10 things a day

Oh, the fun I’ve been having. Out with the old, but not in with the new.

During the past month, I’ve shed a great burden of excess weight, unaware of the drain it was causing.

I’m not speaking of body weight, but something far more hidden and burdensome.

I’ve been consistently shedding the build-up of objects accumulated through living in the same home for 26 years. It feels awesome, and it has given me a new lease on life.

I’m a gal of order and neatness, not prone to holding onto what’s no longer required. But my busy pre-pandemic life caused me to allow things to build up in the hidden recesses of my home.

There were some closets I disliked opening, and I knew something had to change.

According to Christopher Peterson, PhD, in Psychology Today, clutter has significant psychological effects and adds to our stress levels. I will attest to this.

I used to be a go-big-or-go-home kind of gal, wanting to tackle everything at once. But no longer. I have really benefited from the wisdom of James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, in learning that small changes create remarkable results.

I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of diving in to a big purge, so decided to start small by playing a game, and giving myself a daily challenge I call “10 things a day.”

I challenged myself to discard or donate a minimum of 10 things a day.

In reducing these big jobs into smaller bites, what seemed large and onerous became simple and easy. In no time, the energy built, and quite organically 10 things quickly became 20, then 50, and now I’ve lost count.  I’m still on a roll.

The health benefits of de-cluttering are supported by science:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved concentration
  • Improved energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced family tension and stress
  • Increased creativity and ability to focus on goals
  • Increased productivity
  • Elevated mood
  • A feeling of accomplishment
  • Increased sense of confidence and self-efficacy

I’ve experienced all of these benefits, and have found a few of my own. It’s been a delightful trip down memory lane, as I’ve unearthed old treasures.

I’ve been able to revive forgotten memories, and to share these memories with our daughters. 

I’ve been able to grieve and let go, and to experience a feeling of freedom from the past.

I’ve not just let go of stuff, but, in the process, found myself shedding old belief systems and tendencies of thought. I feel clearer, rejuvenated, and less weighted-down.

It’s interesting to find some psychologists recognize an essential part of the wellness equation is a clean, organized home, even those spaces behind closed doors.

I feel good knowing many items will go on to be used by another, and the proceeds from the sales will help charitable organizations.

I still have a ways to go, but no longer feel overwhelmed at the prospect.

We’ve even created a fun project to do together, as we’ve gathered old family jewelry to create art, in the form of trees of life in a shadowbox.

Out-dated but precious pieces, once stored in a drawer, will now be on proud display and the memories held in these beads and broaches can be shared with the generations to come.

My family and friends tease me as I joke that I hear angelic singing when I open purged closets.

The sense of accomplishment, lightness, and freedom I’ve experienced continues to grow.

The fall, as the trees letting go of their leaves, is the perfect time to release and experience the many benefits of letting go.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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