Monday, July 25, 2011

Organizing, Purging and Those Hoarding Shows

With our upcoming move in just a couple of weeks, the simplifying process we've been through these last few months seems part of a grand design (: When Mom, Grandmother and I moved in together years ago (so we could provide the care Grandmother needed) we had three households and three generations of strong opinions moving into one space. Needless to say we learned a lot about compromise and the art of purging (:

I've always been a clutterbug and a piler. If I can't see it, I don't know it's there (: I love neat spaces and thrive in them, but it has to be a visually pleasing one that offers function and style with easy access to see needed items at a moment's notice. It's the creative spirit in me...seeing inspires. Since we'll be moving everything into storage while formalizing a plan for our new digs, I'm ready to get rid of the last few nonessential items to make the process easier.

Over the years I've been able to hone a system that works for me and stop by one of those hoarding shows now and then to keep myself in check (: For some reason just a few minutes into one episode and I'm ready to clean and toss!! I like to purge twice a year and sometimes more if there's a specific project. I ask myself three questions...
  • Do I really love it? (is it a treasure)
  • Do I really use it? (has it been used within the last year)
  • Do I really need it? (sometimes we think we need something when we really don't)
If the items in question don't fall into any of those three categories, then out the door they go! Charity is the first stop and then Craigslist has been wonderful! So many items that have been hiding in closets are making their way into the light to be sold and nurtured in the homes of others...and making a few extra dollars is a nice little incentive too (:

My great uncle and aunt held tight to the three question philosophy and the "1-in-1-out rule" to create a home that was the model of order. It was a small space, but seemed expansive by the sheer tidiness of it all. Twice a year (spring and fall) they would go through their things to see what would stay and what would go. No room for clutter here (:

The spring sweep brought out cooler seasonal clothing, decor and linens and the fall sweep introduced warmer items with the inclusion of a toy sort to prepare for goodies that Santa would bring at Christmas. The 1-in-1-out rule is a great way to train children in the area of giving and thankfulness. To make space for new toys, others must be donated and usually it was the favorite toy that was given (:

I like's being a good steward of what you have, keeping the space open to receive and honoring the rhythm of the seasons at the same time.  The more I embrace this philosophy, the more I enjoy it - and that's no small feat coming from this former clutterbug (:

So, what's your process for keeping things organized? How do you keep a tight ship or prepare for a big move?

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  1. My advice? when we've lived in a place for 22 years, it's best to forget the idea of moving. lol Actually I do think for some of us it's important to know that the things we love can go to another good home. It makes it much easier to part with them. So many good things can go to GoodWill where someone else may need and enjoy them.

  2. Great advice! Intentionality produces so much fruit. :)

  3. Ah, my sentiments exactly. I grew up in a family of hoarders with one exception. I (respectfully) call my stepmother a "super cleany". She didn't even have curtains on the windows when we were kids. (Just blinds.) There were no tablecloths, doilies, knick knacks, or excess anything. I always thought it was quite sparse as a child, but I'm embracing her philosophy more and more.

    The larger my space, the more I accumulate. The more I accumulate, the more I have to clean. The more I have to clean, the less time I have to spend with my family. The less time I have to spend with my family, the faster my life seems to dwindle away. My motto, for a few years now, is..."Keep the memories and get rid of the stuff. People are more important than things".

    I married a pack rat and two pack rats in a house makes a big mess! My husband would say..."But if I get rid of it, I'll forget the great times it was a part of.". Well, in this digital age, its easy to take a picture of the item and keep it neatly filed away in the computer or on a blog somewhere. It doesn't take up physical space, but is available whenever you want it.

    Getting the house in order and keeping it that way is a never ending cycle...just like the seasons.

    Blessings Michele!

  4. I'm a pack rat and a bit of a clutterbug, but I still force myself to donate to charity at least one or two boxes of items per month. It's emotionally painful and actually causes me a great deal of anxiety, but after a few days, I forget the stuff and things are okay.

    My MIL is one of those tv-level hoarders, so hubby grew up in a very full environment. He craves neatness and tidyness, but doesn't really know how to achieve it long term (me neither) -- quite frustrating.

  5. i have tried to honor those 3 questions too. warm spring weather always helps me to get into the mode for purging. having a goal (ie: a wedding or event) can also help the motivation factor. i'm still purging as my collections, barn sale & estate sale finds are taking over. i tend to keep my home more on the sparse is much easier to clean!


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