Whether you are getting ready for the holidays or thinking ahead to starting anew in 2018, there really is no better time to perform purges throughout the home. When we are rummaging through holiday décor, or switching out seasonal clothing, or just starting to feel concerned about the new contents about to enter our homes from well-meaning friends and family, there really is no better time to be out with the old and in with the new.
Start with the easy hits: anything you have too much of, anything that no longer fits, anything that is no longer used or enjoyed. This time of year for example, coats are so appreciated by donation centers: have you tried on all your coats? Do you have all the matches to your gloves and caps? As you are going through Christmas décor: what didn't make it out of the bin this year? What isn't in the best condition? What decorations no longer suit your taste? And how about kitchen tools and serving items? We just had a big holiday: were there any dishes, glasses or service ware that never saw the light of day? Since we are already having to manage these items, let's multi-task and do a quick purge. You can choose one area of the home for the next 12-days and reduce what is taking up your time and valuable space in the home. Purging need not take lots of time, just take it one drawer at a time. And there really is no better time to do it than before we receive a bounty of new items during the giving season.
But what about those areas that you find more difficult and time consuming to review and eliminate? Maybe for you that is clothing, or shoes, or canvas shopping bags, or crafting supplies, or children's toys.
Recently, I was working with a client who was feeling overwhelmed in the basement and all home closets. The spaces were relatively tidy; a few of them were too full, but nothing was really out of the ordinary. But as we began working together, a common theme started to emerge. The client's stress was apparent as she began explaining why she was keeping things. This is always a big red flag to me. If we are keeping something for any other reason than because we need or love it, then we shouldn't be holding on to it. As in this example, the main reason the client was holding onto clothes--many of which still had tags--was because she had made a significant investment and felt like she should do a better job making the item fit into her current wardrobe--even though she no longer liked it. So many things were being kept that really weren't likely to be worn. And she was angry that money had been wasted
This is what we call Investment Keeping
. The guilt associated with the investment is why the item(s) is stealing space in the home. It is a terrible reminder that we may not make the best choices for ourselves and our lifestyles when shopping. And it is a frustrating relic of misappropriated funds. But determined to make use of our purchases, we hang it up or put it in a bin and let the years go by until we just can't take it anymore, or worse, until the condition deteriorates and no one can get any use out of it.
I hope that at this time of year, you can take a step back, and not put pressure on yourself to love something that you don't, or to try to use something that you have lost interest in, or to keep a product that didn't stand up to it's expensive claims. The truth is, someone else can use it--and there is no better time to donate.
So if you are feeling inspired, perhaps take on the challenge of 12-Days of Purging. Pick 12 small areas of the home that can be improved (I highly recommend starting in the kids' toy areas!). Identify the quick hits for removal. If you find yourself stumbling over items, try to diagnose the cause of your "keeping stress," and shift your perspective to keep only items that are truly useful now or in the near future (not maybe one day), that are truly loved, that add value to your life. And by December just in time for the holidays, you will be feeling more clear, calm, and at peace--which is a true gift in itself. Let us know how it is going for you!