There are lots of benefits to getting rid of all the accumulated stuff in your home. Take a second and look in your closest closet and I’ll bet you’ll find more than one thing that you haven’t laid a finger on in over a year. My incentive is that I like things organized. My personal goal of purging unneeded items is to make sure that when I’m done everything has a place and it can all be put away. It may not happen often, but boy is it nice when everything is where it should be! Other benefits can be financial; from Craigslist to garage sales to tax deductions from donations (not to mention knowing you are helping others!), you can almost always reap some financial gain. And peace of mind is not a benefit to overlooked- whether it’s peace from being around a clean space to peace from checking on that wedding dress in the attic and knowing it’s still in good shape.
I kind of wanted to put this under a “Moving” category since it is my number one tip for anyone prepping to relocate, but realized that most people don’t move quite as often as we do so I chose to post it here. I generally do at least a surface purge every year, but every couple years you need a full-on whole-house purge. I use our moves as a great excuse to motivate me and do it, but you don’t even need that. How much stuff is hanging out in your closets that you don’t need? Think of all the space you could be using for a new! Or things you could sell that you didn’t even remember you had.
Here are a few tips on how I successfully purge my house of all those unnecessary things that we tend to accumulate.
1. Start Small // It’s easy to say you are going to clean out all your closets this week, but it’s way more overwhelming to try. Start with one closet and break that down into even smaller tasks. I don’t even count our bedroom closet as one to-do. I usually do the clothes and then count everything else (purses, belts, shoes, random stuff on the floor) as another task for later. In the living room, I start with the end table drawers and then move to the entertainment center one door at a time.
2. Go Room By Room // I usually start in our bedroom and begin with clothes (because I really hate doing that and want it to be over!). See #1 for why I do my clothes one day (or a few days!), my husbands another, and move on from there. Finishing an entire room at a time is more satisfying than finishing all the closets in the house and then starting on the drawers.
3. Don’t Forget the Little Things // It’s tempting to think “I’m sure there’s nothing in my nightstand I need to get rid of.” Those places are the worst and have the most random things that you don’t need! Don’t look past your end tables, junk drawer, utensil drawer or desk drawers.
4. Don’t Forget the Big Things // Your husband got a new charcoal grill this summer and now you don’t ever use the gas one? If you’re sure you don’t want to keep it, get rid of it! (Yes, this one is absolute specific to our family right now, however, it’s actually easier to overlook big things than you think!)
5. Toys Need to be Purged, Too // Tactically, this one depends a bit on the age of your kids and how many you have. If they are older, this is a great learning experience. Tell them how blessed they are and that it’s time to get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with. Then sit and help them go through ALL the toys (even the junk at the bottom of the toy box) and explain to them how you are going to give them to other kids that don’t have many toys (if you are donating) or tell them they get to put the money they get from the toys into their piggy bank (if you are having a garage sale). If they are young, just go through them when they are sleeping. 🙂 My little one is right in the middle, so I think we’re going to try a little bit of both and have him pick one or two toys to give to the YMCA and I’ll do the rest.
6. Create a Cloud Folder for Instruction Manuals // I’m about to start this. I used to just make sure they were available online and then toss them, but I’ve since decided that is too risky. Go to the website, download the manual, and then upload it to your Cloud Folder. That way if they stop making it and remove it from the site, you’ll still have a copy. And you won’t have to look far to find it.
7. Don’t Doubt Yourself // Put your donations or garage sale booty in opaque bags and don’t open them again unless you have to. We usually donate our stuff and I keep a running list of items as I put them into the bags. This way, I have a final list to get a receipt for and I don’t look through things again and start putting it back in my drawers. If your gut was to get rid of it, stick with it!
Don’t be intimidated, you can do this!
Do you have any other tips to add?