Yesterday I spent a few hours purging and organizing boxes of teaching stuff. My mother-in-law was in town and was a great help! While Hannah was napping, we took time to go through each box and decide if I really needed the items inside. After being a teacher for 3 1/2 years, I had accumulated a lot of stuff! I can't imagine how much I would have had if I had taught any longer. I had stored all of the stuff in our front room (technically the formal living room) and recently decided that we should turn that room into Hannah's playroom. But before we can do that, we have to clear it out. My mother-in-law is a teacher, so I was hopeful that she would be able to take some of the stuff to use in her own classroom. We managed to go through every box (thanks to Hannah sleeping so well for her nap) and purged a fairly large amount of stuff. I have a large pile of stuff that I need to take to my old school to give to other teachers and we filled a large trash bag with garbage. The items that I decided to keep were things that I thought I might be able to use with Hannah someday (children's books, games, arts and crafts supplies, etc.) We are looking for bookshelves to store the children's books on (Any suggestions on where to purchase these? We want quality shelves at an affordable price!) and the remaining tubs will be put in the guest room closet(s) for now. It is still a work in progress, but it feels good to purge!
Organization is a passion of mine. I LOVE it! I have honestly thought about being a professional organizer (maybe someday). I try to keep the clutter in my home to a minimum (even hard now that I have a little one). But purging can be tough. What about the items that have sentimental value? What about the things I just might need one day? What about the stuff I want to save for my future ______ (insert kids, grandkids, etc.)? What the gift(s) someone gave me that I don't really like? It really is hard to get rid of stuff. We spend so much time and money accumulating it all....we just don't want to let it go. Even though I love to organize and clean, I don't consider myself a purging expert. I too struggle to let go sometimes. While organizing yesterday I found myself using all sorts of excuses...."But what if Hannah wants that someday?", "What if I go back to teaching someday?", "I've had that for so many years", "My ______ (insert grandma, grandpa, mom, sister, husband) gave that to me"....and on and on. The thing that helped me the most was having another person there with me to tell me that I needed to get rid of something. She put things into perspective and reminded me of my end goal (to make the front room a playroom for Hannah). For the sentimental things I reminded myself that it's not the actual item that holds the memory, but it's what is in my heart and mind. (Don't get me wrong, I did keep some of the sentimental stuff). For the things I was holding onto because I might need them one day, I thought about how long they had been sitting in this front room (almost 2 years now) and realized that I had lived that long without them, so I probably could continue to live without them.
If you have stuff sitting in closets, in your attic, in the garage, under the beds, in the cabinets or anywhere else that you haven't used in a year or more, you most likely don't need it. Yes, there some items that you don't want to or don't even need to part with, but the majority of the junk that clutters our homes is just that....junk! It's time to purge. Start out slow...one drawer or cabinet at a time. Don't get overwhelmed. But be brutal and honest with yourself....do you really need all that stuff? And don't just throw it all in the garbage, think about what you can do with it. Is there someone you can give it to? Could you sell it on Craigslist or Ebay? Could you donate it to Goodwill? Or if you left it at the end of your driveway, would it disappear?
Cleaning out the clutter will make you feel so much lighter and less stressed. It takes time and effort, but it's so worth it in the end.