In my last post I proclaimed the commencement of operation Purge & Pack due to an upcoming move.
Though I haven’t started packing yet, I’m happy to report that the past few weeks have seen an unprecedented success in purging. I owe it in part to the magical process of purging inclusively.
Purging inclusively means decluttering through the lens of what you want to keep, vs. what you want to get rid of.
Let me illustrate using my biggest decluttering nemesis: books.
In previous decluttering attempts I would go through my bookshelves and ask myself, “Which books do I want to get rid of?” Being a complete book nerd, the answer would almost invariably be, “None.”
This year I tried something new. As I scanned each shelf in my library I asked myself, “Which books do I want to keep?”
The difference seems subtle, but it resulted in nearly a full box and two canvas shopping bags full of books to my local goodwill store.
With each book, I asked myself:
- Did I like it enough to read it again?
- Did I read it at all? If not, will I and in what context?
- Will I reference it?
- Does it hold special meaning?
- Am I through with the phase or process that was served by that particular book? (Divorce-related books begone!)
- Does it serve me, or do I foresee it serving me in the future? (Caution: This is a tricky one that’s easy to rationalize. It requires strong will and a good dose of self-honesty.)
For most books the answer was clear and came quickly, making it easy for me to be ruthless without feeling like I was losing out.
Purging inclusively is about keeping what serves you.
Whether you’re going through your garage, your closet, or your spice cupboard, it works.
I’ve got five boxes of stuff donated, three garbage bags tossed, and another box ready for consignment to prove it.