As mentioned in my previous Spring Cleaning post, we live by two rules: Purge & Organize. Purging is a must! You can only be so organized before junk takes over all the work you just did. Purging is something we have gotten really good at, but I completely understand that it can be hard for others.
When we are cleaning or going through items I keep in mind a few key things. And they are a great place to start if you are new to the whole “purging” thing. Here is what you need to ask yourself:
- When was the last time I used this?
- How much did this item cost?
- Will I need this in the next month or so?
- Could this item be of use to someone else?
The reason these questions are important is because it helps bring into perspective the importance of the item. If you haven’t used the item in the last year or so, do you really think you will use it going forward? Chances are you have replaced it with something else that you DO use!
When it comes to the cost of the item, I’m thinking in terms of replacement. If I give it away and all of a sudden need one, what would my loss be. For example, the kids seem to collect character cups (Plastic cups with Paw Patrol and Disney princesses on them). Sometimes they crack or get worn out and the pictures slowly fade and peel off. When going through them, it’s easy for me to say “Yup! I got my .99 out of this!” and throw the bad ones away and replace. You need to look at all items in this way. If you’re not sure if you will need it or not, maybe have doubts about getting rid of it, then hold onto it and grab it on the next round of purging. 6 months later when you come back to the same item, you will be more certain with whether or not it has been used or is worth the storage space.
When you are looking at an item and deciding on whether or not you will be needing it in the near future, here are some things to think about. Is this a seasonal item? For example, plastic cups for the patio. Annoying to store, and maybe don’t get a lot of use. If you’re coming up onto summer months, it’s a great time to revisit the idea of using them. Do you have an upcoming BBQ that will require cups? Did you forget you have them?
Lastly, could this item be of use to someone else? This is big for me. Old blankets that we never use anymore that are just collecting dust, could be a goldmine to a shelter or homeless person. The bottles of shampoo and body wash that you didn’t like, could be a luxury item to an abused women’s shelter, filled with people starting over with nothing.
What about clothing that no longer fits? They could be clothes to a family who just lost everything in a fire. Check around your community! Help out people in need! There are tons of organizations that will even pick up donations or have drop off zones for things like that. Pick up a coffee, drive through the city and make some donation stops. You will feel great for getting your space back AND doing something good for someone else.
Old rags and towels that might have holes or are fraying, make a great donation for animal shelters who go through endless amounts of rags and towels.
So now that you have completed the purge step and have thinned out your belongings. It’s much easier to organize and “home” everything.