Four Methods to Performing a Purge
With the new year a tonne of folks set out new routines, create resolutions, and take a chance on a fresh, new start. Some focus on finances while others work on wellness. Others try and kick naughty habits. This new year, are you attempting a new you?
In my world, January is a bit funny. Even though the retail sales are hot enough to melt snow, the financial reality - a la hefty credit card statements – come rolling in. That nasty, anxiety filled faux basketball takes up home in many chests. I feel you. Going out shopping with a professional may not be top of mind. Rather, folks are keen to get organized and get their budgets back on track. Oh yeah.
In recent years the huge amount of stuff we each have in our homes has many people questioning of the effects of rapid consumerism. In an effort to find that elusive calm - and get rid of that anxiety basketball - there seems to be a shift towards making the most of what one already has and even entertaining the idea of reducing. In some cases – thanks to the hit book turned Netflix deal The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – people are stoked to get their homes in order.
This begs the question: is less actually more?
If so, this may mean a quick clean to reduce obvious clutter or a turn your-house-upside-down life-altering moment. There are so many approaches to getting your dwelling darling it can be daunting. Never fear I’ve done some of the groundwork for you and have provided an overview to help you choose your own cleaning adventure.
Overview: Excusing my over simplification, this mode of living is focused on two principles: community and intimate cosiness. Community in this case means deemphasizing ego, the individual, or dominance in conversations, in what you wear, and how and what you find entertaining. It’s a bit like an eternal stay at a quaint, simple cabin with all your friends for the weekend with no super intense plans but hanging out.
Goal: Harmony, intimacy, and the removal of false pride in your home, and thus, life.
Examples: You’re wearing flannel and knit. You’re enjoying the simple things in life. You are grinning ear to ear, beer in hand, as the music gently plays in the background. But it’s not just a weekend; this is forever. Candles, hearty meals, and maintaining common ground is key.
Resource: This book sets it out nicely.
Overview: Ah, the KonMari method. Rather than cleaning area by area, or room by room, Kondo sets out that you clean whole categories in a specific, pre-set order one at a time. You do not move onto the next category before tackling the previous.
Goal: Become at peace with your home as it’s only filled with joy-filled items that help enable the life you want to live moving forward. Being sure to thank the items you remove is a key element to reducing potential conflict or guilt.
Examples: By pilling it all in one area, say your living room floor, it’s natural to become overwhelmed with the volume. The owner of the items – aka: the tidier - is forced to touch the items in the pile one by one and decide what brings joy and what you’re ready to move on from. Everything you keep has a designated, single home.
Minimalism (North America)
Overview: This is living happily with the bare minimum of possessions. It’s exactly as simples it sounds yet incredibly difficult to put into practice.
Goal: Essentially, you look at everything single thing in your home – including the home itself – and question if you really need it, to live. If it’s not essential to you, it doesn’t get to stay.
Examples: I’m talking only minimal, multi-purpose furniture; no extravagant décor, no area rugs for the look, nothing on counters. It’s an open the cupboard to find only two plates, two knives, two cups type of situation. Think hotel room amount of stuff. Or if that’s not resonating, look up tiny home living for a visceral example.
Resource: If you’re not spooked out yet, check out this Netflix documentary for more specifics.
Death Cleaning (Sweden)
Overview: In this approach, editing down is essential as it is with the other approaches. Added caveat: prepare your belongings for your own death.
Goal: For those that may not connect with the idea of how the item connects to an emotion, this approach asks the question: how do you want this item dealt with when you die? Who will perform this final tidying task? Essentially, over time and as you mature you minimize the volume of things in your possession to only what you need.
Examples: In either a detailed document or labels on the backs of household items, you tell your designated person what to do. For example, if you have a piece of art that a friend said he admired, you would make a note to give that to that person. There’s invisible bonus awarded if you get rid of that item – as a gift or other by other means – before you keel over.
Resource: Real talk, this approach is not for the faint of heart.
What approach speaks most to you? What other ways of purging do I not yet know about? Please share. As always, if you don’t know where to start, I can help. This is part of what I do. We can start in your closet and get that cased. If you’re still keen, we can work our way through the rest of the home.
As a juicy aside, while I was playing around with this topic, amongst the “how to” and “make this year the year you tackle your mess” articles, I came across this fascinating one that illustrates a major benefit that second hand shoppers know about: one person’s trash is another’s treasure. While people will be eager to get stuff out of their homes, it may be ripe picking for those with keen eyes at second hand stores all over receiving the goodies. What will people part with? I can’t wait to see what I’ll score – and how amazing I’ll feel - in the stores as other drop off their unwanted items. Recycling for the win.