Daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal rhythms form the structure of our daily life.
I realised lately that we’re also ruled by what I’d call ‘termly’ rhythms too.
Maybe this is the teacher in me, but I love to spend the summer in a productive and creative way.
One of the things I do is to have a really good clear out so I can start September feeling refreshed.
Creating a clean slate
When I first started work as a primary school teacher, I went into my new classroom during August to get everything ready for the start of the year.
I remember feeling incredibly disheartened by the mess that I found. I had to do a lot of clearing up before I had anything like a blank slate on which to create the bright and welcoming learning environment I wanted my new class of 7 year olds to walk into.
I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
It wasn’t so bad once I got started.
My end of term clear out
At the end of that school year, I was determined not to leave things in a mess for the teacher that followed me. I divided my class into groups to help me clear out and clean, and together we left the classroom tidy, calm and orderly for the next class.
I felt better for it, my class loved doing it and the following year’s teacher was delighted.
Here are some of the things we did:
- Tested all our felt pens and threw out any that were no longer working.
- Sharpened all the pencils.
- Washed the painting aprons.
- Tidied all the books and made sure they were all on the right shelves.
- Found all the bits of games and construction sets that weren’t in the right tray, and put them back where they belonged.
- Emptied every drawer and wiped them clean.
- Cleared out the big mess that was under the sink and scrubbed the draining board.
- Trimmed dead leaves off the plants and left them in big trays of water so they wouldn’t die over the summer holiday.
My colleagues used to joke that they always wanted to be allocated my classroom for the new school year because they knew that it would be so clean and clear. (They also said they wanted to inherit my class because they knew they would have good work habits and be really good at tidying up!)
A space-clearing routine
This routine became a part of my practice as a teacher. For me it made complete sense. It was something I did even if I was staying in the same classroom for another year. September was a time for fresh beginnings and I wanted to be able to walk into my classroom ready for a new term, with everything in its place and ready to go.
I guess this annual cleaning for me has become part of my summer routine.
Cleaning and clearing is so much easier when the days are long and it’s mostly warm and dry outside.
Tidying vs Clearing
Coming back from Glastonbury last month, it took me more than a week to unpack. This was mainly due to the fact that it wasn’t easy to put things away. My wardrobe needs a good sort out. My bathroom cupboards do too.
This week I had some friends come over and that motivated me to have a tidy up which has made everything look at lot better.
On the surface.
It’s easy to put things out of sight when you have to, but I know that when I open the drawers and cupboard doors there is a smell that tells me it needs clearing. Do you know that smell? It’s hard to describe. It’s quite faint, but it’s there, and it’s telling me I need to clear my space properly.
This summer I’m having a massive clear-out and I’m looking forward to it!
I’m starting with my room, then my kids’ rooms. The bathroom comes next, then the kitchen and living room. I will literally empty every cupboard and drawer, sift through everything I own, let go of as much as possible, then re-organise.
It will take whole days, part days and sometimes just an hour here or there.
I’ll just keep going until it’s done.
My top tips for decluttering and space clearing
- Start with clothes, and then the other spaces in your bedroom
- Clean as you go
- Clear everything before you start to organise
- Make ‘Useful or Beautiful’ your criteria for deciding whether things stay or go
- Keep similar things in the same location as this makes things easier to find
- Clear things out as you go: recycle or donate as much as possible
- Allow yourself to let go of anything that no longer serves you
- Treat yourself to some flowers as a reward when you are done
My favourite books and inspiration for space-clearing
Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
Zen Habits blog by Leo Baubauta
Clearing your space is the best way I know to create energy for positive change in your life. It eases transitions and allows new opportunities to present themselves.
It also clears your mind and sharpens your decision-making skills.
When you clear your space, you focus on what’s really important.
Do it thoroughly, and you have a foundation for the rest of your life.
The Rule I live by
Every time someone visits my flat they comment on how calm and clear it is. That’s not because I live in a minimalist box, because I don’t, and would never want to.
I definitely make a mess when I’m working on something, whether that’s cooking, sewing or making up remedies to post. But then I clear up.
I guess the thing that people sense when they visit my home is that I don’t have loads of stuff I don’t need. I honestly don’t.
I have one rule that I stick to and it’s the William Morris one:
Have nothing in your house unless you know it to be useful or believe it to be beautiful.
There are times when life gets busy and things start to pile up. But it doesn’t take me long to get things back to how I want them.
I know that when my space is clear and uncluttered, everything feels better. My life runs more smoothly. I’m happier.
What do you want to create space for?
Everything begins with you.
Your relationships with your belongings affect your relationships with people. Family, friends, colleagues, maybe your kids or your partner (if you have one).
When you clear your space, you create a foundation for your whole life. You get to know yourself, trust yourself, sit with yourself and know what’s important to you. You get in touch with your feelings and your inner wisdom.
With the energy that releases you have time for yourself and whatever you want to put out into the world.
Would you like to try my Space-Clearing course? to help you practice decluttering and clearing space in a structured but kind way. Life is busy but you have a calm, clear space inside of you and I want to help you find it.
30 day space-clearing e-course
My 30 day Space-Clearing e-course is a nurturing 30 day journey into the calm, clear space inside of you that offers you wisdom, inner knowing and a foundation for the rest of your life.
Each day you’ll receive an email from me containing a short essay on the space-clearing theme of the day, some practical exercises and a series of journal prompts that you can work on if you choose.
Each day will build on the last, so that by the end of 30 days you’ll have created your own space-clearing practice that you can take forward and build on for the rest of your life.
THE BENEFITS OF SPACE-CLEARING
- Start and end your day with peace and gratitude
- Feel how de-cluttering releases anxiety
- Learn how space-clearing helps your memory
- Develop your ability to listen to your inner knowing
- Nurture yourself with the things you really love
- Know what to do when you get stuck
- Be present with your belongings and know what they really mean to you
- Feel the joy of releasing things that no longer serve you
- Learn to love your space and yourself more
Start date: Saturday 9th September
Duration: 30 days
Fee: £30 GBP
BOOKING IS OPEN
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What do I need to do this course?
An email account and a computer. A journal and a pen. The commitment to spend just 30 minutes of time somewhere in your day for 30 days – or to catch up on days when you have more time.
Can I really declutter my life in just 30 minutes a day?
Yes you can! The key is to commit to reading the short essay, complete the exercises and take a short time to write in your journal.
I’m suggesting 30 minutes because that seems manageable for most people, but if you want to spend longer you can totally do that too. My guess is that by the end of the 30 days you’ll be ready to spend longer on space-clearing (if you haven’t already!)
I’ve never decluttered before, can I really do it?
Definitely! The exercises are short and simple. You don’t have to declutter your entire life all in one go. It’s designed to help you take small steps so you feel a sense of accomplishment.
I’m a hoarder, is this going to be a problem?
Part of our fear of letting go of material things is a fear of what might happen. What if you feel scared and upset? What if you just don’t want to do the exercises? I’m inviting you to spend 30 minutes a day creating more space in your life and I’m giving you things to do to help you achieve that. It’s building a platform for the rest of your life. Once you know you can clear a small space somewhere, you will trust that you can do more. All you have to do is give it a try!
What can I expect to get out of this course?
I’m hoping that when you get a feel for the freedom from clearing your space, you’ll want more of it. You might find yourself scheduling in whole afternoons just for some decluttering and clearing, with some special rewards when you get to the end. You might want to read the emails while drinking your coffee in the morning. You might prefer to read them when you get home in the evening or anytime in between. Refreshing drinks and great music are nice accompaniments to the clearing work.
Can I connect with others?
Yes, we have a private and optional Facebook group where we can share our experiences and support each other.
What do you want to make space for in your life?
BOOKING IS OPEN
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me.