Aside from September through December- when all things fall, Hallmark, and the holidays are upon us- my next favorite thing I look forward to doing is the process of purging my lifestyle. There is nothing more gratifying, emotionally uplifting, and stress relieving than eliminating the clutter in all areas of my life in order to live in a more simplified and clear-headed way. In this blog post, I’ll take you through the purging process so you can prioritize a life that is less stressed and better balanced.
How To Get Started Purging
When it comes to purging, you’ll need to start by deciding how many areas of your life need “tidying up.”
You’ll also need to determine over what time frame you are going to accomplish these tasks so you don’t add any extra burdens of stress or feelings of overwhelm into your life.
Here’s my initial list that I created during my “purging brainstorm” of what needed the most re-organizing, decluttering, and simplifying in my life:
✅ YOUR TURN: Write down your “purging brainstorm” list and rank in priority what needs your attention from top to bottom.
Once you’ve created your list and ranked them in order of importance, you then need to come up with a realistic timeframe to accomplish each category.
Realistic, my love.
I do not recommend cleaning out your diet by removing processed foods, dairy, gluten, and all-of-the-things when you haven’t had time to meal prep for the week, have a stack of social events on your calendar for the weekend, and are traveling out of town the next.
Do one thing at a time over the course of a week (or over 2…3…or 4!) that is a comfortable pace.
The key is being able to start and thoroughly complete each task in a reasonable time frame.
✅ YOUR TURN: In your calendar, determine what week(s) of the month you will start (and be able to thoroughly complete) each task.
Purging Your Diet
During my 2nd trimester of pregnancy, I began noticing my face becoming more puffy and swollen, and my eating behaviors becoming more erratic and unhealthy.
In an attempt to stay on top of my health for prevention of excess weight gain and to also improve the health of my baby, I elected to take out dairy and gluten for an entire month.
I’ve done this in the past and knew that it would help reduce my bloat and encourage healthier food choices that were less processed.
In order to get started, I made a declaration of my nutrition goal on the Facebook Group. I also printed my Monthly Tracker, picked out my stickers, and found an accountability buddy through the Chain Challenge to keep me motivated over the month.
✅ YOUR TURN: Looking to work on your diet? Trying to cut back on sugar, sweets, cheese, and chips? Identify what area of your diet you’d like to tighten up on and set a challenging goal to keep yourself consistent. Start with 2 weeks, or go extreme with a 1 month challenge!
Organizing Paper Clutter
I have to admit. I’m a dumper.
I love stacking things; folders, papers, books, binders…
Though I tell myself I’m staying organized, it’s an unsightly scene to come into the kitchen and have stacks of paper clutter all over my kitchen table and heavy bags full of mismatched books and binders.
The first thing I did to tackle the clutter of paper everywhere was to address each pile of paper, mail, and folders that were visible in my common living spaces.
I recommend taking out a brown paper bag and shredder (to dispose of sensitive information) as you purge and recycle the paper products.
The key is to consolidate the information into action items that you can schedule into your calendar so you can physically throw away the paper product once the action item is complete.
Or, you can re-assign the particular paper item (IF it is valuable) into a specific binder with an intentional purpose; a binder that you’ll actually be using on a routine basis!
The last thing you want to do is just make a larger pile into a smaller one.
Go through folders individually and recycle everything inside that you haven’t touched or looked at in a while.
Same with binders. You’ll be surprised at how many empty binders you’ll be left with if you purge out old ones from your shelves or drawers that you haven’t looked through in ages!
Who needs to spend a ton of money on back-to-school supplies when you’ll have a fresh collection of empty binders in no time!
Go through your notebooks.
I literally rip out pages that I no longer need or that aren’t serving me. I even take the time to consolidate multiple pages into a single page in the notebook with checkboxes. From there, I can clearly see what tasks or ideas I’ve had and what I want to accomplish in the future. I can then schedule them directly in my calendar for the upcoming months so I won’t forget about them!
Better yet, I take those ripped out notebook pages and organize them in my (now empty) binder(s) and utilize tabs to keep things in order.
If you’re a checkbox person, I highly recommend my Pull It Together Planner. I literally use my To-Do checklist every day!
✅ YOUR TURN: Begin purging through stacks of mail, paper, notebooks, and folders in a comprehensive way (page by page). Recycle or consolidate them into To-Do items that you can schedule in your calendar.
Purging Your Pictures
Have you ever gotten the frustrating “You are out of computer storage,” or “Your update could not be completed because there is not enough space on your computer” messages?
The most frustrating thing is when I’m trying to simply take a picture, but my photo library is full, and then the spontaneous photo opportunity is completely missed.
From the photos standpoint, I’m guilty of having > 7,000 pictures on my iCloud. I have an appreciation for hard photo albums, so I took the time to go through all 7,000 pictures and print a fraction of the most important ones out at Costco.
If you’re artsy, Michael’s has a lot of great albums and stickers if you like to craft your own photo albums from scratch.
I was a bit overwhelmed with the sheer volume of prints I was ordering (I had ~1,200 due to purging 7 years of pictures), so I went with the simpler option of using a sleeved photo album to make the task simpler.
That way – moving forward- if I have a specific event of pictures, I’m all caught up on older pictures, and then therefore take my time putting together a more personalized photo album of the event.
✅ YOUR TURN: Print pictures off your computer to clear up space, or offload them to an external hard-drive. If you already have boxes full of prints, purchase necessary photo albums to organize them accordingly.
Cleaning Out Your Closet
I LOVE cleaning out my closet!
My general rule of thumb – if I haven’t worn the clothes over last year’s season, I’m likely not going to wear them again in the upcoming season. Bu-bye!
As you sort through your clothes, organize them into piles.
Do you have family or friends that appreciate hand-me-downs? As a younger sister, I grew up this way and have no problem with accepting clothes from other women in my life with similar styles!
What can you sell? Take pictures of clothes that are in like-new shape and sell them on Facebook Marketplace or Facebook buy/trade groups. You can also take like-new clothes to stores like Clothes Mentor or Plato’s Closet to see if you can make a little cash off any of them.
If you love tag sales, put one together or coordinate with other friends hoping to purge their closets as well.
Reward yourself with any extra cash earned by splurging on new clothes for your wardrobe! You deserve it!
Donate the “extras” to GoodWill, Salvation Army, local Boys & Girls clubs, or any stores accepting donations.
Don’t just stop at clothes! Do the same with jewelry, shoes, accessories, and coats, and go through all of the closets (including basement storage) where your items are hiding….and likely collecting dust!
✅ YOUR TURN: Purge your closet. Gift, sell, or donate items you haven’t worn in a year.
Emotional Baggage Purging
Take a look at the relationships in your life that aren’t serving you.
Which relationships are more emotional draining than others? Which friends / colleagues / family members take more energy from you than give?
As you transition through different phases of your life, it is OKAY to accept transitions in friendships- especially if they are not emotionally or spiritually supporting you.
- Which ones do you need to part ways with?
- Which ones need a bit more distancing and space?
- Which ones may just need re-investment and reconnection?
Take inventory on the health of your relationships and prioritize energy and effort into the ones that support, love, and encourage you to be a better person; physically, emotionally, and mentally.
This is also a great opportunity to look into your virtual relationships as well.
Are there specific people on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms that you follow but tend to leave you feeling deflated or disappointed in yourself once you look through their posts?
If anyone online makes you think negatively about your own self image, self-esteem, or strengthens the “comparison muscle” of your mind, it’s time to unfollow them.
Fill your feeds with uplifting, motivational, and supportive role models who inspire you to lead a more fulfilling and healthy life!
✅ YOUR TURN: Re-evaluate your personal and virtual relationships and invest in only those that inspire you to be a better person.
Where To Go From Here
If your life needs organization, decluttering, purging, get started by creating a list of the different areas in your life that need tidying up. Re-write your list based on priority. Set a realistic time frame to accomplish each item on your list and physically write down start and end dates in your calendar to stay on track.
To stay motivated, I encourage you to lean on these resources that have been extremely helping in my own purging process: