LIVING

How To Detox In A Way That Will Actually Accomplish Something

01/12/2016 01:47 EST | Updated 01/12/2016 01:59 EST
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Drawer full of cooking utensils

Around this time of year, it's essentially impossible to avoid the word "detox." It seems that everyone wants to change their lives, and do it dramatically — so a complete revamp of their systems is in order.

But frankly, we think it's all a bit of B.S. Science has shown time and again that health detoxes just don't work in any long-term capacity.

What could work, however, is cleaning out other parts of your life, instead of your body. We have a few low-key suggestions for detoxes that can help you feel calmer and more organized as you start to ramp up for 2016.

email inbox

Email Detox

There are many ways to clean out your email. Some of our favourites include:

Unroll.me, which goes through your inbox, finds all of those subscriptions you've accumulated over the years, and gives you the option of either unsubscribing or choosing to add them to a daily digest. (You can also choose to keep them coming right to your inbox, but that really defeats the purpose.)

If you use Gmail, checking off your whole inbox and hitting Archive is both terrifying and thrilling. Since you've likely been categorizing your emails in various ways, they won't completely disappear, but it will help you get to zero and start fresh for those notes that have been hanging around for no good reason.

We haven't tried this ourselves, but plenty of people swear by SaneBox, which "learns" which emails are important to you and filters them accordingly (all unimportant ones go into a folder to be checked later). They even provide an academy to learn how to use it better. The app does come at a price, with varying subscription rates.

pictures on phone

Picture Detox

Much like emails, pictures have a way of building up on our phones and tablets in an unwanted capacity. There are a few ways you can prevent this.

First off, schedule time (literally, in your calendar) to go through the pictures on your devices and delete all the duplicates, "almost had it!" and saved-for-social-media snaps. Then, once you've whittled it down to the pictures you actually want to keep, transfer them to a hard drive or memory stick. And then, unless you really want to keep that picture with you all the time, delete them all from your device. Voila! A blank canvas!

One app that can help for iPhones is Purrge ($2.29), which lets you swipe along a row (or four) of blurry photos you want to get rid of easily. There are a bunch of apps like this for phones, so do some digging to see if there's one you prefer. Gallery Doctor ($3.49), which works on all devices, is another popular option.

full closet

Closet Detox

Now we're getting into the harder stuff, a.k.a. the things you know you should get rid of in your life but still hold on to. As professional organizer Clare Kumar told us, there are five reasons people hang on to stuff: sentimental value, potential value, current value, guilt value and identity value.

Coming to terms with why you've kept things for so long is a big part of getting rid of them, and we suggest you start with the basics: clothes you haven't worn in three years (that's a lot of leeway) and clothes that do not fit, for whatever reason. (There are also seven questions you can ask yourself to help you out.)

Then, once you're done and if you're feeling particularly ambitious, try out one of those nifty closet apps that help you categorize all the clothing you own, as well as how often you're getting use out of them (for the next purge!).

kitchen drawer

Kitchen Utensil Detox

It happens to the best of us. We go to a store, or have a birthday or similar celebration, and end up with a kitchen gadget we really believe we'll use — but never actually do. And then it just loiters, unused, at the back of a drawer, until maybe you move (and sometimes, not even then).

While pantries get a lot of attention when it comes to cleaning out the kitchen, dedicate some time to going through the drawers and bidding farewell to that pasta maker that never had a chance. There are plenty of places to donate these goodies, including refugee organizations that are helping to set up newcomers in homes.

This rule, incidentally, can also apply to toolboxes, makeup bags and sports equipment nooks.

ending call

Relationship Detox

This is without question the hardest thing on this list (that's why there are so many articles about this exact topic). And while there certainly is no app to help, there is plenty of advice.

We like these tips from HuffPost blogger Melanie Gorman, who lists the signs it's time to end a friendship. The most important (in our opinion)? "Your life feels calmer, happier and more alive without them."

Figuring out whether or not you have toxic relationships in your life is the first step — from there, it's the harder work of extricating yourself from the relationship, and moving on.


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