Friday, January 11, 2019

To Purge or Not to Purge, that is the question! by Jan Scarbrough

My daughter told me she was purging. No, she wasn’t sick. She was purging her basement of stuff she no longer wanted or needed.

“Google” the definition. One meaning of “purge” is to get rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; to cleanse; purify.

Several years ago, I wrote a blog about spring cleaning. In Is it time for spring cleaning? I raised the question of cleaning or decluttering on a regular basis. After being left in charge of my parents’ home of fifty years, I realized the importance of keeping my own home decluttered.

Hoarding reality shows are popular on cable. I often wonder how those poor people can get into such a big miss. I think I’m not that bad. I have stuff, but not that much stuff.

On the opposite end of the scale, more people are becoming “minimalists.” In Minimalist Living Tips: 8 Essential Rules For Living With Less Paige Smith gives tips on how to begin to declutter.

“Start simple and get rid of any duplicate items you own. Next, get rid of everything you don’t use or see on a regular basis. The stack of magazines you never read? Toss them.”

Smith says to eliminate “not just the items you don’t use, but also the ones that don’t bring joy or meaning to your life.”

At some time, many of us will face the same problem I did when I put my parents’ house up for sale in 2005: too much stuff. What to do with it? What to keep? What to trash? What to donate?

I’ve come to believe purging is a process. We can’t do it all at one time, unless we have a house to sell or a move to make. Still, we hang on to stuff. We feel guilty about getting rid of it.

With clutter around, I feel out of control. As if getting a handle on the junk in my house will put me in control! We all know that there is very little we can control, but it makes us feel better if we think we can, doesn’t it?

So, we all agree purging, decluttering, and spring cleaning are good things to do. What do you think, should I purge my books? Here’s a little secret. I have purged them. But not enough, huh?

Remember! Purge periodically!


  1. Purge anything, but don't purge my books! LOL

  2. When I moved I had to purge books. It hurt...but most of them I hadn't looked at in years. But I kept my outdated Encyclopaedia Britannica set. It was, literally, the world's first search engine for knowledge.

  3. I have one more comment about keeping a lot of stuff for sentimental reasons. AKA hoarding. When the inevitable day comes and you're forced to declutter (health changes, moving, or death) you end up reliving your loss and can end up in a downward emotional spiral. I've seen it happen. Keep a couple of things...USE them...see them every day...but don't store anything away or out of sight. Your post has clearly got me thinking, Jan.

  4. I agree with Bonnie. You post, Jan, has me thinking about how I need to purge. I keep telling my kids not to curse me when I gone and they have to clean out my house!

  5. Sadly, I have never met a piece of paper I didn't like.

  6. About 15 years ago, I sold off half of my library—about 700 books. It was like cutting off an appendage. I'm down to 3 bookcases here; 2 at my house in the country. I buy ebooks mostly unless it's a reference book.

    Apparently I never met a book I didn't like. My daughter got into Konmari last year and cleared out about 50 books -- all massive art books from her Master's degree program. She was going to give them to a charity thrift, but she gave them to me instead. They're beautiful. Of course, they're stacked on the folding table in my laundry room now because I don't know what to do with them. *sigh* My alleged goal this year is to de-clutter both houses.

  7. I want to declutter. Really. But it hasn't happened. I'm not sure when it will. I did actually purge my books because I read on a Kindle. It's amazing to me how I can have such a love-hate relationship with things.


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