And just like that, 2012 is a thing of the past and 2013 is here! Happy New Year!
Isn’t this entry gorgeous? I’m still crossing my fingers for a little snow down South before winter ends.
Am I the only one who’s walked through the house after the holidays, wondering where all the “stuff” came from and where we were going to put it all? I found myself getting stressed out about it and frustrated that we’d accumulated so much mess. The holidays definitely made the problem worse… things were moved around to accomodate decorations and life was busy… sometimes it was easier to shove it into a closet than to figure out where to put it. There were several areas of the house that looked a
lot little like this:
As is typical of me, I let my frustration with it build and muttered to myself about it as I shoved more junk in my closet. I didn’t want to feel like we lived in a pig sty… I didn’t want to encounter junk around every corner. I wanted to live like this:
Then, like it always does, the frustration bubbled over
and I threatened to call for a dumpster to be delivered to the house. After I calmed down, Mike and I had a meaningful conversation about our house, our stuff and how we really wanted to live in our home. We decided that it was time to purge and to adopt the philosophy that if we don’t use it, it’s time to lose it. Everything in our home should serve a purpose. And, with that discussion, the Great Purge of 2012 was born.
The use it or lose it mentality is a tough one to adopt. First, we had to decide just how brutal we wanted to be. Do we need 6 travel coffee mugs when neither of us has walked out of the house with one on any given day in the last 5 years? Nope. But what to do about that glass bowl, that simply gathers dust on a shelf, but once belonged to your great-grandmother? Do you get rid of sentimental things like that?
We ended up adopting a list of rules for The Great Purge of 2012 that we felt would work for us. They are very similar to the plan my friend Karen, from Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza described during her own great purge. Our rules are simple:
1. If we haven’t used, worn or played with it in the last year, Lose it.
2. If it’s a family piece or has a strong emotional meaning to us, it’s time to find a way to Use it.
3. If we find a duplicate, it’s time to Lose one of them.
Three simple rules. A simple task, right?? Starting in the kitchen one day last week, I made my way through drawers and cabinets and sorted items that failed one of the rules into one of 3 piles – trash, donate or sell. By the time the weekend rolled around, Mike joined in and we tackled the upstairs. SIX days of filling trash bags, making runs to Goodwill and finding a place for what was left. We took two trips to Goodwill, the back of the car packed to the brim.
We’re exhausted, and wishing we had one more day before we went back to school and work, but our house is clean and clutter free. It feels great and it’s the perfect way to start a new year. The million dollar question is… can it last??
The Great Purge of 2012 wasn’t just an exercise in decluttering and cleaning the house for our family. It’s the start of a brand new way of thinking for all of us. We’re going to make the effort to really think about the things we’re bringing into our home; to make sure that something will have a meaningful purpose in our home before we make a purchase. That means no more trips to Target for dog food only to return with 30 other items that weren’t on my list. If I buy something for the house, it’s going to be something that we need, something that we know we want to add to our home and it’s going to be well-made and classic. It’s going to be something for which we have an intended purpose in mind. Wish me luck… I am a little scared and I’m going to need all the luck I can get. Target is my weakness…
Some of the aftershocks of the Great Purge of 2012 will trickle down to Storywood Designs. In 2013, I’m going to dedicate the first Monday of each month to a blog post about cleaning, organizing and redecorating a “problem area” in our home… and I’m taking you, my readers, along for the ride! To keep in line with our new family philosophy, I have to refurbish those areas by shopping my house… and by using what I already have (much like a lot of the furniture I work on). Chances are good that paint will be involved. First up will be my closet (I’m still debating if we’re friendly enough for me to show you the before)… so check back next Monday to see the effect the Great Purge of 2012 had there and the changes I made. It may be one of my favorite before and after’s ever!