I had someone ask me recently about the purge pile pictures that I often post (like here and here) as well as regularly on Instagram. They wanted to know more about how I do it. Every week I head to my local thrift store to drop items off. On Wednesday mornings I open my linen closet, pull out my donation box, take any items stored there out, put it all into shopping bags and away I go to drop it all off. Every single Wednesday. Much of the reason I am as organized as I am is because of these types of habits I’ve set up for myself. It’s not something I have to thing about now and that makes life easy. I like easy.
So here’s how to make weekly household purges possible in your life.
Set Up a Donation Station
Somewhere in your home find a spot to stash a donation box. This is key. I store mine in my linen closet because it’s on the main floor and very convenient for me to get to. I could stash it in the basement out of the way but I’m not sure I’d be as successful about making sure items hit the box. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Some other ideas include under the bed, in a bedroom closet, in the garage, laundry room or entryway. It all depends on the space you have available. As you can see from the picture of my own donation box (above), you don’t have to use a fancy container or even fancy labels. A good cardboard box works just fine.
Get In the Habit Of Putting Stuff There Regularly
We all go about our day with the intention to organize but somehow it doesn’t happen because we can’t seem to find the time. The truth is organizing doesn’t have to be a whole big extravaganza event. In fact, organizing on the fly can be just as effective as well because you can do it as you go without trying to find any additional hours in your day. Here are some examples of how stuff ends up in my box:
- my son comes out of his room wearing pants that are now too small for him. Off they come and I immediately put them into my donation box.
- I’m tripping over dog toys everyday and realize I can solve that problem by getting rid of a few of them (she has her favorites anyway) so I collect a handful and put them into the box.
- I purchase something new and adhere to my one in, one out rule and into the box an item goes.
- As I’m reading my son a story at night I see a pile of books that he’s outgrown and quickly scoop them up and into the box.
- As we set up to play a family board game one night, we find a couple of games we haven’t played in over a year. Time for them to go.
See how easily this works? You incorporate the purging into your daily life. Just toss the stuff into the box and go about your day.
Find Someplace to Take It
I’m sure there are many organizations in your community that would be happy to take your gently used items. I take all of my stuff to my local thrift store and am happy to do so simply because 100% of the profits go to support our local hospital. So be sure to check the thrift stores in your area and their rules of donation. Often various charities will even come to pick your items up directly from your home. So do a little research and pick a place. Any place, just get it out of your house. If you have used clothing in really good shape another option for you might be to bring it to a local consignment shop where you’ll split the profits with the owners of the store. If you want to try and sell your items yourself via Craigslist or Ebay make sure you have a spot to keep all these items together (in one spot) in your home and give yourself a reasonable time frame for getting it done. I don’t have a lot of spare real estate in my home so I no longer sell my items but instead I opt for getting it out of the house as soon as possible. I am also not a big-fan of hosting a garage sale.
Schedule a Regular Donation Time
A regularly scheduled time each week (or whatever time frame you choose) will ensure that you are regularly ridding your house of excess clutter (anything you don’t love or use or have the room to store!). My thrift store here is only open twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays so I choose to make Wednesdays my day. I load it all up and deliver it to the friendly folks. Some weeks I have quite a bit, other weeks not as much but I always make sure there is something.
So what do I do if my donation box is empty (which does happen from time to time)? Simple. I start walking around my house until I find some things. In fact this happened to me just last week. I had an empty donation box! So I looked around my home and realized I hadn’t purged my cookbooks in awhile. My rule is if I haven’t used something in a year than it’s time to say goodbye. I purged over 12 cookbooks that day and made a successful trip to the thrift store after all. No problem!
So I hope I’ve gotten you into the mood to do some purging. Set up a system today and in no time you’ll be well on your way to an uncluttered home with a built in method to keep it that way :)
Do you have a donation box set up in your house? No? Well then what are you waiting for?
Note: All the pictures in this post are of my own purge piles that I recently disposed of. Whoot!