My wife and I have been married for almost four years (go us!) and lived in our townhouse for almost two years. Over that time, we’ve gone from sleeping on seven blankets on the floor to a basement full of stuff and full closets.
Recently, we decided to embark on what I’ve termed, “The Great Purge of 2010.” In order to effectively dejunk our home and life, I’ve created a game plan worthy of any armchair quarterback. Also, I anticipate several benefits, which I outline below.
How to dejunk your home
- Dejunking?! Where do I start?
Here’s one way to make a plan of attack. (1) Begin by walking through your home, room by room and closet by closet, with a clip board in hand. (2) Note problem areas. For example, some areas like the kitchen may simply benefit from some re-arranging. The object of dejunking is to optimize and alleviate. (3) Estimate how much time is going to be required and any resources you may need (e.g. rubber-maids, trash sacks, or an entire dumpster). (4) Last, put the days you intend to work on dejunking on your calendar just like any other appointment.
- Prepare to be ruthless
So many of us struggle with getting rid of a “sentimental” item. Before you begin, realize that the sentiment is often in the memory and not in the item itself. Rather, the item is a mere reminder. So get out or begin a journal (it doesn’t take up much space). When you find a sentimental item, take a moment to jot down the memory or experience. If you are into scrap-booking, then get creative. Either way, capture the experience/memory/sentiment some other way than keeping an item that just sits in a box in a closet.
- How do you plan to dispose of your stuff?
This is a very important decision. As you move through your house, have four piles: keep, trash, sell, and donate. Once you’ve gone dejunked a room, then organize the “keep” items, throw away the “trash” items, decide what “sell” items should go on CraigsList.org or be sold through a yard sale, and take the “donate” items to your local thrift store or Salvation Army location.
- A few thoughts on selling items
Besides the good ol’ yard sale, there are a host of ways to sell items online. For example, NeighborGoods.net allows you to lend, borrow, or sale stuff with other people in your local community. Also, many classifieds have moved online. So although CraigsList is very popular, your local newspaper or news station may have a strong online, classifieds community with free listings.
The benefits of dejunking
- Income from selling your stuff
Do I really need to say much more than that? If you listen to Dave Ramsey, then you know that Dave says to sell your stuff to get out of debt. You may not have many other ways to increase your discretionary income (meaning, money left after expenses that you can use to pay down debt).
- You can find your things again
Take the time to place your “keep” items back in a logical fashion. Don’t just put them right back where they were, unless that’s really the best place for them. Also, you may tell me that you already know where everything is right now, but I’ve told myself that lie too. Even though you may actually know where most things are, it’s still a lie because you are telling yourself that in order to get out of doing something you don’t want to do. So you aren’t saying you know where everything is because it’s an honest, legitimate reason to not dejunk.
- Help people who are less fortunate than you
Sleep better at night knowing that your donated items helped family, friends, or strangers that are in need.
- Your kids and grandkids will appreciate the journal more
If you decide to dispose of sentimental items and create a journal or scrap-book instead, then I promise that your kids and grandkids will treasure it. The emotion and memory associated with an object may not transfer, or even ever be told, to the next generation.
- Less really is more
It’s hard to use and appreciate your possessions if you have too many. We are like small children in this regard. My two year old will play with any toy you give her…for two days. And then she returns to her favorite toys. The new toys then gather dust in a toy chest.
As the summer draws to an end, my wife and I will begin the Great Purge of 2010. Check back in the coming weeks for a report of our results. For more information and commentary, fan us on Facebook!