When you look at all you’ve accumulated and think “What have I done?”
I’ve always advocated for routine closet purges—they do amazing things not only for your wardrobe but also your wallet. I swear if you feel like you’re constantly shopping despite having a ton of stuff, a good purge will set you straight. Think about it—going through all the stuff you’ve bought that you don’t wear, doesn’t fit, no longer suits your style, etc. that you paid your hard-earned money for. It REALLY makes you consider any new purchases much more closely. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever buy anything again ever (hello, this *IS* a fashion and beauty blog), but you’ll be more aware of your purchase process and happier with your purchase decisions because you’ll buy things that are really for you and suit your lifestyle.
So I’ve done routine closet purges over the years and it helped to reduce my mindless spending on clothes and makeup. Now again, I’m not saying I stopped shopping altogether nor am I saying I won’t buy anything again ever (because that would be a lie…lol), but I am saying I’m WAY more present in what I’m buying and making sure it fits my lifestyle. I actually did a video on this which you can watch here and make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel.
Me judging myself…lol
While I was a champ when it came to purging my closet, I wasn’t always so great at general purging. I had a lot of stuff I really didn’t need that had accumulated over the years. A. LOT. OF. STUFF. And not to mention that I worked from home and because space was limited, my bedroom was my bedroom AND my workspace. And with all the packages and paperwork and just STUFF that comes in on account of what I do for a living, it got very uh, wild in there.
My sister and I shared an apartment but she bought a house and s l o w l y moved her stuff out. I was able to turn her old bedroom into my office but it took a while. I’m still working on finishing up my office though it’s about 80% done. I still need to redo my office fashion closet (this was supposed to be my first project but I got sidetracked and started doing other things in the house) and I need a few decor things—namely inspirational artwork to hang on my walls. You can get a sneak peek on a few things in my office here and here.
From my IG stories: an example of how easy it is for stuff to pile up—I can get products ready to take photos and then not have the energy to put it right back
So now back to my bedroom. My bedroom at times wasn’t so bad—but before my big purge and remodel, it was a HOT MESS. I’ve mentioned before how my attention span can effect how small messes wind up being huge messes. So basically I would start working on one task—say opening blogger mail and there would be a ton of opened boxes, product, and packaging all over the place. Then I’d all of a sudden decide I needed to check my email. Then I’d go start a blog post. Then I’d go to the gym. And then I’d get back to my original mess and be so tired so I’d put it off until later. Repeat that type of process a few times and you have a recipe for some serious clutter. I’d be good about not leaving dirty dishes or food around because WHO is trying to deal with rodents AND clutter.
Now I’ve done big cleanups before in the past but this one was different because I feel like I’ve finally learned my lesson about how to work around my attention span issues so now I’m in a constant state of always cleaning. It’s hard when you work for yourself AND work from home because I’ve always been wired to keep churning out work and would let my chores go to the wayside. But I am chaaaaaaaanging. *Jennifer Hudson in DreamGirls voice*
I’ve gone from compulsively shopping and wanting a lot of things and over time have learned to live with less and have dabbled into the minimalist lifestyle. I’m not perfect though and still a work in progress ;)
So here’s how to purge:
Get your mind right.
You will not want to do ANYTHING if you’re not mentally ready for it. I always say I have to be “in the mood” to do certain things and heavy duty purging and cleaning is one of them.
I didn’t have an attachment to the things I had accumulated—I just had an attention span and work priority issue that led to the excess. I was able to easily get rid of the excess when I made the time. But I do understand that there are many people who have attachment issues that will make it harder to get rid of excess. If that’s you, I can’t offer much other than you can find a host of information on hoarding on the internet including any local professionals/therapists you can talk to for help. I will say don’t beat yourself up. You can make the changes to declutter. It’s worth it because your mind will be so much more at ease when your living space is in order.
Make the time.
You are not going to be able to purge all at once. You have school/work/children/working out/physical impairments/self-care, etc. that conflict. You want to chisel at it a little at time and give yourself realistic deadlines (because GURL, we will not be purging the same corner for six months—no we will NOT). With my bedroom I started working from one corner to the next to the next. I only allowed myself to work a few hours at a time. I have a wonky back and knees so I couldn’t overexert myself and what good is a slightly purged corner if it means I have to lay down for the next 3-4 days.
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself so do it in small dosages but keep up the momentum. You don’t want to create a bigger mess by pulling out everything and then leaving it to create a huge pile.
Divide items into categories.
As you go through your items, you want to immediately categorize them i.e. things to keep that you need immediately, things to store, things to donate, things to get rid of. You want to sort things out immediately to avoid just moving your excess from one area of the room to another. It’s time to make things happen, captain. You also don’t want to sort things out and then leave them for another day only for them to remain there for another month. ACTION.
Find it a new home or toss it.
When you do a big purge, you’ll need to figure out what to do with all the stuff you no longer need. Look up reputable charities in your neighborhood that will accept donations of clothing, furniture, etc. But understand that charities don’t accept all items for donation so make sure you look it up or call ahead.
It’s also super important to know your local rules on disposing of household items. For example, in NYC you can get a fine for not properly discarding electronics. You can google around for places that accept electronics for recycling. Make sure you properly get rid of any sensitive information still on personal electronics. Or don’t if you don’t mind identity thieves running up your credit.
If you have the time and patience you can also make a few bucks selling your items online. There are a myriad of sites and apps where you can post your items for sale. A simple Google search should help you locate the best ones for you. Just make sure you’re VERY careful about the transactions from start to finish. There are a lot of financial scams that loom around these type of transactions and not to mention the types of unsavory characters that prey on unsuspecting victims. Keep your eyes open. If something seems fishy, it might be because it is.
Join the 21st century.
Things that can really accumulate and take up space include CDs, DVDs, and books. Thankfully all of these things can be bought or accessed digitally OR you can look into converting them into electronic files. I had a slew of DVDs, books, and CDs that I donated mostly to my local library. I didn’t really need to have movies on DVD now that I have Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video. Most new books I buy digitally—and now that I have an Amazon Prime account, I have access to Prime Reading which allows me to have access to hundreds of books at no additional costs. More and more I’m kinda glad I forgot to cancel my Prime membership beyond my free trial…lol. This Prime stuff is actually pretty clutch if you make good use out of it. I also have access to a music library through my Amazon Echo Dot and Alexa.
— Danielle Gray (@StyleNBeautyDoc) April 23, 2017
Ditto with things like paper statements and other documents where you don’t need to hold onto the original. Scan them and save them on a hard drive and make sure you properly shred anything with sensitive information on it.
“There’s a place for everything and everything in its place.” My bedroom is Scandinavian style inspired. One thing I love about Scandinavian style is the focus on minimalism AND function. I made usage of all the built-in storage in my apartment—cleared out closets and organized them to make storage and access easy breazy. My new dressers also double as white backgrounds for Instagram and blog pictures (I have a similar setup in my office for picture taking as well). I made sure to get a bed frame that had enough clearance so I could stick an under the bed storage bag underneath it. Basically, very few things are “out” in my bedroom.
I read a book—ok, I read the first few pages of a book—that really helped me be instantly better about sticking to minimalism: The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life. Maybe it will help inspire you, too. I didn’t even finish the first chapter and that book had me going…lol.
Also seriously consider every single purchase you make after purging. Even something as small as eyeliner—make sure you NEED that eyeliner (shoot, hit my search button on this site to check to see if I’ve done a post on something you’re considering to help you in the purchase process). Make sure you really NEED whatever it is you’re considering and that you have a logical place to store it. Check out How I Reduced My Spending on Clothes and Makeup for tips. Again, this is not saying that shopping is the devil because it surely is NOT. This is saying slow down some and make sure your purchase makes sense for you.
How your inner-self has to look at your outer-self to vet each potential new purchase
I still have more purging to do—I have the half bathroom, my living room, and my kitchen to get to. And also like I mentioned in my Can We Have It All post, it’s nearly impossible for me to run a business, stay on top of cooking healthy meals, workout regularly, have a social life, run errands, binge watch SVU (I’ve watched seasons 1-17 over the course of I think maybe 2-3 months…lol), remodel my apartment, AND keep on top of making sure I don’t clutter again…lol. And that’s okay ;)
Soooo—those are my tips on purging, but I found a post with some VERY helpful and thorough information that I think will also help. Check it out here.