The Urge To Purge

by Katy on September 10, 2008 · 4 comments



What does of Autumn make you think of?

Halloween? Turning leaves? Back to school?

I think of de-cluttering. The mini-van loaded up with the excesses of life to be dropped off at Goodwill. The catharsis of not having to arrange, clean and maintain so very many possessions.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the lazy days of summer. Afternoons spent at the pool, heat dazed walks to the movie theater, afternoons spent doing pretty much nothing.

But somehow my lazy days result in a messy, cluttery house where belongings seem to multiply, and that darned clean-up fairy just seems to be shirking her duties.

The disciplinary demands of the school year always opens my eyes to the disarray that has taken over the house. The heap of questioningly fitting shoes in the entryway, and the Legos. Oh my god — the Legos!

So I will be spending this week sorting through papers and filling laundry baskets with stuff to donate. I will try and not assign emotional meaning to objects, and will refer back to the comments section advice from Mrs. Green:

One question I ask myself when I get to those really hard to throw out things, such as books, cds and sentimental objects is ‘Does this represent me now or in the past?’. It’s amazing how ‘in the past’ we are living and that really helps me to release things with love so that I can be in the present.

So straightforward, so wise, so “duh, why didn’t I think of that?!”

I may not release my belongings with love, but I think they’ll get over it.

It turns out I was never all that in love with all the extra crap in the house anyway. 

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Constance September 10, 2008 at 9:35 am

Great post! I donate books and cds to the library, so if I want, I can check them out pretty much anytime I want.


Mrs Green September 10, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Aww, bless you for pulling that quote 🙂 I wish you happy deluttering; there’s nothing quite like a good clear out to free the soul.
Let us know how you get on.


Rebecca September 10, 2008 at 10:53 pm

When in doubt, take a picture. It let’s you keep a memory of an object without said object taking up space. This works for kid’s toys or other items that may have a smidgen of sentimental value, but that you don’t use anymore.


Sue Madre September 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

(Uh, I accidentally posted this as a comment on the previous piece!)

There are other, more-fun ways to dispose of one’s surplus stuff. Though I continue to donate stuff to Goodwill, I like a more personal touch.

Over the years, I’ve given baby equipment to a women’s shelter, old jewelry tucked into old purses to little girls, etc. A niece’s Christmas gift might be a group of beautiful, mismatched crystal candlesticks.

A half-block up from a popular park, we have lots of walk-by foot traffic. I’ve put out on the parking strip a round, dining-size plastic table Sharpie-marked FREE STUFF — LEAVE TABLE!!

As I’ve winnowed through our dreck this summer, I’ve put things out onto the table. Framed pictures, little toys, wicker baskets, mismatched (often chipped!) dishes, vases — if it goes out on the table, its typically gone within an hour or so. The first time I put stuff on there, there was a sudden fluttering of little neighborhood girls, excitedly picking out what they wanted!

A couple of days ago, I came home to find a whole bunch of Tootsie Roll Pop suckers someone else had put there. Ah, sweet mystery of life!

Me, I scored the orange one . . . .


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