the lazy gal’s guide : the process


Hello lovelies! This is yet another installment in our favorite series as of late – The Lazy Gal’s Survival Guide to Better Housekeeping! {If you have no idea why on earth I’m tearing our house apart, you may want to start on our main page. Feel free to check it out!}

purge

It has begun.

Jamin says (if you remember our previous stalemate) that I’ve turned a new leaf. I think he’s beyond thrilled. We started The Lazy Gal’s Great Purge in grand celebration of all things auld lang syne and the new year in our true search for simplicity

But I’m just going to tell ya… this is beyond hard for me to do, and to share.

It’s downright embarrassing. Over the time period of two days starting last week, we began in the initial  ’purging zone’ of our bedrooms. This included everything… the closets, drawers, under the beds… and two bathrooms.

After our first pass…

the_lazy_gals_great_purge

I’m super excited about donating our belongings. The black bags are going to local charities. While we’re holding a garage sale in February (the Second) we decided from the beginning that the only thing we would bother to sell would be furniture and decor items. {A few of the white bags you see were also for family + friends} and the rest were trash.

Speaking of trash, we’re also in the process of figuring out a nice recycling system as well. (I’m ashamed to admit that one, too.) I’ve been selfish… and my eyes have been opened. I can say a million times that ‘our lives took over’ and there is some truth in that. But I took the easy route, and as a result, complicated our lives by letting our stuff own us.

Writing about this is a double edged sword because a. It holds me accountable in search for the best processes that work for us b. I have to share it all. Let’s throw in option c. for making it work. And as you can see above, all of it…it’s not pretty.

It’s real. It’s life. This is the ultimate new year’s resolution for me and I’m being honest… This is what it will take for us to achieve a simplified home. An intentional home. But in the process of getting there, we’re a real home.

I guess you guys have realized by now, that I suffer from the delicate combination of what I like to describe as ‘guilt-ridden-emotionally-attached-artist’. Let me clarify. I don’t have a shopping problem. Maybe the college girl circa 1999 had a shopping problem when she nearly failed economics because she skipped too many classes so she decided she needed a little retail therapy. But I’m actually proud of myself in that aspect. There’s a reason we’re called The Handmade Home all in the name of avoiding ridiculous costs. Digression.

I have a parting-with-items-that-have-been-sitting-in-my-closet-for-thirteen-years-problem. I don’t want to donate that nice toy, even if the kids haven’t touched it in two years, because their second cousin’s mother’s aunt purchased it for them, and it was thoughtful. I don’t want to get rid of that nice set of suits my dad took me shopping for in college, even if I haven’t worn them in over ten years because a. they were made of silk and I’ll never own anything that nice again and b. that was really sweet of him. Who cares if they have a (now permanent) coat of dust on it from sitting on the hangers for so long? If I’m being really honest, they probably don’t fit. And I don’t want to pass on that pile of various items in the garage, because we might use it for a project. It’s a slippery slope with my guiltyemotionalattachedartist syndrome.

Where do you draw the line? How to you keep this from continuing? Why am I seriously one step away from being a hoarder, and the remaining jackpot million dollar question: What am I teaching my children? Because it keeps coming back to that.

I needed two basic philosophies about my home. These would be used as guidelines to hold me accountable for purging. So I decided to go with the tried and true. I mean, just like grasscloth and linen, they’re classic for a reason, right?

william_morris1. If I don’t have room for it… if I struggle to find a place for it to go… if I’m holding on to it just to hold on to it… it needs to go. This mostly pertains to the storage unit we’ve held on to for a year now, all in the name of ‘almost’ selling our home last year. And everything in it. With the exception of very few things… if it won’t fit in our home, then we don’t need it. (Let me also add, that It’s a little tricky doing what we do, as sometimes switching things out is to our benefit.) But the heart of the matter, and our call for extreme changes, is that if it doesn’t fit, we don’t need it. This includes not shoving crap back into our closet.

william_morris

2. If it is not useful. (Hello, rando third set of measuring cups I am holding on to because I have no idea} If it is not beautiful (Hello, blanket I do not care for but could bless someone else with yet here I am, letting it collect dust in my closet. It’s waiting for when we have a blizzard with a house full of twelve stranded guests in the tropics of alabama so the twelfth blanket may be needed. This is a very real fear. It happened to my parents when I was thirteen. Alabama blizzard in the spring of ’93. Check it.) It needs to go.

We’ve divided it into manageable zones in our home. So far, we’ve only conquered the bedrooms and bathrooms. But doing this is exhausting. After an hour, I want to shut it down and watch Goonies and eat my feelings in the form of chocolate cream pie and a tall glass of milk. It’s overwhelming and I am not good at this.

Enter Jamin. This is a team effort. Slowly but surely, we’re chisling away at each section of our home. He reminded me not to focus on what we have left, but look at what we’ve accomplished. I’m like the rock climber who got totally wigged half way through repelling, and nearly wet my pants because he’s telling me not to look down. We have a long way to go.

Basic RGB

I went through a little bit of this thought process when in doubt about a certain item. I thought if you guys struggle like me, and have yet to begin, you may enjoy a little bit of a guide. I had to challenge myself on some things.

info-01

In this initial process, things are not organized. We have some super fun ideas up our sleeves, but the process first, is to purge. And we will make a second pass. Below is a glimpse at Emerson’s closet before… and after. The before doesn’t do her toy pile problem or Barbie relocation program justice. (Her closet above looks a little less crowded to me in the clothing department. I had yet to hang the laundry on my first pass. She also owns many hand me downs that must be returned. I am about to go at it again.)

(Disclaimers galore: You may notice the bows have not diminished. I stand firm in my belief that a southern gal can never have too many bows. They are immune to my purging abilities. I am immune to your judgement. )

closet_space

I can easily say we reduced our belongings last week (toys + clothes) by 45%. This is why the organization part will show this off. While things are sorted, they’re not in their permanent homes yet.

This is just part of the process. Part of the beginning of our transformation. We can’t wait to see what you guys are up to, as well, and hope that by next week you can upload your progress to our site. Stay tuned, friends!

The most overwhelming part about all of this is realizing how blessed we are. My eyes have been opened. This process is forcing us to stay accountable for everything we own. To actually realize what’s there, and be creative with the things that we have and choose to keep. It’s a real chance to bless others.

It’s funny, how taking a few days to pause and take inventory, realizing the things you’ve been taking for granted… can totally change your perspective on life in general. On the flip side of being overwhelmed and shamed with excess, I also acknowledge that we want for nothing.

We are so blessed.

We’re ready for an intentional, simplified, transformed home.

Still with us?

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64 Responses to the lazy gal’s guide : the process

  1. Crystal says:

    Oh Ashley, you could have been writing this post about my life! I, too, get waaaaay too emotionally attached to items. I’ve been that way ever since I was little. My poor mother was neat as a pin and could purge without remorse, but my father – well let’s just say he probably would have become an A&E episode if it hadn’t been for Mom. My genetic apple definitely fell right under his tree! So, I can absolutely, 100% identify with what you’re going through – the Happy Meal toys, the random pieces I might find homes for “someday” – my daughter even has the same cat piano and Jessie doll (although they are both AWOL somewhere deep within the recesses of her room). I started the purging process myself but I haven’t gotten as far as you – it really just looks like I’ve pushed stuff around and it has oozed out into my hallway for all to see. And, now, I have to go back to work so the mess will just be festering until the weekend – mocking me every time I have to step over it. Depressing as it is, I refuse to shove it back into her room. I am determined to get it cleared out so she can actually enjoy her space – and others can enjoy the perfectly good items she has outgrown. I haven’t even begun to tackle my own closet of horrors. And, don’t get me started on my office . . . oh the paper! I could write a book about hoarding paper. Wow, this was very therapeutic – and cheaper, too :-) Stay strong and happy cleaning!

  2. Lori H says:

    Great job! I need to start this too.

  3. Laura says:

    Have you read 7 by Jen Hatmaker? It’s an amazing book about all of this.

    • Yes, Laura! I devoured it in a weekend. That’s part of the fuel behind all of this. I’m on the last chapter, and have been stuck on it for a while, because I started purging and Christmas came ;} I plan on reading it again, when I’m finito. LOVE it.

  4. paige says:

    amen sister!
    i am a total former save it all, save everything. clutter knickknack queen
    turned
    throw it out!
    my word it’s freeing. give it away. throw it away. just do something with it
    and
    don’t replace with something else…just to start the entire process all over again.

    i shared a video on jeanne olivers creatively made home about this process for me.
    maybe i’ll go and share on my blog too…but it was not a quick fix. took a while but my mind-frame is completely different now when i shop.

    love your cute diagrams . you’re so much more fancy & techy than i!
    happy 2013 cutie!

  5. Way to go! Thanks for all your honesty on this one. I am impressed! You are on your way!

  6. Angela R says:

    We did some of this yesterday! I always do the great after Christmas purge but with a new baby coming I had to go through baby stuff too. We set aside 5 bags of stuffed animals. How ridiculous is that for one kid? I know people love buying kids things but I really wish they would rein it in. It makes me feel guilty looking because I see it as a pile of money people spent on our daughter, but our house is small and with another baby due in May we just can’t keep it anymore. I also went through her baby clothes because we are expecting a boy this time, but I could not bring myself to get rid of them yet. I’m going to blame that on pregnancy hormones!

  7. I’ve been purging in my single years all the way through marriage and two kids. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate in one year. Last year we had a huge gigantic garage sale, and we’re going to have another this year. It’s mostly from people that keep giving us things and toys. :)

    PS. I love the girls room. And the infographic. The whole post is beautiful with all the graphics. :)

  8. Tess says:

    Thank you for being so “real”. I love reading home blogs and sometimes they can start to make your feel less than…..like why doesn’t my home look spotless, stylish and organized all the while raising two children. It makes me feel sane again when I see that other people have messes and clutter and real lives!!! My struggle isn’t so much not being able to let things go, but the struggle with perfection. The perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect home etc. It’s exhausting because it’s never attainable. So, thanks again, for reminding me what is normal, real, and to remember to be grateful my imperfect, yet beautiful and full life!

  9. Molly Richardson says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thak you!!! A) for inspiring me…as you always do and B) because my husband sees your blog (via me going, “oh, my goodness honey look at this; we totally have to do it!) and he says, “look, their house is always neat and organized, ours should be too!” It is soo refreshing to see the reality of life behind the magazine pages! But, also a little like a support group for making a change to better my home, family, and hopefully bless someone in our community too! Thanks!!

  10. Erin says:

    Great start! Good luck – not an easy process. I feel like I am constantly doing the “is it useful?” or “have I used it recently” check on many an item in my home. Last night, I cleaned out my closet and when I saw all of the empty space in it this morning, I felt so free and liberated, like a weight had been lifted! I hear ya! I was very emotionally attached to items as well, but after my son was born and I looked at all of the stuff we had in our home and how much more kids seem to bring with them, I am almost a bit cold about throwing things out now. But I’m okay with that – hey, you can’t take it with you onto wherever we go after this life, right? Good for you for teaching your kids these lessons now – I’m still learning them on a daily basis. Keep it up! I’m enjoying following your journey – it’s inspiring me to keep what I find beautiful and know to be truly useful in our lives. Thanks so much!

  11. Amy Carney says:

    So I was the same but living in a smaller home has forced me to change. Also don’t you think during the late 90′s and early years of 2000 it was fashionable to save, keep and over buy? Now it is all about having quality over quantity plus it is so much nicer to be able to see the floor under my bed! The one thing I do continue to stoor is a bit of food and water in case of emergency…anyhooo happy purging you have a lovely home and I say keep the suits your dad gave you at least one just for sentimental reasons but store it in the garage! Maybe it could be repurposed some day with the kiddos…happy new year!

  12. Mindy says:

    I just spent the last week doing our annual post-Christmas purge, and it is as if you took my thoughts out of my head and wrote them down! I can totally relate to just wanting to watch the Goonies- it is emotionally exhausting to make 7,000 little tiny decisions! Every year I vow not to let this happen again, and every year it does. How, I ask, how?
    PS-Thank you for taking a stand on bows! Every good little Southern girl needs at least one more.

  13. melissa gray says:

    I definitely like to hold on to things that I “think” are nice but have no place or reason to be in my home. I get that from my dad. However, being married to a person who cannot even throw away packaging that an item came in has made me change my ways. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell in our house because everything I do gets undone by my husband. We started purging before Christmas, but unfortunatley I only walked away with one garbage bag of stuff from the kids playroom. I think now that the holidays have passed it’s time to get a little more scrupulous and really go through things with a fine tooth comb.

  14. Vikki Koss says:

    If you double up your hanging rods, one on top of another, you will not believe how much more space you have for clothing! Since my daughter is still small, I leave the ones below empty for now and have toys down on the floor but she likes to put what she will wear to school the next day on the bottom rod so that she can reach it easily the next morning. You’ve inspired me to purge, purge, purge!

  15. Sandy says:

    Hi Good for you!! I’m sure you will have lots of satisfaction when you are finished. I like things organized and have decluttered many times. With in the last few yrs my hubby is now on board and is really appreciating his new organization in his hobby room There is a lot of freedom having a place for everything (time not taken by searching, finding whats needed in a hurry, everyone can find it, time for other things, not being embarrassed when company comes and you don’t have hangers)
    Congratulations on doing a fine job.

  16. Anyone reading this that thinks they don’t have the same problem has Cleopatra Syndrome–Queen of deNile.

    When it gets rough, concentrate on what you are keeping and how to store it beautifully. You will soon forget what you got rid of.

    Keep up the good work.

  17. Rose D. Frenchtown, NJ says:

    Oh my God!!! I sooo need to do this!! Thanks for the swift kick in my butt! LOL

  18. Stacy P says:

    It is SO funny (or ironic or kismet…) that I read your post at this point…I am actually sitting watching a favorite show while eating CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE and NOT starting out my big purge of our butler’s pantry, aka the “drop zone”. I’m now getting up off my rapidly expanding bootie to get started clearing out that room! :) So enjoy a bite of pie every now and then and keep the updates coming. We all live in the real world and I, for one, appreciate you “keepin’ it real”!

  19. Carol Ann says:

    All it took for me to realize the path I was heading down (too much stuff!) was helping my mother downsize. That lit a fire under my #*&%. We had a massive GROJ (Get Rid Of Junk) sale and adopted the same philosophy as you….so far so good! Best of luck!

  20. Kimm at REINVENTED says:

    Oh yes, I am with you!! I can’t wait to purge and share my progress with my readers and yours. :). It’s just the hard work part that has me sniffling. Thanks for sharing your “real”.

  21. Tammy says:

    Thank you so much for being so honest and open. I will admit that although I’m not a jealous person, at all, I was so jealous of your daughters room and how organized and lean it looks as well as the rest of your home. I’m glad to see that your just as normal as the rest of us. I’m in the process of purging toys myself. Funny thing is i started last night before your post on today of her toys that are in my dinning room. My daughter has a December birthday and she’s the last of four boys. Yeah right, overflow. We have toys from two years ago that are still in boxes. Now my real question to you is, how did you motivate yourself and how much time did you give yourself? I have over the past two years started to become a procrastinator. Thank you in advance. Blessed, Tammy

  22. Lucy says:

    About to start purge tomorrow starting with my daughters room! I have banished my son from the house on Friday so that I can tackle his room free from his hoarding phrases and excuses – I thought I was bad but he brings a whole new level!

  23. Gina B says:

    Ugh. I know I NEED to do what you’re doing. I’m so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have just kind of hanging around our home. It’s time. (I say that sitting at work, knowing that when I get home and can actually do something about it, I’m going to try and find fifteen excuses to avoid it.) Bring on the trash bags!

    • You can DO IT! Let me say though, I am not a night time worker. I try to be, {emphasis on the try} but I always end up merely wanting to rest because as someone so aptly stated above, it’s like making 7,000 little decisions. That’s why it’s so exhausting… so if I worked full time during the day on something OTHER than my website, I can totally see why you wouldn’t want to! If a weekend makes it easier, dedicate a couple of those to your cause! That’s how we will have to eventually wrap this up, because I can’t do it on my own! ;}

  24. Bekki says:

    Loved reading this! I went through the same process two years ago(can’t believe it’s been that long) when we thought we were moving. I had a deadline and did my “great purge” in three months. I don’t recommend this method as I hardly slept the entire time, but it was so worth it. I don’t miss anything I got rid of, nor do the children. The house is still mostly clean and organized and I am so careful what I bring in. Once you see it all empty its easier to not want to cram it full of stuff again. Does that mean is perfect around here no, there is still that ongoing process of purging, especially with children since they are always growing. There are also areas that we made to look nice but still don’t function well for our family. We had our house on the market for 7 months and it never sold. Then 6 months later my husband got a new job that is only 20 minutes from our house. Now we are finally making our house into a home and having empty shelves and drawers really helps. Keep on keeping on its so worth it in every way! Now I want to go purge and organize reading posts like this are so motivating for me. :)

  25. Susan Krauss says:

    Way to go on the donated things! Good job!

  26. Tiffany says:

    I love that you are sharing! My goals for 2013 are similar and I am excited to see your process and be motivated to keep going! It always looks so crazy in the process, but oh how it WILL be worth it!

  27. kelsey says:

    I love that it’s a team effort for your family. My boyfriend and I are building a house and moving in April and I want a clean, fresh start. He has lived in our apartment for 5 years and I moved in last summer. While doing some cleaning, I found mail and old cell phones from 2004, empty shopping bags in the closet, and sweaters from high school that don’t fit (he’s 34)!!! I’m trying so hard to get him to start purging and organizing BEFORE we pack so we don’t have to move 10 years of junk, but he isn’t getting with it and I don’t know how to get through to him without being a nag or overstepping boundaries by throwing things away without asking (he doesn’t seem to appreciate when I do that).

    If anyone has advice for getting him on board, it would be much appreciated!

  28. Bernice J says:

    This post really resonated with me. Most of my married life, I have been complaining that my home is too small. Truthfully, it is small (one level, less than 1,000 sq. feet) but I also have slowly been realizing that I also am holding on to things that I don’t need, want or have space for. Also, more importantly, I feel that God asks me to look at what others around the world have, compared to me…then I know I live in luxury! How can I justify buying and keeping stuff when others are literally dying every minute of starvation or homeless or destitute? My criteria for what I keep/give away is: would my kids want it when I’m gone? Could I take a photo of it and remember the memories or do I really need the actual item? Do I have to continually dust and clean it when it probably wouldn’t make the grade if I had to move? I feel that our life should never be measured in what we have but in what we have done to further God’s kingdom in our lifetime.

  29. I am following your progress as we are in the midst of this ourselves. We just did the two kids’s bedrooms and today we tackled the toys. I was amazed at how well both kids- ages 5 and 6 handled the process. I had two blanket boxes/ toy chests and the goal was they could have one each and whatever fit, they could keep. My son was very quick to decide what he wanted to keep. My daughter took a little longer. i.e. she does not need 20 barbies so she had to cut it down to 6. She enjoyed this guidance of how much she could keep vs. donate. It does feel good to see how much is taken away. My husband has a few trips to the donation center to make.

  30. yakmom says:

    I need to do this, but sometimes even the thought of just going through our closet is overwhelming. BECAUSE, once I have gone through stuff, I have a tendancy to want to find good homes for it all…I have trouble just letting it go. Then, my bag of “cleansed” items sits in the garage or (if I am honest…in my bedroom), until I can find something to do with it all. I have noticed this tendancy developing in my 9 year old sweet pea too. One way I am trying to nip it in the bud for her is by asking her about once a month to go through her room and get rid of 5 things. Broken toys, unwanted art projects, too small clothes, or a crayon wrapper…it all counts. Now, I just need to make myself do the same.

  31. Tonya says:

    I laughed out loud at the mention of eating your emotions in chocolate pie! So timely, as my lunch today consisted of cheetos, leftover cake roll, and iced tea. I just happened to be right in the midst of an office purge. This post was EXACTLY what I needed just now!

  32. Kristin says:

    I love this! We moved from Pittsburgh, PA (where houses have basements) to Charleston, SC (where houses don’t have basements) over 2 years ago. I worried so much about losing all that storage space. For what? Just as yous said, it was all unnecessary, just things we never broke down and went through. It was so freeing to get rid of it all. And it is so nice to go into my attic (for things like holiday decor) and come out very quickly with exactly what I wanted, without all the digging through stuff we don’t need. :) Enjoy your newly freed up space! :)

  33. Kim says:

    LOVE this series! I’m just jumping in today after my sister sent me a link to one of the first Lazy Gal’s Guide posts, and I’m already totally immersed. I’ve gone through this process so many times, and my husband and I are in desperate need of another purge season. Thank you for sharing. [And I came across your post about being "Enough" earlier today as well and just want to say - love it. Totally what we all need to hear sometimes in our lives.] Happy New Year and can’t wait to follow along in this process.

  34. keri says:

    i am so grateful to you for writing this and helping me to feel like i.am.not.alone in my guilt-ridden-emotionally-attached-artist syndrome! i so desperately want a simplified, organized home and am feeling like our stuff is taking over! and what do i do? just sit and stare at it and be overwhelmed by it and then choose to pretend its not there! obviously, that’s not getting me anywhere!! so thanks for the encouragement that people like us can really purge! although i was wondering, is your hubs sitting there with you helping you by saying “yes, toss it” or “no, we need that”. this is where i really feel like having a friend who can push me through it would be so helpful (my hubs is too busy during the week to do it with me). so thanks for sharing (even when you feel its awkward and embarrassing…i KNOW how you feel!) :)

  35. danielle says:

    I am with you…I don’t have a storage unit {yet} although I could see why having one would be nice… I struggle with getting rid of something that I might be able to use later, because why buy something a second time when I already owned it once? {I’m so cheap?!} I also save papers. Lots of papers. They are nicely organized. But I just get scared I might need one of those papers. Then I’m paralized. Cookbooks. I don’t want to get rid of cookbooks, but I rarely ever use them. I should get rid of the ones I don’t use, right? So what about all of that crap? Books I’ve already read and will never read again? Get rid of them? HELP. Clearly I need support. THANK YOU for doing this. It is inspiring me to go through my things and feel more free to part with them…

  36. Nicole says:

    We are moving next week and I’m right in the middle of this myself. We are losing 400 square feet and I realized that we don’t use or need 60% of the stuff in our house but it all has a memory or feeling to me.

    But you are so right, a girl can never have enough bows!

    Congratulations on your progress!!

  37. Yep, still with ya. I have found during the past few days that we have a tendency to have TWO of many things: two can openers, two coffee makers, two fondue pots (say wha…???? Yep.) and two crock pots, which may actually be a requirement in the South, but that’s neither here nor there. My point is that we are currently a family of 3, and although I enjoy having friends over, we have never…and I mean never-ever, even used a fondue pot…while drinking large quantities of coffee.

    Feeling lighter already!

  38. Colleen says:

    Keep up the good work! I just spent the better part of 3 days cleaning up our home office space…good grief. My before picture makes your stack of bags look good!
    Check it out at http://cobabeinsuburbia.blogspot.com
    If you can do it, I can do it too…there is hope for all of us!

  39. Destiny says:

    Looking good! I love that graph you made too! I need to make a graph. Will you make me a graph? :0) Did you end up throwing out the magazines. I might be in your dumpster sometime soon if you did! haha! xoxo

  40. SAH says:

    Thanks for this post. Love the pictures…honesty. Every time you mentioned the overwhelm…I immediately thought of the word kaizen that I learned from this book: One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. ( http://www.amazon.com/Small-Step-Change-Your-Life/dp/0761129235/ref=pd_sim_b_6) I have muttered kaizen to myself probably a million times this past year and might have written it on my wrist or palm in sharpie a dozen. It’s about baby steps but acknowledges the role a big step something like THE PURGE plays as well. It’s about simplicity and common sense and just doing it. Yes, drama sounding…but it’s life changing when you actually live it! So good luck and try chanting kaizen… It’s such a pretty, powerful word. :)

  41. Raylynn says:

    I purged our Christmas decorations last week. Ended up with an empty container to put lights in. I just did not want to make the decisions about the items we had not used in years. Now I have and feel lighter and like I have accomplished something. I am slowly decluttering other things. My husband is like you, an almost hoarder. We are working on it!

  42. Linda says:

    I just got rid of gifts from grade schooh…I’m 54! I just got rid of my baby’s dolls…she is 28 now. I just got rid of my prom dress my mom made me, 35 years ago. I reminisced…I smiled…I shed tears. You would think I was the worst hoarder and only had trails to walk down in my home, but that isn’t the case. I am an extremely good organizer and get a lot of stuff in a small space! Most of this was packed away in my hubby’s shop attic. That’s the place he built me for my “junk”. Along with the saddness of getting rid of things I’ve hold on to forever came a feeling of refreshment and accomplishment. I still have all my memories..and they don’t take up so much space.

  43. Rosalie says:

    This is great. I am naturally anti-clutter and throw things out* regularly, but I am always happy to see people make this change. It seems like you should read Jen Jatmaker’s book 7: A Mutiny Against Excess. She has a similar story to yours. :)

  44. Tennille says:

    I’m still with you. Way to go!!! The initial purge is SOOOOO hard. All those mind games and internal dialogue. I recently helped my mom do a big purge and if I had a quarter for everytime she said “Oh, don’t throw that out, somebody might be able to use that for something” I’d be on a plane to a tropical island somewhere. Anywhere. (We Canadians get a little antsy this time of year) So happy for you and your family. Since your last installment I’ve organized my junk drawer. I took pics but haven’t uploaded them yet. I dropped off 3 huge bags of stuff at goodwill and have two more in my SUV waiting to go. I posted a bunch of stuff on a local buy and sell site. No bites yet. If nobody buys them they will be sent off to goodwill by Jan 31. Letting go is hard, especially when something still has a lot of miles on it. However, I’m realizing that the real estate all that crap takes up in my head is super valuable. I’d rather fill that space up with creativity instead of stress from all the excess I’m keeping for “someday” Keep it coming sister, this is good stuff. (Oh yeah, starting reading “7″ by Jen Hatmaker. She is one funny gal.)

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  46. I’m in the process of a purge-o-rama right now. Thanks for keeping me motivated!

  47. Kara says:

    I would add: if it doesnt make you smile, then let it go. I have been this journey for 3 years. It is fabulous. The house is a snap to clean and keep in order. My children have more focused and longer play. We have more time as a family to pursue interest. I just started adding my own rooms to a blog and am trying to see if it is so etching that will add value to our lives, to share how intentional living(the aethisctically pleasing type) works. I don’t like stark sterile. I like warm, comfy, lived in intentional ordered space.

  48. Janine says:

    No you’re not the crazy hoarder – you may just have ‘gifts’ as your love language. (Check out the Love Languages books). As a child I had a room full of things that other people loved to give me – and I knew who and when had gifted me every item! To purge cost me masses emotionally. Knowing how hard it was, my mum would pack up a box, put it away, and then later say, ” Do you want to go through this box or should I just get rid of it unopened.” This was such a relief. I didn’t then have the emotional burden of ‘rejecting the memories’. Eventually I realised it was the memories I wanted to keep, not the items. If I can’t get rid of it, I take a photo and then throw it out. (Keeping the memory.) I love to be given things, but now ask for a cup of tea, or flowers. Good luck with your purging.

    • Kelly Lane says:

      This is a good idea. I can take pictures of all my Grandmother’s artwork and then donate them. We just have so much stuff. When my parents were cleaning out THEIR house, my mom gave US alot of their stuff. Geez, thanks! Anyways, thanks for the reminder about taking a picture. I scrapbook and could make a scrapbook full of pictures of “stuff”!

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  51. Andrea says:

    I just want to say, that I think what you did is wonderful. We are constantly going through all our belongings and donating them, whether to friends, family or charities. My oldest daughter (4 years) has learned that we are very blessed, even if we don’t have a lot. She has no problem giving things to ‘children who don’t have…..’. I hope that you continue on this path of simplicity :)

  52. Kelly Lane says:

    I am in the beginning stages of purging/simplifying my home and my life. I want to live in a more purposeful, intentional way, and organizing and simplifying is a first step for me. I, too, have very emotional attachments to items, especially things that were my Mom’s, who passed away, or things that have been in the family for a long time and are now in my possession. My Grandmother was an artist and I have some of her artwork. Some pieces are up in our home, while others are stored safely in the basement. What to do though with these items that, although I don’t use them, I am having a very difficult time parting with them? Some of the purging is easy……the clothes that are too small or torn, games the kids don’t play anymore, etc. But what about the other stuff? How did you let go of the items you feel emotionally attached to? I’m embarrassed to say, but I feel guilty if I give them away, like I’m somehow betraying their memory. Any suggestions to get over this issue would be helpful. I love your blog and this series!

  53. Kristin says:

    THANK YOU for being so honest..I am in a very similar place in my life. We have been in our house for 8.5 years..2 kids later, one boy and one girl (different toys!), we are busting a the seams..creative storage is maxed and I just need to purge! Thanks for the motivation today. I too have started the process but your post really hit the nail on the head for my ultimate goal.

  54. Elizabeth Cochrane says:

    Love your blog series on simplifying. I’m contemplating the same. When you do a purge, do you focus on what to get rid of or what to keep? For example, if you have a closet full of stuff, do you empty everything out first until it’s empty and then choose what to keep and put back in its place, or do you take out one item at a time and decide whether to toss or keep it? Personally I find the first method less overwhelming, but I was curious how you do it. I’m not sure which method would help me keep less stuff…

    • Hey Elizabeth! I just go through and one item at a time evaluate whether we can use it, if it’s been used, or if we can bless other people with it… I guess it all depends on the item too. I also plan to go back through and do second and third passes. Hope that helps!

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