Annual Purge or Can I Actually Get Rid of Stuff?

Annual Purge

My family of 4 lives in a small home.  Every year between Halloween and Christmas I go through an annual purge.  That’s not the only time in the year I feel the urge to purge, but it’s often the strongest.

The need to purge and be tidy usually stems from prolonged Halloween decor cluttering up my space, and it reminds me we’ll need to put up a Christmas tree in a few short months.  This year I actually got rid of some old, broken Halloween stuff that I haven’t used in years (and I recycled some crafts that Emma made in 2010 that don’t fit our “creepy” decor!)  The girls were excited to get rid of old Halloween stuff, as it leaves room in those Rubbermaid boxes for new, scarier Halloween goodies!

Girls christmasThe looming task of setting up a Christmas tree really spurs me into a tidying frenzy.  Our living space is so tiny that the idea of occupying a piece of that space for most of a month with a tree is quite frightening for me.  I will say we did buy a tree with the smallest circumference we could find.  The tree is almost 6′ tall but it’s quite skinny.  It looks fine in our tiny space – and it makes the Christmas haul look huge!  But right now I’m still dealing with bins of Halloween candy on the floor, and some birthday loot miss Emma is still enjoying.

Having a small home means I need to be more cut-throat with what we keep in our house.  Recently I put 2 kids chairs (and a few other tidbits) in a bag, and told myself if the girls didn’t ask about them in 2 weeks time I would get rid of them.  Well, of course, Emma stumbled over the chairs (I had hidden the bag behind a door) and threw a fit.  Let’s be clear here – she hasn’t thought about these chairs in likely most of a year.  The chairs are way too small for my tall girls.  There is no earthly reason to keep them.  But that fit was a week ago and she hasn’t brought it up since.  I’ll get rid of them next week.  Or maybe the week after…

I will say I’ve had some success in sorting and arranging things in the bathroom area.  I’ve given away (or used up) quite a few lotions, washes and bubble baths.  I still have too many towels, but that’s because the girls are still randomly doing swimming with school and I don’t want to send the “good” towels with them.  Valid mom-thought, am I right?

Kitchen?  Forget about it.  Who knows when you’ll need to bake a multi-layer cake, or use all those cookie cutters at once!  And the Corning Ware?  I can’t get rid of that.  I’m pretty sure that’s a kitchen staple!  I actually have gotten rid of a few kitchen items – but somehow it never seems to lessen the cupboard clutter…

annual purge

My favourite sorting/organizing/purging chore is the kids clothes.  I just finished the summer to winter clothing swap in the girls bedrooms.  I ended up with a giant bag of hand-me-downs to share with my little nieces.  Most of those clothes came from my older nieces so it’s great to be able to pass them on again.  I’m happy to say clothes get a semi-annual purge, which is great!  We have been very lucky with hand-me-downs – so much so that both my kids drawers and closets are bursting with clothes.  Right now my girls are only about 1.5 sizes different.  Sometimes it’s hard to get Emma to share her clothes that will fit Rose right now as well.  But often she has to share as her drawers can’t hold all the clothes!

Purging my own clothes is a completely different story.  Unless it absolutely doesn’t fit, I have a really hard time letting go of anything.  I do have most of a garbage bag’s worth of clothes to give away taking up space in the bedroom right now.  I haven’t bagged them up yet, because I plan to have more!  Also because I’m a giant procrastinator.  But this winter I really want to get my bedroom tidier – and it’s got to start with the clothes!

And then there’s the toys.  Even talk of Santa bringing new toys (so we have to make room) doesn’t spur my kids into giving anything away.  The idea of an annual purge is completely foreign to the girls.  We have a gazillion toys – stuffies, Barbies, Monster High junk, Shopkins, Playmobile, Lego, baby dolls (and a ton of blankets and clothes for them – because most of them are naked), horses, purses, stickers, PlayDoh, board games, puzzles, dress up clothes, and then more art supplies than a Michaels – Annual purgeespecially when you start sorting it and realize the kids are keeping anything AN-Y-THING that could potentially be used for crafts!  Including rocks, shoelaces, toilet paper rolls, and notepads that have already been completely filled with scribbles.  I’ve gone through their stuff before and given/thrown away SO MUCH and they have no idea.  I think I’m overdue for another art supplies purge.

I’m sure I’m struggling more this year because I don’t have as much time.  We are (or at least feel like) a very busy family.  The weeks fly by, and the few hours I have at home are quickly filled with laundry, homework, and other general cleaning tasks.  

Writing this post reminded me of this meme I’ve seen floating around Facebook.  I love it – it makes me laugh every time I see it!

In closing – if you have any great words of wisdom to help me cut the clutter, please share with me!  My annual purge has started.  I know I have too much sentimental stuff in my way, which I why I can’t get rid of things.  But I’m trying!  After I get some feeling of tidyness in my living room/dining room space (I made a little headway this week) I’m doing my clothes.  I have to.  Wish me luck!


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  1. Thank you for the lovely coffee read this morning, once again I can’t get my head around how you have time to do all the things you do in a day. You are a true inspiration. Great blog once again Jess!!

    1. I know, right? I wish I knew how to keep that junk from coming into the house in the first place. I bet my first mistake was having kids! 😉 Thanks for the comment.

  2. Hi Jess, I’ve just lost a comment (not sure if I accidentally posted it), so I apologies for repeating myself, if that’s the case.

    We also live in a small house, and the clutter is unbelievable. I do like to get on top of it in the build up to Christmas, but this year it doesn’t seem to be happening…To blog or declutter? No comparison really!

    I hope you get on top of your clutter soon.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


    1. That’s a great mantra – it’s putting it into effect that’s hard for me. I’m getting there though – hopefully I’ll make more time in the New Year. This season just eats up time like crazy!

    1. I do find purging in the kitchen a little easier than my clothes or the kids toys and such. That’s not to say I still don’t have too much stuff in there! Thanks for the comment Heather.

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