Castle Revival Challenge Phase I – The Power Purge
Before I started my own Castle Revival Challenge, let’s just say my purges weren’t very effective. I wasn’t asking myself the right questions and my goals were not clearly established. Something had to change…
How I Messed Up
I was basically rearranging the same “stuff” in a countless number of totes on far too many shelves – which we left behind with the sale of our last home. In hindsight, we are better off without the temptation to fill them.
The problem? I could justify keeping everything with “what if” arguments in my head. After all, I had lots of shelves and totes. Why leave them empty?
Another technique had me justifying every item because there was a small part of me that still felt happy when I saw it but, realistically, I didn’t have anywhere to put it all.
The Cost of Keeping It
My epiphany regarding the cost of keeping “stuff” came just before moving day when we hired a junk removal company. They changed their original estimate after loading the truck and we were charged hundreds to have them haul it away. Burn.
Big. Red. Flag.
Junk costs us when we buy it, store it, and get rid of it. That was enough to move me closer to the minimalist mindset – though not to the extreme. I still have a small number of functional treasures that have a special place in our home, but they are few.
The Secret to Making this Your Final Purge
The best way to illustrate the importance of your mindset is the example of a brief conversation between the pope and Michelangelo regarding his renowned statue of David:
The pope quizzed him, “How do you know what to cut away?”
Michelangelo responded, “It’s simple. I just remove everything that doesn’t look like David.”
Brilliant! Until you have a clear vision of what needs to stay, you won’t know what needs to go.
And that, my friend, is what made this purge different!
How to Maintain It
Since my Castle Revival Challenge Power Purge, I carefully filter what comes into our castle. If it isn’t a part of my mental picture, it goes.
You must chose your own goal. Everyone has different needs and desires, so you just need to visualize your ideal according to the time and energy you have left for cleaning and go from there! 🙂
When we downsized from a two-story country home with outbuildings to our little bungalow with no shed and a one and a half car garage, it required true grit.
With great relief I can honestly say that I no longer remember the items I purged. Obviously, I didn’t need all that “stuff” I had justified keeping all those years.
- To live on one level with all our remaining possessions.
- To park two cars in our one-and-a-half car garage. Lofty, I know.
We crushed both goals and it is so freeing!
Let’s Jump In
I’ll share my Castle Revival Challenge approach to purging and hopefully it will bring you the inner resolve you need to turn your castle into a refuge of beautiful order.
What is the Time Commitment?
A Minimum of 15 Minutes a Day
Because an all day power purge isn’t always possible, set your timer for at least 15 minutes and do as much as you can each day.
You are welcome to dedicate more time if your schedule allows. Results will come faster. However, small time blocks can make it possible for those who are tight for time.
It is important to set up a Power Purge zone that can be left “as is” between sessions without wasting time having to set up and clean up each time. You can just dive in for a Power Purge between your daily activities.
The Prep Steps
Set Your Goal
My goals gave me focus when I was weakening. It motivated me to purge more and gave me strength when I become too sentimental or just plain lazy.
Download the Castle Revival Challenge Power Purge Worksheet
Record your goals on your FREE CR Power Purge Worksheet for use during Castle Revival Challenge Phase I. It will help you remain focused and give you some added tips for specific challenges that you will face in this phase.
Set Up Your Power Purge Zone
Choose a reputable consignment shop, if you have one close by. Call the consignment shop ahead of time to book a drop-off appointment, inquire about what they accept, and find out if they require items to be dry-cleaned (leave the dry-cleaning claim tags on as proof if you need it).
Decide where you will donate your items. Some will reward you with stamp cards to use in their retail store. Others are charitable organizations that you might like to support.
As mentioned, designate a spare room, basement area, or part of a larger room to use as a Power Purge zone. You can move the zone as your purge through your home to save steps.
- Free CRC Power Purge Worksheet printable or lined paper
- large cardboard boxes
- large opaque garbage bags
- plastic grocery shopping bags
- wide masking or painter’s tape
- permanent marker
- blank white paper
A Word About Totes
Resist the urge to buy more plastic totes for purging. My addiction to plastic totes and organizing containers fed my clutter problem – I saw a tote and felt the need to fill it.
The fewer the totes and shelves – the better the purge. I got rid of as many totes and containers as possible. Instead of buying totes, I limited myself to a certain number. It forced me to succeed!
Stick to Disposable Cardboard or Bags
Find as many large cardboard boxes as possible, but at least 4 to start (grocery stores are a great place to search). Plastic totes won’t work as you will leave these boxes behind at the drop-off points…but if you have an excessive number of totes, it might be your best solution. 😉
Label 4 boxes/bags: RETURN to lender – CONSIGN – DONATE – SHARE. When they are full, they go into the car and get distributed as soon as possible.
Have a box of opaque garbage bags and shopping bags ready in your purging area. Wide masking or painter’s tape will be used to mark SHARE bags with person’s name and drop them in the SHARE box to be distributed as soon as possible. I recommend opaque bags so you can’t see the contents and weaken your resolve.
Walk systematically through your home with a clipboard and your CRC Power Purge Worksheet to list purging categories like: stationary, books, clothes, dishes, small appliances, toys, meds, tools, bedding, towels, paint, photos, digital, sentimental,…and so on.
Prioritize these categories with a number – the most pressing category first. This will help you focus on purging as you move from one category to the next throughout your house in priority sequence without letting your emotions change your direction. Become a purging machine! 😉
Avoid Purging Burnout
Work one category at a time with a small number of items so you aren’t overwhelmed – your focus will be lost.
For example, when purging clothes, break it down into pants, tops, and so on. Set out all of your pants and start asking questions of each pair. By doing this, you will see only one subcategory at a time and not get overwhelmed and burnout.
The Power Purge
- Let’s begin by explaining the Return to Lender box. This is your chance to be the good friend who returns borrowed items. 😉 When you come across a borrowed item, put it in a shopping bag and label it with your friends name. You will keep this box of bags in your car until they are delivered.
2. Start with the category you chose as #1 (top priority) on your worksheet. As mentioned above, if it is a large category break it into manageable subcategories and work through them one at a time.
3. Set your timer for 15 minutes – or whatever time you can dedicate to your session.
4. Collect all category or subcategory items in an unmarked cardboard box and bring it to your work area. Lay them out and sort each item, asking these questions with honesty:
- Do I use this item regularly?
- Does it work/fit/need repair?
- Would I go to the trouble of repurchasing this item if I lost it in a fire?
- Would it be more valuable to someone else?
- Did I forget I had this?
- When did I use it last?
- Is it a duplicate?
- Has guilt or fear caused me to keep it this long?
- Is this item in my visual picture of my fully purged home?
*Add your own questions as needed*
5. When a box or bag is full, tape or tie it shut. Put it in your vehicle immediately so your purging zone and your home remain tidy during your Power Purge.
6. Same day distribution. Why? It gets the items that you are purging distributed as soon as possible so you can enjoy the rewards of your labour immediately – and you won’t be tempted to haul it all back in! 🙂
I See the Finish Line!
The length of time it takes depends on the size of your collection, your physical abilities, available time and your determination to succeed. Do yourself a big favour and be consistent – you will win!
Since this purge, I have learned that if I do a thorough job of purging and filtering what enters my home – this will be my final purge.
I can’t imagine why I hung on to my “stuff” so long. Really, who needs 25 mugs? We don’t even drink coffee!
What I Learned From All of This
If I was sitting on the fence with an item, or even now as items try to sneak into my house, here is my “motto” that will help me prevent another Power Purge:
Every questionable item that
I don’t let go of today
will rob me of
more mental peace, time, space, energy
and possibly money
since I will have to find a way to
store it, maintain it, clean around it,
and deal with it again
when I have to do another agonizing purge
because I wasn’t tough enough this time.
Is it worth that?
The Cleaning Benefits this Power Purge
The biggest benefit I have noticed since I was tough with my “stuff” is the ease of cleaning. I can clean through a room in no time because there is less “stuff” to move when you clean! I have a post that helps you set up some time and energy saving strategies here. It also offers a FREE printable with a full set of cleaning routines so you can make your castle sparkle!
Have fun with this process and don’t try to rush it. Think of the result to stay motivated and you will succeed. Your home will soon be a clear canvas and cleaning will be a breeze!
Need More Inspiration?
Phase II – Organizing What Remains
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I would love to hear from you!
Do you have a defining question
that helps you purge?
I would love to add it to my collection! 🙂
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