Spring has sprung! And you know what that means...Spring Cleaning! Purging is in the air. One of the keys to an organized lifestyle is keeping clutter at bay. Before we can truly create organized systems that work for us, we need to declutter AKA purge those items we no longer need, use, or love.
Here are some tips for purging powerfully.
#1 Know Your “Why”
WHY do you want to purge? Do you want...
- To have guests over for dinner/holidays without the stress of mess
- To come home each night to a pleasant, calm, restful space
- To teach your kids how to live an organized lifestyle
- To get rid of the toxic things of the past that make you sad, angry, or otherwise unsettled
Knowing your “Why” can both inspire you to purge AND keep you going when you feel overwhelmed by the process.
#2 Get A Buddy
I am a professional organizer. I help people get organized. That said, when I personally want to declutter, purge, or improve my own organizational systems, I too enlist help!
You can accomplish SO much more with the moral support of a friend or family member who can help you verbal process through the sometimes emotionally-intensive process of purging. (Just make sure that person understands your goals and is generally supportive...a critical person will absolutely not do! :) )
#3 Define A Metric
It helps to have a specific metric to measure things against when you are purging. Defining this metric in advance is KEY. (See a previous post “Rock Your Closet In 5 Easy Steps” which references determining your “defining elements” for clothes).
Examples of defining a metric are...
- I will only keep clothes that make me feel AWESOME (it’s even better to get more specific than this as referenced in the “Rock Your Closet” post mentioned above)
- I will only keep 2 sets of sheets for each bed in my house
- I will only keep kitchen appliances that I use and that fit in my current kitchen’s cabinets
Making a metric in advance streamlines the decision-making process and makes the whole purging experience easier. You don’t have to think as hard about every item you pick up!
#4 Collect Like Items Together
It’s hard to purge powerfully when you’re not really sure how much of one type of item you have. If you have clothes in three different closets, you don’t really know how many black cardigans you have in total. This makes it hard to know which one you like the best (that is, which one you’ll keep).
If at all possible, do your best to gather ALL of the type of item you are purging in one place before you start to decide what should stay and what should go.
Often when you see the *volume* of items you have, the purging decisions are easier as you realize you actually do have quite an excess and more than you would ever need/use.
#5 Bring In An Expert
I cannot recount the number of times I have had clients show me a collection (comic books, china, Beanie Babies, etc.) that they have been holding on to for quite some time, often with the hope of selling it for profit. In many cases, these collections do not have a significant value on the resale market. This can be disappointing for a collector to learn.
Expert professionals can help us to determine what our possessions are actually worth, not to us personally but on an open re-sale market.
- A personal property appraiser is a great expert for people who have artwork, jewelry, or furniture they are considering selling or gifting.
- An estate sales person can help facilitate the process of selling those items which are of significant value.
- A style consultant can help you go through your wardrobe and make recommendations on clothes pairing and clothes purging (for those items that are no longer “in”).
- A professional organizer can help you process through all areas of your house, whether your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, home office, linen closet, or even garage. They can also refer you to other helpful professionals, like the ones referenced above, if you have a need that is outside of their scope.
- A Simply Organized team member can recommend what kind of storage solutions may be helpful for you after your purge is completed when you're looking for tools that will help with maintenance.
The flowers are blooming, spring break is upon us, and the season lends itself to the freshness and freedom you feel after a great purge. Happy purging. You got this!