As I have been in the preparing to put my house up for sale, the purging and packing process has been much more than I anticipated. Just when you think you’ve accomplished a great deal, you open another cabinet, drawer or storage bin to find things you haven’t dealt with in years.
Many of my clients go through the same thing when remodeling, getting new flooring or simply want to refresh their décor. Yikes! What to do with all this stuff?
Ahhhh... the freedom of purging!
Sometimes we need an event like a move, or remodel to motivate us to go through the junk we’ve been collecting and eventually discarding in our basements. It can be overwhelming, but the tremendous sense of freedom is liberating when we can release it!
Tip #1 Walk through your space and determine the things you absolutely LOVE. Make a mental note of it. If there was a fire, what would you really, really regret losing. Identify your most precious possessions.
Tip #2 Speed purge! Grab a box or a bin and put everything you can easily get rid of without a second thought, and put it in the bin (or multiple bins if you’re really in the mood to purge)!
Tip #3 Find a home for it. The “sorta like it, might need it, wonder if I’ll ever use it” stuff will need some thought.
As all organizing experts suggest, once you’ve determined what you want to get rid of, you need to find it a new home, either in the trash, donate, sell or shred. Allow time to take pictures, post it for sale, or organize a yard sale.
Tip #4 One room at a time. In theory that worked for me, but I did the big sweep speed purge in all rooms first and left the harder decisions for another round of purging in each room.
Tip #5 Start early! Never underestimate the amount of time it takes to sort through clothes and paper related stuff. How many sweaters does a girl really need? Business and personal projects, books & magazines, stuff in the basement since college, take time to look through. I would grab a pile of stuff to sort through in front of the tv every night. If it’s reference materials you’ve been hoarding away for years, like me, you can google it! Toss it!
Tip#6 Set Deadlines. Plot out your course of action on a calendar. Because we all have other things we need to do in-between, give yourself goals and deadlines. For example; Week 1: Purge guest room & master. Week 2: Living room & Dining room. Week 3: Books & Media, Week 4: Clothes & Closets. Once you break it down into manageable pieces, you will feel less overwhelmed and be able to stay on track.
Tip #7 Once you’ve decided to get rid of it, get it out of the house. I’ve been driving around with stuff in my car to drop off at Salvation Army every week, rather than waiting for a monthly pick up.
Tip #8 Label boxes and make a master list. If you are storing or moving, a list is helpful so that you can remember the contents of each box. It’s amazing, I have put some things in storage and found that once the items are packed away, I really don’t need or want them after all.
Tip #9 Be Ruthless! I don’t want to be that person who pays to move my stuff cross country, only to find it was expensive and excessive.
Tip #10 Focus on the goal. As you feel worn down by it all, to stay motivated, keep your end game in mind. “I am going to love my space when it’s clutter free and remodeled.”
Honestly, after living in my house for 25 years, I was shocked that I still had so much stuff, even after a huge yard sale. My big purge took three months to complete. Unbelievable! Ugh. Now I have to pack all of my “keepers” once my house sells and I know I will be purging again.
So as they say, only keep the things that bring you joy.
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