Thursday, January 7, 2010

The great purge of 2009

I have too much stuff. I used to have WAY too much stuff and had to pare it way down when I moved in 2008. I filled a 1000 square foot apartment by myself and downsized last year so I could move into one that is 600. THAT is a lot of stuff.

There are 2 main reasons I have as many possessions as I do:

1) I pick up almost anything that is free, to an extent (but don't tempt me!)
2) In the past I have shopped for emotional reasons: sadness, boredom, fear, etc.

Sounds like using food huh?

Here are some of the BIG problems with over accumulating "things":

1) Time: the more things you have the more you have to maintain them. Pretty soon it can feel as if your things own YOU. I felt this way after my trip to Germany this year.

Example: Coming home from a trip and having 3 loads of dirty laundry to do with NO place to put it away. I would have had to move clothes around and stuff clean clothes into drawers. I have lost entire weekends cleaning and "organizing" not just clothes but all my "things."

2) Money: the more things you have the more money you spend, you can nickel and dime yourself to death! (free things aside)

Example: I would go to the thrift store and spend 5-10 dollars every weekend and bring back a bag of things. This adds up! That 30-40 dollars in one month could go in savings or towards one high quality item. (don't get me wrong, I LOVE thrifting and you can find high quality). But it is also a bag of things to dust, store, wash, maintain and use.

It's like bleeding money.
A slow leak from your checking account and a tap on your time.


I used to think the key to organization was buying cute storage bins and tucking everything away, but it's not. I have and use organizational tools, but bins don't solve the problem they just hide it for a while. You still have to organize the bins, their contents and store the storage bins. The key is to have what you need and love and simplify the rest right out your door!

So, I embarked on the Great Purge of 2009. I am all about ripping the bandaid off as FAST as I can, so I told myself that I would get rid of half my clothes. That is one thing I can say about myself, often when I do something I dive in head first.

Pre-purge Closet: What you can't see are 3 FULL loads of laundry
that have no room to be put away & 2 long bins of sweaters under the bed I can't SEE daily.


The pile: 5 LARGE bags of clothes, purses & shoes. I sold as much as I could,
got about 50 dollars in store credit and donated the rest.
I will use the credit in Spring for a new outfit.


Post-purge closet: 3 laundry loads included and half the sweaters from
under the bed moved to the closet( the other half gone). It doesn't look as "empty" as I wanted it to, but without purging what I did, I couldn't have moved everything from under my bed in. I know I still have a LOT. I am going to do another sweep in a month and look at what I haven't worn yet and see what of that, is expendable.


*I have a dresser with 3 drawers for workout clothes, unmentionables and summer clothes. This was included in the purge & cut in half. In the meantime, my mother told me I could NOT go into Target for anything other than toilet paper for three years!! I am aiming to not buy new clothes till my March Birthday.

Questions to ask yourself when you are shopping:

WHY am I here?
DO I need this item?
HOW will I pay for it?
WHAT if I wait ?
WHERE will I put it?
WHY do I want it?

I think of these questions when I am in a store now and sometimes the answers are good healthy ones pointing to !Yes! Everyone will have a different answers but it is nice to have a gauge for our intentions and emotions when we are on the cusp of a new purchase if we need the guidance.

Do I still struggle? Yeah. I didn't over-accumulate over night and I won't be able to purge it all to my liking in one weekend, but I have started. That and if you noticed, I didn't post any pictures of shoes. That is my little vice even though I parted with 3-4 pairs and that was not half.

What I want to do with the time I will save from decreasing my belongings:

Cook more
Run more
Write hand written letters
Check more off
Increase my daily quiet time...


Do you ever feel like your things own you or overwhelmed
with the material things you have?



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