Purge With Purpose Part 1

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” -Ben Franklin

Deciding it is time to separate yourself from your life’s possessions is a major decision and should be done in a way that brings you the most peace. This will require some thoughtful planning and strategic decision-making, but it can be done well with the right help.

In this two-part series, we will take a look at the steps a “Downsizer” needs to take to “Purge with a Purpose.”

There Will Be Sadness, and That’s OK

“Sentimental clutter is the adult equivalent of a teddy bear”, says Julie Holland, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. Letting go will take time and there be grieving, so plan ahead and move at a slow and steady pace. Surround yourself with a team of your closest supporters to encourage you and help complete tasks, as well as be there with you to celebrate the next phase.

Unfortunately, Gen X’ers and Millennials may not be as attached to material possessions as Baby Boomers were at the same age. If you have been holding on to a child’s items for them, it’s time to reach out and ask your son or daughter if the keepsakes you’ve been saving can be picked up or tossed. As hard as it may be to let go of these items, it’s a necessary step.

Set a Time Line

Start with the end in mind. Just as a teacher must plan ahead for semester-long project, look at your best-case scenario for the end result, and work backwards. Do a brain dump: make a list of the dozens of items you and your team will tend to. Organize them into the sequential order required for efficient completion. Then set deadlines in your calendars. The most organized approach is to set up a written plan with your team and spell out your SMART goals: Specific, Measureable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Timely.

Sorting All the Stuff

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” – Marie Kondō

Using your new space as a guide, ask yourself this yes-no question: do I need this? Then put it in one of three categories: new home, donation/sell/junk or storage/others. This process should be done in short intervals over a long period of time, maybe months or more. Going room by room can quickly make it feel as if progress is occurring and that will help build momentum. If you decide to rent a storage unit for any ‘maybe’ items or stuff other people are coming for, I recommend setting a time frame to reevaluate that decision.

Take pictures of special items you will discard and have a photo album printed so you can always find nostalgia in their memory without having to keep them within reach.

Early in the process, I encourage you to hire a professional organizer to help you make decisions. Email me at [email protected] for recommendations.

Purge With Purpose

There are multiple causes on the island and in the county that accept donations. Each of them has different restrictions and procedures and I will gladly answer questions specific to your items. You need to decide if you want your donations to be turned into cash that:

  • Pays medical bills of low-income families (Seattle Children’s Bargain Boutique on Winslow Way West at 206-842-5567)
  • Acts as scholarship for low-income seniors to participate in BIMPRD programming (Senior Thrift Store at 206-842-1616)
  • Helps people reach their full potential through the power of work (Goodwill drop off site in the ACE parking lot).

And of course, you can donate your stuff to the Rotary Auction and know you are giving directly back to your community. Past Auction proceeds have helped us build the Bainbridge Public Library, the Little League baseball fields and Rotary Park, the new Waypoint entrance to Winslow from the ferry, Owens Playground, over $100,000 in student scholarships and more. This year items are being accepted at Woodward Middle School June 24-29, 2016. Click here for more information about this great community event.

Check out Part 2 of this Post to learn who to call to help you purge. You’ll find referrals, phone numbers and websites. Find it all here.

Please let me know how I can help you purge at [email protected] or 206.399.3641.