Guest post from Caroline of Cow Country Housewife
I want to tell you about my lastest all-over organizing, closet clearing, drawer dumping, box emptying purge. This very purge helped me to clear out ALL of the needless clutter and junk that took up so much space in my house.
I’m calling my purging the “all of the dressers in my house got recalled then my basement got 6 inches of water” purge.
Why the weird name? It’s inspired by true events.
In the span of a week, all of the dressers in my house got recalled by IKEA in their huge recall, and then we had a flash flood and got 6 inches of water in our basement. For real.
During this week, we got to see all of the articles of clothing that we owned. All 5 of the people in my house had their drawers emptied and their contents dumped on the floors.
We saw everything. All of the clothes that we never wear. All of the jeans that fit before the babies came along. And all of the impulsive purchases. All of the hand-me-downs that were kept despite the stains or holes.
We got to see how much junk we were holding onto for the sake of keeping it.
We became painfully aware of how many times we looked into drawers bursting with clothes and wondered what we were going to wear. And all of the times that we went clothes shopping and added more clothes to the over-filled drawers.
It was painful… It was embarrassing… It was ridiculous.
We went through and filled 8 garbage bags FULL of clothes to go to the Salvation Army. And we were still filling bags 2 weeks later as we decide whether or not to keep the remaining clothes before putting them into the new dressers.
The cherry on the cake was the basement flood.
The basement flood was a shock. We’d already had a flood the year before, so we were prepared for the most part. Even with the sump pump and shop vac at the ready, there’s still not much that can keep you calm when you walk into your basement to see water gushing out of the storm drains.
When the flood waters went down and we removed all the standing water, it was then time to throw out everything that was damaged.
We threw out the infant carrier I was keeping for sentimental reasons. We threw out all of the old paint cans and other renovation equipment that had been untouched for years. We threw out or donated many toys we were keeping, even though the children never even missed them.
It was messy… It was frustrating… It was cleansing!
The “all of the dressers in my house got recalled then my basement got 6 inches of water” purge changed from a horribly stressful situation into the motivation that we needed to get rid of all of the junk that was bogging us down.
My husband and I had always talked about how we needed to get rid of all of the junk in the house that had accumulated over the years, but we always found excuses not to do it. It’s too nice outside to spend all day cleaning, I’m exhausted, the kids are grumpy… we had every excuse in the book to avoid purging our stuff.
It took 2 huge setbacks in the span of a week to force us to see that there’s no better time than the present to start.
The purge forced us to take sentimentality out of our decisions. We got smaller dressers so we couldn’t fit more stuff in them — everything needed to be practical, fit well on us, and fit inside the drawers.
The basement flood forced us to take anything that wasn’t stored neatly in a closed plastic container, and throw it out. We got plastic shelving, but anything that didn’t fit in a box or on a shelf has been thrown out. Nothing can be put downstairs without a plastic box, just in case. Everything needs to be contained, organized, and intentionally placed downstairs.
Now, a few weeks later, we’re still finding things to throw out and donate. We were motivated to start, and we’ve been on a roll ever since. We continue to donate bags and boxes to the Salvation Army (which they always accept with open arms.)
We got rid of at least 80% of everything in our home, and we’re not even done yet!
Our house feels lighter, happier, more full of love and less full of stuff — and we decided we will do this kind of purge every year to get rid of all of the clutter and junk that accumulates.
Our forced purge showed us how comfortable we had become with clutter and adding more things into our lives without taking anything away. We learned that we needed to be content with what we have and not always looking for the next thing to buy.
When you’re faced with piles of clothes on the floor and soggy cardboard boxes, it’s easy to decide to get rid of things. If you’re overwhelmed by what you have in your house, try the “all of the dressers in my house got recalled then my basement got 6 inches of water” purge and see how much stuff you’ve been holding onto!
Caroline is a wife, mom of three boys, Christian, penny pincher extraordinaire, frugalista, cloth-diapering-essential-oil-loving-home-birthing hippie, and lover of life. She lives in beautiful Cow Country, PA where she shares her love of saving money on her blog: Cow Country Housewife!
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