Is Your STUFF Serving You? Reflections from My Annual House Purge


I am a planner, a list maker, a goal setter. Every year I jump on the bandwagon of a January home decluttering process and purge. Before I dive any deeper, I want to start with a disclaimer saying I don’t hate stuff and I am not going to try and convince you to get rid of all of your personal belongings (unless you want to, then by all means!).

These are my personal reflections and lessons I have learned by dedicating concentrated time each year to evaluating all that we own. Honestly, I have never related to a minimalist lifestyle. I like to consider myself more a functional maximalist. I love what we have in our home: the art on the walls, the full bookshelves, the craft supplies; but what I don’t love is having things in our home that aren’t serving a purpose. 

Reflections on Decluttering My Home

I, along with the rest of the world, read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (and watched the show), I have books like Simplified Life by Emily Ley, and Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenrider. This year I employed the Naptime Kitchen Home Reset guide as the outline for my organizational endeavors. This was my third year in a row to take on such a task and you would think that after multiple years and a small library of home organization books that I would be done, right? Or at least that is what I thought the first year I took on such a project. Haven’t I already accounted for everything in my home? Don’t I have established systems and a lot less? Am I failing at really decluttering my home if I have to do this every year?

Each year as I have tackled this month-long decluttering project, I find that I have learned something new and beneficial whether that is getting rid of excess or finding a new system as our family grows and changes.

{Read More: 5 Tips for Taming the Toys}

The biggest lesson I learned this year is that there is something to learn each year I take on this task. I do have a lot less than I did a few years ago. I do have established systems that have worked for our family. But over the course of a year, my family has also gained stuff. Papers from school, art projects, gifts from holidays, and birthdays. My house is full of growing people and the accumulation of these things and the messes they make are proof of life thriving in our home. Not only have we acquired more things but my kids are growing and changing and our day-to-day life has to evolve to meet their needs. Some years I will be taking bags and bags of donations and some years I will be streamlining new systems. No matter the purge – whether it is mental or physical – we still benefit from taking the time to reevaluate each January. 

I have also found that this time helps me to get in touch with my home in a way I have had to neglect over the fall and winter holidays. It’s a reprieve from the busy and a needed reset after packing up our holiday decor. I get back to the bare bones of my home and truly evaluate what we have, it’s a time to find purpose in our home and let go of what no longer serves us and can serve another better. We live our life every day in these spaces, but when was the last time you really cleaned out your pantry and took stock of just how many unused canned goods you have collecting dust in there? I had not taken the time to really evaluate our dry goods situation since we moved into our house almost three years ago. Now I feel like my meal planning and dinner making is much more functional for as the primary cook in our house and getting dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time.

I am already looking forward to next January and the organizational life lessons I will inevitably learn while decluttering my home again. I have always wanted to make my home one of life and love and a place for my whole family to truly find respite, and I am determined to make the things we have inside our walls reflect that purpose: to help attain peace. 


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