to think about the image we portray to the world. You don't have to spend a lot of money on clothing to look good, but you should be clean and tidy. Discard damaged items and learn to take care of your remaining items. I recently did this and it was much harder than I thought it would be because the items in my closet that are the most distressed are the items that I wear the most. They are filled with holes and stains because they have been my go-to items, which is why I also had to sadly let them go.

In general, I prefer to donate items vs selling or discarding, but a very thoughtful friend brought to my attention that donating severely damaged items is not an act of kindness. Imagine if you were in your hardest times and someone gave you a bag of clothing, how would it make you feel if the clothing was obviously something they no longer wanted vs gently used clothing. Using the less fortunate as your trash can is not an act of kindness.


Donate or sell clothing that no longer fits with your personal brand. To be honest, I don't really care what I look like most of the time, but I have to remind myself that other people do. There's a balance between self-confidence and creating a personal image/brand. When I was younger, I cared so much about how other people saw me that I was always flawless. Since I started dating Alex, I've become a total bum because unconditional love is a huge ego booster. I'm now trying to find a happy medium between "My self love is not related to what I look like" and "This is how I want to present myself to the world."  More on this complex topic later this month!

Kondi brings up a great theory in her book that clutter keeps us from really appreciating the few pieces we truly love. If you find yourself only wearing the same 5 pieces in your closet over and over, get rid of the excess! Either sell the excess (and maybe purchase more things that you love or kickstart a savings account) or donate them. I absolutely love donating clothes. We have a long standing tradition in my home of going through our closets and donating items twice a year. At this point in my life, I have a set number of hangers and whenever I bring something new into my life, I go through the things I own and look for a way to downsize.


Beauty products

For me, beauty products are the hardest to downsize because I wear make-up so infrequently. I replenish my everyday basics once to twice a year, but I have so many lipsticks, eyeshadows, and eyeliners from when I used to wear more make-up. This article lists expiration dates for most products. In general, if you've had something for two years, it's time to throw it away.


Magazines, books, and DVDs

Trash the magazines. Donate the books and DVDs. I can't think of one reason to hold on to an old magazine. If there's an article you really like, take a picture of the article and upload it to evernote. What you do with old books depends on their purpose. If they are part of your home decoration, of course keep them. If you're holding on to them because you think you'll reread them, be honest with yourself. If you don't honestly think you'll reread the book, donate them please! In my opinion, a book is hands down the best gift you can give anyone of any age. My smarttv and apple tv have made DVDs useless for me. I recently donated an older tv, dvd player, and all of my DVDs to Lost-n-Found Youth.


Lecture material, textbooks, and old notes

I take a lot of pride in my study notes. In medical school, I would keep a folder of notes from each rotation - both on my computer and in my desk for paper notes. Never did I look back at them. I think it's reasonable to keep notes while you're completing a class, but after the class is over you're much more likely to look up related material on the internet than pull out your old notes.


Junk in your wallet

Trash or donate any unwanted rewards cards (if they're up for a free purchase) and gift cards.


Tote bags

I have a tote bag full of tote bags in my closet for when I need a tote bag. I don't recommend this, but I'm having trouble letting them go.


What items are you tossing this year? Comment below!