Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with skincare. It’s not particularly the need to achieve the best skin that excites me, but rather the consumer experience. Whether perusing an online retailer or checking out my local Korean beauty store, I always achieve a sense of self-satisfaction after completing a purchase. From toners and facemasks to moisturizers and serums, I’ve developed a fondness for anything offering the chance at poreless, acne-free skin.
But this fascination has resulted in the inevitable: a cluttered and disorganized bathroom. What was once a solemn place of quiet rectitude has warped to the equivalent of a Sephora back room, with empty packaging taking up drawer space and serum bottles collecting on the counter. So in the spirit of spring cleaning (and because it’s the right thing to do), I’ve opted on doing a full deep-clean. Little did I know how difficult the process would be.
With a pair of latex gloves on and a garbage bag in hand, I approached the cleaning with a general plan. I’d work my way through the bathroom, starting with the drawers and cabinets before tackling the counter and rack by the toilet. The latter were the most nerve-wracking to think about and better left as an afterthought. I also set prerequisites for what was getting thrown; the items had to be expired, empty, or “not work” to qualify.
I hit the ground running by creating a pile outside my bathroom’s door consisting of “empties” and any leftover packaging looted during the scavenge--a tube of COSRX Morning Cleanser, two boxes of The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, and a sample, no bigger than a pinkie, of Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence to name a few. I had a pile rivaling that of an anthill in no time, but this satisfaction lasted for approximately two seconds before my eyes turned to face the counter and rack.
What I soon realized while cleaning these sections of the bathroom was my inability to throw most of the items away. Part of the consumer experience is the delight of having complete ownership of the purchased item—something to call your own and have exclusive bragging rights to. Throwing away these things—my things—no matter how aged, bad, or lacking in product I knew them to be, felt overwhelmingly guilty. After some time, the indecisions reached their breaking point and caused me to step away from the task.
It seems impossible not to encounter our fair share of emotional baggage during our lifetime. Starting from a young age, we horde, accumulate, and bottle every stress that crosses us. We form toxic relationships, habits that harm us, and beliefs grounded in delusion. And despite knowing how truly awful these situations or experiences makes us feel, the idea of “letting go” and being “set free” from them sounds too good to be true.
Consider approaching this year’s spring cleaning with a dual mindset, applying the practice of creating a tidy space to the other aspects of your life. Recognize spring cleaning as an opportunity to reflect and ultimately discard all that’s been hindering you.
Not sure how to start? Read on for some guiding steps!
Set an Intention
By setting an intention, we make the conscious decision to create a change in our lives. It’s a process that involves constant presence and meditative introspection. I like to think of intention setting as a “special boost” I can assign to any goal, long-term or otherwise. There’s something about articulating my wants that makes the plausibility of reaching the goal I’ve set for myself seem more attainable.
Find a quiet place to sit and reflect. Imagine your intention as an “I am” statement. Doing so will help in its actualization. For example, if you find yourself wanting to end a relationship, frame the intention as, “I am deserving of someone who loves and respects me.” As you set your intention, ask yourself why establishing this change will benefit you and ponder what effects will come out of this intention. After the intention has been said, keep referencing it as you work towards accomplishing the goal. Do not treat the intention as an ultimatum, but rather like a helpful nudge to get you on track to successful well-being.
For a majority of people (and I included), the concept of change is scary. It means facing the unknown and conjures within our minds hypothetical scenarios of failure and loss. It’s because of this that many people find comfort in their emotional baggage. Establishing the change required to free oneself from years of emotional turmoil and stress is a lengthy process, but the road begins with embracing the change, no matter how daunting it may seem.
Acknowledge that the transitional period between setting the intention and making the choices to actualize your desired change will be uncomfortable. But from discomfort, rises growth and the satisfaction of achievement.
I returned to my bathroom with the intention of reclaiming my space. Junking the first few items felt bad, but it got easier as the process endured. Whenever I felt doubtful, I turned to my intention, using it to reinforce the goal of having a clean bathroom.
By the time I finished, it felt like I had completed the heist of a lifetime. But aside from the satisfaction of a full garbage bag, I was left with lingering thoughts relating to my money-spending habits and desire for accumulation. Since then, new intentions have surfaced and I look forward to actualizing their change.
I’ve always viewed spring cleaning from a surface-level understanding, and never truly understood how its philosophy can extend to my relationships, current ways of thinking, and goals. This instance of spring cleaning was an opportunity to reflect and evaluate the aspects currently working in my life. I’ll maintain the successes, but for the aspects that aren’t working… well, they’re better off with the rest of the junk I don’t need.
What are you spring cleaning this year? Sound off below, we’d love to hear!
About the Author:
Aaron Talledo is currently pursuing his BA in English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He finds inspiration from literature, music, and film and expresses creativity through writing. In his free time, Aaron enjoys fitness, meditation, and video games.