Keep reading to find out how you too can become a power purger!
Okay friends, I’m back in the new year to talk about one of my favorite subjects. Yes I love organizing but what I value most about the organizing PROCESS is the purging part! Purging (or decluttering if you prefer) is essential to keeping an organized home. Not the pretty baskets and bins, not the perfectly lined shelves of storage, not even lovely cleared off countertops. Those clutter-free countertops will do you absolutely no good if you’ve just shoved everything into a drawer or cabinet to get it out of the way. Yes your countertops are free and clear but then imagine what it does to your mood when every time you open a cabinet stuff falls out on you.
I’m guessing it’d make you pretty grumpy and frustrated.
And grumpy and frustrated is not the name of our game here. We can do better than that. Is it even possible to have both clear countertops AND cabinets not stuffed to the brim? Why yes it is! All thanks to the power of the purge. Not only is it possible, there isn’t anyone that can’t do it. It’s available to everyone! Keep reading and I’ll show you how to become a power purger!
In the fifteen years that I’ve had this blog, I’ve written about this purge topic at least one billion times. Just kidding, I’m sure it’s only like one million. It’s definitely a lot. I often ask myself if there’s another way I can get my point across. How can I convince you that this is the answer to your disorganized dilemmas? Sure I also teach how to maximize your space and your cupboards, shelves and closets. But first, always first, we must purge the things that don’t belong. And for those that don’t know. I walk the talk when it comes to being a power purger. Because I am one! Let’s take a look at my 2020 purge piles.
And a look back at my 2019 purge piles.
As you can see I purge a lot! That could definitely be a rap song of some sort, ha!
So how do we know and decide what to purge? Well let’s talk about that.
My golden rule of purging and deciding what to keep and what to let go of, goes like this:
Only keep what you love and/or use and when those two criteria have been achieved you take it one step further. Only keep what you have the room to store regardless of whether you love or use it.
Ouch I know. Don’t throw tomatoes at me.
But here’s the thing. You could have boxes of memorabilia from your childhood or family that you love but is taking up an entire room. If you don’t need that room for anything else, then you have the room to store it. If however you are expecting a baby and need that space for a nursery, then you don’t have the room to store it. You may love it, you may even use it BUT if you don’t have the room to store it, you’ll need to make some tough decisions. This is often what I refer to as PURGING UNTIL IT FITS.
Do you have a garage that serves more like a storage box than a place to put your car? Do you get annoyed every time you have to get into a cold car in the middle of the winter as a result? These are the priorities that you need to consider.
Whatever you decide to keep will almost always have to be at the expense of something else. Ask yourself what you are willing to give up to keep a particular item.
Because everything is a trade off.
Do you want your home to be a place to live peacefully in the present or do you want it to be a storage warehouse of past possessions?
Do you want piles of stuff everywhere to weigh on you day in and day out or be a uncluttered space that you can truly relax in after a long day. Would you want a space that gives you comfort rather than stress? A space that gives you calmness rather than chaos? A space that provides contentment rather than frustration?
Only you can decide that and it will look differently for everyone because what brings one person peace might be different from your friend, neighbor or Instagram obsession. There is no right or wrong answer because it’s an individual choice and decision.
Figure out what brings comfort, calmness and contentment to your home and organization will be sure to follow.
Purge Regularly and Often:
So let’s go back to all my purge piles you see in the pictures above. Those piles represent a regular ongoing purging habit. All that stuff didn’t leave my house all at one time. Gosh can you imagine how overwhelming that would have been? No thank you. As you know I keep a donation box at the bottom of my linen closet. Every day I am adding to it. I follow the one in, one out rule pretty closely. And I’ve also trained myself to evaluate things as I touch them. Not just to push them deeper into the back of a space, but rather to really look at something and ask myself whether or not it has a purpose there.
Decluttering all year long is what works for me. I don’t wait until garage sale season or spring cleaning time to get my purge on. If I get annoyed with a system or new things come in, you can be sure stuff is heading out of my house as a result. Don’t wait until you think you’ll have the time to organize your whole house at once. That time will most likely never come. Start now and do it everyday.
A most common misconception of organization is that purging is a once and done event.
It is not.
Since life is constantly changing around us, it’s important that what we own matches up with where and who we are today. As our children grow and change activities, as we change sizes and styles ourselves or as our routines and habits change, we need to say goodbye to the old in order to welcome the new. And the easiest way to do that is regularly and consistently. Not just once a year. It’s all about assessing the things in our homes every day for whether or not they are still making us happy and/or serving a purpose. If they aren’t why keep it? As you find something to let go of, drop it into a donation box you have set up in your home for this purpose. Then take it to a local thrift store once it’s full.
And if you really want to motivate yourself, take pictures of your purge piles!
Use Declutter questions to guide you:
Clutter is often the result of procrastinated decisions. Making decisions about our stuff is hard especially when that stuff is attached to memories and emotions. I totally understand that as it wasn’t long ago I tackled all my childhood memories from days gone by. There are specific tips I talked about in that post that will help you. Those include having storage boundaries in place and asking yourself some very specific declutter questions.
-why am I hanging onto it?
-do I love it or use it?
-will a picture suffice?
-who am I afraid of hurting if I part with it?
-am I holding onto this because I want to or because I have to?
-how much space is this item(s) taking up?
-could I be using this space for things I love and value more?
-what’s the worst that could happen if I get rid of it?
-could I easily replace this item?
-will someone else want this after I’m gone?
These questions will really help to guide you in the organizing PROCESS.
Beware of Clutter Blindness:
I touched on this earlier when I mentioned that I had trained myself not to gloss over things that I’m no longer using or loving. This comes with practice. Because clutter blindness is very real thing (I talked about my own experience HERE) sometimes it’s necessary to do a backwards purge. A backwards purge involves taking everything out of a space for awhile (decor, pictures, etc from a living room for example) and bringing items back in slowly. The idea is so you can experience what it’s like to live with less. We get so use to our surroundings that we don’t even realize how burdensome our stuff has become. We collect things in our homes over many many years and we become blind to it.
What we need is to see what it’s like to let our homes breathe and how we feel when our stuff is no longer suffocating us. If we feel that first, it can often make bringing less back in so much easier.
I hope you find those tips motivating to helping you become a power purger!! It is possible and yes you can do it!
You can read more about my 7 step PROCESS to organizing and grab my free printable purge labels HERE.
Related posts you may also like:
Organizing Rules to Follow to Be an Organizing Junkie Like Me!
Need More Storage Space? Consider This Before Deciding to Love Your Home or List It
How to Get the Itch to Pitch
Power Pickup: The Easy Way to Reset Your Home
The Rewards of Living an Organized Life
Disclosure: If you purchase anything from links in this post, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not.