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!