Declutter your life in 2019

Just Life By Brad Rzendzian, PharmD, MBA


“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”—Wendell Berry

If you are like me, you accumulate things. Amassing items can be a really great thing. When I was younger, Beanie Babies brought me happiness that you couldn’t imagine. I remember the day I discovered “Sting,” an ultra-rare, fourth-generation stingray Beanie Baby, at a store in our local mall. When I saw him, I immediately collapsed onto the floor and began crying. You can still see evidence of these tears on the red heart-shaped TY tag on his ear. 

The problem with accumulating stuff is that we keep it long after it outlives its purpose. “Sting” brought me immense joy as a child, but the 300 plus Beanie Babies currently residing in a plastic tub in my parents’ garage have outlived their purpose and need to be discarded. 

Decluttering your home can be difficult, but Marie Kondo (check out Tidying Up on Netflix) and other experts on tidying have a couple of suggestions for you. 

Visualize your ideal living space
Think about the kind of environment you want to live in. This will focus your mind on the task at hand and ease the tidying process. 

Sort by category, not location
Instead of trying to declutter an entire room, focus on particular items. Start with the items you know will be easiest to get rid of. For example, gather all the clothes in your house into a pile and begin. 

Ask yourself, “Does this bring me happiness? Does it still have purpose?” 
For each item, ask yourself these questions. Discard any that have outlived their purpose and no longer bring you joy. 

Recycle documents
Most documents have a limited purpose timeframe. Chuck the stuff that is no longer needed. Yes, this includes all your notes, books, and charts from pharmacy school. You went to school for the knowledge, not for the materials. 

Be mindful of how you arrange your clothes 
A lot of items in your dressers go unworn, not because you don’t like them, but because of location. Fold and arrange your clothes in a way so that all will be considered for use. 

Discard mementos with respect 
Items of sentimental value are far and away the most difficult to part with. Cards and photos stored away in boxes no longer serve the purpose they meant to bring. Instead of outright recycling them, take a picture of them and store it in your cloud. Other items may be more difficult to get rid of. But stay positive and even thank your items for serving the purpose they did.

Don’t transfer clutter from one place to another
The easy way to declutter is to simply move it to your parents’ house. This is not tidying up and it is also disrespectful to your parents. You can ask your family if they would like certain items, but all others should be donated or discarded. 

I move often and have adopted this practice even before reading any books: If in 1 year I don’t move an item from the box, use it, or think about it, then it gets donated. 

The challenge
Remember, you are more than the items you collect. Decluttering your living space can bring a sense of peace to your life. Moreover, it will help you to be more decisive and allow you to focus on what truly matters: the items you kept, and the meaning and good will they symbolize.  

I challenge you all to take a day in 2019 and declutter your life. You will thank me for it and if you don’t, you can always find me at the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition or Day of NP LIFE and yell at me personally.