Disclosure: This post is made possible with the support of Yellow Pages.
I must confess – last year whipped my arse. By the time I reached December, I felt completely done to a crisp. I was working seven days a week and getting by on a few hours sleep each night. I felt absent and anxious. This wasn’t the life I wanted – it made me miserable.
So, just before Christmas I decided to pull the pin on everything and take six weeks off. I’ve never had that much time off, not even when the kids were born. All I wanted was for my days to be unplanned. To catch my breath and get a little perspective for 2015.
There’s nothing like a new year for a new beginning – and it seems I’m not the only one who thinks this! In fact, over the last few weeks, YellowPages.com.au has received more searches than any other time of the year. We all seem to be looking for ways to get our lives in check and do things differently. So in the spirit of a fresh start, I thought I’d share with you three changes I’m making for the year ahead.
According to Yellow Pages online data, more than 117 per cent more searches for rubbish removers are made in January – and I was out the front leading the charge as I purged, tossed and gave away half of all the items in our house.
Now before you think our home must have looked like an episode of Hoarders, let me set the record straight. There was no floor to ceiling collection of newspapers dating back to 1923. We weren’t even being buried alive under a collection of nick knacks and Home Shopping purchases. Our place is just your typical family home.
But towards the end of last year, I became overwhelmed by the sense that we just had too much stuff. All the things we had accumulated as we created our life together were making me feel claustrophobic. So, I decided a big cull and a simpler life was needed.
I started with the kid’s toys and sneakily took half of them to the Op Shop. And you know what? They still haven’t noticed! I then worked my way through my wardrobe and gave away half of my clothes. Next, I went into the kitchen and got rid of half of everything in there – after all, who needs five vegetable peelers and seven bottle openers? Our garage, laundry and bedrooms followed.
I’ve still got a few cupboards to go, but I’ll tick them off before February is out. While I knew that paring down would create more space in our home, I totally underestimated the space it would create in my mindset. By rethinking how we accumulate, I’ve shifted the focus to living more with less. And with that comes a very intoxicating freedom. This is really just the beginning of the road towards minimalism, but it feels so right…I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
“Hello, my name is Clare and I’m a digital hoarder. I save pretty much every email, photo and file that comes my way. I’ve got hard drives stuffed with gigabytes. In fact, I’ve got so much stuff I can’t find anything quickly!”
As part of my big life cull, I’ve also been hitting Control-Delete and doing a digital clean out. I realized that I have a compulsion to collect and save everything because I might be asked to produce it one day. Add to that the fact that there is so much available storage and that unlike physical possessions, you can’t actually ‘see’ digital information, and you have a recipe to accumulate without realizing how much of a problem it has become.
So, after reading that people typically use about 20% of what they save, I’ve been on one hell of a digital detox. I’ve deleted 70% of my files and pretty much completed a wholesale purge of my entire inbox. And you know what? This new lean and light digital version of myself feels damn good!
I know, I know. Everyone starts the New Year with grand ambitions to lose weight, exercise more and make it to at least three yoga classes in the next 365 days. In fact, Yellow Pages online data reveals that there’s a 46% jump in health and fitness service searches in January.
While I established a solid exercise routine in 2014, this year I wanted to see how I could make broader lifestyle changes. So, over the holidays I picked up a FitBit. I thought it would be interesting to measure some of the things that really suffer in our modern lifestyle – like how much I actually move each day and what the quality of my sleep is really like. Little did I know it would turn into a full-blown love affair!
By focusing on incremental exercise and looking for opportunities to move more, our car has stayed in the garage for days on end. I’ve been walking to dinner to catch up with friends, the kids and I walk to the shops rather than make the short (unnecessary drive) and this week I’ve even been walking to work.
Without a doubt, buying a FitBit has been the best $130 I have ever spent on my health, fitness and wellbeing. Do you have one? Maybe over the coming months we could organise a few Checks and Spots community challenges!
If you need some help getting stuff done and making changes for the year ahead, Yellow Pages has lots of local businesses to help you out. You can check them out here: www.yellowpages.com.au