Join the Great Purge & Clean of 2016!

Happy New Year! Now that you’ve got your fitness and wellness goals firmly in place, it’s time to look closely at the space around you and ask yourself, “Are things looking a little cluttered?” or “Are my closets bursting at the seams?”

Why not set a goal to de-clutter and, more importantly, to simplify this year?

Several years ago, I was inspired by a book called Simple Abundance to set a goal to clean, sort and rid my home of much of the stuff that was being stored but rarely (or never) used in spare drawers, closets, cabinets and bookshelves around my home. Finding truth in the idea that ‘we fill the space we have’ meant that my home-sweet-home was filled to the brim. Like many of you, I’m blessed to live in a house with extra closets, an extra bedroom and lots of built-in cabinets and book shelves. I realized in the 12 years we’d lived in our home, we’d filled all of these spaces. It was time to attack them and I needed a plan.

My goal? To get rid of something nearly every day.

As I sit and watch television in the evenings, I try to use that time to clean out a drawer or two or a shelf in one of the nearby closets. (Commercials are the perfect time to put things back.) During one evening of binge-watching three episodes of my favorite show I carried all of the plastic shoe boxes that make up our first aid and medicine closet supplies to the floor in front of the television. It’s amazing how many nearly empty bottles of cough syrup and Tums we’d accumulated. An hour later my waste basket was full and I’d easily pitched more than a dozen items and so my goal for that week was met.

Once upon a time I thought every bookshelf should be lined with books and so I collected and I kept every book I finished. Now I take pride in half empty bookshelves that provide me with space to show off pretty collectibles and a few framed family photos.

My beloved got involved at a different level. He started selling things on Craig’s List and eBay. Suddenly the wood chipper and junior golf clubs in the garage had each brought in fifty dollars. That alone was motivation for him to keep posting. We agreed this method was significantly easier than a garage sale since we both work full-time.

Twice a year I go through my son’s closets and dressers. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes of playing “Keep or toss?” with my growing teens to whittle down their t-shirt collection and get rid of clothes that no longer fit. Since they seem to come home with a t-shirt a week from one activity or another, it’s common for them to have 10 favorites and ignore the rest.

Do you ever find yourself watching an episode of something on your computer? Use that time to organize and purge from your desk, home office space or kitchen, depending on where your computer lives.

The organizational experts all seem to agree—if it isn’t useful, sentimental or beautiful, it might be time to let it go.