Shed Stuff & Obligations in 2018

We Americans tend to have a lot of stuff.

Stuff sneaks up on us.

Medals from 5Ks, odd souvenirs from our travels, gifts from loved ones we can’t bear to return or discard.

Junk drawers full of pens that don’t work, nearly empty shampoo bottles, old makeup castaway.

The quesadilla maker, electronic wine bottle opener, electronic pepper grinder, panini maker, George Foreman, blender, and wok for those once-a- year cooking needs. The random canned goods that have been in the cupboard for years.


The mostly used candles with half an inch of wax in the bottom collecting dust in the basement.

The clothes that haven’t been worn for many seasons.

I’m learning that it’s okay to let go of some of the things in my life even though it can be really difficult. I enjoy a clutter free house, but it sure can be tough to let go of some of the clutter I’ve clutched onto these past two decades. Full disclosure: I have two tubs of porcelain dolls and American Doll paraphernalia in the basement that I cannot bear to part with on the off-chance that I might have a daughter that might be interested in porcelain dolls. (Porcelain dolls were BIG in the early 90s.) I also have multiple tubs of “dress-up clothes” for holidays, Halloween, and what-have you. But hey, I’m not trying to get rid of everything. I’m trying to get rid of things that aren’t useful and don’t bring me joy.

Stuff extends to obligations as well.

Baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, happy hours, work parties, dinner parties, birthday parties, and get-togethers- all the ways we fill up our time.

I’m learning that sometimes it’s okay to give myself a pass. It is perfectly acceptable to politely decline and send a card or gift that fits into my budget and my capacity to give of time. As an extrovert and human enthusiast, I LOVE spending time with friends. I love laughing, making others laugh, and spending quality time with people that lift me up, challenge me, ask about my hopes and dreams, and bring me joy.

I have a limited capacity to bring my best self. When I overextend myself, I’m not being fair to others or myself. I require time to rest, recharge, and reflect. In order to be present when I’m with others, I need to allow myself to say no to commitments I cannot afford financially or emotionally.

As you settle into January, take stock of the stuff in your life.

Are there relationships in your life that have gone stale? Clutter in closets that is bringing you unhappiness? Obligations to give gifts or attend events that you cannot afford?

Perhaps it’s time to part ways with things in your life that drain you, make you unhappy, or leave you exhausted. Perhaps it’s time to gently ask a friend if it’s okay to meet at a yoga studio instead of happy hour. Perhaps it’s okay to gently suggest starting a book club with your friends to avoid get-togethers focused on gossip or negativity. Perhaps it’s time to just be real with the people you love by letting them know what you value about your relationship (specifically) and discuss ways to enrich that relationship in the coming year.

Set some personal boundaries. Clean out your basement. Do some things that make YOU happy. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to get rid of some stuff you feel guilty donating or selling. I’m giving you permission. If anyone doesn’t like it, just tell them Amanda told you to do it. 

-Amanda Imes


Journal Prompt: 

  • Make a list of items in your house that you can donate, discard, or plan to use up. (For example, plan to eat only items that can be found in your cupboards for one week. Use only the half-empty containers of toiletries in your bathrooms until they are all gone.)
  • Make a plan to address something in your life that you'd like to clear out. Get specific!
  • Make a list of ways you could improve your time management and relationships in the coming year. 
Amanda Thoe