12 Days of Purging

  • By Birdie Brennan
  • 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
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!

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
More Posts

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
More Posts
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