Friday, April 27, 2012

The Urge to Purge

Last weekend I read about a nearby  Buddhist monastery in Mississippi  (some things are always surprising, aren't they?) then opened the Parade magazine to find that Anna Quindlen had an article called, Is Your Stuff Weighing You Down?

The answer, of course, is yes and I'll be honest, it bothers me.

I'm a notorious purger;  yard sale season always makes me want to sell it all, pocket the money, and embark on some nomadic adventure with a backpack and hiking boots.

Maybe one pair of leopard print heels. And lipstick. And that one pair of jeans my butt looks good in. You have to have standards, after all.

Twenty-nine years of marriage, four people, multiple closets, a big attic and two storage buildings equal a LOT of stuff.  If I'm the notorious purger, he is the sentimental pack rat. He has his giant velvet Bozo size bow tie from senior pictures, media guides about the hometown college football team going back over a decade, every sports jersey our kids have ever worn, and t-shirts that are 40 years old.

 We have had a lot of, discussions about stuff at our house over the years. If I don't use it or like it I will throw it in my car and head straight to the Goodwill. I purge my closet twice a year and my kitchen cabinets at least once.

 Honestly if anyone brings ONE MORE souvenir plastic cup into this house...

Yesterday I attended a seminar on organization taught by a chipper woman who invited us to come to her house and "open any cabinet, any drawer."  Frankly, the only new piece of information I got was that we really don't need linen closets anymore. "You only need two sets of sheets. One on, one off."
I even have that beat. I strip the bed, wash the sheets, and replace them within an hour or two. I own one set of sheets for each bed. This may be a bit extreme. A case of food poisoning, for instance could make me realize the precariousness of the sheet situation. 

I'm not living a life of deprivation by any means but breaking down and buying those leopard print pumps, simply means that another pair of shoes that haven't been worn in a year will make their way to the Goodwill shortly.  My husband has had a revelation over the past few years while dealing with elderly relatives and the vast amount of things accumulated by a generation who remembered The Depression and were prone to keep everything. We both learned a lesson: You are doing someone else a disservice and imposing hours if not days of back breaking work by not dealing with your own stuff. Is that the legacy you want to leave? Your children would far more appreciate you selling your unwanted items and giving them a check for Christmas or to the grand kids for college as a graduation surprise.

 You can't have it all. Where would you put it? ~ Stephen Wright 

How are you dealing with the clutter at your house?


  1. So happy to find your blog, Michelle! And yes, it's about time for me to purge again. See you at the Brooks!

  2. Thanks for reading, Carole! See you soon!