Puuuuuuurge! Or, the anti-packrat.

Today is Day One of the first Great Purge we have had a chance to do in the last couple of years. God, it feels good. It’s almost an endorphin rush. By Great Purge, I mean in the sense of how I used to live. For 10 or 15 years there, before I settled down with the Ogress, I moved frequently. I moved from town to town, sometimes across country, usually across the state, about every year. As a result, I mastered the art of paring down all my belongings to 1) what was the most useful, and 2) the few things that meant the most to me. For several years, everything I owned fit into the back and trunk of a Nissan Sentra.

At first, it seemed like a meager and poor way to live, but after a while, I came to love it. I am mostly unencumbered, and having too much STUFF starts making me feel all crowded and unhappy. Fortunately, I married a woman who is the exact same way, having moved frequently in her 20’s, sometimes back and forth across the Atlantic.

So now, every year or so, we go through and PURGE. We get rid of all the useless tchotchkes, the old magazines, the CD’s that have piled up, the old paperwork, the old clothes, etc. Basically, everything that is not useful or absolutely of so much personal sentimentality that getting rid of it is unthinkable. The rest goes in the garbage, the recycling, to Goodwill, or on Ebay for a few bux.

Except, it’s been a couple of years now. The Ogress was pregnant there for a while, and then we had the Ogreling, whose presence made a purge impossible. Man, junk started to pile up high. It has been deeply disturbing.

Only now, he’s a year old. He’s starting to walk around and outgrow a lot of the baby crap we have sitting around (OK, OK, most of that is either going into storage for the next time, or to friends who are having kids).

So today, today, oh glorious day, we woke up, marched to the other end of the house, and started systematically going through all our stuff. Junk drawers have been emptied. Old rugs have been 86’ed. Our liquor cabinet, with all the various types of glasses which we have never used, has been streamlined. Magazines and newspapers recycled, baby room cleaned out, utility room virtually emptied, refrigerator emptied, cleaned out, and reassembled, etc.

God, it feels good. Give us another week or two, and we will have gotten rid of hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of useless, meaningless garbage. I can’t wait. While it’s unrealistic to think we will ever get back to being able to fit our stuff into a car (and as a family man, I wouldn’t even want to live that sparely nowadays), it’s going to be great to streamline.

I like to purge the house and garage of stuff so much! Now when I buy something; I already know who will get it in 6 months to a year when I do the next purge.

I am so incredibly jealous of you. My girlfriend loves the fact that I only use 1/8 of our closet, and shows her love by cramming it full of her bullshit that never gets worn.


I envy you. I’ve been sitting around snowbound all winter toying with the idea of a purge, but somehow stuff just gets sorted into piles and never makes it out the door. (part of the problem is, we’re only allowed one trash can, stuff has to be in garbage bags, and so actual garbage has to go in before anything extra).

My wife has… tendencies. I wouldn’t call her a hoarder… yet.

I kinda like the low-clutter lifestyle.

I’m planning on moving cross-country and trying to see if I can fit everything I keep in a Jeep Liberty. We shall SEE.

I LOVE the feeling of getting rid of all of the stuff. The people at Goodwill know me.

I’ve given away:

2000+ books
1 set of china, 3 sets of crystal
an exercise bike
a weight bench and weights
a surround sound system
13 fishing rods and reels
5 guns, plus reloading supplies and equipment
50ish dvds and videotapes
150ish prerecorded cds
300ish blank cds and dvds
3 computers, 2 monitors, 2 printers
a lawnmower
20 pairs of shoes
7 garbage bags of clean, stain-free clothes
a bread machine
2 ice cream machines
a Kitchen Aid mixer
a stand mixer
2 blenders
and a cat, but the cat came back

Good on you! The snow is still on the ground (deepish!) but the sun is shining brightly these days and highlighting all the crap. Both kids have had a massive growth spurt and ankles and wrists are sticking out of their clothes. I was given a box of books and a box of clothes, and suddenly my puuuuuuurge hormones are surging too.

Your post has inspired me! The washing machine is on, and I’m sorting, baby!!!

Oh man do we need a purge. It’s not that much, but my sweetie and I are opposites: I’m the one used to moving a lot, and have never owned much worth moving, and he’s got a storage unit he’s had for 8 years that he never even looks into except when he puts something else in there. And this is in a very windy, dusty place, so everything in there is dessicated and completely enveloped in inches of dust and dirt.

I may never get him to clear out the storage unit, but by gods this spring at least the apartment is getting purged! I agree that it feels SO good.

Wow! :slight_smile:

The very next day? :slight_smile:

I tell myself I’ll do this, but never get around to it. Our apartment is a bit cluttered, but a lot of it stems from the fact that we don’t have much storage space, so everything ends up on bookcases or open shelves. It’s just annoying because you can see everything, even if it’s useful.

I also have a lot of school books and notes that I always hesitate to throw out. I graduate this summer, though, so I’ll be able to toss a lot of it (I always worry I’ll need to go back to it eventually…I rarely do, but there have been a few times!) I’ll likely take the summer off before beginning to work, and I think a massive purge will happen then.

I have been getting rid off about a box or garbage bag worth of stuff every three days since mid january. My house looks better but I still have to tackle the basement and i don’t know what to do about the boyfriend’s office which is a disgusting heap of papers, file cards, plastic bins of phones and electronic stuff. He cannot find anything and I want to help him organize it, but that we seldom find time for.

My son has basically gotten rid off most of his baby and preschool toys, all his stuffed animals except for his favourite which doubles as his pillow, and most of his books that are too young for him. (some I vetoed for sentimental reasons… especially books that were gifts.)

I even have got rid of most of my fiction books, since I don’t usually re read fiction. (My collection of Ca nadian Authors first editions is intact though)

It does feel good.

A good rule of thumb is to throw out anything you having used in the last six months. This includes your kitchen fire extinguisher…

I’ve come to terms with being someone who likes shelves and piles rather than closets and drawers - I just make sure I have LOTS of shelves to reduce the amount of piles. I know that things put away so you can’t see them looks less cluttery, but we have to be who we are.

We moved a year and a half ago and had a fair purge then, but I feel like it’s coming up on another one - I have a mound of stuff in my utility room that needs to not be a mound of stuff any longer. One of my next projects is going to be a massive amount of shelving in that room - then I’ll purge as I put stuff on the shelves.

A year ago when we moved house, I swore that every February thereafter, I’d go through the house and clean it as if we were about to move again. Moving, and packing things up yourself, is a pretty awesome opportunity to pare down.

While IMO purging is certainly better than hoarding, or even the typical American levels of gathering and keeping for that matter, purging may be an indication of the same problem.

Buying/accumulating crap you really don’t need in the first place. When you do a purge, think about how much you paid for all the stuff in the first place. Was the joy it brought worth the work it took to get it?

Bah. We’re not bulimics either. Or desire to have minimal clutter comes from a very specific source, and we like it that way. We don’t buy junk just to have around and then purge later.

Congrats! I’m a packrat / slob by nature. We have a basement full of stuff we no longer need, just haven’t found the time to get things organized and outta here. It takes time - to sort out what can be tossed (not much, we don’t keep useless crap for the most part), what can be donated, and what can be freecycled. The freecycling is the hardest - it’s stuff that doesn’t necessarily have much chance of being sold at a thrift store, but is still useful - and it takes time to list it, to sort through the emails, to set it outside, to relist it when the requestor doesn’t bother to show up…

We did a big purge of the garage last fall and what’s left is all stuff we need / really want, and it’s ORGANIZED, and it’s a hell of a great feeling.

A comment for folks with leftover electronics: thanks to someone here on the Dope, I’ve learned that Best Buy will take / recycle these things. We got rid of a number of things (old scanner, old computer, old over-the-stove microwave, old cell phones) this way last fall.

I take things with cords to goodwill. Even if they don’t work. A coworker’s husband works for Goodwill and he says they test things to see if they work and if they don’t they break them down and recycle them and get money for the copper and the like in the cords.

Freecycling honestly sounds like a good way never to make any progress. If I think it’s useful to someone, I take it to Goodwill. If I think it’s trash, I throw it out.

In addition, we’ve declared that all ugly gifts that we’ve been saving to prevent hurt feelings have reached their expiration dates. It’s a veritable blizzard of bullshit flying out the door! :smiley:

Silly straw basket of pointless, decorative balsa balls? Gone.

Butt-ugly candelabra set? Bye bye!

Useless huge brandy snifter full of colored glass marbles? Why the fuck haven’t I already used this for target practice? Gone.

OK, I kept the Masai ostrich egg drinking gourd, cause it’s undeniably cool, and it was bought in Africa, from Masai, and delivered to us.

I’m not keen on freecycling, either, mostly because I tried to use it and it is apparently run by Eco-Nazis and I just can’t be bothered with it - I also do Goodwill and garbage.

It’s funny how things go in your house; you buy it and it’s your favourite decoration ever, then five years later, what am I doing with this silly thing in my house? I do have to get tougher with the “bring one thing in, take one thing out” rule, too.