The urge to purge!

14 01 2009
It's out of here!

It's out of here!

The stack of magazines has gone to the library magazine exchange, the Disney character beach towels purchased for my now college-age sons are on their way to the animal shelter, a broken gas leaf  blower was given via FreeCycle to someone who can fix it  and a trunkload of  Christmas decorations has been dropped off at a thrift shop.

I’m on a roll.

In the name of simplification, I am purging.

As I have mentioned before, my husband and I have always been frugal. We’ve always saved, we’ve never had credit card debt, if we didn’t have the money we just didn’t spend it. BUT, we still managed to do a lot of buying, acquiring a four-bedroom house full of STUFF. I once joked I was worried my attic was going to collapse onto our second floor because it was so jammed full of STUFF. I was only half kidding.

That was two years ago. A few questions I’ve repeatedly asked myself: Do I need it? Do I love it? Do we use it? Does it have sentimental value? Is it something I want to hand down to my children or keep for my grandchildren?

If the item doesn’t pass muster on at least one of these questions, it is a candidate for purging. The Christmas decorations I hauled away today are a great example. Purchased in the “acquistion phase” of my life, these items were no longer bringing me the joy they once did. They had become a chore to put out.  At the risk of sounding like Oprah, they were weighing me down. I reasoned that giving them away would reduce my clutter, simplify next Christmas and all future Christmases, bring others joy and raise money for a good cause. I don’t think I will miss any of it.

In my two-year purging campaign, I’ve had three yard sales, sold items on Craigslist and given away mounds of STUFF.   After the attic, I stormed the garage, then moved onto closets, desk and dresser drawers, cabinets and vanities. I can’t think of a single thing I wished I’d kept.

How does all of this relate to saving money? As I have been purging, I’ve had time to think about all this STUFF, when and how I acquired it. Virtually all of it was purchased on sale, a good portion on clearance or at a yard sale. My point is that sometimes in the heat of a sale, I bought things I really didn’t need or love. Or I bought too much of it. I bought it in the spirit of saving money, but ended up accomplishing just the opposite. 

Bottom line: Less STUFF = more SAVINGS.

Now back to purging.

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