When it comes to decluttering, you may be very uncomfortable to think of releasing your stuff… but the difficult truth is, all the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs you’ve been holding onto have kept you and your clutter in a constant love/hate relationship. The obvious clutter in your home is the result of all the hidden clutter… and behind each piece of clutter you (and everyone else) can see, there’s been a reason you’ve kept each item;
- more stuff than space…
- no designated places for all the stuff…
- things aren’t being put away…
- you just haven’t dealt with things you don’t use, need, or like anymore…
- or there are things you have an internal attachment to.
NOTHING is going to change if you are not willing to recognize, release, and refuse all the clutter. You’ve got to allow yourself to begin to let go of the clutter (inside and out), or the clutter in your life will continue to control you.
If you want to be clutter-free… then you need to free yourself of the clutter… all of it. I’m not telling you have to get rid of ALL your things… but I AM saying you have to get rid of your CLUTTER. Remember, clutter is anything that overtakes a space. In the most simple definition, clutter is anything that doesn’t belong.
Much of the clutter in our lives is there because we just haven’t taken the time to RE-ASSESS it. Now that you know the purpose of the room you’re in, you can take the next step of The PERRGE and go through all those PICK UP boxes! As you RE-ASSESS (estimate the value of) the items from the PICK UP boxes, you can confidently determine what belongs… and what doesn’t.
- REVIEW (examine)… open one box at a time and take out one item at a time.
- RECONSIDER (go back over)… ask yourself 3 important questions to determine each item’s worth to you and this room
- and REVISE (correct)… choose what box the item will go into; wanted items you want to KEEP, missing items you still need to FIND, useful items you’re going to GIVE, and unwanted items you’re (finally) ready to THROW.
As you RE-ASSESS the PICK UP boxes in this room, place the items you want to keep in this room, inside this box. To help decide whether to “KEEP or not to keep”, revisit the purpose of the room you’re in. If/WHEN you come to an item you’re unsure about, ask yourself these three questions…
- “Does this item have a purpose that works with the purpose of THIS room?”
- “Will this item have a place in this room?”
- “Does this item bring me pleasure?” (make me look great, feel happy, or inspire me to make the world a better place)
If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, DO NOT KEEP it in this room! It belongs in another box… so choose one of the following, and put it there now…
Any items that are missing parts, missing matches, or missing pieces, (i.e. puzzles, game pieces, a sock, etc.), go into this box. If you have any items from this room that don’t coincide with the room’s purpose but you’d still like to keep them, they also go into this box because you need to FIND a place for this item “missing” its purpose. (If you fill up this box, grab another box, label it “FIND” and keep PERRGEing.)
This box is for the items you don’t want, but are still useful and could bless someone else either by giving it to someone else that would want it, a church sale, charity, foster care clothing closet, women’s shelter, or Salvation Army.
When you fill one GIVE box, tape it up, grab another, label it “GIVE”, and continue. (This is where the moving boxes are especially helpful because they stack nicely.) When you’re done working in the room for the day, take ALL the GIVE boxes, put them into your vehicle, and take them to to the nearest drop off IMMEDIATELY! Do not keep your GIVE boxes laying around, allowing your internal clutter to convince you to keep it!
Put a big black garbage bag inside of a large box (like you do a garbage can) to make it easier to throw items into the bag without the bag crumpling up. As you fill up the bag, remove it and take it to your garbage can (breathe in deeply the fresh air and feel good about all that junk you’re getting rid of!), go back into the room you’re PERRGEing, replace another bag into the box, and keep RE-ASSESSING those PICK UP boxes! You’re doin’ awesome!
RELEASING GARAGE SALE GUILT
Notice there isn’t a GARAGE SALE label. This is not a mistake… in fact, I’m gonna ask you to RE-ASSESS the very reason you would consider having one. There is SOOOO MUCH preparation and time that goes into having a garage sale, and your focus needs to be on getting your house decluttered.
Even if money is tight, the amount of time that a garage sale takes can be extremely stressful on you (and your family) and make it not “worth it” in the end. I release you from any “garage sale guilt” that comes from getting rid of things you think are “worth money”. While they may very well be… you do NOT need to have a garage to try to justify the purchase of the items that you’re ready to get rid of. Let them go.
When you come across items that are in good condition (that someone would actually want), don’t let your internal clutter (fear, doubt, or anxiety) stop you from putting them in the GIVE box and blessing someone else! Women who have left their home in the middle of the night to escape an abusive husband would LOVE to have beautiful clothing during an ugly season of their life, as well as clothing and toys for their children who now have nothing. Foster families don’t always get time to prepare for children coming to their home and appreciate being able to get nice clothing at the last minute. Consider the places near you that help people restore their dignity and give hope every day.
If you’re saving for something specific or trying to get rid of debt, consider using Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for bigger items that require very little time or effort on your part… but again, don’t let fear control your decisions.
The process of RE-ASSESSING isn’t as easy as the first few steps of the PERRGE. This step takes more time and emotional energy so be gentle with yourself. As you begin getting rid of the physical clutter, this step reveals clutter you may never have known were hidden deep in your heart, mind, and soul.
Hang in there… and stick with it! Finding your self through this process is worth it.
Look back on your answers from EVALUATE (Part 2).
What internal clutter do you need to remove so you can to make this room feel more like what you’ve envisioned? Are there any bad memories in this room that need to be released? Get a piece of paper and write them down… and put the paper into the shredder or burn it. Ask God to help you remove the internal clutter that has been weighing you down.
- ITEMS NEEDED: The PERRGE List (printed out), 4 large boxes labeled; KEEP, FIND, GIVE & THROW (you will be able to use the empty PICK UP boxes as you empty them), big black garbage bags, and the printable REASSESS labels for your boxes (you can print more as needed).
- RE-ASSESS the items from each one PICK UP boxes… one box at a time… one item at a time and place into one of 4 boxes;
- KEEP for wanted items,
- FIND for missing items,
- GIVE for useful items,
- or THROW for unwanted items.
- As you RE-ASSES, place items into the KEEP box that get a “yes” when you ask yourself…
- “Does this item have a PURPOSE that works with the purpose of THIS room?”
- “Will this item have a PLACE in this room?”
- “Does this item bring me PLEASURE (make me look great, feel happy, or inspire me to make the world a better place)?”
- If the answer is “no” to the previous questions, the item belongs in the FIND, GIVE, or THROW boxes. You decide.
- When you’ve emptied one PICK UP box, open another and continue the process. DO NOT open more than one box at a time! If you need a break, close the box, and walk away for 15 minutes.
- When you’re done working in the room for the day, take ALL the GIVE boxes, put them into your vehicle, and take them to to the nearest drop off IMMEDIATELY! Do not keep your GIVE boxes laying around, allowing the internal clutter to convince you to keep it!
- Continue RE-ASSESSING all the items from PICK UP boxes until everything has been contained in a KEEP, FIND, GIVE, or THROW box.
IF YOU’RE A MOM…
This step requires as much of your attention as possible. Pay someone to watch the little kids and lock yourself in the room you’re working in. If that’s not an option, put a movie in for them and work diligently for the length of the show. Ask a trusted friend or family member to watch the kids so you can work (and concentrate) completed uninterrupted. OR, take an 1-2 hours to work in the room each night after they go to bed. YOU CAN DO THIS!
If you’re helping a child through this step in their room, allow them to make decisions. DO NOT GO IN AND GET RID OF THEIR STUFF! (I’ve seen too many people with hoarding issues later in life from this…) Part of raising children into functioning adults is to train them to know how to make decisions. Don’t raise children to be scared of making a decision. Encourage them… and allow them to make mistakes. Forcing them to get rid of their stuff (or throwing it away while they’re gone) will NOT do anything to help their future self. Help them get rid of their clutter by allowing them to let go.
YOUR NEXT STEP: When It’s Time to REUNITE What’s Been Lost