Living with Less coffee

Published on August 25th, 2010 | by Paz


Purging & Packing

A big part of our task list is PURGING & then pack!

The PURGING/DONATING/SELLING part of our journey has brought so much peace and space into our lives and we haven’t even left yet. Keep in your home only what inspires you and of course need. It is different for everyone. Freeing up space and unused items has made us so much happier as a family. Going into your closet and seeing the 10 shirts that you like and fit makes a morning much easier than rummaging through all the stuff you never wear or doesn’t fit. Having our home reflect more of how we feel as been a constant inspiration. It was amazing how many things we weren’t using. Now that they are gone we don’t miss them or even notice. Here is how we approached it. :) Happy donating!

We use to feel as if our home was not cluttered and fairly organized, considering we both work and have 2 young children. Yes, you will find toys on the floor and hair bands everywhere. However, there were no paper piles or armours full of weekly mementos that need weekly dusting. So you get what our house looked like now.

Well we found out how cluttered our lives were in our PURGING/packing process. Through our packing for a year to live abroad we realized how many things we have that we never use. What do you need to live for a year? When you think of that question, it makes you think of why do you have all of this other stuff. We have been going through our house asking the questions; would we take this with us, is it worth storing, why have we kept this for years? We started room by room analyzing our purchases, gifts and miscellaneous acquisitions over the years. On the first day of our PURGING/packing we realized that we had cluttered our life with things that we truly do not need. If you wouldn’t use it for a year…do you really need it?
We have gone through all of our clothes. I will admit we had a lot of clothes that we have been moving around with us since high school. Why…I still do not know. We must have taken 12 garbage bags of clothes to Goodwill to donate and a local consignment store to sell. I am not even kidding. What in the world were we doing with that many clothes that we do not wear on a regular basis. How many pieces of clothes do you really need in a year?
2. Books
We probably had a total of 200 books between the 2 of us. We knew that there were books that we moved (blindly) and probably didn’t need. We had no idea how many that really was. Why do you keep books….to read again, to reference, and too, what! We had books from college that we had kept to reference if we ever needed to. They have never been referenced. I kept books we had bought when buying our house and getting married. Those useful ‘How To’ books, and we had read most of them…not extremely useful, but what if someone wanted to borrow them or if we needed them again. Well really, are you going to read through those books again. NO! So we went through our book cases and got rid of almost all of our books. I only kept books that I enjoy reading twice, and books that I enjoy. He kept mostly books that he really found useful for work. He doesn’t read for fun only informative. So after purging our books we now have about 35 books between the 2 of us. Now that you look at our book case you see us. It reflects the people we are today, and books that have inspired us along the way.
3. Toys…yuk
If you know me at all you know that I hate big over sized plastic toys. There is so much wrong with them…I won’t get started here. Having 2 small children puts invites us in receiving these gifts and unfortunately even purchasing them along the way. We even say NO PRESENTS for our daughter’s birthday just because we don’t need more toys. How many can a child play with at one time. If she gets bored of them and needs something else…well that just shows how over indulged as a society we are that a 3 yr old can’t play with only 1 thing for longer than 5 minutes. So we donated most of our toys to our daycare. We recycled the rest. We have one chest that all toys go into. If they don’t fit into that…well then something has to go.
4. Household Items
For those of you that have houses and wives…you probably already know this, but household items seem to accumulate very easy. Everyone wants to have the perfect dish and or tablecloth for every occasion. I openly admit that my weak point is table clothes. I probably have 13 and we have only lived in this house 4 years. These things accumulate like rabbits. The idea of a Martha Stewart looking Thanksgiving or Christmas is very attractive and how nice would that be. The problem we ran into when PURGING/packing is that you only use these items 3 times a year at best. So we have purchased all of these items, store them, and then get them out 3 times a year. Are they enhancing our everyday life…or just cluttering the pantry. I will let you know that I am storing some of my serving dishes and tableware. To my defense I am only keeping the very best and very sentimental. I will admit as I am packing them up…I am already thinking I will never even think of these while away.

So in a nut shell we have sold/donated over 20 garbage bags of clothes, shoes, toys, books, bags, tupperware, and the list goes on. We have been living in our house, cooking food, going to work, and living very normal lives and guess what we don’t miss one garbage bag at all. I don’t think why did I give that away. We even have put most of stuff that we are keeping in tupperwares in the basement and I hate to say…haven’t had to go get anything out yet. That is sad….they are truly not being missed.

What did we keep? Well, I love pictures and picked my favorite pictures of our family and friends that I love! I kept 5 coffee cups that I love. I gave the rest away. Every time I see any of these cups they bring back a memory or feeling that makes early mornings with toddlers all worth it. I kept 3 tablecloths; one is my favorite from target, one was my grandmothers that reminds me of dinners at her house, and the other was a wedding gift from a family friend. They all bring smiles to our faces. We kept books that inspire us, clothes that we use and fits us. I kept make up that I actually use…if I hadn’t use it in 3 months it went in the garbage.

The lesson out of this experience has been that we put to much value on the advertising that we see about needing 18 of everything because we will have our whole family over at one time and if everything doesn’t match or coordinate they just might disown us. I am not speaking from a high place…trust me, I thought I needed all of that to have the perfect home. If you step away from it and think, about it you will figure it out. Having what you use and using what you have. We are happy we have. We still have a long way to go, but the journey so far as been very powerful and liberating!!! Go PURGING!


What would you take if you had 2 suitcases and needed to live for a year? Do you think you could get rid of everything else in your house and live off of just that? It might be a good experiment.

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About the Author

Paz is an avid adventurer in life and food. Traveling across the globe with her family they enjoy cultural immersion and checking out the local eateries.

5 Responses to Purging & Packing

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