- Black garbage bags. You can use any kind you want, but I use black because you can't see through them. Sneaky purger that I am, I don't want my decisions questioned. No, I don't ransack my children's bedrooms and throw away all of their beloved treasures, but it's better if that plastic broken battery-hogging toy that my son hasn't touched in 5 years magically disappear without rearing it's ugly head to be seen and desperately missed by all.
- Magic Erasers, paper towels (or rags), spray cleaner and my vacuum. I wipe down counters, wipe out cabinets, shelves, and countertops while I'm purging. I go through packs of Magic Erasers. (I can do this because I only have one little one home all day-if you have a baby or babies, maybe just stick with the purge, and not with the spring clean.)
- I keep in mind that my goal is to touch everything in the room or area that I am working on. If I have boxes, clothes, books, toys...no matter what, I go through each item and make a decision to keep, give away, throw away.
- Figure out what you are going to do with the bags. I give books away to a local foundation that resells them, I pitch the garbage, I give the rest to Goodwill (I put the bags immediately in my trunk)...because they have a drop-off station 2 minutes away. I don't do resale shops or garage sales, because for me, it's just too much work. I throw the Goodwill bags right into the back of my van, and make the run as soon as I get a chance.
- I work really fast. Obviously, the bigger and the more complicated the room, the longer it takes, but I don't puzzle over decisions, or get distracted by other things...besides Patrick of course. I don't answer my phone...my goal is to get the job done as quickly as possible.
I always go back to the first months we moved into this house. I had really wanted to start fresh. I had given away tons of stuff from our old house...I purged like crazy when we moved. We had no closet or storage space in our old 1840 house either...so when we settled into this house it was very simple, very empty, very refreshing. I filled one drawer where there was now 5. The kids used just tiny bits of their closets. Some rooms had just a few items of furniture. It was so easy to keep clean and I felt so energized without so many belongings. Sometimes I get out my old photos from when we first moved in, and that motivates me to bring my home back to where I loved it.
The other visual: What if I had to show my house in minutes? I know this is hard core...but I learned my lesson once with my first house...we put off all these little projects that we wanted to do forever, lived with them forever, inconvenient and all, and when we went to sell our house, here we were running around getting it all done for SOMEONE else to live in and enjoy! Ridiculous! So it helps me to think, even though we will never move, that is my ideal for this space/room to look like? Sometimes we get used to things and don't realize how cluttered up, or inconvenient they are. Try a fresh eye...a 'perspective buyers' eye.