5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Clearing The Clutter

I am in the process of moving.  They say the average person moves seven times in their lives.  I’ve counted mine and I’m at nine with this upcoming move.  With each home, you collect items that fit your life at that time. With each move, you pack, move on, buy more things.  In 11 years, I moved from a house to an apartment. I then moved from one apartment to another apartment. I finally bought a home on my own and moved from an apartment to a house. I’m now moving to another apartment to resume custody arrangements of my daughter.

After three moves since my divorce, I’m tired of packing stuff.  I have SO MUCH STUFF….  I have cried so many times because of everything I have.  So, what did I do?  Put my big girl panties on, and got my hands dirty.  Since I decided to move, I am purging.  OMG, the purge!  Since this past September, I’ve gotten rid of over 100 bags of things.  Either to trash, goodwill, thrift stores or just giving away to family and friends.

I never considered myself a hoarder.  I didn’t have boxes lined up against the wall, up to the ceiling.  I didn’t have paths going from one room to another. But, I had so many things!  It was beyond ridiculous. I downgraded my dishes from a 10 person setting to four. I’ve gotten rid of old towels and bedding.  I actually found boxes that I hadn’t even unpacked from my move to the house in 2009.  Some of the boxes, I didn’t even bother to open.  I just trashed them. I was afraid I’d be tempted to keep the stuff. One week alone I got rid of over 40 bags. Granted, some of the bags were only half full due to weight or fragility if donating, or, only had a few things in them because of how big the thing was.

What’s the difference this time?  I’m moving into a smaller place.  I am moving from a house with a family room, laundry room, kitchen/eating area, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms to a place with a living room, a kitchen/eating area, a bathroom, a very small bonus room and two bedrooms.  Yes, I will have access to attic space, but, that is for seasonal items.  Christmas, Easter, etc.

So, how did I do it you ask?

How long since I’ve used it? I looked at the item and if I hadn’t used it in more than three months, it was gone. Exceptions were some knickknacks that I had from my mom when she died.

Do I NEED it? Good Question. Do I? Going into a smaller home, I need things that are dual functioning. Or, only things that I will need. There is no room for clutter. With limited space, I really don’t want to fall back into old habits and keep things just to keep them.

But I WANT it! Am I a Toddler?  Yes, this is the standard toddler tantrum. It’s pretty, I’ll use it at some point.  I just want stuff to make my life complete. And the best one?  I DESERVE IT AFTER EVERYTHING I’VE BEEN THROUGH!  Sure, I’ve been through a lot. But, you know what I deserve more?  Peace of mind. Stuff is not going to give me peace of mind. It’s going to clutter the mind like it clutters the home.

Keep, don’t keep. Will I really use it? I only made two piles to start out with. If it was something I needed. Something I used daily. Something sentimental from my mom or history of my family. It went into the keep pile. Clothing I haven’t fit in in more than two years? Make up I haven’t worn in ages. Tax papers from more than seven years ago. Yes, I had tax papers from 1997!  (NOTE: Do not just throw your tax papers away. Please make sure to shred them.) I gave myself 2 seconds to decide. If I couldn’t decide in that time frame, then it went right into the don’t keep pile.

Multiple Items. How much is too much? This is where people tend to have the real fun!  We live in a McMansion world. The more or bigger, the better.  For a house of just my daughter and I, I had 5 pans to cook with. I had 5 baking sheets, I had 6 baking dishes, sizes varying from 8×8 to 9×13.  Um what???  Why did I need that many of those???  Sure, I loved to cook in the past and yes, I hope to get started again, but, do I really need that many of each item???  NO!!!

Going through this purge, I found it very therapeutic. It was very freeing, seeing the rooms become more and more empty. And, when I move to my new home? If there is no place for it, where will it go?  Yep!  Right into the trash or donated. What’s the saying?  “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Going forward, my money will be better spent on memories and experiences then stuff. I’m getting to an age where I can’t believe I let my life fly by and while I’ve done things, I want to do more! I want to experience more. This summer?  I’m signing up for an hour session on learning how to fly a plane. Even if I never fly one?  I’ve learned the basics because I could.

Have you done a purge in your home?  How did that go?  What did you do to prepare yourself for it?


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