Friday, January 16, 2015

Great Purge of 2015 - Status Update

Friday, trash/recycle day for our part of Madison, Wisconsin.  As the trucks rumble in the distance I sit down to give you an update on my effort to make 2015 the Year of the Purge in our frugal home.

First, why the purge?  We moved into our home just over 4 years ago, and this past holiday season left us feeling buried under stuff.  It is hard to do anything when one feels buried.  On a more practical point, we need to be able to easily clean our home.  And to clean the surface, you first have to have it void of stuff.  Why the renewed push to have a clean home?  We were recently told our six year old has asthma, a likely offshoot of allergies.  Words I have heard myself since middle school. Maintenance drugs are neither fun for a kid, nor inexpensive (one inhaler costs $187, and he has two different inhalers).  A clean home is a highly effective way to minimize reliance on medications.

As we begin our walk through the year 2015 I could be general and say, let's get rid of stuff.  Sell it, donate it, recycle it, and trash it if we must.  But there is part of me that likes to measure progress, a likely reason why I earned a Masters in Public Administration a decade and a half ago.  Measurement creates accountability, so measure it must be.  I also like reach goals, aim high and do your best. Even if you miss your goal you still probably did quite well.

So, out of thin air I said it is the year 2015, let's get rid of 2,015 items this year.  That comes out to just 38.75 items a week, every week, all 52 off them.  Okay then, that might be easy in January, but what about December?  Like I said, it is a challenge, selected for no other reason than it popped into my head.  As Friday is trash day for us, I will aim to report my progress on Fridays.  Today I put 4 items into donation bags.  There are several other bags I did earlier this month, but have not yet counted.  Watch for an updated tally in the next day or two.

How will I handle shopping and presents?  Shopping is easy, consumables such as food, health products, cat litter, do not count.  But if I buy a new pair of boots or a new book, something needs to go and that something does NOT count towards the weekly 38.75.  Harsh?  Yes, but that is what makes a challenge worth the effort.  Presents.....I am still pondering what to do when someone gives us, well realistically gives the kids a gift.  Thoughts dear reader?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this purge project.  Leave comments if you can with suggestions, motivation, even a criticism if you like.....I enjoy hearing from readers.


  1. 2015 items is a high bar! I recently decided that this would be a purge year also. I haven't set a goal for letting go of a certain number of items—thinking that it would be enough for the desk to be clear, then the pantry, etc. This post is cause for reconsideration. The stuff must go!

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Chris,

      First, thanks for reading! Second, I like the idea of tackling certain "zones", that will give me focus. Third, with 2 parents, 2 kids, 3 cats, a room full of items I inherited from my mom, as well as stuff lurking in both of our businesses.....I think I can do 2,015. Not exactly proud that we've let it pile up this high! Good luck with your purge!