Three Things I’m Learning From Purging

Remember how I told you back in January that it was my goal to get rid of one item a day in 2015, because getting rid of 365 things in a year would be awesome?

Well. Things are going a bit differently than planned….

I’ve gotten rid of 573 things in two months.

I am having so much fun! It feels awesome, and I have every intention to keep going. Suddenly, 2015 items in the year 2015 doesn’t sound quite so impossible anymore.;)

Purge

As each load goes out the door to the thrift shop, I feel lighter, freer, and happier! There’s just one thing that disturbs me:

We haven’t missed anything.

This bothers me, because it means that 573 completely useless items have been sitting around our house, unused. We don’t even notice that they’re gone, other than the fact that our house looks neater and less cluttered. How much more could I get rid of without even feeling it?? And I haven’t even started on our basement or garage, where we store the majority of our stuff that doesn’t get used regular. Those 573 items are “everyday” things that I’ve found in our kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and master bedroom. I still need to tackle a bunch of closets, and the girls’ room.

But our walk-in closet is looking fantastically empty. I love going in there! Sometimes I just stand at the doorway and look in admiringly….

closetAs I’ve gleefully purged for the last two months, I’ve noticed my thought process changing. I’m learning some great things which I hope will stick with me:

1) Purging is a mindset.

Getting rid of at least one item a day means that I am continually thinking of what to get rid of. I used to think of purging as an event, instead of a daily habit. I thought I needed to set aside a large chunk of time, and do it all at once, which I would never have time for at this point in my life.

Last month, a friend asked me, “How do you have time for purging, with a newborn?!” When I thought about it, I realized how fast it is to grab an item here or there.

It’s always on my mind, so when I’m in the bathroom getting ready in the morning, or making supper, or doing laundry, I’m always asking myself these questions:

What do I need to keep? How much can I get rid of?

When I evaluate what I truly NEED on a regular basis, it becomes obvious how much excess we have.

2) Clear, open space is beautiful.

I was surprised how difficult it was for me to have completely empty drawers and shelves! It seems like wasted space – I should be filling them! But why? Why can’t I have empty cupboards in my kitchen?

I was going to get rid of some more books in our living room bookshelves, but caught myself thinking, “If I get rid of anymore books, our shelves will look too empty!”

Wait, what?! That’s a good thing! The bookshelves don’t need to be crammed full! The bathroom counter can be completely empty. Our closet doesn’t need to be full of clothes.

The emptier, the better. I just needed to get used to it.

3) Change is a good thing.

There have been many things I was tempted to keep out of habit. But when I think about it, a lot has changed even in the three years since we moved into this house. I decorate differently, I dress differently, I cook differently. I like different things at different times in my life, and it is right and good to get rid of things that have served their purpose, and now we are done with them.

I thought that having a lavender plant in our bathroom would be a lovely idea, but when I looked at it with fresh eyes, I had to be honest and admit the lavender plant was outrageously ugly. You can’t imagine the relief I felt when I chucked it out.

I can change my mind! No, I didn’t wear that mint green shirt. Ever. It seemed like a good idea when I bought it, but I wasn’t thinking about the fact that mint green shirts clash with olive skin tones. Why would I keep it??!

*********************************

573 items gone feels awesome. If I keep this up all year, I can’t imagine how fantastic that will feel!

And guess what – it’s totally contagious! I had a nap on Saturday afternoon, and when I woke up, I asked Ben what he’d been doing. He was downstairs, purging! There’s an impressive pile of his stuff ready to ship off to the thrift shop!

But no matter how much stuff I get rid of, more things trickle in. The girls will keep bringing papers home, we keep getting new clothes, life keeps going, and so there will just always be more stuff.

I have often purged in the past, but it’s amazing how stuff continually builds up.

When I’m done with purging this year, will we have enough stuff to do it all over again?! We shall see….

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9 thoughts on “Three Things I’m Learning From Purging

  1. Thanks for the post! I am also enjoying purging… It’s fun to have room for a drawer dedicated to tea in the kitchen… And there is space for it when I don’t keep so many utensils! Or a game shelf in the hall closet… Why should it hold sheets that never get used?! Games are much more fun! I’m also so thankful when Nathan gets on board with the minimalizing. It makes it easier when he is also questioning whether or not we need this item. And it pushes me to keep going! I want a home that is easy to keep clean and clutter free!

  2. We have a saying at our house “When in doubt, throw it out.” If you can’t remember the last time you used it and when you will use it again it can go. So far it has only bitten us in the butt a few times.

  3. I love it when you talk purging! After reading this, I was in my closet getting ready for my yoga class and pulled out seven shirts to part with. I think I may do some more tomorrow.

  4. Kendra – love it! That’s a lot of things to purge! Good for you! I like your reminder that we can purge as we go. I often dream of the day I can “set aside” to purge, but that day just doesn’t seem to arrive. I do have a thrift store box that I sometimes add things to, but this reminds me to keep it in mind every day, as I go. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: Weekend Purging Challenge | Ordinary Days

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