Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Purge: The Mass Exodus

I wanted to update how my Spring Purge is going. It's been a slow but steady process, which is great because that approach has kept me from stressing about getting everything done at once...which usually leads to me becoming overwhelmed and giving up.

After clearing out my master bedroom closet, I put everything into bags and tucked them away in a massive pile in the guest bedroom...where they sat for weeks! 

That was totally counterproductive to clearing things out. I had just created a bigger mess to tackle. And I was too overwhelmed to deal with it. It was just too much stuff to shuffle to the basement or to load up my car and drop it off at a donation center. Not to mention I was starting to get a little anxious and cold feet about giving so much stuff away, even though it was abundantly clear I wasn't using any of it. It was so easy to pick outfits and my closet was so easy to keep clean now!

Then I got a card in the mail saying a charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, was going to be coming to the house to collect donations! Perfect! Next time I will call to schedule a charity pickup first, or at least have a plan to get the stuff out of the house, and then use that as a deadline and motivation for clearning out. It's so much easier to justify getting rid of things to when you know it's going to a good cause. Other people actually need these things. I just wanted them. Lesson learned.

And the pickup was for both clothes and housewares. That reminded me, when we moved into this house, I did a great job of sorting through the things we no longer needed...and then they sat piled in boxes in the basement for over a year. I think I used the excuse we were collecting things for a garage sale or something. That never happened and probably never would. Time for it all to go!

The charity certainly hit the jackpot at my house!

I kept adding more throughout the day until the front door was completely blocked!

That's just the clothes and shoes I got rid of! Isn't that disgusting? Disgusting that I had accumulated so much stuff I didn't need. Stuff that I didn't need but was still floating around my home...stuff that was taking up valuable space...and stuff that was eating up my time to deal with on a daily basis!

And there was more inside I couldn't fit on the front step! Books, old curtains and curtain rods, old picture frames and rugs, cooking items and bedding. I kept adding to this pile throughout the day too.

My husband told me I needed to keep track of what I was donating for tax purposes, but I had no idea how. I found this great resource,   It creates a list and assigns values to all the items you donate for tax deductions. The lists of things were so extensive that it gave me ideas of more random things to donate, like a wall hanging from my first apartment and some pieces from my extensive collection of vases from all the beautiful flowers my husband has sent me through the years :)

The experience made me realize...I love clearing out my home BUT I hate getting rid of stuff.

 I look at all these things we spent our hard earned money on. Things I thought we needed and that would somehow improve our lives. Gifts that we had given each other or that had been thoughtfully given to us.  It really hurts to get rid of things. Things we could use "someday" but never do. But, at some point, you just have to step back and tell yourself that your peace of mind and time are worth more than all the stuff. I'm just glad I finally reached that point because my life is so much better now without it all!

And because it was so hard to get rid of so many I'm more careful about what the new things I bring back into my home!


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