One of the biggest tasks I accomplished in our house last year was getting rid of junk. I definitely have hoarder-like tendencies. I am very sentimental and have always saved every little thing that might have a memory attached to it. The planner part of me also has a hard time letting go of things because of the “what-ifs” I can come up with. The thing is, living with excess junk is living with a big burden. I got so tired of being a “stuff manager”. I wanted to enjoy my home by spending quality time with people I love… Not spending my time cleaning all of the stuff we don’t need.
My only regret in my “Great Purge of 2014″ is that I didn’t weigh the stuff that was leaving my house. We got rid of SO.MUCH.STUFF. It would have been fun to see how much weight our house lost over the course of a year. Here are a few of the tips that worked for me in shedding the house clutter.
1) Have a Giveaway box
Have a designated spot to keep a box or bag to store giveaway items until you can donate them or have them picked up. We keep a box in our garage at all times for this purpose. Any time I’m cleaning and find something that we no longer need, and is still in good condition, it goes straight to the box!
If something is in poor condition or just not usable anymore, trash it or find a way to recycle it. Last month, I was helping organize a free garage sale that our adoption agency does every year for all of the Birth Moms they have worked with, and I could not believe some of the stuff people had donated. If it is gross or broken, just chunk it.
2) Purge often!
Make purging a continual thing, not just a big once a year project. It’s much more manageable to purge several times throughout the year. Whenever I am cleaning a room or a cabinet, I am pulling out things we don’t need anymore or things that need to be trashed. You can also set aside one day a week or month to sort through a drawer, cabinet or closet.
3) Participate in an online organizational challenge
There are so many awesome organization challenges online that you can participate in. Right now, I’m following along with A Bowl Full of Lemon’s Home Organization 101 14 Week Challenge. Each week we have an assigned area of the home to organize, complete with a check list. There is also a Facebook group where we can encourage each other and brainstorm ideas together. You could also participate in a “40 bags in 40 days” challenge. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be encouraged and motivated to declutter your home when you have a little guidance and you’re participating with others.
4) Find an easy way to donate
When you’re desperate to rid your home of the clutter, it’s usually best to give these things away quickly instead of hoarding them for a garage sale. It may be months before you can get around to this garage sale, and then there will be a ton of work that has to go into prep. If you’re not careful, that pile could start taking over your garage or things will start finding their way back inside.
Find an easy way to quickly get these items out of your home. Either put your donation box inside your car as soon as its full and drive it straight to a donation center of your choice, or find a charity in you area that does scheduled pick ups and get on their e-mail list.
I found a charity in our area that supports kids in the foster care system. I subscribed to their list and get an e-mail about once a month letting me know which day they’ll be in my area. I can either click “Yes, I have a donation” or “No”. All I have to do it make sure my giveaway box is out on the front porch first thing that morning and they will haul it off and leave a receipt. It could not be any easier to purge our home of stuff we no longer need, and it feels good to know that those things will help local kids in need!
5) Sell your high dollar items
Sometimes you do have items that you know you could get some cash for and you’d rather sell than giveaway. You have several options at your fingertips for this. You can always try sites like eBay if the item is easy to ship. Craigslist and local Facebook garage sale sites are also great options, especially for heavier things like furniture. If you take this route, make sure all specifics are spelled out – like the price, acceptable payment, and a meeting place and time. Always meet in a well lit public place. Make sure someone knows where you are headed and when. Better yet, take a friend! Most people are great, but you can never be too safe!
What are some of your best tips for purging your home?