Years ago (during a very intense time of “nesting” before our seventh child), I was drowning in too much clutter to even think about cleaning my house. I needed something more intense and thorough to get to the root of the clutter that had taken over my home… and my heart.
It was one of the darkest seasons of my life and as I fought to regain control over my home and remove the clutter that was keeping me captive, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law offered to come and help. Before the cleaning ever began, there were THREE EXTREMELY INTENSE days of purging as my sister-in-law kept me on track, and my mother-in-law watched the kids and made meals.
I will forever be grateful to them because they extended a hand for me to step forward onto a path I didn’t know I could walk. My life took a turn I may never have found otherwise, and from that purge, I was able to begin to set myself free from A LOT of external and internal clutter that had kept me in chains for so many years.
Trust me when I say, I understand what it feels like to be completely overwhelmed by clutter and to look around and have no idea even where to begin because there’s just so much… but you really can turn things around… one step at a time!
Having a clean house is extremely difficult (if not impossible) if your house is filled with clutter because you can dust, scrub, wash, wipe, or wax your clutter all you want, but if you want a home filled with more time to love more, then you’re gonna need to clean less… and that means getting rid of all the excess stuff that’s spilled into the areas of your home where it doesn’t belong.
Just in case you’ve blacked-out, what I’m saying here is… if you want a simple, clean, peaceful home filled with more laughter… you need less stuff. That means, you need to STOP stashing, dusting, washing, cleaning, organizing, re-arranging, moving, storing, shoving, cramming, and hiding your clutter over and over and over and over again. It’s time to deal with and remove it for good so you can be free!
P.E.R.R.G.E. YOUR HOME
“PERRGE” is an acronym for something that’s gonna blow your mind, restore your heart, set you free AND declutter your home! PERRGEing your home not only deals with getting rid of the physical clutter in your home, but helps you deal with the internal clutter as well so you can keep the external clutter from returning!
The “PERRGE” is done in SIX STEPS. It doesn’t matter what area you PERRGE because the steps are always the same… one room at a time… one step at a time… in order.
To begin, you simply choose whatever room you’d like to PERRGE first. You can pick the easiest to get done fast, or decide to take on the most cluttered room and get it over with! Maybe you want to start in the area of your home that everyone sees as they walk though the door, or the place where everyone hangs out the most… it’s totally up to you.
DECLUTTERING VS CLEANING
Before we go any further, it’s crucial that you understand decluttering is NOT the same as cleaning. And, if you want a clean house… you MUST declutter FIRST (or you’ll wind up just stacking, shoving, or dusting your clutter.
The PERRGE isn’t about cleaning (don’t worry… that’s coming, so subscribe to the newsletter!). It’s a “tough love” decluttering step-by-step process to help you realize the internal clutter in your life so you can recognize and remove the external clutter in your home.
Push yourself to complete a room as quickly as possible… especially if you’re working on more than one room in your home. You don’t want to lose interest, and you’ll gain momentum to finish as you see more getting done. Get ‘er dun by taking a couple of days off of work, using your weekend, skipping the TV shows each night, or setting your pride on the shelf and calling a friend (or two) to come and help you.
Regardless of what area you choose first, or how many people you have (or don’t have) helping, remember when you start a room… don’t stop until it’s done.
- Don’t start in a different room.
- Don’t take a day off in the middle of your progress.
- Don’t skip a step to come back to it.
- Don’t give up!
Every room you finish will give you the encouragement you need to do another… and another… and another. As you see results, you will be inspired to keep moving forward and continue taking step after step after step toward YOUR clutter-free life!
ONE MORE THING…
Going through everything in a room as you decide whether it “makes the cut” or not can be an extremely emotional process… especially when you’re dealing with clutter that hasn’t “resurfaced” for years. Be gentle with yourself as you PERRGE your home because this process will reveal some internal clutter you may never have realized you even had…
Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:19-21
God doesn’t want you consumed by anything of this world. He doesn’t want your heart, mind, body, and soul to be controlled by clutter that will never satisfy you either because in the end, all your STUFF won’t matter.
As you PERRGE your home, remember there is more to this challenge than what you (or anyone else) sees. Give time to declutter the internal junk you’ve been “hoarding” in your life as well. When your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or actions revolve around keeping things that are only keeping you trapped, then you’ve gotta take a look at the clutter deep within yourself. Throwing stuff away will never keep you clutter-FREE.
Getting rid of the clutter you DON’T see is just as important as removing the clutter you do. This is THE reason PERRGE-ing your home is so effective; it not only helps you get rid of the physical clutter that has overtaken your home, but the internal clutter that’s hiding behind it all; every reason you keep, buy, store, and want everything you do.
The hard truth is, if you want to live a life with more of what matters, then your heart needs to beat less for things OF this world… and until the chains are broken in your life, clutter will continue to overtake the spaces in your home, your heart, your mind, your body, and your soul. PERRGE-ing your life of the clutter that has been consuming you is not an easy process… but it IS worth it, because
- YOU are WORTH IT…
- your family is WORTH IT…
- your marriage is WORTH IT…
- your dream of something better is WORTH IT…
- and your sanity, peace, happiness, and joy are WORTH IT!
Decide this time WILL be different. Don’t let the amount of clutter you have now discourage you. Don’t let the failed attempts of the past detour you. Don’t let the rest of the things going on in your life distract you. Don’t allow doubt to make you drop out! It took you more than one day for it to look like it does today, and it’s gonna take more than one day to declutter it… BUT your life is worth living in freedom! Make a commitment to yourself to create a space you love to live in! YOU CAN DO THIS!
What kind of clutter is the most difficult for you to release/deal with?
- Emotional Clutter: Feelings that hold your heart captive.
- Mental Clutter: Thoughts that keep your mind captive.
- Spiritual Clutter: Beliefs that keep your soul captive.
- Physical Clutter: Stuff (tangible) that keeps YOU captive in the places you live (home, office, your body, and the physical aspect of sex).
Write a note to yourself WHY you want to remove the clutter from your life. If you wanna take a picture to commemorate this momentous occasion, take a picture to remind you WHY you’re doing this.
- Is it for yourself and your healing?… take a picture of your smile
- Is it to remove the clutter that’s affecting your husband and your marriage?… take a picture of you smiling together
- Is it for your children, so they can grow up and live a clutter-FREE life, or maybe just so you can spend more time with them?… take a picture of you with them.
Take a picture of whatever will help you remember the reason behind why you are doing this to begin with; to smile again… to to live a more meaningful life with less… and to finally be free! The changes you’re making are a turning point in your life and this is a moment to remember HOWEVER… I wanna make one more STRONG suggestion before moving forward…
DON’T take “BEFORE” pictures of your house. Just don’t. Here’s why…
You are in a process… not just with your house, but in your life. You don’t need any kind of evidence years from now to be reminded how cluttered and hopeless things used to be. You won’t forget… trust me. The memories of what it looks like today may fade, but you will never forget how trapped you felt. You don’t need anything to try and defeat you… so take a good look at what’s in front of you. From this moment forward, there will be less clutter for more peace, joy, time, laughter, and purpose!
WHAT YOU NEED…
Keeping with your commitment to NO MORE FOR 30… I’m giving you permission to buy ONLY the things on the following list. If you cannot go into a store without getting sidetracked by flashing things or stopping by the clearance rack or feel the need for something new, then have someone else go for you. Seriously… I am allowing ONLY the following purposeful items…
- BIG BOXES. “Moving boxes” can be purchased at a reasonable cost (I’ve bought mine at Home Depot in the past). They are strong and when you buy all the same size, it’s easier to stack, store, or carry. I would suggest buying the amount you think you will need for only one room at a time, and then only open them as you need them (so you can return anything you don’t use). Rule of thumb… the more “stuff” in an area, the more boxes you’ll use. (You might choose to start with a smaller room for this reason. After completing one room, you’ll be able to better assess what you need for others.)
- 1 (OR 2) SMALL BOXES. A small plastic shoe container/tote with lid works great to keep the little things you find (legos, bobby pins, rubber bands, coins, pens, etc).
- 1 (OR 2) TALL LAUNDRY BASKET. Chances are good you’ll find clothing laying around in the room you’re working in, so a tall (flexible) basket works great (If you have two, you can separate lights and darks as you pick up). NOTE: While you’re at it, why not SIMPLIFY YOUR LAUNDRY FOR THE MONTH while you declutter your home, and only use a few outfits? You can read more about that HERE.
- A PLAYLIST. Choose upbeat music to help you stay positive and keep your groove on! I’ve found that the faster the music, the faster I work.
- A PLAN. Get out your calendar and decide what rooms need to be PERRGEd, and what days (or hours) you’ll be able to give your full attention. Plans can change, so be flexible when needed. The most important thing to remember is that you NEED to work until a room is complete. So, choose wisely. If you have bigger chunks of time to work on the weekends, you might wanna take on a bigger project. Keep in mind, you can get a lot done by adjusting some of the things you’ve already been doing (like watching TV or spending time on social media). If you take 2 hours each night to PERRGE a room, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish! Regardless of where you start, continue in that ONE room until you’re done!
- The PERRGE Steps list. This list will help you see the bigger picture of what you’ll be doing and keep you on track as you PERRGE each room of your home. Take the list into whatever room you’re decluttering to keep you on track. Laminate it (or use clear contact paper) and cross off the steps as you do them with a dry erase marker. NOTE: To make sure the font prints out correctly, first SAVE the document and print from your saved copy.
YOUR NEXT STEP: How to PICK UP & PROPEL Clutter… FAST