When you hear the word PURGE, do you conjour up images of teenage girls with anorexia? I used to, until I started purging my house. I really don't know that a person who has natural organizational and housekeeping skills could really understand this. They do this as a way of life. I don't think they ever have to really purge, because they are continually keeping things in place. AH, there is a concept. They also HAVE A PLACE to keep things. THAT is the other issue.
We live in a house that is 1070 sq. feet. There are 4 of us. One of us is a computer geek. We have 4 functioning desktop computers (2 are at his desk with one monitor), our old laptop that he made work (it only cost $25 to buy & another $75 to make it run!), his work computer that he typically brings home for safekeeping, a non-functioning laptop, several pieces of computers, and quite often, a computer that he is working on for someone else. One of us is an artist. She has art supplies that somehow migrate from one room to the other. I suspect that at night they come to life and ooze throughout our house. From yarn to paint, from Elmer's glue to a hot glue gun, from stamps to scissors, and of course, ANY recyclable object that might just one day possibly be used for a craft project, our artist fills quite a large portion of this house. Then there is the stuffed animal and clothes queen. She is likely the most organized of the 4 of us. However, she also has ADHD. That means she will step ON things and not realize they are there. It means she will cause an entire stack of just folded clothes to tumble, and never realize she did it. It means that oozing effect from the artist is helped along by this child.
Ah, you see how I've built this up so you know I am NOT the only one with a mess! Yes, I have things, too, spread out. You see, my business deals with kitchenwares. That means, I have LARGE mixing bowls, LARGE baking stones, LARGE knives (which makes everyone want to be VERY nice to me---LOL), and lots and lots of small to medium size kitchen tools. PLUS all the paperwork to run said business. Then there is my full time job of homeschooling my children. I have several cabinets full of homeschool material, which also overflows onto the couch, the floor, the fireplace, and the entertainment "center" (a now close to falling apart piece my dear husband built for me the day he proposed to me; you see why I said yes). Then I actually have a hobby, which is my sanity break. I don't get to do it often but I love it. It is rubber stamping and papercrafts. THOSE items live in our bedroom.
I think you've got the idea that we have too much stuff for a house this size. While ideally we'd like to move to a bigger home, it hasn't happened yet, so we have to go with the other answer to this problem: get rid of things. Thus, PURGING is something I enjoy, at least while I am well. Perhaps because I know I might not stay well long I like to purge as much as I can at one time. We have gone through the kids' toys in the past month, or a good portion of them. We have now emptied 5 large sterlite plastic boxes, plus numerous cardboard boxes. The girls have been willing to part with toys (a HUGE step for Bethany), so there is a box of toys to sell at a garage sale.
I've also gone through somethings to get rid of. Some is simply garage sale material. But, some I've put on "the bay" otherwise known as e-bay. I've also offered my customers some of my used products for a low price and have sold several of those items! Tonight my 4 listings on e-bay end. 2 have closed. 1 item sold for a really low price, but the other was decent. 2 more are still open. I love the feeling of knowing these items will be OUT of my house! I love even more knowing that I've made a little money back on these items! We do try to give away as much as we can, but it's such a blessing to us when we can sell things. And, I must admit, there's a bit of a "rush" in those last few moments of an e-bay auction. It's that way when you are buying on the bay, but WOW, when you are selling & the number goes up in those last minutes, it is DELIGHTFUL!
So, my secret is out. People assume when you are messy that it is because you don't WANT to be neat. The truth is, for most homeschool families I know (and there are exceptions), we are living on one income, and sometimes less than that. Most of us don't live in mansions, but we have a lot of stuff because we are homeschoolers, and many of us have a part-time job or help run the family business so we can purchase supplies. I do know some very neat and organized homeschoolers, but they are the exception, not the rule. There are 2 men who have said things that have encouraged me about this. One is the co-director of our homeschool co-op. He said that when they started homeschooling, he just accepted the fact that for the next 18 years (and more, since they ended up with 5 kids), the house would be messy. Another man, the husband of the KONOS curriculum author, says to homeschool dads, "Your wife has a full-time job to raise and educate the children. She needs a maid. If you can't afford the maid, then you need to BE the maid." My husband hasn't quite grasped either of these, but one can always hope! In the meantime, I plug along doing what I can, when I can, to make a difference. And purging is the best way I have found to do this. Dave Ramsey, financial expert, says that when you are trying to get out of debt, you need to "Sell, sell, sell." He says that you need to sell so much that your children start to think you are going to put a price tag on them!
Not to worry, my kids don't think that. They've got the selling bug, too!