Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Purging of STUFF

Our house has been undergoing a serious "purging" over the last 2 weeks. We just have so much, STUFF, you know? Just's everywhere, I look!  Stuff, Stuff, STUFF.

We live in smaller home (for our family size) and we often talk about how we wished we had more room.  But, the simple truth is, we do have's just that STUFF is taking up all our room!

Finally, after a late night talk, Ryan and I got serious.  The next day, we went into "purge" mode and decided to "half our stuff".

This wasn't just casual "Spring cleaning", this was serious, no emotions, "just let it go" cleaning like we'd never done before.

My first spark of inspiration came from my friend Amy, at Raising Arrows, who has been blogging every Saturday as she "halves her stuff" room by room.  Well, we caught onto her vision about 3 months late, but caught up in two weeks!

~~So what'd we do?

Well, first of all, we decided to "practice what we preach".

You see, one of my boys is always saying, "But I need..." 
To which I always say (and now he quotes...), "No, that's what you want.  What you need is air, shelter, sleep, clothing, food, water and Jesus."

So, we simply stopped riding the fence on certain toys, clothes that we've hung onto that get worn too infrequently, books we'll never read again, etc.  And we even took it a step further...

We took a spin on the Amish saying for clothing:
"One for wash, One for wear,
One for play and One to spare"

We have tubs full of cute outfits and matching accessories.  But being a practical momma, I usually gravitate for clothes that can be mixed and matched.  Simple, solid, practical

So, we accumulated 15 trash sacks of clothes as we took each age's "tub" and simplified to 7 play outfits, 5 dress outfits and 4 pajamas for both winter and summer.

Yes, those 15 trash sacks sat on our front porch for a few days...
I'm sure our poor, sweet neighbors were less than thrilled!

And let me tell ya...

It felt SO good to condense all our STUFF we had in storage, down to half of what it was before!

Around the house, we literally went room by room and just started throwing stuff into boxes.  We don't use it?... we don't need it.  Can't remember the last time we touched it?...we don't need it.  Etc.

~~The hard part
We had to resolve to not let our my emotions get too involved.  My love language is gifts, so I remember almost every item, who gave it to us, if it's clothes~when a certain kid wore it...and on and on.

Plus, I kept struggling with the thought that we were being ungrateful for all the blessings we had recieved.  But the Lord kept reminding me that people gave us these things to bless us, and if they are no longer a blessing (but a burden, taking up space we need) then it was time to let them go.

So I had to "put on my brave face" and just think practically...which is not an easy endeavor for me!

~~The fun part
Some people don't think of garage sales as very much fun...but I do!!!  We had a one-day yard sale.  I put an ad in the paper and 2 simple, paper signs up on busier streets and set our stuff out.

I went for SIMPLE pricing.  All clothes, all shoes $.50We weren't out to make money, so I priced low in hopes that more would get purchased!  And it WORKED!!!

Almost all the toys/decor were $.50-$1.00

Books, VHS tapes, DVD's and CD's were $.25 (I told you I wasn't in it for the money...I wanted to get RID of this stuff!)

We had four "big" items (a TV, an old laptop, a DVD player and a camera) but everything else was small "piddley" stuff.

And guess what?  We made almost $800 dollars in those 6 hours!!!

Pricing low was worth it (pun intended!) and now we are a lighter, happier home with more room to run, play and prepare to GROW even more!!!


Jenilee said...

I need to do these. very badly. we have so much stuff. Jeremy likes stuff. he gets good deals, as you know, but he likes stuff. i want to unload. I'm reading him this post out loud. a sale might buy us that car! :)

Kara said...

I love this! Today, yes TODAY I went through my closet and drawers and a tub of clothes I had. I have two paper size boxes, one garbage bag and about 6-7 wal-mart bags full in my trunk to either try to consign or give away!

I am not to the point of letting kids stuff go yet but I will be in a few years I am sure :)

I now have a neat bedroom with my maternity clothes in the closet and not in laundry baskets on the floor and all of Kyla's stuff is actually hanging and instead of piles!

I can assure you I am pooped but it was well worth it!

Kathryn said...

I'm definitely inspired. I've been feeling overwhelmed by "stuff" lately. Great post. Thanks.

James and Bri Dodson said...

I have also been inspired by Amy's posts :).

We had a garage sale a few weeks ago and did quite well...and I've been majorly nesting the last few weeks. I have given bags and bags of things to goodwill and to others on Freecycle. It feels nice to know that someone else can be blessed by the stuff that I was finding such a burden.

I also took a limited approach to clothing (both mine and kids stuff). I bought small totes at Lowe's and put in only what would fit for each size and season. I'm actually working on a post to show what I did, but it makes me smile every time I look in Carter's closet! Knowing that it will be easy to change out his clothes per size or season and to know that baby #2 will have clothes ready to go. Such a relief!

Our problem is that we live in a smaller house with very little storage. We don't have a basement, our outdoor storage shed leaks, and our attic gets VERY hot in the summer. So most things have to be stored in the house somewhere and that usually means one of our small closets.

Loved reading this post, it encourages me to purge even more :).

cooperkelly4 said...

We started this about a month ago and it sure does feel good. We got the purging done ( bin!) the first two weeks and then we started on reorganizing, and adding little things (coat of paint here, valance there, etc.)It is a wonderful feeling to have even the smallest space simplified and organized! Good for you!

jenny said...

i love the less clothes idea--7 play, 5 dress, 4 pj's. i'm doing this!!

Amy Matthews said...

Guess what?! I had a yeard sale with the same mentality and even the same prices last Saturday! I also went through every tote of clothes and kept very close to the same guidelines as you guys did. We also purged our toys, part of me wonders if you and I kept the same toys since we have so many of the same toys! LOL.

I too feel lighter, even though we are getting ready to move to a much larger (yet less expensive) home we decided not to take anything we didn't use with us. Que, yard sale!

We donated our leftovers to the local pregnancy crisis center.

Thanks for sharing your journey to less STUFF with us! What an inspiration.

Shonda said...

That's awesome, Grace. I'm going on a purging mission SOON! I have lots of places to give my stuff and of course lots to recycle. Thanks for the great post.

Amy said...

$800?! wow! That's great! Congrats on less STUFF! :)

Keith and Crystal said...

And I thought we did good by making $150 for the stuff we weeded out. :) I am so happy for you. It does make you feel better, doesn't it?

laurapeery said...

just curious friend, what does it mean to "grow even more" ? there's a twinkle in my eye :)

Alice said...

This is so encouraging! I need to do this too. I am struggling with the lack of space in our home (600sq ft with almost 5 kiddos!) and have always been one to hang onto items even if we don't really use them. Also the boys have WAY too many clothes! I have begun to purge clothing, but your post inspires me to cut it down even further.

We are about to get rid of our sofa and armchair - the only things to sit on in the house, haha! We are that desperate for space! We will have a big chest (storage, yay!) to sit on instead, not so comfy but never mind. And a cosy corner on the floor with giant cushions. Hopefully that will make the living room feel bigger and give the boys more space to play...

Love this post! Congratulations on a great job purging and a successful yard sale (how I wish we had those in the UK!)!

~Stephanie said...

YES! I did a crazy, wild purge when I was pregnant with Solomon (before we moved to a bigger space!)

It's been amazing and now I'm itching to do it again!

Jessica said...

My husband is the sentimental one in our relationship. He keeps all sorts of stuff I would throw out. He frequently jokes that he has to make sure he stays functional and in good working order so I don't throw him out with the garbage.

Anonymous said...

Inspiring! Your post got me so excited, I got out all my bins of baby/kid clothes and whittled it down to 2 bins per sex (one summer, one winter) plus one for baby and one for spare winter gear (boots and snow suits)
And...all of them have room to spare!!
Thanks for the get up and go post Momma!

Ava said...

I am a big believer in selling clothes for cheap at garage sales. People tend to buy way more. I know I do.

Gwen Toliver said...

Thanks, Grace, for inspiring me, motivating me and convicting me!!!! With this move, we have determined to be "brutal" (as my ultra-organized sister would say) about getting rid of things.

I get emotionally attached to things too and that's just ridiculous. So I really appreciate the practical tips you've given and, since I know our move to TX is going to probably mean a much smaller house, I'm probably going to thank you again down the road for helping me to just get rid of extras!!!!

Anonymous said...

You are so impressive!! We talk about this all the time when people tell us they need more space (because they are going from 1 child to 2 or something like that). Since we live in 740 sq. feet w/ a one year old and still have plenty of room we know it is our "stuff" that is taking up space. We of course would love a place that is more condusive to a big family and would love to have more children but we don't want to move into a huge house only to fill it up with possessions. You have an amazing family for actually putting this into action! Love the yard sale technique as well. So glad you made some $$$!

~Jan~ said...

Hi :)

I'm a fellow homeschooling mom in Ontario, Canada who stumbled across your blog by searching "purging stuff"! I just have been feeling like we had too much STUFF and its ruining my homeschool because there are too many things to take care of rather than people (ie. my kids). I am married to a packrat though he's been better the past few years and am in constant battle with spaces in my house becoming cluttered with junk! Its also hard because I don't drive and cannot take the things to charities by myself but have to wait for him! Anyways..I love the Amish saying you put up on your blog and am going to try following your rule for how many clothing my kids should have. One question though...I see it working for my 9 and 5 year olds..but I have a 5 month did you decide what you needed to keep?

From another sister in the Lord...THANK YOU. I needed that perspective today.


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