The smell of spring in the air and the annual neighborhood garage sale that is right around the corner is putting me in a purging mood. I've been working my way through bigger projects like the pantry and Ella's room but also through smaller ones like the junk drawer, my spice shelf and the dreaded Tupperware cupboard.
My 12 Step Purging Process
- Empty everything out of the drawer/cupboard/closet. Every. Last. Thing. Trust me.
- Wipe, vacuum, wash, etc. Whatever you need to do to get the area clean.
- Decide if your space could benefit from any sort of organizing system. This doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Hunt around in your basement for small boxes, old coffee mugs, or baskets and put them to work. Or, take your earnings from your last garage or Craigslist sale and buy yourself something cute from Target (for smaller containers the dollar store is a good place to look too).
- Start by putting back your absolute keeps - things you use on a daily/weekly basis.
- Make a No Way Jose pile.
- Make a maybe pile...sentimental items, duplicates, things you are having a hard time parting with for whatever reason.
- Make a keep...but-needs-a-new-home-within-your-home pile.
- Take a deep breath. Be honest. If you don't use it, remove it from the space. Even if you spent a lot of money on it. Even if your grandma gave it to you. Even if someday you might need four soup ladles but right now you only need one. Someone else out there will need/want/be super excited about that item. It's OK for it to find a better home.
- If you fall into the indecisive/bad-at-decision-making category I give you permission to stash all the no and maybe items out of sight for a certain period of time (maybe a month? but no longer!) and once you realize you don't need or miss them, then you can donate/sell the items. It's like a get-rid-of grace period.
- Open up your edited drawer/cupboard/closet and smile. Close. Open. Smile. Repeat as necessary.
- Remember that less really is more! The less stuff you have, the less you have to manage your stuff, think about your stuff, take care of your stuff. Plus, your stuff actually fits in the space God has given you and you can see what you have at a glance. Freedom. Breathing room. (Amazing how all the stuff we own starts to own us after a while.)
- Toss, donate, and sell all the no-go's. Take the needs-a-new-home pile and actually put the items in their new spots.
The key is to empty everything out first - this forces you to really take a hard look at everything and it takes activity on your part to put things back. The other key is just to S-T-A-R-T!
Start small. Baby steps. Maybe a drawer this weekend, a cupboard next, and when you really start to get the hang of it you can tackle the garage. Just kidding. Don't do that.
I've made it most of the way through my kitchen and I realized the other day I have a drawer that is completely empty. I don't have the world's largest kitchen by any means and this has never been a problem before. No idea what to do with it.
I might just leave it empty.
Because I can.