Monday, January 3, 2011

Cut the Crap II: The Purge

Cut the Crap Part II: The Purge

This segment in Cut the Crap is about The Purge. This is the first step in making your life cleaner, more organized, and definitely less-stress. I think oftentimes people don't realize the mental "space" having extra stuff takes up in their life. For example, when you're looking for something specific but you have to plow through drawers and cabinets of things you don't even like or use just to find said item, you end up annoyed and in the process waste 15 minutes. Or when you're trying to get dressed for work and you're rifling through a closet full of clothes and can't find a single thing to wear, you begin your day frustrated and negative. Sound familiar? Sound like fun? I don't think so either.

As someone who is an admitted purge-a-holic, this is my plan for ridding your life of the unnecessary extras, leaving you with just those items you need and love, and more time to enjoy your life.

1. Take 20 minutes each night this week and tackle one room. Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to de-clutter your entire house in one evening, just do one room each night. Go through every.single.thing in every drawer, closet, cabinet, vase, etc... If it's not moving (i.e. your husband, child, or pet) it should be examined. For each item, ask yourself two questions:

"Do I use this?" And "Do I love this?"

If you haven't used it in the past year, you aren't going to. And if you don't love it, why do you waste time every week dusting it? Anything that doesn't fall into these categories should go to Goodwill.

This includes ugly gifts that you perhaps don't want but have kept out of guilt, cookbooks you don't use, DVDs you don't watch, games you don't play, books you've read and have no use for, etc...

I did my own purge recently--what the heck am I saying, I do one every month--and cleared out TWO trunks full of stuff: two bags of clothes, serving tray I've never used in three years, diapers that don't fit Madelyn, books, frames, candlesticks, toys that we don't need (i.e. the 39th stuffed animal in the closet), etc etc.

Afterwards I felt lighter, more efficient, and happy for having helped others who will shop for these things at Goodwill, get an excellent deal, and love them the way I never could!

2. Now, it's time for your closet. And this one may take a while. I would spend an hour or maybe even two going through your entire closet one evening. I'd also bring a nice bottle of white, light a candle, and think about who's style you admire. For me, I'm a huge Reese Witherspoon fan. She can do no fashion wrong in my eyes. So when I'm going through my closet assessing what I do and don't need, I think of her style. It's simple, polished, a little trendy, but mostly classic. Try every single thing on and ask yourself these questions:

Do I FEEL good in this? Do I look good? Have I worn it in the last 12 months? Does it fit my "vision" for how I want to be perceived?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, it goes. And don't be dramatic about it, just put it in the donate pile. They're just clothes. And trust me, you'll feel better when you know you have a closet full of items that you love. It will take you half the time to get dressed.

3. And lastly- pictures. I think part of the problem people get so behind on printing and organizing their photos is that there are waaaay toooo many! We do not need 13 pictures of the same thing, pictures with blurs, copious pictures of inanimate objects, or pictures that aren't even that good. Pick your absolute favorite pictures from each event and delete the rest. Then give these some meaning- put them into an album, frame them in your house, anything. No one, even your children, is going to want to flip through 19 pages of pictures from "that one time we went to the pumpkin patch!" It's much more impactful to just show those that really capture the event.

Disclaimer: I realize that I, by nature, am a purger, and not everyone is like this. There are times that Matt is genuinely afraid he's the next item to be dropped off at to Goodwill (most of the time this is not true.) But the reason I'm this way is that I believe life is too short and our time is too precious to surround ourselves with anything less than the best. You don't get to enjoy the things you love the most when they're surrounded by things you could care less about.

So go forth and purge! You'll reclaim time and maybe even a better attitude in the process ;)

image from here


Kristin said...

I need to work on #3. I keep way too many pictures on my computer.

Kristin said...

I started doing #3 when we were in Greece and Turkey. Granted, I still took 800 or so pictures that I could not part with, bur I only kept the best of each image I took. Made life much easier when we got home. Plus, I'm just a deleter. I do that wiht my e-mail too. It gets filed away or deleted... I hate a cluttered inbox. I NEED to go through my closet. I do so quite often, but I need to really go through it with purpose. I don't wear half of what I have. I have started a one in, one out rule though, and that's been helpful.

The Marden Family said...

K- I have the one in/one out rule too. I should have mentioned that!

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