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Thursday, 28 March 2019 23:00

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make like a leaf and let go

Autumn is here with its cooler days and longer nights. To some, it means time to organize the yearly camping trip or make plans for the April school holidays, to others it's time to do a declutter and a sorting through of what 'sparks joy'.  Regardless of your plans for Autumn, a new season brings with it opportunity to regroup and re-assess your goals and life.

Autumn is the season of release.  A time to let go of any old withered metaphorical leaves that might be hanging around so we can simplify and focus on what really matters. By clearing out the stuff we no longer need before it gets too cold (or we get too lethargic), we can make space (physically and mentally) to create a restful and clutter-free cocoon for us to rest in during the quiet of winter.

Here are some simple ways to prepare for the new season:

Finances:  Go back over your bank statements from the past 3 months and check over your spending and savings for the year so far. Are you on track with your savings goals? Do you have any outstanding debts or bills which need to be prioritised and paid? What non-essential expenses are zapping your income? (It’s amazing how adding up all the little purchases over a month or so can add up). What subscriptions or memberships are no longer useful or inspiring and can be cancelled?  How can you better organise your bank accounts?  Having multiple accounts might sound messy, but if they each serve a function they can help you to better manage your money.  Accounts such as the Endeavour Budget and Christmas Club accounts have been designed specifically for you to put money aside for bills and end of year expenses.  

Work:  How can you be more efficient at work? Are there systems you can implement to streamline your work load? Can you delegate or outsource some of your tasks to someone else? What clutter and paperwork has accumulated in your drawers and over your desk?  What can you file or throw away? How can you simplify your work life to allow better focus and clarity around your daily to do list?

Goals: How are your 2019 new year goals looking? Can you revisit your list to cross off things you’ve already achieved? Do some goals need to be revised? Perhaps some ambitions are no longer relevant or inspiring to you. Remove anything that no longer resonates and craft a goals list that feels exciting and motivating. What small steps can you take today to get you closer to your end goals?

Home: A change of season is always a nice time to refresh your home to make it an inviting sanctuary. Change around art, mix up the cushions, add a light throw to the living area for easy access cosyness.  Check through your ornaments, books, magazines and other possessions for items to throw, donate or sell. Give your whole home a clean and pack away any accessories for Summer-specific leisure activities. 

Closet: Now is a great time to look through your wardrobe and get rid of any Summer clothes you didn’t wear last season to make space for the new season’s layers. As you sort through and store your summer threads, check through your cool weather items for any moth holes, mould or items you don’t think you’ll wear. Charity stores are grateful for warm layers, coats and jackets this time of year so they can provide for the less privileged. 

Kitchen: Clear out the fridge and pantry of any foods past their used by date or which might not align with your wellness goals. Check for infestations of dreaded pantry moths and discard affected foods. Invest in a few sets of sticky baits for pantry months (sticky pheromone traps are a safe and effective method) as these critters tend to let loose in Autumn. Check your ceiling in the kitchen for larvae or little cocoons and use a broom to remove them. Do you have an excess of mugs, dinning plates or spatulas?  Donate double ups and make your cupoards more roomy and neat.  

Avoid the temptation to get cluttered again: if buying stuff you don't need is a bit of a weakness, you're not alone.  Try to recognise the tell-tale signs if you can.  For example do you shop more when you are stressed, angry, bored or is it a form of procatination?  After you've done your home and closet clear out you may realise how many things you've purcahsed over the years that you either haven't used or perhaps don't even like that much.  Rather than accumulate more stuff all over again, perhaps try to remove the temptation all together.  Try unsubscribing from all the email lists trying to sell you something, (unless its a brand you really resonate with, perhaps a small independant business you are happy to support from time to time).  Avoid the shops at sale time unless you specifically need something, and head straight to that department to avoid discounted distractions.  

Finding ways to make more space by decluttering your life will reduce overwhelm and help to diminish stress levels, allowing you to focus on the important things in life.

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.