One year is a long time to be inside your head. Think of all the unread emails clogging up your inbox, the blue ticks you just didn't get to, the subtweets that drove you crazy - at times, it felt as though 2017 had a vendetta against your mental state.
If you've had it up to here, you're not alone, and just in time. A new year brings new promises: fresh goals, new opportunities and a shiny clean slate. But how clean is your slate, exactly?
Fears or dreams
Psychotherapist Linda Esposito writes that a cluttered mind is normal, and dangerous. "Most of us live with some form of mental chatter or another," she says, in an article for Psychology Today.
Esposito says "Obsessive thoughts overwhelm you and keep you mired in avoidance, indecision and procrastination… Too many of us are living our fears, not our dreams."
Let it go
Looking at an empty calendar won't magically clear your head of its age-old anxieties, and carrying too much of the old year into the new can ruin your best resolutions.
Decluttering your mind takes work. It starts with clearing up the space around you.
"Outer order contributes to inner calm," writes life coach Gretchen Rubin, in her book Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. "For many people, a clean, well-maintained environment helps to foster a sense of self-command, which in turn makes it easier to maintain good habits," Rubin says.
Tackling a year's worth of collected clutter might seem impossible, but it's about momentum. Organising your living space "makes it easier to ask more of ourselves, to use our self-control, and to stick to a challenging habit," she notes.
And the reward lasts longer than the effort. "Accomplishing small tasks boosts our sense of self-efficacy. The more we trust ourselves to follow through on our own commitments, the more likely we are to believe that we can keep an important habit."
Give it up
Clearing out what occupies your space will help you feel better about the things that occupy your mind. Better yet, you can double up on this feel-good factor by giving or selling what you no longer need to those who could really use it.
Donating, recycling and selling your stuff is no secret in South Africa. There are multitudes of apps and sites waiting and willing to take your unwanted worries and find them a grateful new home.
Where to donate your stuff
No matter where you are in the country, there's a donation service just around the corner. On top of that, other services even make it easier for you to find them. And just to make it that little bit more convenient, most of them are categorised by what they accept.
If you're in Johannesburg, check out On The Move Laundry, who will collect your unwanted clothing, or the HAS Foundation, which could use your old books, or Action for Blind and Disabled Children - a great spot to drop off your outdated tech.
In Pretoria, FAMSA will put your old textbooks to good use. The Storehouse is a good option for old household products while The Bethany Pregnancy Crisis Care Centre will ensure your old baby goods, clothing and toys make their way to a new mom in need.
Similar centres and services cater for other metropoles, and you can find one in your area quickly and easily at For Good, a user-friendly online platform designed to match you and your stuff with relevant organisations.
Start recycling your stuff
Giving to those in need is a great way to shed your consumerist skin, but giving back to the environment will help you feel as one with the Earth. If you're unsure that what you have is recycling friendly, visit the National Recycling Forum for a breakdown of what can and can't be, well, broken down.
You've probably seen those big, colourful recycling bins at your local mall. These have been around for decades, and remain a quick and convenient option. But a range of other services make it even easier.
Where to go
Many green companies have sprouted through the years with the recycling boom. A quick internet search should yield a good list, but here are a few to start you off.
Remade is a national service that helps facilitate commercial, industrial and domestic recycling. Johannesburg-based Pikitup offers a buy-back service and garden refuse transfer centres across Gauteng.
To find a recycling service in your area, browse through the many options at My Waste. You have to option to find a match to the contents of your bags.
Where to sell your stuff
Just because you don't need your goods anymore doesn't mean they no longer have value. To sell your unwanted but perfectly usable goods online, check out these options.
You’ll need to register with a working email address and set up a profile, and it's pretty simple sailing from there.
A new app on the market is LetGo, which uses geolocation technology to put you in touch with potential buyers close to you.
And if you're concerned about the safety implications of selling your valuable stuff to strangers you've only met over email, check this comprehensive list of safety tips from Gumtree.
Affordable storage with XtraSpace Self Storage
At XtraSpace, we offer affordable, secure self-storage units in a wide range of sizes. They're ideal for storing items you don't use all the time, and items you're preparing to give away or sell.