Saturday, April 4, 2015

Purging Progress

At Mom's recommendation, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was already fired up to purge and organize, but reading this book gave me even more focus and determination.

Over the last week or so, I've put her advice into practice. Where I had been focusing my efforts from room to room, the author suggests purging by item type: clothes, books, movies, etc. I don't have a dedicated chunk of time large enough to tackle all my clothes at once, so I worked type by type.

So far, I've done socks, undies, tank tops, jeans, short-sleeved shirts, cardigans, and hoodies.

The main thing I like about her advice is that she advocates selecting what you keep or toss based on whether an item brings you joy. This sounds silly but is genius! I know I've kept things over the years only because I paid a lot for it or someone gave it to me. Likewise, I've let stuff go that I loved because I felt like I had too many or it was frivolous. The act of holding each item and asking yourself if it brings you joy lets you move past the guilt. Another key reason I saved things in the past is because I thought what if I need this one day. Well, what if I do? How much would it really cost to replace it? Probably not much. So if it wasn't bringing me joy today, it went. SO freeing!!!

Since most of the time I can't work upstairs on my clothes since the kids are downstairs, I tried to focus on things in the office. Our office is the main problem area in the house, so it made sense to focus here.

BEFORE: SO MUCH CRAP. And you can't even see the desk to the right and the small shelf to the left. Oh my.

I started with DVDS. Those two thin media shelves were packed with DVDs. I was sick of looking at them and knew that we didn't really watch most of them. Mike and I both went through and weeded out a huge pile, and then I put the remaining ones in paper sleeves and stored them alphabetically by category in boxes I already had.

BEFORE: Clutter media shelves do not bring me joy.

AFTER: Those media shelves are in the donate pile now! And you can also see that I've gotten rid of a lot of other stuff on the shelf to the right.

Our DVDs are stored in two small boxes now.

Next, we moved on to books. Surprisingly, I have very few books. I love my kindle and rarely buy a "real" book. I do have a small collection of favorites that I am not willing to part with. Mike has a larger collection, but did get rid of at least 20. Progress! We are down to 3 small shelves of books.

Those vertical files might still look like a lot, but I got  rid of at least 5 of them. They house some office supplies and papers. I like office supplies They bring me joy. I pared down the contents to my favorites and kept them: file folders, stickers, in progress paperwork, important documents to save, user manuals, tissue paper, and party supplies/gift supplies. I used to have 3 vertical files just of user manuals. I had manuals for things I didn't even own anymore. Sad, people!

Paperwork was next on my list. 

BEFORE: This thing was overflowing and disorganized. Don't mind the white box in the photo; I hid the name/password for our wireless. 

Since you are supposed to gather everything in a category when you purge according to this book, I gathered up the paperwork in our kitchen too. The paperwork repository in our kitchen is empty now.

AFTER: I have one folder for tax documents as I collect them over the year. One for Ben's kindergarten registration. One for Liv's therapy program. One for some items that need action.

Then there were some random things: cords to who-knows-what, paint swatches that I'll never need, a box of small picture frames that I didn't use on the gallery wall. Why was I saving these things? The cords and paint swatches all went in the garbage. I pulled out one frame for our office and donated the rest.

Speaking of donations, here is the pile of crap that I was dealing with. This is half bags for donation and half empty bins/baskets/boxes from getting rid of so much. 

Friday on my lunch break I dropped off our donations at Goodwill. The boxes and bins I'll keep until I'm done purging. The author recommends this and it makes sense. When I get to other items in our house,(especially things stored in the garage and basement), I might need some of these.

Next, I moved our desk to a different wall to make the room feel bigger. On the wall that previously housed the desk, I put this thinner profile shelf and my DIY bulletin board that I made years ago. The office is not completely purged (still have CDs to upload to the computer and get rid of all the cases; photos, momentos, etc. to sort through). 

I did go through all my pens/markers that you see below. I got rid of any that didn't bring me joy. Office supplies bring me a lot of joy. 

Notice that the green shelf hardly has anything on it now. There is the art that I printed for free (tidy desk, tidy mind) in the frame I salvaged from the box, my organized gift bag collection in the bottom basket, and a plant. I think once I'm done purging the other office areas, this shelf won't be needed. But I painted it myself and love the color, so who knows... It does bring me joy. I'll have to think over the shelving arrangement in here once I'm done.

The author does say you should not containerize or organize anything until you are totally done. But I had to get stuff up off the floor, so I put some on the shelf. It is easy to pull it all off and reassess once all items in here are purged. Soon, I hope. Stay tuned. :-)


  1. Love what you've done Jaysa. You really took the book to heart. I got set back with moving Grandma and Pop's furniture to another apartment in the personal care section of their retirement community. We had to pack up their excess stuff and now have about 50 boxes of their stuff in our garage to go through and figure out what to do with it! Hoping to get back to my own purging soon. Love your office now, looks so good.

  2. I've made some good progress and am feeling better already but there is still a lot to do. Baby steps! Yes, having to stop and clean up someone else's crap definitely takes the momentum out of your own purge, but you'll get there. Thanks for turning me on to this book so I can take my purging up a notch.

  3. Wow! I love the "joy" idea. I'm passing your post on to my daughters, and I'll be using this great concept, too, from now on.

  4. I was just visiting your mother's blog At Rivercrest Cottage and I wanted to stop by and say, hi. The book that your mom recommended is definitely one I can use and I'm planning to buy it real soon. I love the different ways you've purged and organized your home. You did a fantastic job. By the way, it was nice 'meeting' you. Enjoy the rest of your week... :)

  5. I love a good purge. I do pretty well at not having a bunch of clutter although I do have an overflowing closet. Your purging is very inspirational, and everything looks super cute!