Sometimes, the world feels wrong – utterly wrong. When things start to go downhill, it seems you encounter problem after problem, each one worse than the last. Do you feel like you’ve reached a point in life where there’s nothing to look forward to anymore?
When the black cloud of despair washes over you – whether it’s due to loss, betrayal, disillusionment, overwork or anything else – you start to feel hopeless. You think there’s no way to break out of the vicious cycle you’re in, no way to make things better, no tomorrow to look forward to.
At such a time, you need to sit quietly and think. Dragging yourself through the daily grind isn’t giving you joy, so you need to make some changes – and we’ve got a short, step-by-step guide here for that.
So in this article, we’ll talk about getting rid of everything and starting over. Whether you’re burdened by a job you hate, arbitrary societal expectations, a city that depresses you, toxic friends, unsupportive family members…no matter what it is, you’re the only person in charge of your life, and it’s never too late to start over.
How will starting over help?
Starting over will give you the chance to cut out the things that are depressing you, and break free. Pulling out of a vicious cycle usually entails drastic steps, and getting rid of everything and starting again is drastic enough, scary enough, to be fairly failproof.
Yes, there will be problems – but there are always problems in life. On the other hand, you won’t be stuck in a rut and depressed. You’ll have a chance to relive your life, to turn things around. Life’s short enough – why waste away your best years in a situation you hate?
Another benefit of this is that it’ll give you the chance to think your life through. We’re weighed down with stuff and it uses our energy and thinking capabilities. When you give it all away and make lifestyle changes like moving to a different city or changing professions, you give your brain the kick start it needs, and a distraction-free environment for you to think in.
‘Things’ are dispensable – getting rid of them won’t limit your life. It will, however, turn your life around (in a good way). It’s hard to explain why, but think of it this way – minimalism and simple living make people feel better, yes? By getting rid of unnecessary stuff and cutting negativity out of your life you’re taking one step towards both of these.
How to get rid of everything and start afresh: a simple guide
There are two main things you’ll need to do – make lifestyle and other living changes, and get rid of your stuff. Since they’re so different and can be equally difficult, I’ll cover them separately. First, let’s go through the lifestyle aspect.
Lifestyle changes for starting afresh
1) The first step in this is figuring out what you need to get rid of.
Most of the time people know this clearly, but in case of toxic friends and family members it can be a little harder to figure out. You don’t realize your friends (or girl/boyfriend) are toxic until you leave them – and then you wonder how (or why) you were ever with them. The key to identifying toxic behavior is by looking at things objectively. Put yourself in the feet of a shrink or a close friend.
2) Cut out negativity from your life
Once you’ve identified what you need to remove from your life, slowly fade out. Going cold turkey is easier for some – and it’s definitely more satisfying – but it can leave a few strings attached. Friends might call you to ask why you disappeared, your boss might not be happy with you quitting your job, et cetera. Instead, give a proper notice and resignation, slowly start to ignore your friends, seem “preoccupied” when toxic relatives talk to you…you get the gist. Fade out.
3) Now it’s time for some big changes!
When you’re trying to get rid of everything, it’s a good idea to make some drastic changes. Firstly, decide what you want to change. Your area of work? Often, people like to move to a lower-paying but simpler job that allows them to think and keep their mind relatively stress-free. Others, tired of society, want to live in the middle of nowhere. Some others are simply fed up with the city they live in and want to move to a different one. You’ll need to look for a job once you’re there, but you should start looking for apartments in advance.
4) New apartment – what to look for?
I’d suggest downsizing. You’ll have much less stuff and probably fewer responsibilities, and having a smaller house would help. It’ll be a constant reminder of how much simpler your life is, and it’ll keep your consumption and purchases in check. A large, empty house might look airy and spacious initially, but it’ll soon start to look empty. A small house will have the perfect size to stuff ratio to quell your instincts.
5) Get close to nature
Another good idea when making drastic changes and starting afresh is to get closer to nature. Whether it’s by living in the city outskirts, out in the country, or simply a place in the city with a garden – being close to nature will bring you peace. It’ll also give you something to do. You can watch the sunset, tend to your lawn, plant seedlings, feed birds – which is better than buying more books and DVDs and stuffing them into your home.
6) Write down how you feel, and why you’re doing this
Write down everything – a sort of letter to the future you saying why you’re making this move. This is because you’ll regret this move later. We constantly feel different emotions, and it’d be silly to say that you’ll never feel regret. But when you do, instead of wallowing in regret you can read through your letter to yourself and decide if the move really was all that bad.
Too much shit? Get rid of it!
1) Make a list of all the things you absolutely can’t do without
…and have used regularly in the past year or two. Things you’d have to go out and buy within a month if you gave them away right now. Things that you need for basic activities or entertainment. If something’s fancy or serves a purpose something simpler can accomplish (an egg-beater or yolk separator, for example – forks and bottle caps are good enough). If you have more than one of something and won’t need the extra, give it away.
2) Have mountains and mountains of stuff?
Most of the time our homes are chock-full of stuff. If you sit down to look through every item in your home, you’ll be looking for months. You need to get things moving fast – before you lose courage and things slide back to an unhappy normal. So generalize. If you have an attic full of boxes you haven’t looked in for years, a quick peek through each will be enough. If the spare room has a couple things that you need, assign two or three hours to sifting through it. Your bedroom, on the other hand, will need much more time.
So for large rooms use the general rule that if you don’t use the place much, it can’t possibly have something you’ll need in a hurry. This should get you through your entire home in a couple days.
3) What about things that have sentimental value?
It’s hard to throw them away. It’d break your heart if you did. I’m an emotional person and I understand how it feels. If I had to do the same thing I’d really struggle with it. However, the path to starting over isn’t easy. It’ll hurt, but the payout is worth it.
Now, if something holds emotional value for you, is it the actual substance that’s important, or the memories associated with it? In most situations, it’s the latter. A locket or a diary themselves don’t mean anything – the memories and the people associated with them do. So take a picture of the item, give it one last kiss, and then put it on the pile of things to give away.
4) Sell what you can
Getting rid of everything feels great, but be financially responsible while you have fun. Sell what you can – you need to recoup costs. Have a garage sale, advertise it on Facebook, or put the things up on ebay (and keep them with a trusted friend). In the case of furniture, selling it would be ideal – or if you own the home, rent it out. If you can’t or don’t want to sell something, you can donate it, give it to a friend or relative, or throw it away. When tossing something out, remember to be environmentally responsible.
This was a quick and simple guide on how to get rid of everything and start over. We’d advise thinking things through carefully before doing anything drastic, but there are some times when that isn’t the right course of action. Sometimes, you need to leap before you look, because looking might cause your courage to fail. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which is best.