A Simple Guide on how to Purge Your House
Minimalism is so much more than just decluttering your possessions. It’s a complete lifestyle change. While, yes, decluttering helps you realize what’s important in life, it’s only just the beginning. Our journey into minimalism started with a full-on total-home purge.
Last year was monumental for us as a family. I got pregnant and miscarried in the spring, my father-in-law suffered a massive heart attack, we lost weight, and I got pregnant again.
Before I knew I was pregnant for the second time, we had a serious “come to Jesus” moment with our things. We had so much stuff (and stuff is the nice word for it!). There were boxes in the closet of our spare bedrooms that hadn’t been opened but had been moved three times. We had clothes overflowing from our closet and we had run out of actual hangers. We had so much useless stuff that we were going crazy.
We watched The Minimalists’ documentary on Netflix and we were hooked. We don’t live a minimalist lifestyle like they do – we still have plenty of things – but it encouraged us to look at how we were living. We were holding onto things that we thought made us happy or we thought that we would use.
Then the purge came.
We had boxes and bags that could have easily filled a small U-Haul trailer after we purged and decluttered. Our house still looked full! We set up a garage sale and made $1500. This was the second sale that we had that year. There were no big items (I think the most we sold an item for was $25) and we still ended up donating a SUV sized load to the mission down the street.
See? Just junk to us. I was so tired of trying to make it fit into our house and into our lives. We just didn’t need it any more.
We had one more good clean out and declutter before the end of the year (we still had so much stuff) and we then settled into organizing Little Guy’s room. It is now June, Little Guy is two months old, and I am doing another purge – just less extreme this time. Most of the items in our house we regularly use or get heavily used when in season (coats, boots, shorts, etc).
Looking to clean out your wardrobe? I eliminated HALF of mine! Check it out!
Each time we have purged our home of the unnecessary things, we ask ourselves a few simple questions in each room that we sort through. These questions serve as guidelines for just about every space. I start with our kitchen and work my way to the closets, bedrooms, office, bathroom, and then the living room.
Is it broken or damaged?
The rooms this most applies to are the kitchen, kids’ rooms, and living room. If a piece of electronic equipment hasn’t worked in years and you haven’t bothered fixing it – it needs to be disposed of. Your kid’s toy that is at the bottom of the bin in a thousand tiny pieces should hit the road. They probably haven’t played with it in months. Kitchen gadgets break and non-stick coatings get scratched off. Things that do not work as intended can add stress when you’re trying to whip up a meal for your family.
Do I have duplicates?
If you have a duplicated item, do you use both of them? We were most guilty of this in the kitchen. We realized we don’t actually use both pasta spoons or colanders at the same time or even close together. Another big area of offense is the bathroom. I had many beauty products that were half used and duplicated. My excuse always was that I lost the first one so had to go buy a second one.
Am I using this item?
If it isn’t broken and it isn’t duplicated, do you actually use that item? We had storage containers, coffee mugs, single dishes, odd pillows, and decorations that all sat around our house in an “organized” manner. They were all put away but just not being used. Everything that we weren’t using currently and wasn’t a seasonally used item went away.
Does it fit?
This applies strictly to clothes and uniforms. If it doesn’t fit, then why keep it? If you’ve recently lost weight or gained some, ill fitting clothes can be very unflattering to your body.
Does this item bring me joy or make my life better in some way?
Not all items have to bring you happiness, but do you enjoy using it or does it make your task easier? We have eight coffee mugs and each one is from a different place. Not only does the coffee and tea we put into it each morning bring us joy, but remembering where we got the mug or how we got the mug puts a smile on our faces.
I hope that decluttering and purging your home of things that do not bring you joy helps bring you happiness. Living simply is done best with people that you love!