Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Great Purge of 2010

Going Green Mama confesses her home will still be trashed when her parents arrive later today...

The Great Purge of 2010 can only be summed up in these words: Chaos.

I confess that organization, in the way the rest of the world seems to see it, and I don't see eye to eye. I'm a self-professed paper junkie, yet I can find most things I need very quickly. I have three layers of stuff in my home: The stuff the kids have drug everywhere. The stuff I'm trying to keep out of their hands. And the stuff I've moved once I realized that the kids have grown yet again.

But the last few weeks, I have reached a breaking point. Despite my wanting to hold the line on stuff in our home, it's built up. And my goal for this spring is to return my home to a more manageable state.

It's no easy task. Deep cleaning - with a college-student husband, a crazy workload, nagging illnesses and two kids under the age of 5 - hasn't left me much time or energy to do so. And past experiences with trying to de-junk have left my home with a line-up of boxes of donations, each with a different home in mind.

But I figured I'd start up with a few easy wins.

1. The kids' clothes. While I've been blessed with ample hand-me-downs to get my family through our rough waters, at times I've been too blessed. Like this Christmas, I was able to give away three bulk diaper-size boxes filled with clothes my son's then-size - simply because we had too much. And those times we were actually on top of the laundry, we still struggled to close the dresser. So my plan has been to not only weed out out-of-season clothes for the used kids shops and donations, but also track how many clothing items of a particular size and style I've got stored in the future. Anything over a specific number goes, no matter how pristine of condition they're in. I think any kid can happily live without more than a weeks' worth of jeans, even if we're potty training!

2. Holiday decorations. While my mother-in-law can happily live with decorations for every season, I'm feeling the space pinch. So I've relegated myself to Christmas items, and a small boxful of Easter and Halloween decorations. The rest I've donated to a group that helps domestic violence re-establish their homes, and they've happily used the decorations to inject a little holiday spirit into their clients' lives.

3. Shoes. Now, I'm not a shoe junkie by any means, but my children grow through them like crazy. I took a few no longer worn pair and sent them to a group that gives them to people in need. Sure beat putting them in the trash.

4. Home items. I'm slowly tackling the kitchen space as well. My current project? Pulling together unused household items for Catholic Charities, which is anticipating an increase of refugees coming into Indianapolis. While a few extra sets of toddler silverware, extra glasses and baby blankets may seem like random things, it will still help out our future neighbors in need.

5. Toys. Perhaps this one shouldn't be on the easy win list. After all, we're threatening another visit from the Clean-Up Fairy. But I've been able to sneak a few items away for donations, and we were able to tearlessly part with a few at Christmas. Others that I know they've outgrown but aren't quite ready to part with have gone to their babysitter's house, where they can still enjoy them. And those pesky junky toys that they got at parties or Grandma's Happy Meals? They're happily waiting in a plastic bag in the closet to be "regifted" to trick-or-treaters this fall.

So I've made some progress, though at an initial glance it may not seem like it. What works for you in cleaning out your home? Any great tricks to share?


Wonder-ful said...

Long story short... I had to explain to my grandma that her massive collection of clothes was becoming a safety issue for all of us. She's in a wheelchair and we are constantly walking around to get medicines and such. Having piles of clothes on the floor because they don't fit into the closet just doesn't work.

I let her take charge of deciding what to keep and what goes, only focusing on one thing at a time like "things that hang on hangers".

Then we set a rule that for every piece of new clothing she brings in, one thing has to go. We've been able to get rid of 13 large bags of clothes to make things fit in her room (there is still a wall of storage bins in the garage).

All things that go were donated to the local clothing closet (like food pantry, but for household items).

I want to tackle the kitchen items next (also having a wall of storage dedicated to them). Anything that wont sell at the yard sale gets donated.

C. Allyn said...

I am not so sure it counts as much but, one way I "purge" is when my auntie V. comes for a visit from Pakistan. I will haul out my Christmas box and go through the decorations (again) and ask her, "do you want this one auntie".
She rarely says no to decor as it is limited where she lives.
On the flip side, when my parents move (again) as they will do this next month, I become the recipient of kitchen pans etc.
This time I am getting a brand new, never used yogurt maker.
I did say yes to this one.

Chile said...

What works for me? I'm hoping pressure. We've put in an offer on a home (finally). If it gets accepted, we could be moving in a couple of months. I don't want to move any crap, only good stuff.

Oh, wait, I do want to move crap....that big load of chicken manure I just picked up for the compost. ;-)

Daisy said...

If you have tennis shoes, consider donating them to schools or day cares. Kids always need gym shoes.

Kellie said...

I walk around the house once a month or so and pick up items that are unused, unloved or no longer needed. I try to fill up a bag or box and send it on it's way to Goodwill.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I love the idea of re-gifting fast food toys for trick or treaters.


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