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It’s been an eternity since I last posted! We have been SO busy that at one point I didn’t even have time to go to the store and buy toilet paper – it was basically a crisis. Besides being busy with work and school and watching The Good Doctor with Mr. B., we have been busy purging our home.
Which leads me to today’s post!
I am a big fan of purging. We live in a super small house with not a lot of storage space, so I have made it my mission to purge regularly. Having a small house keeps me accountable to not buying everything in sight or holding on to things that really don’t matter. Like old magazines and old towels from our college years and old maternity shorts and 2,000 hotel shampoo bottles (and everything on THIS LIST).
I’m not ready to become a minimalist or anything (I love clothes too much), but here are my top reasons why you should consider purging your home this month…
- Purging removes unnecessary things that weigh us down. It’s a physical reminder that THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME. Purging gives us less things to worry about/take care of as we fix our eyes on heaven (Hebrews 12:1).
- Purging is an opportunity to bless others with the blessings we have been given.
- Purging FEELS GOOD.
Don’t know where to start? Let me break it down into 3 areas of your home that will help you start the year fresh!
Christmas brings in a flood of new toys. I like to go through all of the boys’s toys in January to keep their bedrooms from spilling out into the hallway. Plus, when they have too many options, they get overwhelmed and don’t even know what to play with. The purge begins by giving each boy a laundry basket and asking them to fill it with things they don’t play with anymore. The first time I did this, they put in a tiny bouncy ball and a Shopkin. Why we own Shopkins in a house of boys I am still not sure. But they are getting better at filling up that laundry basket. After they do their part, I wait until they are not in the house and then I go into their rooms and purge some more, asking questions like is this toy age-appropriate? Do they play with it? Is it broken?
They inevitably remember and want to play with the toy that I have just purged even though THEY HAVE NOT TOUCHED IT IN 12 MONTHS, so that’s when I look surprised that they can’t find it and slowly back out of the room saying, “I wonder??”
One of my favorite things about purging toys is encouraging my boys to give their gently used items to younger kids they know. Whether it’s a friend in the neighborhood or a little guy from church, we love to bless others with the things we have been blessed with. It’s the best to receive a text from a friend featuring a picture of her son playing with a truck or block set that used to be ours.
This goes for clothes too! I love to purge my closet and take a big bag to my sister-in-law. It is so fun to bless her and then to see her wearing the clothes I passed along. Same is true for the giving and receiving of the boys’s clothes. Noah would never have anything to wear if it weren’t for a sweet mama in our church who has a son a few years older and she gives us a big bag of his old clothes every so often. Then we pass it along after Jet outgrows them.
Here are a few questions I ask myself when I am purging the clothes in our home…
- Does it fit? I literally just passed along the last of maternity clothes I was holding on to. I was sad to do it because we are still really praying for another baby, but they were taking up so much space and also I have some close friends who are pregnant right now. I also finally passed along the clothes I was holding on to that were my in-between clothes after having a baby. I also regularly get rid of things that are too small, too baggy, or not flattering.
- Is it damaged? I love picking up a new top at Target every once in awhile when I am “grocery shopping”, but I have noticed that some of the items really don’t last through a whole lot of washes. Also, deodorant stains, spaghetti sauce splatters that I can’t get out, and holes, tears, etc. all mean it’s time to pass it along or toss.
- Have I worn it in the last year? This is my biggest helper when deciding what clothes to get rid of! After about a year, many clothes can be out of style. Or perhaps you just have other items in your wardrobe that you favor. Haven’t worn it in a year? Goodbye.
One other rule I like to follow with my closet is the One-IN-One-OUT rule. Any time I get a new article of clothing, I make sure to get rid of an old one. I won’t let myself buy new hangers. This keeps me from outgrowing my closet – which, as much as I love clothes, helps me keep my priorities in check.
The garage is that one place where we pile things we don’t know what to do with, where all the storage items sit, and where my obsession with holiday decorations grows. Every January (after we take down all of the Christmas decor), Mr. B. and I try to carve out a day to do a garage clean-out. This is where we haul everything out of the garage and set it in the driveway. Then we sort through the items into KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH piles, purge, and then organize.
As with purging the toys and clothes, I ask a few questions. Do we use it regularly? Is it important for preserving our family’s history (photos, high school yearbooks, etc.)? Do we love it?
One of the best things I recently purged from our garage was all of my old files from when I was teaching 2nd grade 10 years ago. I know I am not going to teach upper school again (my heart is preschool all the way), but I was still holding on to them for sentimental reasons. I felt about 20 pounds lighter with those out of my life!
I recently overhauled our assorted garage storage bins with THESE ONES (affiliate link) and they are amazing. They can hold a ton of weight (aka 40,000 Christmas ornaments), they make everything look uniform, plus they are stackable!
I really don’t want us to outgrow our garage. Storage units are great, but if I don’t need it close by and accessible, then I probably don’t need it at all.
At the end of the day, all we really need is Jesus, Some clothes, each other, and toilet paper — so don’t be afraid to throw away anything else that hinders you from that goal!
What are your purging tips?
For items I know I need to purge but am struggling for sentimental reasons (this includes clothing, decorations, kitchen items, etc.), I take a photo of them. Somehow knowing I can still look at them makes it easier to part with them. I find after several months I can usually delete many of the photos, and for those I don’t delete, a photo takes up much less space than the item itself!
Jesus, each other, clothes & toilet paper !!! 😍
I’ve been a big fan of Marie Kondo, writer of books: Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. Both are motivational in helping one to declutter & fill your life (including closets) with things that spark joy.
I found Jen’s blog on the “konmari” method with an awesome list of the charities & donation drives! http://www.prettyneatliving.com/clothing-purge-konmari-method/
I love this!! Our garage is currently storing all the Amazon boxes ever that we haven’t managed to get out to the curb yet, plus the contents of my car after a big clean-out (but hey, the car looks great! 😜), plus about 1000 other things. It just feels like such a huge project that I’ve been avoiding it but now I’m inspired! 💛
Oh, and I like to do a freezer and pantry purge and get rid of anything that’s no good and then commit to using up what’s in there in January! It helps to save money after Christmas and then I don’t buy things we already have (I’m looking at you, cans of chickpeas to “make hummus” – pretty sure I last did that in 2013 2 kids ago 😉)