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13 Ways I Cleaned Up My Life for the New Year

Forget spring cleaning! New Year’s was the best time for me to clean up my life.

Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

I remember when I realized that something in my life had to change.

I had woken up in my room surrounded by chocolate wrappers, an empty tub of ice cream, and a pile of tissues in the bin. My phone was on voicemail for the past two days, primarily because it was covered under a pile of my ex’s love letters and I didn’t feel like touching it.

The ice cream didn’t mix well with the wine I had last night, and I felt sick to my stomach. It was the second day I woke up like this this week. At 25, I didn’t see my life being this way. I thought my apartment would look like those in magazines, and that I’d have a hot guy by my side!

Despite my best efforts, I just had gotten dumped by my ex Cassius. It was a toxic relationship. My room was a mess and I looked like a totally depressed wreck of a girl. I had guzzled down way too much red wine while crying over him. My life needed an overhaul!

It was December 27th, shortly after Christmas. Though I’ve never done it before, I started to put together a New Year’s resolution to clean up my life and find a way to break through all the horrible energy of 2018.

Giving your life an overhaul sounds like a world of expenses and efforts, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, I only really needed good friends, an online therapist, and an on-demand storage service called Shed

I realized what the root of many of my problems was pretty quickly.

At first, I didn’t really know what to do. Should I go to a therapist? Should I go to rehab? I took a look around my apartment. It was a mess, and I realized that a lot of the things that were becoming such a burden during my time living here all dealt with stuff.

My ex’s jacket was still on the floor. My kegerator was full of booze. My yoga mat had turned into a carpet. My calendar that once had my schedule planned to the minute was nothing more than a dusty piece of wall decor, crowded by a pile of CDs from Cassius.

My friends and I banded together to clean up my life in 13 different ways. Here are some ways you can do it, using my process as an example. 

Toss out your ex’s stuff.

I called my friends Frank and Steve over. They know me as a tidy person, which is why they were totally stunned when they walked into my apartment. My relationship with Cassius left me (and my apartment) a wreck. They asked me if I needed help, and I quickly said yes.

We started to toss out his stuff. I chucked out his love notes, some of the CDs he bought, as well as some of the other goods that reminded me of him. Everything went well until we turned our attention to his crust punk vest.

Steve pointed out something: Cassius loved that vest, and he was probably going to come back from it eventually. It was priceless thanks to the limited edition signed patches on it. If we threw it out, he would be very likely to call the police over stolen property.

We didn’t want it in the apartment, but we didn’t know what to do. I then looked at Cassius’s Airpods, his designer boots, and the iPad he left behind. This was a serious issue!

Put your ex’s valuables in storage, and give a collection deadline.

Steve pointed out that he had a storage unit with Shed that we could use, and this ended up being our saving grace.

Shed has one of the coolest concepts I ever heard of. It’s on-demand storage facility that will pick up your items, catalogue them, store them, and also deliver them the very same day you need them for free. He owned a large garage-sized storage unit, and soon, we figured out what to do.

We used Steve’s Shed app to call them over. Within minutes, the crew catalogued all of Cassius’s goods and shipped them away to safety. Frank grabbed my phone then texted Cassius, telling him to claim his goods in 30 days or we’d throw them out.

I found a way to draw a line in the sand with Cassius. He couldn’t just store stuff with me anymore and there was no way to excuse him hanging around anymore. 

Clear out all the useless junk in your home!

Photo by Alex Tan

With my ex’s junk out of the way, I almost immediately felt my life getting a bit better. Not having to see his stuff everywhere kept the memories of us away, and in its own weird way, helped me feel better.

I then looked around my home once more. We started to work on another way to clean up my life: getting rid of all the things I didn’t use or enjoy.

We tossed out torn clothes, broken dishes, broken gaming consoles, and so much more. It was a haul! In total, we threw out around six trash bags of stuff. My studio apartment stopped looking cramped and started to look a lot better. 

Order storage space for your own little-used goods.

When I woke up, I realized I still had a lot of stuff that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I used these items a little bit, but not enough to have them constantly out and about. (Looking at you, Mr. Breadmaker.)

Though it was great to have Cassius’s things stored in Steve’s storage, I realized that it was time to get my own. Storage through Shed would give me a healthy amount of time and space to figure out what I should do with each item—and also clear room in my apartment.

Before my best friends showed up, I ordered some storage space from Shed and got them to pick up a bunch of my old DJ gear. My room immediately looked a lot better. 

Put all your “vice” items away.

Photo by Alex Tan

I know that my drinking is a byproduct of my relationship with Cassius, and that I typically won’t drink if I don’t see things around me that remind me of drinking. The best way to break the bad habit, I figured, would be to develop an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude.

When Shed’s people arrived, I asked them to pick up my kegerator, my bar kit, my bartending books, and the home bar I built for the parties Cassius wanted to throw at my place. As they left, I realized that drinking just became a lot harder. 

Clear your mind with regular therapy.

Though cleaning my home took a lot of work and accomplished a lot, everything wasn’t alright. It still hurt. I was still grieving my breakup, craving beer the moment I woke up, and feeling pretty anxious. Cleaning up my life meant that I would have to get someone who could clean up my mind, too.

Knowing that, I booked an appointment with a therapist. We spent the day talking, and I’m currently getting my treatment for depression. It’s really helping me move on. 

Take time to give your apartment a serious scrub-down.

Now that all the extra goods were gone, my place was remarkably easy to clean up. I called my friends over to help. Within a couple of hours, we were able to vacuum, sweep, dust, and organize all three rooms. My apartment looked good as new, and more importantly, also smelled great once again.

There is serious truth to the health benefits of keeping a clean home. Frank, who has pretty bad allergies, looked pretty relieved once this task was through. It was now a healthier environment for everyone. 

Clean up your finances.

Photo by Mackenzie Diane

I’ll admit it: Cassius put a serious toll on my personal finances. Steve was the one who pointed out that I wasn’t able to pay for pizza delivery, and well, I ended up spilling the beans. Thankfully, Steve worked in finance and was able to help out.

We put together a plan to pay down debt, improve my credit score, and also avoid late fees. Oh, and we also got Cassius off my phone plan, because he really should learn to stop being a leech.

Believe it or not, having a clean home made it easier to focus on the financials. There were just fewer distractions along the way. 

Pick up a side gig.

Even with all the sweeping changes that I was making, Cassius still was getting free rent in my mind. Everyone knew he was bad for me, but I didn’t want to fully let go quite yet. Eventually, it came to a head with my therapist who mentioned that it could be something to do with my schedule.

I started to take a look at getting gigs playing music at parties. I started to get extra work! Every time I’d have a gig, I’d ask Shed to bring my gear the day before. The day after, it’d go right back to Shed. It was a great system that helped me earn money without losing space.

Give your social media a scrub.

While browsing the world of Instagram, I came across Cassius posting something about us. Almost immediately, I unfollowed him. Then, I realized that I probably had 50 other people from his toxic crowd with access to my social media.

I looked in my inbox, and was already getting some really intrusive questions from his friends. Unfollow, block, unfollow, block. Deleting my public trainwreck of a breakup post was a must, too. There was a lot of work to do.

After about an hour of unfollowing and scrubbing, my social media accounts had fewer followers—but it paid off by having less stress. 

Clean up your health habits.

Cassius was not the healthiest person out there, and it wasn’t just his excessive drinking that made him awful. He ate poorly, his hobbies were toxic, and honestly, he didn’t really even respect my need for healthy habits.

I looked through my kitchen cupboards and threw out all the food he’d normally be trying to shove down my throat. I called my friends from my old weight loss group, and we all went out grocery shopping together. My kitchen was full of foods ready for clean eating, and no soda was visible in my home.

The moment I promised myself to stick to clean eating, I ordered my old food processor home from Shed. I forgot how much I love my sweet potato purees!

While you’re at it, clean out your subscriptions.

Cleaning has a wild way of gaining momentum. This even spread to my email, which I actually only recently remembered having. It’s true. My breakup so deeply affected me, I didn’t check my email for a week!

My inbox was flooded with stuff and reminders of all the little subscriptions I had. News updates I didn’t need, weird little ads for things I no longer wanted, and litter that got rid of my mind’s focus—it was just too much. I cleared out the subscriptions I no longer used.

While it was a little work, by the end of my cleaning binge, I saved about $50 on needless subscriptions that I no longer used. It was a nice chunk of change. 

Give your social circle a trim, too.

Cassius called within two weeks, asking for his stuff back. Admittedly, I was tempted. I didn’t want him to stay gone. I still cared about him. I set up a time, called my friends, and then got Shed to drop off his goods.

When he came by, Frank and Steve wouldn’t leave my side. We handed him his stuff. He looked around the apartment, which now bore a striking resemblance to how it looked prior to us dating. He asked to come back, and I told him to get lost.

After that night, Frank and Steve helped me prune my address book. My life finally felt together again. 

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