10 Things You Should Definitely Toss Before The New Year Rolls Around
I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t do holidays, I am a Rosh Hashanah observer or what, but I really do find it fascinating (sometimes even funny), that right when November pops up, so many folks will make these grand declarations about all of the things that they are going to do…after New Year’s Day. So…you’re going to wait two whole months, as if tomorrow is guaranteed, to make big changes in your life? Doesn’t that sound more like procrastination more than anything? I mean, why not start right now? Like…right now.
More or less, that’s what this article is about. In the spirit of seizing the day and also in honor of those who may put stock into the turn of a calendar year, here 10 things that, by getting rid of them, you can feel lighter, more focused and ready for your new season — whether to you, that is tomorrow, next week or yes, January 1, 2022 (sounds crazy to say, doesn’t it? Whew, chile!).
1. Expired Stuff
There is nothing like buying some canned goods, telling yourself that you’re going to use them, and then when you finally get around to it, you realize that because they were put way back in the back of your pantry, they now are totally expired (le sigh). Y’all, I don’t care if it’s food (including spices), make-up, sunscreen, medicine, tea bags (yes, tea expires; the only food that doesn’t is honey), eyeglasses (get your annual exam; lens prescriptions can also expire); motor oil; paint or batteries — if it had an expiration date on it when you bought it, check it now to see if it’s expired or not. If it is, it’s not going to benefit you on any level at this point, so it’s time to let it go.
2. Certain Streaming Apps
Recently, I was teasing a friend of mine who, a couple of years ago, tried to be slightly high ‘n mighty about the fact that, while I still had cable, she had “downsized” to streaming apps. As we were comparing notes on how that’s been going, she is now paying about $75 more than what my monthly bill is. Listen, I know that the pandemic’s lockdown had us all thinking that we were going to watch more television than ever but, looking back, is that even really true? As grandpa used to say (on loop), money doesn’t grow on trees and there’s no point in wasting money on streaming apps that you only barely watch, right? Cut some of those subscriptions so that you can put those coins to much better use.
3. Clothes (and Shoes) You Haven’t Worn in 1.5 Years
OK, most interior designers, stylists, and professional organizers will say that if you haven’t worn something within a calendar year, you need to either donate it, sell it or toss it. I know that most of us aren’t going to do that which is why I extended a grace period of six more months. I’m about to actually do some getting rid of things in a couple of weeks, not because I don’t adore all of my fashion investments but because I treat my closets like I do my weight — when something doesn’t fit anymore (my body or in my closet), that’s my cue to do some transitioning.
Besides, from a lot of the studies that I’ve read, Americans only wear about 18 percent of what’s in their wardrobe. So, why keep holding onto things that you haven’t worn in three years now, just because you like them? Hell, if that was true, you’d be wearing it all more often. Yeah…it’s time to move on.
4. The Old Make-Up in Your Bathroom Drawer
Although I’m not a huge make-up wearer, a sistah does adore some mascara and lip color (the lip thing is totally out of control!). And I must admit that back in the day, I didn’t change my mascara as often as I should have (which needs to happen every 2-3 months). Honestly, I’ve got some lipstick that has far exceeded its shelf life at this point too (those are supposed to be swapped out every six months or so). We’ve all got a cosmetics drawer; it’s a rite of passage for women. One day, put on some of your favorite music and clean yours out. I promise you that you’ve got something lingering in there that your skin has been ready (past ready) for you to get rid of. If you need a bit of a cheat sheet on what to do, check out “When Should You Replace Underwear, Make-Up, Bedding, Washcloths & Towels?”.
5. Memorabilia from Your Ex
Pardon the pun but I’m still unpacking why so many of us like to keep things from our ex (or exes). I mean, I get that some memories are precious but if something is truly over, I’m not sure how much holding on to memorabilia is going to help any of us to move fully forward. I mean, isn’t the fact that most of our past is on social media, so it’s not like we can’t hop onto a site and catch up on their world in 10 minutes or less (please try and keep that down to a minimum, by the way)? That said, if things ended well and clean and you can look back with peace and closure, I guess a pic or two isn’t too bad.
Yet if there’s a part of you that is still hanging on (when he is not) or you are close to tears every time you look at that birthday card that he got you two years ago, sis, stop torturing yourself. Things carry a certain amount of energy. Clear out the power of things that are holding you hostage on an emotional level so that you can get some fresh and new life into your space.
6. Unnecessary Social Media (and Emails)
Earlier this year, Google mail told me that my box was about to be full (do you know many emails you’ve got to have for that to happen?!). When I went to investigate what was up, I was still holding onto Facebook messages and notifications, and chile, I haven’t been on there in close to 15 years at this point. Once I cleared a few thousand of those out and then got rid of some of my promotional emails and old emails from folks I don’t interact with anymore, Google stopped sending me those warnings. Paper trails are wise to a point, even in social media and email form.
At the same time, you know there’s stuff that you’ve got that you absolutely don’t need anymore. It’s gonna be a bit of a headache to go through all of that stuff yet one day, while watching a movie, do it. I promise that seeing those numbers of unread (or not dealt with) emails and unfollowing some folks who either are out of your algorithm at this point or who bring nothing beneficial to your life will cause you to feel so much better.
7. Stuff That Makes You Busy but Isn’t Really Productive
A word that I have spent a lot of 2020 and 2021 trying to use a whole lot less is “busy.” While there is no solid right or wrong here, to me, it just sounds kind of pretentious to tell someone that I can’t do something due to how busy I am. I think a part of the reason why I feel that way is because I wholeheartedly believe that none of us are too "busy” to do something; we simply prioritize what we want to do. That said, what I also believe is sometimes we can get caught up in stuff that doesn’t really help us out, one way or another. For instance, there are a couple of clients who I’ve reduced the amount of time that I spend with them. Why? Because they are super cyclic and so, even though they pay me, it’s starting to become a waste of my time to be as invested in them as I’ve been when there are other people who are more serious about hitting certain relational goals.
Also, when it comes to writing opportunities that are presented to me, I’m more thoughtful about what I agree to do. I’ve been writing for 21 years now. I’m by no means a novice and so, not everything is a “great opportunity,” just because it’s pitched that way. Stuff has to honor my purpose, my time, and my mental and emotional bandwidth. If it doesn’t, more and more these days, it’s gotta go.
Before the calendar year ends, do some processing in this lane. If there is something or someone who is keeping you busy yet you know it or they are not really productive in the long run, at the very least, reduce the time that you are spending on it or with them. We all only get 24 hours and life is shorter than we think it is. It’s important that we are as productive as possible. This brings me to my next point.
8. Whatever Drains You Without Benefiting You
When something or someone benefits you, they are advantageous. Some synonyms for that word include helpful, worthwhile and for your best (FOR YOUR BEST). On the flip side, when something or someone drains you, they deplete you of your resources and/or energy. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you how important it is to be responsible with both of those items. You know, over the past couple of years, I’ve had to make some somewhat challenging decisions to release people who drain me because I know that my energy is my life source and spending a lot of time caught up in their drama, their manipulation, or even just their selfishness was depleting me of what I needed in order to manifest certain goals and aspirations.
Just like being busy can be really counterproductive, being drained can be such a waste. Sis, only you know what people, places, things, and ideas are taking more than they’re giving. Now is just as good of a time as any to shift some of those things out of your way — too.
9. Your Grudges
A writer by the name of Sherrilyn Kenyon once said, “Grudges seldom hurt anyone but the one bearing them.” Agreed. That said, one of my favorite takeaways from this year is that generalizations oftentimes stem from pure bitterness (check out “Ever Wonder What It Means To Be Bitter? The Answer Might Surprise You.”). It might be a bit of “red pill thinking” (or maybe just a good dose of spiritual enlightenment) but I really don't get how people think it's empowering to hold grudges and refuse to forgive other people.
Now am I all for setting up some boundaries and making sure that you learn from the experiences that put you in the position to hold any grudge and struggle with unforgivingness in the first place? 1000 times 1000 percent. All I’m saying is, there’s a really huge possibility that no one is really losing sleep over your grudge than you. And so keeping it is such a waste of that precious energy that I was just talking about; energy that could be directed into something (or someone) that will make you see that getting past the grudge is far better than holding onto it.
That stuff in the trunk of your car. Old condiments and plastic utensils from fast food spots. Books you haven’t looked at in five years. Magazines. CDs and DVDs. Lawd, those plastic bags that are underneath your kitchen sink. Containers that no longer have a lid. Hangers that have lost their shape. Junk jewelry. Office supplies. That nasty ass loofah (you know those are supposed to be replaced once a month, right?). I’m sure that I’ve named at least one thing that you know you’ve got that you also know needs to be tossed into the trash.
By definition, junk is “anything that is regarded as worthless, meaningless, or contemptible; trash.” Basically, junk is clutter. It’s physical clutter that can oftentimes trigger mental and emotional clutter. Why keep something that is worthless? Before 2022 creeps up on you, get that junk out of your space so that you can relax so much easier. Amen? Hallelujah, chile!
Featured image by Getty Images
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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