A lot of people feel like recovering from drug addiction is like climbing a mountain. They feel that they’re buried under their addictions, unable to dig their way out. Believe it or not, our material possessions may be making things worse. If you’re buried under a mountain of  your own belongings, it can be that much harder to resolve your own internal struggles. Hoarding, messiness, and neglect can turn our living spaces into one big trigger for addictions. So how do you tackle paring down your stuff as you begin recovery?

Aim Small

Getting rid of stuff doesn’t have to be a big project. Just like recovery, the key is to make small goals that are easier to hit. When you’re planning how to clean your house, last thing you want to do is clean every room at once, so you just pick one and go from there. Some people start with the kitchen first, especially if they use it often. If that seems like it’s too much, start with a single drawer and get that done. You never know – if you’re on a roll you might just clean more. But if you feel like you’ve hit a goal, don’t overdo it!

And don’t just keep in mind physical objects – what kinds of spending are you doing? What kind of budget are you looking at in your day-to-day living? Take stock of your monthly spending and you can get a better idea of where you can save a little more money. It might seem like “just a few bucks,” but every little bit helps.

Keep, Sell, Donate

Part of getting rid of stuff is keeping mindful of what things you’ve used and what you haven’t. As you go through things to sell or donate, think about the last time you really used a particular object. With clothes for example, a good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, donate it. Sometimes we attach memories with things – is this particular memory one you want to keep revisiting? If not, it’s time to donate or sell it.

Clothes, appliances, and electronics in good working condition are all able to be donated. If you don’t need them, donate them to your favorite local charity. You can even get a receipt for a tax write-off if you like. The act of giving is a powerful healing tool!

Ask for Help

As with any big project, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family. Reach out to your support system to help you tackle paring down and cleaning. Just like recovery, you aren’t alone in your journey. Little by little, you’ll see your space emerge as a safer, cleaner space, and a cleaner space means a cleaner head. You won’t feel as buried anymore.

Remember though, just like any kind of project – whether it’s recovery, or therapy, or meetings, or just cleaning one room in your living space – it all starts with a single action to want to do it. We all know that getting started is the hard part, but once you hit your goal, the accomplishment will feel great!