A Four-Step Process for Making Space for What Really Matters to You

“Being human is a precious situation, and we shouldn’t waste time on useless activities. This conclusion motivates us to look at what to cultivate and what to discard.”
– Sakyong Mipham

Ever since I came back from Europe, I’ve been living in Richmond, Virginia. (Why Richmond? I went to college here. Proud to be a VCU alum! After being away for eight years, the city feels familiar, yet completely new all at the same time.) Right now, I live in an extended-stay hotel that’s close to everything I need in the city. After that, I plan to move into another cheap sublet that will allow me to continue saving money for my next international trip! I used to dread moving, but now that I’ve drastically downsized my living situation, it’s easy for me to imagine traveling from place to place. How easy? All the clothes I own now fit into one 20-gallon plastic bin.

Over the past year, one of my priorities had been to get rid of certain things to make space for what really matters to me: traveling, being self-employed, cultivating better relationships and living a healthier lifestyle.

In the process of downsizing and purging, I’ve gained so much clarity around what really makes me happy. I’ve also been able to tap back into my love of experiences over “stuff.” This has led me to rearrange my life to focus only on the things I truly care about.

And now, I pose the question to you…

Is there anything you need to get rid of to make room for what really matters to you? Is there anything taking up physical/mental space in your life right now that you could be using to focus on something more important and aligned with your values?

Below is a process that might help, or at least get you thinking.

A Four Step Process for Making Space

  1. Make a list of all the things, people and activities in your life. (Start with just one category if this part seems too daunting at first.)
  2. For each item on the list, apply the following questions: Does this thing/person/activity add anything valuable to my life? Does it make me happy? Has it ever? (If NO, go to Question #3. If YES, proceed to Question #4.)
  3. Get rid of it. (If it’s a person, release them with love and truth. If it’s a thing, have a ceremony if you want. If it’s an activity, take it off your calendar or make plans to reduce your time doing it.)
  4. Keep it. (And treasure its presence in your life.)

When you are conscious of where you spend your time and energy, you are better able to make space for the things you truly care about. Today is a good day to give yourself permission to let go of everything that no longer serves you.

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Comments & Feedback:

  1. Clutter really does make me upset…it’s unsettling to have it around for so long. I’m the type of person who’d rather throw it away than have it hanging around taking up uneccessary space.

  2. I am in active declutter-mode. I just got a new job that requires a move and I am hell-bent on not bringing all of this crap with me. As for people, I did a small culling of negative and toxic influences a few years ago and I’ve been better for it!

  3. Monique

    Rosetta, I am so inspired!

    Over the past year I’ve been getting to know and understand myself better. I’ve been learning to release things and people that were not bearing any fruit in my life. Yes, I was very skeptical about how people would react when I no longer contacted them or visited them anymore. I had such a fear in me that trapped me into those unhelathy relationships. I was pouring so much of myself into them, but I wasn’t recieving anything in return. I was emotionally drained. I gave myself permission to let go of those people and things, and move on with my life. When I finally decided to do so, I grew so much, I shocked myself!

    I shared my story to inspire someone who might be reading this blog…experiencing the same or similar issue.

    Give yourself permission to release it or them! It is ok!

    Thanks Rosetta!

  4. Thanks for this post today, Rosetta. I’m tearing up here at work because this is exactly what I was needed to hear – but with a thousand things rolling around in my brain – lacked the quietness to clearly hear it. I will be taking these four steps and applying them tonight.

    Blessings for this!

  5. One of my goals for October is to release relationships that don’t add real value to my life. I am focused on one in particular, right now. I actually gave up a lot of stuff when I relocated back in December. Whatever did not fit in the car did not come with me.

    • What a great goal, Kia. Being honest about my relationships has been one of the hardest parts of my own journey, yet one of the most rewarding. Wishing you peace in the process :)

  6. Nina

    Back in 2007 I sold or gave-away most of my crap and moved to South Korea to teach elementary school English. It was was of the most liberating things I’d ever done. Folks were amazed! I was simply ready and fearless. I roamed around quite a bit after that and have yet to truly commit to a brick and mortar home since. I’m bored flip-flopping in the US and thinking about leaving the country again. Right now I am holding on to some promised I made to myself to live here for the time of The Black President. And to maybe be more reliable to family. The longer I hold on the more I see that those others who love me are inspired by me and actually want me to BE ME, again, and fully. And at the end of the day, the only person that really matters is me anyway. I don’t know where to go, what to do now/yet, but I’ve traveled a lot and I’m not done yet. Love what you do!

  7. I’m in de-clutter mode. I’ve got VHS tapes and all kinds of useless stuff around here (just moved in 2 months ago and still in boxes)! I will blog about my progress with this next week, but I recycled a huge pile of O magazines and it felt great to see it gone!

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