While the timing may seem suspect, I swear this is not a post about some disillusioned New Year’s resolution. For me, the urge to purge is nearly constant– Gina and the Husband will tell you I send regular texts about how the clutter is making me insane, or how pitching random nonsense from all corners of the house makes me practically giddy.
So, this recent purge party, right? The kiddos have a crazy long Winter Break, but the Husband had to be back at work shortly after Christmas. Since we were already going East for the holiday, we decided to let them hang with the grandparents in snowy Upstate New York, while we headed back home.
Originally, I had grand ideas about a wintry weekend in Traverse City to check out the distillery. Then we started talking about making serious dents in house projects and taking advantage of kid-free time: finish the Big’s loft bed, go out on a weeknight without a sitter, toss random toy pieces that belong to nothing, watch movies at full volume, swear profusely, day drink. TC Whiskey, you’ll just have to wait!
Don’t get me wrong, I like stuff – I’ll never have the sparse, pale rooms filling the pages of Dwell magazine. I keep decade-old shoes and dresses only partially under the guise that one day the girls might wear it. I think it’s super cool our bar includes an overflowing wall of empty whiskey bottles. I have a sentimental attachment to a set of Pottery Barn dishes from college. My New Year’s dress pre-dates parenthood!
But oh, how I love to purge. As a full-time mom/part-time baker and blogger, this isn’t just my home and the place where we raise our kids. It’s also my test kitchen, my writing space, hell, it’s our whiskey club! Having chosen to live in a smaller house, I have to be cutthroat about what we keep so we don’t drown in stuff.
I like open expanses of kitchen counters (and now I kinda need it for the baking biz). I like to open the closet door without fear of its contents falling out. With the kids away, I can purge freely without the girls finding some doll shoe or weathered bookmark they absolutely must keep forever.
On the chopping block this round are the Husband’s closet, the junk drawer, and a few other ignored spaces: the lesser frequented kitchen drawers, back of the linen cupboard, etc. It may seem random, but there is a method to the madness. I’m attempting to Marie Kondo the place. Have you read the books? Ok, I confess, I haven’t either.
But I read her website, I got the app, and I’ve read up a bunch about paring down and getting rid of clutter. If I’m keeping it in my house, it needs to be useful, sentimental or beautiful. Extra wooden spoons we never use? Gone. Shoes I love but don’t fit? Storage for the years when the girls steal from my wardrobe.
This time around I stretched my definition of purging to include the rearranging of things. I still tossed a bunch of nonsense, don’t worry! But I also moved things around to make what we do keep more user-friendly. Utensils we use twice a year do not deserve prime real estate in my small-ish kitchen. Get out of the way salad spoons! Go downstairs boring wine glasses. Bye-bye blah utensil caddy I never really liked.
A little juggling in the kitchen means I reclaimed precious counter space for baking, and cupboard space for my favorite champagne flutes. Repeating the process throughout the house yielded rediscovered sweaters smooshed at the bottom of my dresser and tops I forgot I even own!
I know, I know, I’m such a nerd for finding all this purging satisfying. But I’m telling you, it has been practically therapeutic! Getting rid of shit declutters my physical space obviously, but I feel like my brain is clearer and I’m ever so slightly calmer. Naturally that makes purging all the more important – nobody enjoys dealing with the frantic stressed version of me!
After we got the boxes of crap loaded into the car, walking through the house felt almost zen. It wasn’t even clean! Yet I felt happy and calm – it’s like the clutter in my house was taking up valuable mental space.
My house felt so different, I sort of wandered around, wondering what to do whilst home alone. Then I wised up, pour a little bubbly and turned on a movie. While our playroom will never look as spare and Scandinavian as the stock pics all over the internet, I can dream, right?