Shelf Talk: The Great 2017 House Purge

Welcome to Shelf Talk, a bi-weekly discussion post that covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to, gardening, video games, cooking, crafting and of course books. If you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to see on future Shelf Talk posts, leave it in the comments or send me an email, and I’ll do my best to cover that topic in the future.

At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I would go through the house and give it a major cleaning and organize everything. Part of the reason behind this was the presence of stuff in every room, some of it we no longer needed and some of it I wasn’t even sure what it was. I was tired of having to regularly move stuff, or boxes of stuff, to get to other stuff. So in January I began the task.

At first it seemed a bit overwhelming. As I cleaned out one room, another room filled up. But this was a necessary evil, as it was the only way to truly go through everything. I would completely empty out a full room, minus furniture, and then go through every single thing I pulled out, decided whether it needed to be kept or not. Everything that was deemed worthy of keeping made it back into the room, and was organized into a clean and easy to reach way. Anything that we no longer needed was put into a pile – one that grew tremendously over the next few weeks. This went on for the first couple of months, as it took days, sometimes weeks, to go through each room, because I was being so thorough with everything. I didn’t want to put something back and come to regret it later. I also didn’t want to get rid of something and then wish I hadn’t.

By March I had made great progress but ran into a small, or rather large, problem. I had a few clean rooms, but one very big pile of stuff to get rid of. It was to the point where I couldn’t go through any more rooms because there was no place to put any of the stuff from them, whether we were keeping it or not. So things came to a sudden stop. I figured after we had a garage sale in the summer I’d be able to continue.

The garage sale never happened. But that wasn’t going to stop me from completing this goal. So I went through everything in that pile. I sorted it into a toss and a donate pile. I probably could have sold quite a bit of the stuff, but I just didn’t feel like trying to find the time to set up a garage sale. So after countless trips to the dump and donation center I was ready to start again.

It was August when I got back into it. The boy was going to be in science camp for a week and that was my opportunity to finish the house. As soon as I dropped him off in the morning, I would hurry back to the house and start tackling the next room, the next pile. Somehow I managed to do it all in four days, this included going back over the rooms I had already done, putting a few things back in them that I decided to keep after all, and finding some things that should have been removed in the first place.

By the time I was done, it felt like a whole new house. Some rooms had previously been filled with stuff and were suddenly mostly empty. This allowed us to rearrange the furniture and make them even more functional. I also managed to set up a nice are for my reading corner and my writing spot, which I had before, but they were not very well set up nor very functional. Speaking of the reading corner, my bookshelves also fell victim to the purge. They were overburdened by books and I figured I could find a few to get rid of – there had to be some book I had previously read and didn’t want to keep any more. Shockingly, I removed about 200 books from my shelf. Most of them I had read and had no interest in rereading, but a few I had bought and since had lost interest in reading.

My only regret is that I didn’t take any before and after pictures, because it would have been amazing to have those visuals to share. Despite not having the pictures, I am so happy with how things turned out.

As crazy as it sounds, even after finishing the house and getting rid of so much stuff, I find myself looking at certain rooms and seeing more things that I want to get rid of. Perhaps that will be a task for next year. Have you ever do a purge of your things?

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