Love It, Use It, or Lose It – My Own Guidelines for Purgingposted by Andrea | 05/24/2013
Anyone who has read more than a handful of my posts should know that I’m a big fan of purging. Even if I have the space to store something, I personally feel there is no reason to hang onto anything I don’t need, use, want, or love.
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember and if I’m really honest, there have only been one or two times I’ve ever regretted a purge (pretty good odds if you ask me!)
No, I’m not a total Scrooge… if we have a use for it, if we need it, or if it’s just something we love, I’ll make the space for it. But if not, it’s gone. Period!
I’m always up for a good opportunity to purge — and I’ve noticed that every Spring, I have an extra “urge to purge”. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been slowly weeding through our closets, cabinets, garages, basement storage bins, etc. We sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, gave some stuff to friends/family, and brought the rest to a local donation center.
It sure felt good to create a little more space in our home — the extra cash was nice too.
Due to the nature of my blog and my business, I’m often asked how I consciously decide what to purge, what to keep, how long to keep it, etc. — and unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules for exactly what you should and should not purge (wouldn’t that be nice though!)
So the general guidelines I use are these 2 simple questions:
1. Is this something we LOVE?
2. Is this something we USE? (or have a plan to use in the very near future)
If I can’t answer yes to one or both of those questions, that’s a pretty good indication that I can purge a particular item.
There are also a few other variables I use to make my purging decisions:
1. I assess how easy the item would be to replace. If it’s relatively inexpensive and readily available, my decision will be a bit easier than if it’s a pricey heirloom or irreplaceable antique. However, I’m still completely fine with purging those “irreplaceable” items if I honestly don’t need, want, use, or love them.
2. I try to come up with any other ways I could use an item. I’m frugal, so I don’t like getting rid of something I could re-purpose for another use. Sometimes just a fresh coat of paint or a little creativity will save me a trip to the donation drop-off and a trip to the store. However (and this is a BIG HOWEVER) I absolutely refuse to keep something because I “might be able to come up with a use later on”. If I don’t have a use for it in the near future, and if I can’t think of any creative way to use it, I’m going to “lose it”!
3. I realistically evaluate how much space the item consumes. Large bulky items have less chance to survive around the Dekker house because I’m not willing to “waste” so much storage space. However, I’ll sometimes hold onto smaller items if I have a convenient storage space for them AND if I can honestly see myself using the items.
4. I ask Dave’s opinion. Usually he’s also in favor of purging, but there have been times when he wants to hold onto an item for a specific purpose I didn’t realize. So before I make any major purges, I usually let him peruse through my piles. This system has worked well for us, however if your spouse or other family members tend to keep everything, I might not be as eager to let them look through my piles
That’s it — pretty simple, but unfortunately not very “black and white”.
Yes, there’s a small chance I might regret purging a specific item, and I might have a twinge of guilt as I sell or give the items away… but I always try to remind myself that someone else will be thrilled to find my cast-offs and I will enjoy all my extra space. Win win!
As we embark on a long holiday weekend (great for tackling one of those projects on your to-do list), I hope this “Love It, Use It, or Lose It” approach will help you to simplify the decision-making process for your next purge.
In my opinion (take it for what it’s worth) If you don’t LOVE it, and you don’t USE it, you should LOSE it!
Oh, and if you’re the type to make excuses NOT to purge — please read this post first.
What will you purge first?
- Labels:: purging