January Kindness: House Purge & Donation

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We have finally finished up our January kindness of the House Purge & Donation.  This was a double whammy kindness as it was for others by donating to St.Vincent DePaul, AND also a kindness towards our own house as it forced us to comb through the still unpacked from our July move(!!) boxes in the basement.  I will first state that many of things that will be discussed in this post are not particularly flattering, especially when I mention our kitchen purge which included multiple expired items (oops), but I'm trying to be honest here - so let's do this thang.

Very luckily for me, my sister agreed to be nanny/housekeeper/liveinfriend while on her winter break from college this year.  So I had a full-time helper when it came to our House Purge Kindness, which was both helpful and safe as she took the task of carrying heavy boxes and standing on chairs to reach high places.  (thanks, Tash!)  

We made our way through the house, little by little each day clearing out and tossing out.  During our purge, I kept one of my fav books: Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life on hand to remind me what was important to keep or toss.  As the author suggests, my goal was to throw out 50 things - that's not 50 singular items, but 50 categories throughout the house.  So if I collected 12 cookbooks to donate, that only accounted for 1 thing (since it was all the same one thing).  I logged the items we donated or had to toss in the garbage on a little paper I had divided by rooms.  It was an easy way for me to be proud of the progress and also keep track of our 50 things.

red artistic flair courtesy of Greyson
Since there is no way I'm going to recount each room and/or item we donated or pitched - let's do a recap a la superlative style:

Most embarrassing:  The multiple bottles of expired vitamins or medicine that we discovered in the kitchen.  Like 2009 expired.

The near death experience:  The Welcome Rabbit (left over from the previous owners) that Grey kept taking out of the donation box and putting back in the living room near the tv.  We attempted to donate this rabbit twice before we were tired of Grey stealing it back.  The rabbit continues to stand post in our living room.

The one that made Brandon want to smack me:  the 12 cookbooks (I shouldn't have bought in the first place and then) donated.

The fastest to go:  the 9 books that I newly posted to Paperback Swap and then were immediately (all within 2 hours of posting!!) requested by readers around the nation.

The farthest to travel:  The jewelry, unused bottles of lotion/perfume, and hair accessories that will make their way to the Dominican Republic when we go later this year.  My mom helped clean out my closet and collected any items that could make the trip down as gifts (or bartering tools) for our vacation in October.

The most liberating:  Shredding old bills and paperwork from 2009 and earlier.

Most daring:  we threw away 2 fully finished disposable cameras without getting the pictures printed.  ah!  Who knows what would have been on there, but at this point (I'm pretty sure they were dating back to at least 2008) if we didn't know what was on them now, we wouldn't be missing them if we never saw them.  

Most improved:  The basement/future man cave that had previously been overflowing with unpacked boxes but is now an actual space.  My dad & Brandon spent an afternoon working down there to clear out over 10 boxes, moved couches, and organized our wine brewing station.  This was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders.

I so wish I had a before pic of this
The one that was less hard to say goodbye than I was expecting:  Brandon is not a throw-out kind of guy, but he did a surprisingly good job when we tackled his clothes.  He is definitely the kind of person that will find a shirt (that hasn't been worn in years) and then realize he forgot he even had it and wants to keep it to 'wear it now that's he's found it.'  But he was focused and decisive and collected over 3 bags of clothes to donate.  Such a proud wife right now:)

Best put to immediate use:  We had 2 perfectly working toilets hanging out in our garage from our old house.  One was sent off and now installed in Brandon's grandma's house!

The one that still eludes us:  The garage.  We were able to get through all the rooms in the house (including basement and man cave), but we still haven't made it to the garage.  Seems that project will have to wait until the weather gets warmer since its hard to do any organizing/clearing out with 2 cars taking up most of the space.

  • over 54 things/categories cleared out
  • 6 boxes and 2 bags of goods donated to St. Vincent DePaul
  • 3 bags of clothes donated to family members
  • 1 bag of items collected for our Dominican vacation
  • an embarrassing amount of food and vitamins/medicine that was thrown out because it was expired (shameful)
  • 10 books sent away since January 1st for Paperback Swap

Overall, our January kindness was a big success.  I am proud of the progress we made to clear out and clean up.  There will always be more to do, but to start off the new year getting rid of some of the stuff that has (both literally and figuratively) been weighing us down - feels like a refreshing start to the new year.  To finish, big thank yous to Tasha, Mum, and Dad for all the help in tackling various rooms for our purge.  I (literally) could not have done it without your focus and heavy lifting:)

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