A Clutter Challenge: What Will You Purge First?

posted by Andrea | 06/9/2016
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clutter-challenge

Since Dave is a teacher, I’ve always looked forward to summer vacation because I get an extra body to help me wrangle the kids for the next 10 weeks!

However, since I realize many of you do not have the luxury of an extra adult PLUS your kids are now home from school all day, I figured it was a good time to share a really quick “clutter challenge” that will hopefully motivate you to continue doing mini purges all summer long.

And yes, I really do mean MINI PURGES!

I’m talking about just a few minutes (3-5) spent donating one or two items from your closet, tossing a few old towels from your linen cabinet, purging a handful of trash from your junk drawer, nicely stacking the items on one shelf in your storage closet, or purging a few items you don’t need, use, want, or love.

I realize you won’t be able to fully organize your home in only a few minutes, but I KNOW (from lots and lots of experience) that even just a few focused minutes spent fully immersed in “purging mode” WILL make a difference — especially if you do it several times a week.

With 3 very young children running around all day long during the school year, I completely understand how seemingly impossible it is to get anything accomplished. There is no way I could spend 2 hours (or even 20 minutes) working on one project from start to finish. However, I can almost always find a few minutes to purge every day (sometimes multiple times a day) and it really does help me simplify and organize my home and life.

As we embark on summer vacation, I’d like to encourage and motivate you to continue (or to finally start) purging and clearing some of that clutter from your home and life.

If you need a place to start, try asking yourself a few of the questions below — and be honest with your answers. You might just be surprised how quickly you clear your clutter!

General Questions:

  • Do I actually NEED this item?
  • Do I actually USE this item?
  • Do I even LOVE or at least LIKE this item?
  • Do I WANT this item?

Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, Bags, Etc. Questions:

  • Does it actually fit me?
  • Does it flatter me?
  • Do I feel great wearing it?
  • Is it in style?
  • Is it in good to great condition?
  • If I went shopping, would I buy this item again?

Kitchen and Other Home Item Questions:

  • When was the last time I used/displayed this item?
  • Do I have a place for this item?
  • Can I make do with something else I have?
  • How difficult and expensive would it be to replace the item if I did need/want it again?
  • Am I hanging onto it out of guilt or because it was given to me from someone special?
  • Am I hanging onto it because I’m hoping to sell it?

Kids Item Questions:

  • Is it in good to great condition?
  • Is it something I actually liked and found useful?
  • Realistically, will I have children who could use/wear this?
  • Will the item be out of style or expired by the time future children could potentially use it?
  • How difficult and expensive would it be to replace the item if I did need/want it again?
  • Do I have room to store it?

Sentimental Item Questions:

  • Is this something I actually want and love?
  • Do I have space to store or use the item?
  • Could I repurpose the item in any way to make it more usable?
  • Am I hanging onto it out of guilt or because it was given to me from someone special?

If you’re struggling with clutter in any of the above categories, start asking and answering those questions — and then start purging!

If you find it difficult to be honest with your answers, read this post (I promise it will shed new light on all the excuses you’re making to keep your clutter)!

What area will you purge first?

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17 comments

  1. Mary in Maryland

    06/11/2016

    I went into the shed to get potting soil. I realized that the tomato cages don’t work with my containers, and that I’ve aged out of the size garden that could ever use all my seeds. Freecycle. As I sew I’m tossing fabric I hope never to quilt with into a bag for srapmania at our quilt show. Just this morning I looked at a piece of novelty fabric and asked myself if there isn’t someone who would like it more than I do.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay!! great job purging! every little bit really does help!

    [Reply]

  2. Clear Cut Crystal

    06/10/2016

    What great motivation for my upcoming move! Every weekend I fill a garbage bag for donation/trash/to sell. It’s never ending haha!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    happy moving (and purging!)

    [Reply]

  3. Julie S-H

    06/09/2016

    Thanks for the post! I decluttered the linen closet and have two full trash bags for the goodwill! Only took about 10 minutes 😉 Immediately I saved at least a minute because putting away my clean linens was a snap! Usually it would have taken time to find a place for everything. Thank you!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay! How exciting to be able to benefit from your efforts so quickly! I love those short 10-minute projects that make such a huge difference!

    [Reply]

  4. Debbie W.

    06/09/2016

    Great tips and perfect timing! Our family is moving very soon and I can definitely use the motivation to purge!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    happy moving (and purging!)

    [Reply]

  5. Anne

    06/09/2016

    I loved this post!
    Breaking it down by these items/rooms and those particular questions make it all much more practical and much less overwhelming.
    (I wish I could see all reader before and after photos!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ooooh, that would be fun to see a bunch of before/after photos!

    [Reply]

  6. Gina, a book dragon

    06/09/2016

    We have a walk-in closet with his and her sides and a dresser on the back wall. My dresses hang next to the dresser but that means there is a black hole type space under the dresses. That’s where I’ll be today.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Haha! Hope your time in “the black hole” was productive today!!

    [Reply]

    Gina, a book dragon Reply:

    Thanks! I wish I could report my success! My sleep is switched so I headed to bed, waking up in time to take my MIL to dinner and spend the evening with her. Now that I’m reminded of my task, husband is asleep! Guess I better write it down for today 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh no! And yes, writing it down is always a good thing 🙂

    [Reply]

  7. Sherry

    06/09/2016

    I read this article this morning and immediately went into the basement where I have an old, wooden drawer that came out of a wall of cupboards in our mudroom renovation last fall. This was the last drawer that needed to be organized and emptied. I less than 10 minutes I had a pile for donation, a garbage pile and a small handful of items that have been put in their proper place. This has been on my to-do list since last fall!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay!! Congrats! I’ve crossed off a few of those “this has been on my list for months” tasks this spring already and it feels SOOOOO good. Every time I wonder “why on earth did you wait so long!”

    [Reply]

  8. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    06/09/2016

    Great questions. I find that a lot of people think they use something often, but they really haven’t used it in years. Maybe they used it often years ago. I try to think hard about that question. I’m definitely ready to get rid of a few more things.

    [Reply]