Purge….No More Excuses!

So many people struggle with purging items from their home. There are a lot of reasons why it’s difficult….from “I might use this some day” to “my Great Aunt So-and-So gave me this” to  “I don’t know what to do with this or how to get rid of it.” Now is the time for No More Excuses Purging. We’re going to face some of the difficulties of getting rid of stuff and figure out how to solve those pesky purging problems.

Excuse #1 – I might use this some day.

Yeah, well you might. But if you haven’t used it in the last year, especially if you haven’t used it for longer, chances are you won’t use it. Here’s how to make this one easier for yourself. Put items you don’t use in a ‘test box’. Let them sit in the box for 6 months. If you haven’t gotten those things out (or maybe you don’t even remember what is in there after that length of time!), then you can officially let those items go.

People also don’t want to get rid of typically useful items, such as pens or cups. However, if you sort your items so that you can see any duplicates you have, it may be easier to part with some of them. If you have 40 cups or 100 pens, you can definitely handle getting rid of a few. So sort like with like and see how many of each type of item you actually have.

I know from personal experience that people will also hold on to items that represent a version of themselves that they would like to be. If you are holding on to that old hockey stick or food processor or weight machine and hoping you will wake up with the motivation to use them, you are really putting a lot of pressure on yourself. If it’s something you won’t actually pursue or is causing more negative feelings than positive ones, it may be time to let go.  I KNOW this is hard (I’m talking to you juggling pins and banjo patiently waiting in my office), but I also know that the freedom that comes with letting go can create such a sense of motivation in other areas. Now you can focus on the things you are actually going to do!

Excuse #2 – I got this as a gift and I would feel guilty letting it go.

Most people don’t give gifts so that you feel guilty about having to keep them. If it’s something you are not using or displaying or it’s something that you don’t like, get rid of it. Alleviate some of the guilt by donating it or giving it to a friend who wants it. The freedom of letting go of something you no longer want is much more positive than the mental weight it puts on you if you keep it.

Excuse #3 – It has sentimental value.

Many people hold on to things because they remind them of a special person, time or place. Certain mementos can be great as decorative pieces and help to personalize a space. However, it is not always a good idea to hold on to something just for the sake of nostalgia.

I recently got rid of a stack of concert tickets I was sure I would put into an album some day, a bunch of photos of events I hardly remember going to, and clothes I wore back in my college days. Do I miss them? Not even a little bit. I realized that the memories I have are more important than the physical item. And if I don’t remember something that well or with any fondness, that’s all the more reason to let the items go.

This excuse can be hard to combat when the items are family heirlooms. Some ways to deal with this are to take photos of the items. These are much easier to store and you can still have a visual reminder. You can also see if any other family members would like any of the items. You could choose to sell or donate things so that they are given a new life instead of collecting dust in an attic.

You can also choose to actually put these items to use. Decorate a kitchen shelf with antique cookware, put postcards or costume jewelry in a shadow box on the wall. Lay a family quilt on the end of your bed. While this isn’t technically a purge, it creates a positive impact. If you actually work these items into your decor, you will appreciate them more and they will serve a purpose.

Excuse #4 - I don’t know how to get rid of this item or where to take it.

There are a surprising number of things that can be difficult to get rid of, particularly if they don’t work. The most common ‘hard to get rid of’ items are appliances, bicycles, electronics and hazardous materials.

There are a ton of organizations dedicated to collecting unused items…from the well known Salvation Army and Good Will to the thousands of more focused organizations who may collect books, clothing, old cars or any of hundreds of other types of items. Check out my Donate and Recycle Page for a few ideas or do a local search in your area.

Many organizations will offer pick up for items and may even take things that don’t work, such as cars. In return, you can use the donation as a tax write off. Craigslist and Freecycle are website options where you can post your items.

If the item simply doesn’t work, look for organizations who collect scrap metal, porcelain or other hard to get rid of materials. Check if there is a hazardous waste disposal site in your area. These will often take things like paint, insecticides, batteries, old electronics or other items you want to get rid of but don’t want to throw in the trash.

Get creative. Donate old instruments to local schools, books to local libraries, cut up torn clothes to use as rags…there is usually a way to breathe new life into something through donation or repurposing.

What excuses are you using to hold on to stuff you don’t need? What is holding you back? And wouldn’t making the decision to purge unwanted items open up a lot more time and energy in your life?

~Erin

 

 

 

 

 

T-Shirt Organizing Inspiration

Thank you to Kelly at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for inspiring today’s post. She is currently doing a Clutter Buster Boot Camp on her blog where she assigns new tasks every week to keep the de-cluttering manageable. The first clothing assignment was the t shirt drawer. She had a great tip on how to roll your t shirts so that you can actually see them.

I’ve since missed a few assignments (I was always a procrastinator in school), but today I went to my t shirt drawer and completed task #1. I don’t feel so bad about missing the assignment on work out clothes because, let’s be honest here, I’m not known for my athletic prowess. And pretty much anything in my t-shirt drawer would undoubtedly double as workout clothes if an actual workout was ever on the horizon! My shirt drawer is pretty much for anything I wear around the house. Everything that goes out in public hangs in the closet.

Anyways….Here is the before picture of my t-shirt drawer:

I must say that the before picture looks pretty neat and organized. Here’s the problem. How many shirts can you see? 4, right? Well how many shirts do you think I wore out of this drawer? Drumroll….4. Yes, I only wore the 4 shirts I could see.

So I followed Kelly’s tips for purging, folding and rolling. My favorite tip is to roll the shirts from the bottom up. This is helpful because a lot of t-shirts have emblems or wording at the top and folding from the bottom up still allows you to see exactly what the shirt is.

The purge actually involved only a few items, but included a ridiculous item from an old Halloween costume and a Snuggie. I won’t bore you with pictures of me in a Snuggie, but here is one of my dogs in Snuggies:

Yes, I have dog Snuggies. And Yes, they were free. And No, I did not get rid of them. I’m feeling more embarassed for myself even as I share this with you, but a little humility never hurt anyone, right?

So, I rolled all my shirts and put them back in the drawer. They still didn’t fit all on one level, but most of them did. Here is the after photo:

Now when you compare the photos, the ‘Before’ picture actually looks a lot cleaner. But organizing is not always about looks, it is also about processes. Now I can see 14 shirts, compared to the previous 4! That’s 10 more shirts that actually have the potential to escape the drawer for a day!

I also got rid of a few items, moved a few other things to more practical locations and realized that I have a very strange collection of shirts. You can’t see it very well, but the one on the bottom right pictures a moose with one antler and it says “Is that your final antler?” It’s one of my favorites. :)

So, thank you to Kelly over at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons for the inspiration yet again!

~Erin

Get rid of stuff by asking questions

I have found a new way to get rid of stuff! Usually, I try to sell items or donate them or even throw them away if the other two options won’t work. However, I found a new way to get rid of things! It sounds ridiculous, but it’s all about starting conversations and asking questions. Let me give you a couple examples:

Last weekend I was hanging out with a friend who has a newborn. She had him in one of those baby carriers and mentioned how he always slipped down. I have a cute little Seven Sling I got when my second was born.

It’s in the donate pile right now, but I asked her if she wanted to try it since it is a different kind. She said yes. Instant de-cluttering of an object in my house and I got to help out a friend!

Yesterday another friend mentioned she wanted a new hobby. My question….what kind of hobby?

Her answer?…..”I have always wanted to learn to play banjo.”

My response?…..”I have a banjo!!!! And I never use it! You can borrow it!”

So today I said a temporary farewell to our beloved banjo:

Now I’m not gonna lie…a little piece of me misses it already, even though it sat unused in our guest room for 2 years. However, I know that one of two things will happen:

-My friend will love the banjo and I won’t miss it enough. Then I can sell it to her.

-I will decide I really want to play the banjo and when she gives it back, I will finally pursue my long standing dream of being a blue grass musician (not even kidding).

Either way, I have temporarily cleared out a space in my home. This will cause me to finally be rid of the darn thing or finally learn to play it. I’m happy with either outcome.

So just by asking a few questions, I was able to get rid of a couple items and help some friends.

This brings me to another subject…bartering. This is a great way to exchange goods and services. Case in point: I am working on building a portfolio for Neaten Your Nest so I’m doing a couple ‘pro bono’ organizations. However, one friend of mine is a great photographer and I am severely lacking in this area. So I’m going to trade some organizing for some photography tips.

So if you have things to get rid of or a service to promote, start talking! Ask questions, offer help, look at social media posts, get outside the box! These kinds of things have the potential to help you clean out your stuff, increase your business, build relationships and more. Get talking!

~Erin