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Taking the Road Less Traveled

Quick and Easy Ways to Purge…Seriously, Do You Really Need That Much??

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Outside at my old house

Outside at my old house

I recently had to move.  There are many four letter words and “move” is right at the top.  I’ve been told that moving is one of the most stressful things you can do. That, along with selling a home, buying a home, divorce and starting a new job.  Oh, and a really bad hair day when you see your ex (why is it I never see him when my hair is perfect!?)  Anyway, when I got the call from my landlord letting me know he was selling “my home”, I spiraled down the rabbit hole, bumping along the many stages of grief. Nooooo!!!!  This wasn’t happening to me. I LOVED this home.

The first bump was denial.  My poor crew at the coffee shop were polite enough to glance sideways as I calmly explained that I “might” be moving.  All along thinking – this must be an April fool’s joke.  As far as I was concerned, I would grow old in this home. Then came anger.  How could my landlord sell “my home”??  Of course, that’s the life of a renter. You never know when you’ll have to leave.  That same patient coffee crew again looked over to one side or the other allowing me to wipe that one hot tear from the cheek as I explained this tragedy in my life.

Bargaining was next. Maybe I should buy it!?? But the one thing I like about renting is that I can generally rent a home that is worth more than I could buy.  Depression?  Oh yes.  Evenings were spent in my favorite swing enduring even more tears.  For those of you who listened while a babbled and sobbed (and you know who you are) I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  And a special thanks to my coffee crew for enduring the highs and lows of this experience. As you can tell, I really loved this place.

All of these emotions were scattered over a month’s time. But once I got past denial, I knew I needed to get my act together. My world was rolling into a new chapter whether I wanted it to or not.  I realized that this was an opportunity to simplify my life.

Me on the day I moved...I look happy but actually I was jumping off STRESS!

Me on the day I moved…I look happy but actually I was jumping off STRESS!

Ok, Do I Really Need That???

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this but I have stuff.  I mean, a lot of stuff.  I realized I might have a problem when I discovered I own about 40 rolls of tape. Not the same kind mind you, I have painters, scotch, masking, packing, that silver heavy duty tape (I’m not even sure why I have it as I can’t remember ever using it) x many rolls of each.  Every time I opened a drawer, box, I found more tape.  I thought I was more organized than that, but apparently not.

Also, my garage was FULL.  Boxes, boxes, everywhere.  I had no idea where to start.  And I realized this can’t just be me. We live in a world where we store old books, water stained towels, chipped glasses, badminton sets with only one racket and a tangled up net, in our garage. And our cars? They are left to battle the elements. Wind, rain, sun.

Purging started out as a daunting task.  At first, I just found myself moving things around.  Opening boxes, looking inside, and then closing them. Where to start? A very good friend of mine explained his “three year rule”.  Essentially, if you’ve not used it or worn in in three years, give it the old heave-ho.  And I think he’s right.

Even though I was armed with this three year rule, I still felt like I didn’t know where to start. So here’s how I got over my paralysis.  I picked a room, in my case it was the garage, and just got started. I wanted to create a place where I could store boxes that were going to be moved. But first, I had to get rid of things.

For those of you reading along and nodding your head as you envision your garage, home, closets.  All packed with things you’ve not seen or used in years, I’d like to invite you to join me. Let’s all purge together. Let’s eliminate the old and keep only the things that are important to us.  I promise it will feel good!  How do I know? I just went through it 😉

So the first thing you’ll want to do is pick a room, closet, drawer, or the garage.  You might start small and work your way up.  Say the junk drawer in your kitchen for example. Next, follow these three steps.

Step 1.  Take everything out.  I mean everything. Every box, bike, game, bag stuffed with stuff.  Once you’ve removed everything it’s a good time to clean, vacuum, etc. Also, if you’re cleaning the garage, start early because you don’t want to get stuck in the heat of the day sorting through things.

Step 2.  Create three piles.  One you throw away. One you donate. One that goes back in.  You can add the larger items to these piles as you remove them.  But where it gets tricky is when you get to the boxes. My boxes weren’t well organized. They seem to have an assortment of things. Tape, cords that didn’t seem to go with anything in the box, towels, a sock, etc.  After unpacking the boxes I started to create sub-piles of things that were similar. Cords for example.  Tape.  Light bulbs.  This feels good by the way because all of a sudden you know where things are.  And you realize you don’t need to buy another roll of tape.  Also, you may find you have stacks of old documents.  Those can be added to a “to be shredded” pile. The photo below shows you the incredible amount of documents I had shredded!

Ok, I know you're shocked but yes, this is what I had shredded!

Ok, I know you’re shocked but yes, this is what I had shredded!

Step 3. Throw away, donate, put back.  You will feel really good at this point. And believe me; it gets easier as you go.  I also recommend going back to the “keep” pile once you get done and see if you really want to keep it after all.

After the garage, I moved to my house. I used the same philosophy but applied it to a closet, drawer or room.  I’m serious when I say you need to take everything out.  Otherwise you may find you’re just moving things around. Also, as you move through your house, you may want to have a series of shoe boxes that are staged in an area where you can easily add to them. I promise you you’ll find multiple pairs of scissors around the house and you can put them all in one box. Same with tape, pens, cords, etc.  You can then store the boxes in an area and you’ll always know where to find these things.

With all that said I survived the move.  And you know, they say things happen for a reason and I actually love my new home even more!  Besides, change is good and living in a new location is already opening up new adventures.  I’m just 4 miles from my old home but everything feels fresh and new. I hope you’ll try a little purging and let me know how it goes.  With that I’ll leave you with a photo from my new back deck.  Cheers!

Same feet...different view...

Same feet…different view…

10 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Ways to Purge…Seriously, Do You Really Need That Much??

  1. I think a divorce and giving everything to your ex is the best way to purge!
    Thanks for sharing and glad the new place is working out. I was wondering what was going on — it has been a while since you have posted anything.
    Chris

    • Hi Chris! Yes, it’s been really hectic with the move and work. It was fun to have the chance to write again and as always I appreciate your support ;))) Hope all is well and you and your kids are having fun!

  2. And find charities that pick up!!!! I couldn’t find one that would take furniture and I was desperate .. and I kept looking and a new one came on line called R.I.S.E. – take a look and they will come get big stuff!!

  3. Great post. We emigrated from Scotland to America in October and could only afford to ship a tiny percentage of our possessions. We had to undertake a massive purge. Some decisions were really difficult and quite stressful but in many instances I questioned why I was ever giving storage space to some things. I found my attic had turned into my Grandad’s attic as I had decided to store every shoe box and “this could come in handy” item for a decade, as if I too had lived through the post-war austerity years. It was actually really therapeutic sloughing off so many possessions. There are definitely things I miss but I comfort myself that those books and objects and toys went on to have fulfilled lives with other families while raising money for charity. I’m glad you are happy and settled in your new house.

    • I was surprised at what I found in boxes. Why I ever packed them is beyond me! It sounds like you survived a stressful time and I’m so glad to hear that. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I so appreciate it.

  4. Great tips Shelley! So glad you found an even better place! 🙂

  5. Great post, Shelley. I miss you and I’m excited for this new chapter in your life 🙂 All the best, xoxo Katie

  6. I did the “try on everything in the closet” method. If it didn’t fit or was out of style it went into the donate bin. It takes time, but it worked for me. I’ll try pick a room approach next. Thanks for the idea.

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