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Updated on September 6, 2014
Stuff to Purge
Stuff to Purge | Source

Purge: Inform

I am sick. I don't look sick, and I don't always feel sick. But I have a brain and a body that just won't cooperate with the Type A side of me. I think I've finally figured out how to work around it. Go Me.

First on the list is to purge all of the stuff I've hoarded over the years. I was trying to continue a grueling schedule of overtime and shift work, while running a scout program and a wrestling program, getting my MBA, and coaching Tee Ball. As you can guess, there wasn't much time for housework or home maintenance. My home shows it.

Purging has some rules. Following rules cancels out the hoarding tendency by removing the emotion. Hoarding, for me, is based partially on sentimentality and partially on hippie-ness. My justifications include, "This reminds me of Grams", "I may need this for _______", or "There is nothing wrong with it". You may relate. What are your emotional reasons for keeping stuff?

Purging needs to start small. Even when you follow the purging rules, you will still feel emotionally drained when you are done with a job. It's OK. Think of the positives of purging:

  1. Less stuff to move around.
  2. Less stuff to clean.
  3. Ability to enjoy the things you love rather than feeling guilty for not being able to get to all of it.
  4. Passing usable items to those who will use it . . . Giving items new life.
  5. Freedom.

Purge: Inform: Sort and Inventory

Before you begin, choose what you are going to give yourself as a reward, and determine when you will get rewarded. Will you reward yourself between jobs or when you are all finished with the house? Here is how to get it done:

  • Sort and Inventory (Set papers, magazines, and clothes aside)
  1. Designate boxes or sections of a room as items to keep, repair, sell/donate/return, or toss.
  2. Remove everything from the room or section of room you are working on. Work on as big or small of a space as you feel comfortable with. You can also clean while you are purging, but I will outline those steps on the cleaning page.
  3. Decide what to do with the object you've removed. See the flow chart for help deciding. It's from WickedKate's Decluttering Article which includes a link to the source.
  4. Remove the trash.
  5. Make repairs and sort those items into the keep or sell/donate/return areas.
  6. List items for sale, set up a yard or garage sale, donate items or return them to where they belong. Make sure to set a deadline for selling items. Whatever is not sold at that date gets donated.
  7. Return the keep items to their rightful places.

Declutter Flowchart
Declutter Flowchart | Source

Purge: Inform: Tackle the Papers

  • Tackle the paperwork
  1. Stop the papers (
  2. Sort the pile into recycling / garbage or file.
  3. Recycle or toss what you don't want.
  4. Sort and label like piles to file.
  5. File papers.
  • Purge your magazines (on and offline)
  1. Sort into recycling/ garbage or keep.
  2. Unsubscribe from those you no longer wish to receive.
  3. Recycle or toss the garbage.
  4. File or reference those you want to keep.
  • Set up a system to handle future papers. You can save space by making your system online if you have a scanner.
  1. Get a binder and put a notebook, chore and discipline charts, schedules for childcare, sports, school etc., important school papers, goals, wish lists, recreational inventory, fitness, menus and recipes.
  2. Store important papers in a fire box.
  3. Keep receipts for taxes in a file folder or envelope.
  4. Keep bills in a folder for 1 year.
  5. Follow the OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once (do it, file it, forget it).
  6. Check out 3 Steps to a Paperless Life.

Inform: Purge: Clothes

  • Go through your clothes

Decide whether to keep, fix, donate or sell, or make them into rags by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Try it on: Does it fit? If yes, go to #2. If no, donate or sell it.
  2. Does it have holes? If yes, put it in the rags or fix pile. If no, go to #3.
  3. Is it stained? If yes, put it in the rags or fix pile. If no, go to #4.
  4. Do you like it? If yes, put it in the keep box. If no, donate or sell it.
  5. Fix the stains or holes.
  6. List items for sale, set up a yard or garage sale, donate items or return them to where they belong. Make sure to set a deadline for selling items. Whatever is not sold at that date gets donated.
  7. Cut up rags.
  8. Put all the clothes you are keeping away.

Explore: Purge

If you don't like my plan, do some research and make your own. I've also added the checklist I use below:

Home Project Checklist

Check off
Clean Room
Check off
Sort and Inventory
Check off
Papers and Magazines
Check off
Plan Project
Set papers and magazines aside
Stop the papers (
Make boxes for keep, fix, donate, rags
Gather Materials
Designate space to put keep, repair, sell/donate, or toss
Unsubscribe from magazines.
Buy Supplies
Sort stuff accordingly.
Designate recycle/trash, file, reference.
1.Try on: Does it fit? If yes, go to #2. If no, donate.
Do a trash walkthrough
Remove trash.
Take out recycling / trash.
2. Any holes? If yes, put in rags or fix pile. If no, go to #3.
Remove everything from the room or space
Make repairs and sort accordingly.
File papers.
3. Stains? If yes, put in rags or fix pile. If no, go to #4.
Clean curtains, pillows, bedding, blankets, etc.
Sell items.
Bind reference items.
4. Do you like it? If yes, put in keep box. If no, donate it.
Clean floors, walls, and furniture
Return borrowed items.
Set up system to handle future papers.
Fix stains or holes and sort.
Old English or Lemon Oil wood furniture
Return keep items to their place.
> School/ family/ kids binder
Clean windows
Donate items that didn't sell.
> Firebox for important papers
Make rags.
Make repairs
> Receipts and bills storage/ TODO
Put keep clothes away.
Prime, paint, stain, polyurethane or caulk
> OHIO (Only Handle It Once)
Organize and Decorate
> Go paperless
Return furniture, window treatments, blankets, and pillows.

Purge: Activities

Complete the checklist. Make a schedule, do it in little bits, or block a vacation week, but make sure you do it in a way that is manageable to you. Repeat until your home is purged.
Create an inventory of what you keep.
Make sure you have the appropriate insurance on the contents of your home.

Congratulations! Reward yourself!


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