Anyone who has read more than a handful of my posts should know that I’m a big fan of purging.
In fact, even if I have the space to store something, I personally feel there is no reason to hang onto something if I don’t need it, use it, want it, or love it.
I’ve been “purge happy” for as long as I can remember, and there have only been one or two times over the course of my 30 years that I’ve ever regretted a purge (pretty good odds if you ask me!)
Of course, if we have a use for something, 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; however, I rarely save purging for a special occasion or a big “spring cleaning weekend”. I try to purge small amounts on a regular basis so it never really feels like a hassle or something I dread. All year long, I weed through our closets, cabinets, garages, basement storage bins, etc. and I just keep doing the next area (because you know that purging is never totally done).
I sell stuff on Craigslist, I give stuff to friends (if I know they want it), and I donate A LOT of stuff to local donation centers.
I LOVE that feeling of a little more space in our home!
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.
Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules for exactly what you should and should not purge. Instead, I ask myself 2 simple questions to determine if an item should stay or go.
The 2 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 those questions, it’s almost a given that I will purge the item.
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 repurpose. 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 purge!
3. I realistically evaluate how much space the item consumes. Large bulky items have less chance of survival 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 — fairly simple, but 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 if 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!
In my opinion 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.