The January Purge

“Your home is living space – NOT storage space”

Author unknown

The winter holidays are over. The seasonal decorations have been put away, or so I thought. Every time I think all the sparkly things are gone I find another, hanging behind a door or sitting on a shelf. This time of year, after all the holiday hoopla, I find myself staring at the clutter I have amassed over the years.

It seems every year I have the same plan…to become a minimalist. Then I read about what it actually entails. I’m not ready to commit to that kind of a change. I like my stuff! I quickly decide to just give the house a good cleaning, and organize my belongings a little better.

Holding On

“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.”

Barbara Hemphill, author and professional organizer

This is where I really run into trouble. I can rationalize absurd reasons for keeping most of my extravagant and useless possessions:

  • Household items – saving them for my grandchildren – my kids don’t want them, why do I think my grandkids would?
  • Clothing – maybe these will come back in style one day and be elevated to the title of vintage – I am never going to be a size 10 again and nobody wants these old rags!
  • Running shoes- I can’t throw these away – I might need them to walk in mud some day (what?) I know, crazy, right?
  • Wine glasses – I might need a hundred wine glasses some day – because, wine! 🍷

And the list of reasons goes on and on…

Letting Go

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”


For many of us, material possessions represent unique memories that define parts of our lives. It seems the older I get, the harder it is to part with them.

My home is filled with mementos from all the places I lived, here in the U.S. and abroad, while serving in the Navy.

That being said, what I have in my home now is a trove of mismatched furnishings and decor from all over the world. I’m not a fan of the eclectic style and yet here I am, with more themes than Walt Disney.

I am ready to get rid of my excess baggage!

The Four Box Method of Decluttering

Give away – My sister, Carol, is a master of regifting her most valuable possessions. This is a practice I plan to use more in the future. I also intend to donate old coats that no longer fit and many other household items to local charities. ✅

Trash – I can fill a kitchen trash bag with all my expired or unused cosmetics and over the counter medications! That’s a good place to start, right? ✅

Keep – These are mostly the things I use frequently and can’t live without. They are also items that are near and dear to my heart. ✅✅

Store – We are lucky to have ample storage for seasonal items and stuff I really want to keep, but only use once or twice a year. ✅

Update: Now that I’ve blogged about it, I’m finding that decluttering my home is a lot more successful and even fun! We are well on our way to giving our home a good purge. A few days ago, something fell out of this kitchen closet every time I opened its door! Now I don’t have to sift through junk just to find items like the asparagus steamer. I wish I took a “before” photo, as embarrassing as it would have been!

This year, I’ll try not to put everything in the “keep” box. Wish me luck! I’m going to need it!

Thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)

Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.

Our enthusiastic neighbor, getting a little sub zero fresh air on the frozen river! 👍🏼


  1. I enjoyed your blog post. I lost 30 years of possession bloat almost 15 years ago and have rarely looked back. I am grateful to have learned that stuff requires upkeep – dusting, washing, polishing, protecting, insuring. For me, it’s just not worth the stress evoked. So, I have less to dust these days.

  2. Thanks for sharing your great article about decluttering our life. I loved this: ““Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” – Democritus. Wishing you a great week!

  3. From time to time, I let go of some things. My rule is: if I haven’t used it in a year, it means I don’t need it. Thank you for a nice reminder to go into that process of cleaning out the excess material possessions once again.

  4. Barb I need you to write my listing descriptions. Your words flow so nicely. As for decluttering I try every January and use so many excuses to keep hanging on to things. Your blog has inspired me to try again.

  5. I am a Stasher as well. At the beginning of the Pandemic, I ditched unnecessary records I had saved for 50 years. What I actually needed fit into a small box. Also, I was thrilled recently to part with one of our two cars. My spouse, Kristine, had driven 35,000 miles in eight years in her 2014 vehicle and I had driven 1500 miles in the last year. We sold my car with 146,000 miles (mainly work-related mileage pre-retirement). What a relief in maintenance costs, wasted time, etc. It is a grand 🎁 to unload these things. Thanks for the reminder.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s