Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer project

This is an odd subject to write about on a long holiday weekend, but I have started another Whole House Purge. It's one of several projects on my summer to-do list.

I did this about 5 years ago, after the Farmer and I had been living in our house for 15 years. Believe me, a lot of stuff had come in during that time and not nearly enough stuff had gone out. At that time, I wanted to buy some new clothes but there was no room for anything else in our closet. I gutted the closet and purged. That felt so good, I kept on going and did the rest of the house. It took about 6 months, working at it off and on.

This time, my aunt inspired me. She is selling her house and moving. I've gone to help her clean it out a couple of times and  . . . um . . . wow. Yeah. Inspired. She was a saver. She was raised during the Depression. Nothing got thrown out. I came home, looked at our house and thought, "I need to get a grip on all the crap in this house."

I'm not a huge saver and I hate clutter, which makes purging easier because a lot of stuff doesn't accumulate in the first place. But it's so darn easy to toss something in a drawer or closet and think, "I'd better save that. I might need it some time." Trust me, no one needs 28 magnetic photo frames. No one. Or four chain chokers. I don't even train with a choker. It's amazing, some of the stuff I've saved.

The purge 5 years ago went well. It cleared up a lot of storage space, which is at a premium at our house (back in 1919 apparently the builders had a thing against closets). Any perceived "loss" was offset by the thrill of being able to open a cupboard and find what I was looking for without the entire contents of said cupboard tumbling out on my head.

This go-around, I started with the bathroom cuz it's easy. Our bathroom is tiny. There's not a lot of storage, hence not a lot of room to save things that are not useful and practical. Then I moved to the kitchen. That was a little stickier but honestly, the rooms we live in and use daily are not bad. I should get through them in a reasonable amount of time.

It's the spare bedrooms that scare me. There are five of them, total, and they are the classic example of "Oh, let's save this! And this! And this!" Not to mention, they're the repository of a bunch of stuff from my aunt's house. Those things won't get thrown out, I want to keep them, but right now everything is piled in a jumble.

Purging is a good project for either summer or winter. If the weather is too crummy to be outdoors, take an afternoon and purge.

My self-inflicted rules for a Whole House Purge are:

1) Do one room at a time. Do not start on a new room until you have completed the previous room.

2) All cupboards, drawers, closets, shelves and pieces of free-standing furniture that provide storage space must be emptied. Everything has to come out. You are not allowed to put it all back in.

3) Sort accordingly to A) stuff to save B) stuff to throw out C) stuff to give to Goodwill B) stuff to donate to the ICDOC raffle/garage sale.

4) This is not a race. Like dog training, it will take as long as it takes.

It's also funny because I find an amazing amount of stuff that does not belong to me and needs to be returned to the friends I've borrowed it from. Ahem. Sorry. Sometimes I find funny stuff, too. During the Whole House Purge of 2007, I found a box of towels that had been wedding presents. (We were deluged with towels for our wedding.) I'm happy to say, nearly 21 years after our wedding, we have now worn out all the wedding towels.

Have a happy Memorial Day! I'm off to the Iowa Renaissance Festival this afternoon, pics to come soon.

1 comment:

  1. The story of your aunt reminded me of clearing out my mother's house, after she moved into assisted living. She wasn't so much of a saver as a 'buy lots when they're on sale' kind of person. It's been over 2 years and we're only about half way through the rolls of Saran Wrap, dishwasher detergent and hand soap she had stored away. Although I am also one to stock up on stuff when it's a good deal, I told my husband to not let me buy more than 2 of anything once I get past the age of 70.