For years whenever my husband would come home from helping some friends move, he would scramble around our house working to get rid of stuff. After having spent a morning of moving boxes marked 'miscellaneous', he would want to make sure our home would only be filled with items of function or meaning. In his ideal world, we would live in a hotel room. He loves the clutter free, calm environment of a hotel. While I am not signing up to live in a hotel room, I do prefer a clutter free house myself. Yet another reason he and I work so well together :)
Just the act of everyday living seems to create clutter though. Add kids or pets to the mix, and you get more clutter. Our family of four (plus pets) does not live in a large home. We live in an average 3 bedroom, 2 bath, single story home. As I am sure is typical for most homes, ours can sometimes be a magnet for excess or unused items.
A few years ago, in an attempt to gain control of the excess that kept accumulating in our home, we came up with Purge Saturday. Purge Saturday happens on the first Saturday of each month in our home. Ten Saturdays out of twelve, it takes all of 20 minutes with the four of us pitching in. Most of our Purge Saturdays consist of us identifying one area for each of us to cull. It might be that one of our boys goes through the game closet while the other looks through their bookshelves. Or maybe they each go through their clothes. Each of the boys is asked to look through the items and determine if they are still being used and enjoyed or if they are no longer interested in a particular game/book/craft/toy/clothing item/etc. While they are doing that, my husband and I will be tackling another area. It might be our own closets, kitchen cabinets, or a shelf in the garage. The point is that it does not take all day. Some months we remove many items from our home and others it may just be a handful of items. Everything that is pulled from the house is placed in a tote in the garage. And then every couple of months, I load up the items and donate them to a local thrift shop.
A couple of times a year, we pick a larger project for Purge Saturday. This often requires setting aside a few hours to accomplish. In the summer, we will pull everything out of the garden shed and go through it all, throwing out what is no longer needed, donating others and then reorganizing what is left. We will do this type of purging for the garage or the attic at other times of the year.
Keeping up the consistency of a monthly Purge Saturday has helped our family keep the clutter at bay in our home. It's been a good practice to walk through our home and regularly ask ourselves if something is still useful or appreciated. Yes, sometimes our teens roll their eyes when we tell them it's "Purge Saturday!" over a stack of pancakes at breakfast, but they are good sports about it and have begun to pick up the habit on their own. I have found our younger son going through his clothes on a regular basis now working to remove items he no longer likes to wear or that have become too small. This small practice, over time, has helped us all to keep our home filled with things that we know we are using, are in good working order, and that we enjoy having in our home. An added bonus is that it takes us less time to take care of our home because there is less stuff in it to take care of!
I encourage you to give Purge Saturday a try! Decluttering an entire home can be an overwhelming task. But planning a day on the calendar, setting a timer for a short period, and getting everyone involved makes a huge difference. After a few months, when you have worked through many of the rooms or closets of your home, going back through them will be even easier.