purging and doing without

I love purging.  Not the kind that comes out of my stomach through my mouth–that kind freaks me out.  I love the kind of purging that involves getting rid of stuff.  Lots of it.  Bagloads to the thrift store donation door.

I go through purging spells a few times a year, and each time, I wonder the same things:

“Where on EARTH did this come from?”

and “Why on EARTH did I buy THAT?”

Post-purge, I always promise myself wholeheartedly that I will never make the same mistake again.  You know, that *so* enjoyable mistake of impulsively buying that perfect, just-what-I-have-been-looking-for, clearance-item thing in the heat of the moment.  The mistake of forgetting what I can do without.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten better with each purge. I think.

So here I am, for the umpteenth time since moving into this little house (that has been too often packed to the gills with stuff), and am reminded again about what I love most: simplicity.  I love having the minimum amount of stuff.  And yes, this includes clothes, toys, art supplies, and food in the cupboard. It includes bath toys, old mementos, toiletries, and other doodads.  So far it does not include old motorcycle parts or rusty paint cans, but that’s a story for another day.

It feels amazingly good to know exactly what I have and why I have it. I love how creatively Mia plays with just a few quality toys and how quiet it is around here without batteries. I love not having too many options for clothes to wear or meals to make.  I love the feeling of open, uncluttered space and having just a small collection of photographs and books. Simplicity keeps things…well, simple.

Simplicity reminds me of how good it feels to *not* have an emotional attachment stuff.  It took me a long time to figure this out; it took me some time to learn that spending money or having stuff does not equate happiness. What makes me truly happy is filling my emotional cup with the good stuff: the stuff I wouldn’t give up for all the stuff in the world.  Stuff like love, satisfying my curiosity, keeping peace. Best of all, simplicity gives me a manageable life. As long as no one is teething or otherwise needing my full attention, I can get my house from disaster to squeaky clean in under two hours.  But even though everything seems pretty manageable under this system of simplicity, however, I still haven’t figured out how to conquer that ever- growing laundry heap.

Any post about purging would be incomplete without giving props to my friend, Alisha.  On a cold winter night three years ago, she came to my house and did something that changed my life forever: she helped me clean out my clutter! Several carloads to the thrift store donation door later, my house went from hopelessly cluttered to clean and organized.  Alisha taught me how to manage my stuff and how to keep it from piling up and for the first time ever, I actually wanted to BE in my house rather than run away from it.  (And for those of you who might be wondering, YES, Alisha is available for hire and can help you with your clutter, too!)

My house has been decluttered ever since that cold winter night, and I fully intend to keep it that way. With some purging along the way, of course.

4 thoughts on “purging and doing without

  1. It’s taken me years to realize how much more enjoyable life is when it’s kept simple and clutter-free. I think our physical surroundings are a good indicator of the state of our minds: cluttered surroundings make for a cluttered brain. Suddenly feeling inspired to organize something…

  2. I love it, Lisa! Having less stuff does make life easier. It’s amazing how having a lot of things can weigh you down – you have to manage it, and clean it, take care of it, keep it from getting damaged by children… Who needs it?

    This reminds me to purge the boys’ toys again. It’s about that time.

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