Got Junk? Purge It, and Feel Free to Be Ruthless!

This school year is all about starting new rituals apparently. I already posted about writing a letter to Zach before the first day of school. From now on, we’re also going to do a Beginning-of-the-school-year Purge.

Six years ago we remodeled our house and installed beautiful, stain-resistant beige carpet. We then proceeded to bear two children who made a point of projectile vomiting. Zach even learned how to get himself so worked up that he could throw up at will (we were SO proud).

My husband has been talking about cleaning the carpets for years, and last week he finally did it. He moved everything off of the carpet, rented a Rug Doctor* from the local hardware store, sprayed the really nasty stains (there were dozens), and washed the carpet. I “helped” by immediately leaving and keeping Zach out of the house after school. The cleaning products weren’t that smelly, but it was freaking me out seeing all of the piles of stuff around the house. It was depressing seeing them before, but having it all out in the open and not be being able to deal with it was too much for me.

This clutter was aka a Mythbusters obstacle course This clutter was aka a Mythbusters obstacle course

The next day, while the kids were at school, my husband and I sorted the stuff: 1) to donate to friends who have younger children, 2) to recycle (almost every single piece of paper we found), 3) to throw away, and 4) to donate to Goodwill.

We kept repeating the mantra, “Be ruthless.” I threw away cards my husband had given me for our anniversary, we threw away three dioramas Zach had made for school (we had already photographed them, and gotten his permission), and gave away some things the kids had recently gotten as birthday presents but weren’t very interested in. I packed a duffle bag that I now call my Exercise Bag of Shame, which included gear from doing aikido, Zumba, weightlifting, cardio kickboxing, and Wushu. I’m only joking about the shame. I’m glad I’ve tried different types of exercise. One day I might go back to some of them, but it’s better for the bag to be out in the garage.

We still have books and a few piles in our office to go through, but I can walk into my walk-in closet again, our carpets are mostly beige instead of black, and Zach’s room looks a third bigger now. When I look around our house I feel lighter, calmer, and proud of what we accomplished. I worried that Zach would be upset about all the stuff we got rid of, but he was totally fine. We realized this is a great time to get rid of stuff because he’s so excited about the new school year, he’s happy to let go of last year’s stuff.

How do you control the chaos of clutter in your home?

*I do not receive any compensation for any products I mention on this blog, but I will be happy to entertain any offers, especially if they are filled with wine and/or chocolate.

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4 thoughts on “Got Junk? Purge It, and Feel Free to Be Ruthless!

  1. ks August 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm Reply

    I’m trying to control intake of possessions by not purchasing until after I find myself lacking. So no planning ahead, stocking up, buying on sale, or getting replacements until it really is time to put the old one in the landfill.

    • Frankie Laursen August 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm Reply

      What do you do with kid artwork, goody bag toys, and other stuff that randomly accumulates?

      • ks August 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

        Yeah… so that’s a problem I have. For the artwork that won’t be stored long term, mail it to grandma (make it her problem!), put it back into the paper supply where it will be incorporated into a cutting and gluing fest, take it to work and discard the old ones. Some things, I honestly have chucked right at daycare. Cheap plastic toys can go into the party supplies to be reused later, but a lot of them do end up in the toybox.

  2. Mara Migraineur August 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm Reply

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Way to go!

    We did a purging shortly before school started, too. We took 3 paper bags full of paper products to the recycling bin just from our son’s room. And emptied his wastebasket at least 4 times.

    There was one day I got so furious at the kids (amongst other things, they ground peanut butter pretzels into my chiropractor’s rug) that I cleaned out 4 closets in our house – while they were home. Something tells me ruthlessly cleaning is therapeutic for me. I think I spent this Mother’s Day cleaning out our garage. All by myself. I loved it! Hahahaha!

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