Tips Tuesday: Top 10 tips on how to purge

The closet in my spare room. Time to purge.

No, I’m not talking about vomiting. I’m talking about ruthless and hardcore de-cluttering. It’s unbelievable how much crap we keep around. I recently moved and it was an excellent opportunity to go through all my stuff to see how much of it was actually garbage.

Getting rid of the clutter in the physical spaces of our lives is also great for the mind and spirit. As hard as it is sometimes to throw something out I always end up feeling so refreshed and clean when I’ve done a good purge.

Here are some tips on how to purge effectively.

  1. Plan according to your style. If you’re like me you like doing everything at once in one big go. If so, schedule a weekend every 4-6 months that will be your purge weekend. Put it on your calendar and stick to it. If you prefer to do things in more bite-size chunks, commit to de-cluttering a drawer, closet or box in your basement a night, over the course of a few weeks. Pretty soon you’ll be clutter free. Repeat this process a couple times a year to stay on top of things.
  2. Donate what you are getting rid of. One common feeling people have when it comes to de-cluttering is that they don’t want to waste things by throwing it out. Take your stuff to a second-hand store to alleviate this concern,
  3. Get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in the past 4 months. Chances are you won’t ever wear them.
  4. Reduce the need to de-clutter in the first place. Buy less.
  5. Out with the old. If you do buy something new, get rid of whatever it’s replacing. Re-gift old books, movies, games, appliances, art, kitchenware, etc that you don’t have any use for anymore.
  6. Tackle one room at a time. It’s a great sense of accomplishment when you’re completely finished with a space and keeps your goals within reach.
  7. Go paperless. So much of my clutter is paper—old receipts, bills, statements, etc. Sign up for this stuff online so you’re drawers aren’t overflowing with bits of useless paper.
  8. Take advantage of wait times. If you’re waiting for your pot of water to boil, or it’s a TV commercial break, or you have a few minutes before your ride arrives, take that time to tidy up and keep on top of clutter to prevent it from building up.
  9. Make a party of it. Invite a couple friends over to help you go through your junk and help them do the same with theirs. The extra company will make it more enjoyable and you can offer your friends first dibs on anything you’re getting rid of.
  10. Cut the sentimental crap. We need to change our value systems to recognize that stuff is just stuff. The more practice you have at regularly purging your stuff, the easier this becomes.

What tips do you have for de-cluttering your living spaces?


Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.

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