I Feel So Empty…

We cleaned, purged, and cleaned some more. All weekend long. My allergies have been in overdrive, but it has been SO worth it. I’m not kidding when I say that we hauled about 20 huge lawn bags full of stuff out of the house, and I still have to go and clean out our bathroom and our closet. I haven’t even touched the upstairs yet. There is a TON of stuff to purge.

When we moved into the house back in 2004, we were merging two apartments into one house, and it was just 2 months before our wedding — we just didn’t seem to have time to focus on purging things before we moved them. Time was of the essence. Since we have a large house, we were able to stuff things in without thinking much about it. Problem is, we were still bringing new things into the house, on top of the stuff we moved in. ACK!

Eventually, I hit the point where it was all just too overwhelming for me, and while I desperately wanted to do something about it, it was like I didn’t even know where to begin. I hate it when I get like that, and it happens quite often. So I was thrilled when the opportunity came up for Tara, the Queen of Purge, to visit and help us out. My mom had offered to help us out this summer, but purging? It is a highly emotional thing. I needed someone very neutral to all of it. I needed an “outsider” involved. Even then, I had a little bit of a meltdown each day we worked. Matter of fact, Tara had to help Mike purge the study, because when I started to push him to toss things he wasn’t ready to let go of, it was going to turn a bit ugly. She went in like an expert and diffused the situation, and helped turn our study into a fabulous workspace for him.

There is still a lot to do, but she got us going and that was the most important part.

Tips for purging:
— If you can not justify within 3 seconds why you MUST save something, get rid of it. It isn’t worth it for you.
— Set up the bins: Give Away, Recycle (paper!), Trash, Put Away. Use them. They are your friends.
— If you noticed that a lot of the “put away” items are related to one topic, say photography, make a bin just for that stuff. You obviously need a true home for it, and you will want to have it all together to set up that home. It will make things easier in the long run.
— Focus on one room at a time, and stick with that room until it is done. Start in one corner and work your way around the room in a circle. Clear out the bins as soon as you are done before moving on to the next room.
— If you are the sentimental type like me that wants to hold on to things, let them go. It is ok. You have the memories. You know what you did, where you were, etc. in the past. I think about this every year when hurricane season begins. If we lost everything tomorrow, what would I miss the most? (Photographs, books, photography equipment, and my knitting stuff.) The rest is just taking up space. I can let it go.
— If it is impossible to let something go, make a “memories” box. Look through it before you store it, and reevaluate, you may not want to keep it after all. Funny how when you faced with storing something in your pretty, purged room you start to change your mind.
— Just because you once spent money on something, it is in perfect shape, and you may use it “someday”, you don’t really necessarily need it. We tend to overbuy, and if it is just taking up space it isn’t doing you any good. Most likely, when you truly need it, you’ll forget that you have it anyways. Let it go — and truly think about your purchases in the future. (I’m really good at buying stuff just because it is on sale. Now I just don’t shop to avoid the temptation, and when I do shop I make sure I buy *quality* items, not just “make do” items or things that are cheap. Inexpensive is good, cheap is bad. Just because something is on sale at a great price, if you wouldn’t have bought it at full price and you don’t truly need it, don’t buy it!)

I didn’t go through all of my crafting items yet, as I was just feeling a bit too emotionally raw. I will be doing it soon though, as I want to reclaim the space. I’ll post here first if there are any goodies I want to sell, before moving them on to Ebay land.

All of this is somewhat spurred by my dream of someday living in a house half the size of this one. Crazy, but true – I don’t want a house as big as what we have. I would LOVE to live in closer to downtown Houston when Jason graduates from high school. I also dream of living in Europe again someday (not likely, but a slim chance thanks to Mike’s employer) and the houses overseas are just smaller. I want to purge now and be ready for the future move!

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

10 replies on “I Feel So Empty…”

Sounds like your empty feelings are good ones. Thanks for the purging tips, this is always something I’m “working on” (more like “thinking about working on, one of these days.”)

Can Tara come to my house and play?

Woo! I may be alone in this, but I LOVE purging. (Of junk that is.) Love it. I feel so refreshed and I breathe easier once it’s done and everything is all neat and organized. Right now, our apartment is a cramped and crowded pile of junk just begging me to throw it all out. I can’t wait until we move (hopefully next year) so I have an excuse to force Mr. Geeky to clean out his junk and so I have motivation to do it myself.

I know exactly how you feel. I just purged a lot of stuff because of our move from Austin to Seattle. Why pay a mover to move something that you could get for less then what it will cost to move?

I’ve been here a month without any of my stuff as it is to arrive this week. I think when it gets here I’ll be able to purge even more. I mean if I didn’t really need it the last month, do I really need it at all.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to my yarn! I’ve been dying for that to show up!

We do this about once a year, we have such small closets we are forced to periodically purge spaces – but not all at once. We recently did this to the drawers in the kitchen, our clothing, the bathroom cabinets and the guest bedroom closet (that is how I shoved all the FP booth supplies in there AND Kenny’s family photos). Kenny clears out his office about twice a year and next stop on my list is my office (tiny closet in there recently exploded from the stuff I shoved in there) and this week I actually planned to go through my shoes (bought a new organizer this weekend). We did the garage this spring. I guess another tip to your list is rotate rooms throughout the year so you are not overwhelmed.

And for me it is a good feeling to also know where everything is…

Look forward to seeing your place – can you believe I have not seen your red walls either??

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i feel your pain, Christine! i had to do major purges when we moved from Houston to Dallas. it was emotionally draining since i had to do it all by myself (and sell the house, too) while Tom already had to start working. now that we have moved into our townhouse, i went through that again, but i was more methodical about it since we didn’t do a whole lot of buying (new stuff) in our apartment – we simply had no room! when we moved to our townhouse, i put everything where they should be and once i did that, then i went through each room separately. due to lack of storage (like bookcases, etc), Tom still has boxes in his office and in the garage. my plan is to get those bookcases and then make him go through all his stuff before we tackle our storage unit (that i’m paying monthly for). i’m afraid to go through all my craft stuff. you know how much i bought while i was a demonstrator.

Flylady say when you are flinging things to ask these questions about something you wantto keep. 1. Have I used it in the past year? 2. Do I really love it? 3. Does it make me happy? I you cannot answer yes to at least 2 then get it out of you house. If it is a family heirloom, see if someone else in the family wants it. Otherwise out is goes. As a third generation pack rat. I find it hard but these questions keep me plugging away at clearing the clutter from my house and life. But the crafting supplies are the hardest to fling!

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