March 29, 2012

April’s Challenge–The Great Purge of 2012

Ok, first let me start by saying - I know I owe you an update.  I know that.  And I'm like really, really behind on the whole "I blog it, you read it" bit.  And I've already got that post mostly finished, but for now - I have to prepare you for next month's challenge.  

So without further ado: time to get to work and get rid of all that clutter eating up your house.  Roll up your sleeves – here’s your April Challenge…

Purge - April - PNG
The Challenge: successfully purge as many rooms in your home as you can. At the end of the month, put your purging to good use with one or more of the following: donate to a friend, local charity, or host a garage sale and sack the money away for a fun summer! Whatever you do – GET RID OF IT!

The other day I had to go up to the attic.  And while in said attic, I had a little come to Jesus moment.  It was a shamble.  A mismatched hodge-podge mess and way too much that I've been loathe to part with.  The attic and garage are in the most miserable, miserable shape.  After almost nine years of purging out of the house, only to have much of it end up in the attic – we now have a grim situation up there.  So for this month, I will be attacking those two HUGE spaces.  To be fair, I understand I am asking you to purge inside your homes.  But if you prefer to hit the attic/garage/basement combo – or whatever combo makes you happy and “clutter-free” – then go for it!  I am a compulsive de-clutterer.  Is that a word?  It is now.  Anyway…yes.  I’m constantly purging the kids rooms, moving things out to the attic that I can’t seem to part with, and hauling stuff to Goodwill and local consignment.  This is what I DO.  That being said, I just happen to be in between purges inside the house.  We’ve kind of been doing that the past couple months.  So when I saw the horror attic this past weekend, I realized right then and there that was where I’d be this month.  And better to do it before it gets much hotter up there, am I right.  Freaking sauna.  I could lose ten pounds up there......jeesh....oh wait!


Stock up on storage containers, large trash bags, or boxes. You can buy boxes at many stores, including WalMart. Additionally, look for sales on storage tubs if you plan to re-organize spaces or store some items away.

Make a game plan that involves breaking your home into four “zones”. Decide what you’ll attack first (if you’re full of zest for the project – pick a big room! If you’re already overwhelmed but know it needs to be done, pick a small bathroom. You’ll feel very accomplished even with a small space.) You have four weeks. The GOAL is one ZONE per WEEK!

In each room designate a tub for “keep”, a trash bag for “trash” and a box for “donate”. It makes the process much easier and swifter.

Determine ahead of time to let things go. No really. LET IT GO. Stop saving 25 bars of hotel soap. You know who you are. That’s right, I’m talking to you. You will NEVER need or use them. Every hotel you go to will offer you another one, so just let it go. Perhaps a homeless shelter would be grateful for them? Whatever. Just stop the madness. De-clutter your life and breathe again. There is such relief in a clean and organized space.

Take one room at a time. Just one. Don’t move on until that room is complete. On the other hand, don’t labor over every single little thing within that room. Roll up your sleeves and determine to rid your home of unnecessary clutter. I realize that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure – I get that. But friends, I kept a jewelry box that had several single earrings in it for years. I don’t know why. I think I figured if I ever found them….you get the picture. It sat for years. What a waste of space among the jewelry I used daily. I finally just threw them all out. And I felt such relief that I was no longer “housing” a collection of duds. Simple, but true. It’s those kinds of things that you’re looking for, among the obvious.

On that note: DO LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS. We can get very accustomed to our surroundings. Everything just blends in and we stop “seeing” things. For instance, I’ve had a small stack of papers on my desk, jammed in a corner – for months. Cannot tell you what they are. Receipts maybe? I don’t know. Time to get the shredder out, eh? Try to adjust your eyes to see not just the clothes your kids have outgrown or the bread machine you have never and will never use – instead look at things anew. What can and should have been thrown out or given away a long time ago?

Take before and after pictures. Even if you don’t blog (which I hope you will!), you will see the tangible evidence of your hard work when all is said and done. It is VERY rewarding! If you do blog about it – we all get to see and be inspired as well – WIN, WIN!

When you finish a Zone, you can decide whether to store the items you are donating or drop them off each week at your local charity. If you’re going to host a garage sale, you’ll have to store them. Here are some general tips:

DONATING: (Friend or Charity)
  • Stock up on boxes.
  • Label the boxes (what’s inside and to whom you are donating it).
  • Organize your donations and clean them up a bit if needed.
  • Store in a dry place until you can deliver them, but don’t wait too long. Set it up so that you give yourself before the month’s end to drop them off.
  • Most charities will provide you with a tax deductible receipt for your donation. Don't forget to pick that up before you leave!
  • Books can be donated to your local library. Call ahead to find out where to take them.

  • Use boxes or tubs to store these items in.
  • You can choose to price them as you purge or each time you complete a zone – either way it will save you significant time later.
  • Keep similar items together to make for easier sorting later.
  • Try to discern what is truly trash and was is a viable garage sale item. For help, see HERE.

  • Contact your local consignment store to inquire about their buying policies.
  • Clean up clothes or toys and organize them in boxes.
  • Generally, you will be offered a store credit or cash for your items. Children’s items in particular are in hot demand these days!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY would love to have bloggers who are willing to take this challenge and post the results once a week.  If you are one such blogger, will you contact me HERE or leave a comment with a link to your blog?  I’d LOVE to share with the group at large your progress and ideas.  (and pictures!)  Come on, you know you need want to!!  Make sure you grab the image above and link it back to Bushel and a Peck!

Challenge begins Sunday April 1st and it’s not a joke – ha!  Zone 1 – Week 1. 

My personal challenge?  To let go of some of the children’s things stored in the attic.  Not all of it – but I’ve been a bit ridiculous about it, not wanting to let go of hardly anything.  I think we’ve had that little chat on here before, right?  Yeah.  Issues!  So that is what I’m going to be pushing myself towards.  Stretching myself to realize that sometimes, it’s just overkill.

You can’t take it with you, people.  You just can’t. 

Let it go…

Who’s with me?


Anna said...

I am sooooo in! Got so much to get out of this house. Gotta make room for some visitors this summer! *wink, wink*

Amy said...

Definitely doing this one! I was already planning to because I want to have a garage sale and use the profits to send my kids to summer camp. Now I just have additional tips and encouragement. Let the purging begin!

Amy said...

Definitely doing this one! I was planning to de-clutter and sell stuff at a garage sale anyway (and use the profits to send my kids to summer camp) but this post just gives me good tips and encouragement. Let the purging begin!

Christie said...

Ok, Anna I know I can count on you to blog it!

Amy - will you be blogging about it too?

Whoo hoo! Glad to have you both on board!

Catherine said...

This is one challenge I'm hoping to participate in as time allows. My biggest challenge is finding time to do these things! I've taken 3 days off work this past month and started the de-clutter but I can't do that again. It will be finding bits of time to attack small places. Something is better than nothing is my motto and in the past month I've tidied a couple of places that have been stock piling for more than 3 years!

I can totally relate to not wanting to let go of Hannah's things. I'm finally ready and able to happily accept that it will just be she and I and I'm ok with that. A friend is anticipating her referral so Hannah's clothes and toys will be shared with her.

Thanks for posting this!

Christie said...

Catherine, I have had the hardest time letting go! I cannot stand the thought of parting with their things. It feels like a piece of them - and I realize this makes me mental - but I just hurt to think of getting rid of them. Can't even describe it. This should be interesting...

Lynda said...

Just added this info to my blog, already sent you an email with info. Am looking forward to this one!