A Clutter Challenge: What Will You Purge First?

posted by Andrea | 06/20/2014

clutter challenge

Today’s post is relatively short and to the point… but not because I don’t feel like writing.

I’m hoping you take the extra few minutes you would have spent reading a longer blog post to head on over to your closet, your junk drawer, your linen cabinet, your storage closet, your basement, or any other cluttered area in your home and purge a few items you don’t need, use, want, or love.

I realize you won’t be able to fully organize the space 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.

I do a few minutes of purging every day (sometimes multiple times a day) and I’ll be talking more about that next week. But today, as we embark on the first official weekend of summer, I’d like to encourage and motivate you to start purging and clearing some of that clutter from your home and life. After all, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, these are literally the longest few days of the year!

Ask 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?

These are just a FEW of the areas I get lots and lots of organizing questions about… I could go on and on (but I promised this would be a short post).

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

photo source

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19 comments

  1. Deni

    06/20/2014

    Thank you, Andrea!!! This post is perfect timing for me. I have done a lot of decluttering over the past couple of years, but I still have too much stuff for our little home. Too much of the things that I “like” and I have a hard time getting rid of them. I guess as I’m writing this comment, I’m realizing that I just need to choose my favorites that I “LOVE” and donate the rest to family and friends. Plus, I need to stop bring more stuff home!!!

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  2. Julie G

    06/20/2014

    I’ve got the urge to purge :D The first place I will start to purge is my desk.

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  3. Siobhan

    06/20/2014

    Thanks so much :) I’m still in transition with my post baby clothes but have maternity stuff still in my closet I need to donate. I did put some dresses and coats aside to maybe sell but I haven’t been able to make the time to do it. Now, the pile of winter prego clothes are stressing me out when I open my closet. Going to make a point of dropping them off at Salvation Army today!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Oh yes — don’t let those clothes stress you out — just get rid of them now!! I’m sure you’ll feel so accomplished after you drop them off!

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  4. Raquel

    06/20/2014

    I will start with my closet. I have recently lost 30 lbs and nothing fits. I need a whole new start in my closet so I will be purging…a lot!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — congrats on the weight loss. I just lost 30 pounds too — but it was Simon :)

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  5. stephanie

    06/20/2014

    The toy closet and the annoying play tent w/ broken tubing that is supposed to hold it up. I swear I’m throwing it out today!! They’ll never miss it!

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  6. Tiffani Hudson

    06/20/2014

    I am going to purge my kitchen first. I cook most meals at home and have been frustrated lately by all of the “stuff”. After purging I need to move things around so my kitchen is more functional. Thanks for the post. I’m feeling motivated!

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    Andrea Reply:

    you’re welcome Tiffani!
    I’m sure you’ll be amazed at how much more you love cooking (and how much easier it is to function in your kitchen) after you do a little purging, organizing, and rearranging!

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  7. Janice

    06/20/2014

    You have to be Queen of the Purgers! :) Since I have been reading your blog, I have done SO much purging and organizing via your tips and ideas. I have also decided to just take some pics of some of my vintage things rather than keep them. It’s not like my kids or g’kids care anything about them or want them and if I want to show them my old dolls or whatever, I will just go to my vintage photo files. However, I am keeping some antique things from my family in a display area and I actually use my mom’s glass candleholder and my grandmother’s serving dishes at Thanksgiving.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yay — so happy you’ve been moving things out of your home. Doesn’t it feel great!! I’m also impressed that you’ve been able to get rid of so many vintage (and potentially sentimental) items — way to go!

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  8. Stel

    06/20/2014

    Timeous post!
    It’s winter here and with our national Operation Winter Hope now running, I started looking through our winter clothing yesterday – everything that’s too small (boys), unworn (us) is going into a bag. Gt blanket in there as well. Will be our weekend project.

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  9. Lea Stormhammer

    06/20/2014

    PAPER!!!! We have wayyyyy too much paper.

    I actually started yesterday so your timing is perfect! :)

    Lea

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  10. Heart and Haven

    06/20/2014

    I just did a HUGE purge of baby/toddler clothes just a few weeks ago actually!

    Once I found out baby #5 (and most likely our last) is a boy, I didn’t need to hang onto all the girl clothes anymore (sizes 9m-4T). I had initially separated all the girls’ clothes by size & season, photographed everything, & listed on craigslist in lots to sell. Past experience I’d had really look luck selling good, used kid’s clothes on craigslist…this time no hits (except for 1 person who wanted me to meet her 1/2 way, a 30 min. drive from my house, for a $10 lot. Ummm, no thanks! lol!). I committed to keeping the organized lots of clothes in the living room (instead of the garage) until they sold. After a week, I just wanted them GONE! haha. I had listed the lots for a very reasonable price (average .50-1.00/per item) – so I had no reason/desire to reduce the prices any further, and could get greater benefit with a tax deduction instead.
    For my boy’s clothes, I again organized everything by size/season, got rid of anything with holes or stains and only kept a reasonable amount for hand-me-downs for my 2 yo and baby #5 due in Aug.
    With this effort I cleared out 8 large Rubbermaid bins from our garage! Wahoo!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — great job. I’m sure you will love the extra room in your garage!

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  11. Kim

    06/20/2014

    I am actual going room by room & purging & deep cleaning (washing curtains, cleaning blinds, shampooing carpets, etc.) my whole house this coming week. I’m starting with the bathroom tomorrow :) Can’t wait!

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  12. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    06/21/2014

    Thanks for this post – it’s the kick in the pants I’ve needed. I always struggle with the balance between keeping everything because I might need it one day and purging in the name of simplicity. I really need to go through our unwanted clothing and unneeded school supplies. Thanks for the reminder. I think decluttering for a few minutes each day is a great suggestion. Often I think that I need to set aside an entire day to do this, but that just isn’t realistic.

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  13. dominique lily

    06/22/2014

    This is a great post! One I really need to make note of and implement !
    Thanks so much
    Domi x

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  14. Libby

    06/23/2014

    Purged in my closet last night! Three bags so far, probably have at least three more.

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