Friday, October 3, 2014

day 3: it's time to purge...

Welcome to my series 31 days to more order.  If you are new to it, you can read the other posts in the series here.

Today I want to focus on getting rid of things we no longer need, want or should keep.  I think this is an important step in finding more order in our lives.  If we hang on to things that we no longer use or need, we have to find space for those things.  And just because we have the space to keep everything doesn't mean we should.

My husband and I have set a goal to go through our entire house and evaluate everything we have.  It may or may not have been because we still have almost 10 boxes of stuff we never unpacked when we moved into our home 7 years ago.  He wanted to just get rid of the boxes, but I can't.  I'm pretty sure it's all stuff we can live without on a day to day basis, but it might contain childhood memories or pictures or something that has emotional value.

Our goal is to simplify what we own and pare down our possessions.  We are going to be asking our kids to do the same thing with their stuff, which is going to take a while because my kids save everything.  Anyone else have kids save everything?  Just the other day, I was handed two rocks and a leaf to put in my purse because they looked cool and we don't have rocks or leaves where we live...

In order to purge, or simplify, we are being intentional about how we approach the process.  We want to evaluate everything based on a few questions:

1.  Do we already own something that can do the same thing or serves the same purpose?  This is a question that can be asked of kitchen items or specialty items.  Do we really need to keep that quesadilla maker if we have a griddle pan that we use for more than one type of food?

2. Do we like it?  This seems like it shouldn't even be a question to ask.  But are you holding on to things you no longer like or want?  There is no point in keeping something if you don't like it.  This may be difficult if the item was given to you by someone special but really if you don't like it, get rid of it.

3.  Do we need it?  Or have we used this recently?  Professional organizers use 6 months as a good time frame to go by.  Have I used this item in the past 6 months?  If not then it's time to purge that item.  We are asking this question a lot when looking at the kids stuff we are keeping.  For some reason we still have baby gates in our basement but we haven't had our house 'baby proofed' in six years.  So we put the gates in the purge pile.  However, as I mentioned yesterday, we still have friends who come visit who have babies, so we are keeping a pack n play.  We have it stored behind the door in our guest room, so it isn't taking up useful space.

4. Am I holding on to this item because I paid a lot of money for it?  Or what is it worth to me right now?  Sometimes, we keep things because we remember how much we paid for them and can't justify getting rid of them.  I feel this way about a pair of shoes I bought when I worked that never fit right but I paid too much for.  I did get rid of them and since I haven't worked in ten years, I don't miss them.  Look at your items based on what they are worth to you right now, not what you paid for them.

We are also giving ourselves a day (or really a night to sleep on it) to take things out of the purge pile.  I want to simplify what we own and hold onto but I also want to give myself a chance to take something back.  When we get into the flow of purging, it can sometimes lead us to want to get rid of everything.  I'd like to reserve the right to take a something back out of the pile but if I do, I need to use it or I shouldn't have kept it.

We started on our closets and the kids closets and have been able to get rid of a lot of items.  It is also a good lesson for our children on giving away clothes to help others.  We scheduled a day on our calendar to go through the boxes in our basement and the other storage areas in our home.  I can't wait to purge.

What criteria do you use when purging your home?  I'd love to hear about your experiences in gaining more order in your lives.


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