As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to hold onto things. Sentimental reasons, concern for future need, and just the fear of “what if I need this exact item in the future and I don’t have it?” This kind of thinking has lead me to be a mini hoarder, which I discovered more so when I moved to the Midwest. I’ve actually never lived anywhere more than 2 years in my entire 26 years of life. My family moved around a lot as a kid trying to chase my father’s dreams, and once my parents divorced, I house hopped back and forth every other year when I would get sick of living with one.
My first apartment, which I got the week of my 18th birthday in an attempt to bring myself some stability, did last me 2 years. But even as an adult, that was the longest I’ve stayed in one place. I moved to Missouri in August of 2014 for my job. Moving out here with 9 other people, I had to pack up my entire life and leave the comfort of the East Coast where my entire family is. I had so much stuff in the apartment that I left that I remember my dad actually having to take some of it home with him because it just wouldn’t fit in my car.
|This was the drive from home to MO, just to give you an idea. ROUGH.
When we got to Missouri, my room had a VERY tiny closet, and a sort of attic area for me to keep all of the things that wouldn’t fit anywhere else. In the year that I lived I that house, I barely touched any of the things that were in that attic room. I realized that I had WAY too many clothes, as I never wore the majority of them and kept them for the “what if” situations that never happened. When I moved out of that house, that was my first real attempt at minimizing what I had. I packed up at least 6 hefty trash bags of clothes, and took a fun trip to Plato’s Closet. Much of it was denied as it was just too old or not in style, so most of it got donated to the neighborhood Goodwill. Hopefully someone else is getting better use of it all than I did!
|Pit stop in St. Louis. This is the group I moved here with.
I not only got rid of clothes, but I also got rid of other general things I was holding onto for no reason. As I went through it all, I asked myself when the last time I used this was and if I would ever *REALISTICALLY* use it again. It doesn’t count if you think “well when I lose that extra 15 lbs, I will need these jeans I wore in high school because they’ll fit!” I’m all for you losing the 15 lbs, but you don’t need those old high school jeans to celebrate that. Even better, go get yourself another pair of jeans that make you feel great after you’ve cleaned out the other 5 or 6 pairs you’ve been holding onto but haven’t worn in years. I was literally that person. I had gained over 20 lbs between the few years before moving and after I got here, and the fact that I was going to be so far from my family meant that I had to keep everything because I couldn’t just run to Dad’s house and pick it up anymore if I needed it. I was going full-blown adult and felt the urge to take every. single. thing. with me due to the fear.
I’m here to happily tell you that that fear is nothing but that: fear! And unnecessary, because I don’t even remember all of the things I’ve gotten rid of. And do you know why? Because I didn’t really need them. And I haven’t needed any of them in the last 2 years since I did that giant purge. It’s crazy to think that we have so many things in our homes that truly serve no purpose other than taking up space. Having that realization was what gave me the ‘urge to purge’ as I call it. The desire to go through every single thing I owned and decide if it served any purpose in my life. If it did, I could keep it guilt free. If not, it had to go.
This has truly been a step-by-step process over a period of those two years. And since that initial big purge, I’ve moved 5 times total. Five moves in a two-year period?! Oh, yes. It’s been quite a roller coaster. And with each move, I’ve gotten rid of more things. It’s a wonderful feeling to be down to the bare minimum!
Do you feel like Cher?? I can relate.
This last move was to move in with my boyfriend, so it was a combining of two homes into one. I knew this one would have to be the biggest one yet because Jake has a LOT of stuff and I didn’t want us to begin our next step in life together with a bunch of extra crap. We have a pretty big 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment, and the extra bedroom has a walk-in closet that we store most of the excess stuff in. It’s nice because we don’t have to store anything outside. And the only things in that closet are the clothes I’m currently selling on eBay, my seasonal decorations, some work out equipment, and Jake’s excess computer stuff (he’s a gaming nerd, so there’s quite a bit of that).
The Thompson House Purge, October 2017
The last thing, and what I thought would be the most difficult to do, was my closet. We did Jake’s closet before the move and it was so easy. The majority of his things were from high school and he hadn’t worn them in years. The purging of my closet to get it to where it is now was literally a 3-year process. Each move, I got rid of more things. But this time I finally felt like I could go through and be brutal on what I did and didn’t want. To get it down to the bare minimum. And I did! I got rid of everything in the picture. It was wonderfully liberating!
This is *most* of my stuff, with there being more to both the right and left.
It’s hard to get a picture of it all in a walk-in closet!
When you decide to take the plunge for the purge, I found a few things helpful:
1. Have I worn this more than once in the last 12 months?
2. Do I pass over this item repeatedly for something else?
3. Am I just holding onto it for sentimental reasons?
4. If I was shopping right now, would I buy this again?
Side note: If you have special occasion items, obviously you don’t wear those as often. But you can ask yourself if the appropriate occasion comes up again, would you wear this or will you want to get something new?
Have you been wanting to purge your closet and just can’t take the leap? Did you do it and it felt amazing? Tell me about it below!