This post is part of the #Purge365 series about a midlife journey through a year of purging a house – and a life – of unnecessary things. Click here to see all previous posts.
It’s officially the first day of the New Year, and time to take stock of Project #Purge365 to see if any big lessons could be learned from it.
But first, some statistics:
- I wrote 28,630 words (abut 75 pages) as a result of this project
- Of those, 1,955 are half-finished thoughts that didn’t make it into a blog post
- I ended up writing 15 blog posts – a far cry from what I’d originally set out to do, which was one a week. In my defense, I also wrote 8 travel and lifestyle blog posts on Joburg Expat and 46 blog posts about Hair Transplants and Plastic Surgery. In total, that makes for 69 blog posts – well over one per week.
- I sold $866 worth of used items
- I made a total of 10 trips to Goodwill and/or the dumpster; I now wish I had weighed everything first to have another statistic for this blog.
- I did make it to mostly all of the 80 drawers I counted at the beginning of the year; however, I only entirely cleaned out about 7 of them.
- I never made it to “Under the Girls’ Sink” or the tool bench in the garage – both such promising treasure troves I was sure I’d tackle in the course of an entire year.
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned:
If you set out to do something at your house every day of the year, don’t travel to Europe for 3 weeks that year. Even though I worked valiantly to get ahead before I left, I could never quite catch up after July. Only with a valiant push the last few days did I reach my goal of purging at least one item every day. I basically coerced the kids to pitch in on the last day of the year, and they came through with their old swim meet ribbons (turns out I collected hundreds of participation ribbons – why???) & other trophies, and lots more stuff from their closets. Which leads me to:
I could be making my life a lot easier if I asked for help more often. Getting the kids to participate was a fun trip down memory lane, a nice way to get everyone engaged as a group, and it saved me a lot of time. I (all mothers!) should take advantage of “The Help” more often. Perhaps I should make Project “#KidsCookEachWeek” the theme for 2020.
We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the things we DO do. 69 blog posts in a year is not nothing. I also got rid of some big things that made a noticeable dent, including:
- all the old paint cans in the basement
- about 500 lbs (felt like!) of old roofing tiles
- an entire dining table full of stacked duvets and sheet sets
- mountains of old clothes, old charging cables, and old backpacks
- an inner tube
- 2 mattresses
- 1 bookshelf
We don’t think big and bold enough in our everyday lives, because we get caught up in the small stuff. Reading through my list of daily purges now, it strikes me how silly it was to record a pair of ripped jeans, an old chapstick, and a stress ball in the shape of an avocado each as individual items. In reality, I needed to get rid of entire categories of things to move faster and be more efficient. We still have an incredible amount of stuff in the basement. Had I taken a step back occasionally to think about the big picture, I might have made some decisions that would have led to more progress.
I think I’m not alone in this. Humans think and act incrementally. Maybe that is why we value true visionaries so much. People who think big and bold thoughts, who make huge, swiping decisions.
Lesson #4 and lesson #3 are connected and mutually reinforcing.
I let the Perfect be the enemy of the Good too many times. I often took quick, funny notes when purging a particular item, and this could have become a quick, funny blog post to share with the world. But I felt like I needed to sit down and think it though and make it into a coherent and substantial missive of 1,000 words. Which, as mentioned above, happened 15 times this year. Had I just followed my first instinct and published my quick but imperfect thoughts, I might have ended up with the envisioned 50 posts after all, and been able to engage with my readers more often.
On that note I will end this post with “only” 5 lessons. There is a ton more I’d like to share. Some back stories I haven’t yet explored, thoughts on the most gratifying of all the purges, as well as some unwanted purges I was forced to make against my will.
Those will be coming up in another, hopefully good but not perfect, blog post.
Stay tuned, and a very Happy 2020 to all of you!