There are times of the year that are like waking up from a really beautiful dream, times that are the quiet 'after' of something big and exciting and all-consuming in our lives. Or maybe it's more like the ugly kind of waking up, startled from one of those dreams where you are being chased all night - you're relieved, sweaty and full of anxiety. I don't judge. On days like this you're turning a new page and waking up in the 'after'.
After summer holidays.
The quiet lull after Halloween.
Post Christmas abyss.
There is some kind of overwhelming hangover effect as you look around in the days after and realize that now that it's all over, all of this less-than-glittery stuff now needs to be cleaned up, organized, hauled to wherever it lives for most of the year. It's all the physical and emotional weight of an event, without the excitement and happiness to float you along. It can really drag a person down. I hear you.
You crave a fresh start.
What you need to do is act swiftly to clean it up, pack it away and move on. You need to give yourself a clean slate because a fresh start is where the magic happens. It's where you can take a deep breath, feel light and unburdened and start to thoughtfully place some happiness in your daily life.
Here's a few simple ways to make that happen today.
By tonight you could be curled up with a hot cup of tea, looking around your beautiful, clear space, just basking in that great fresh-start feeling!
Clear space for storage. Wherever that might be, make sure it's ready to go.
Gather the boxes, bags or totes where you're going to be working. If you are putting away seasonal things, chances are you already have a system in place. If not, that's ok, just gather what you think will work. Don't overthink this, you don't need the perfect totes or specialty boxes. Grab what you have or can get easily. Momentum is key here, don't lose it.
Working swiftly, wrap things up and get them put away. As you fill each box, take it to your storage area and move along.
Clear away anything that doesn't belong in the space. This is a great time to fill a box or bag with things to donate. Be liberal with getting rid of things that no longer serve you or that you don't love anymore. Recycle or throw away anything that is garbage.
Once everything is cleared, do a quick clean. This isn't the time to scrub baseboards and organize drawers. Surface clean, dust and sweep or vacuum. Fold and put away. Give everything a quick wipe down.
By now you should be feeling pretty good. A clean slate has that effect!
Next, it's time to tackle those maintenance items that tend to get brushed aside during daily life. Common things I see are burnt out light bulbs, squeaky door hinges, and throw pillow covers that need a wash. Anything that can be handled in a few minutes with what you have on hand. If you can't get to it right away, make a little to-do list and deal with things as soon as you can over the next few days. Again, this should be small stuff - we are not refinishing floors here. Just handle the little jobs that you've been neglecting - we all have them!
The final thing to do is small but important: add a couple of meaningful items. You just need a thing or two for this to work - don't overwhelm your space with clutter. The goal here is to give yourself some breathing room for a little while. Enjoy the openness and clear space before moving onward in your decorating. Find an item or two that give you a happy feeling - a stone from a river walk that your kids found, a beloved snapshot from a vacation, a teacup from your grandma. Place them wherever feels good, where you can see them daily. This isn't permanent so don't overthink it.
I challenge you to leave your space in this open, clear state for a week or so. Enjoy the uncluttered, unburdened feeling. This is what a fresh start is all about: giving yourself time and space to reset.
Take some time during this week to immerse yourself in inspiration. Check out photos online, magazines, books and blogs- you'll soon see a pattern in the things you are drawn to. It won't take long before you start to think of what would be good additions to the space, how it might function better, how it could be organized differently. You'll probably start to think about things to do to your room, ways you could make it exactly how you want it to look and feel. If you go forward thoughtfully, only adding things to your space that enhance it, you will have soaked up the full benefit of your fresh start.
Enjoy that fresh start feeling - you earned it!