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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

*Maybe* my Most Embarrassing Post...The 42 Foot Purge.

I play a silly game with myself...

Jonathan (my husband) wondered if it was too embarrassing to share the result of this silly game, but we decided we’re here for YOU. This blog is meant to be helpful - and sometimes being helpful looks embarrassing. So don’t judge me. Pretty please? :)

To really understand, you need a bit of background.

When I was a kid, we played “wrecking ball”. The game was simple. Clean up the room in X amount of time or the wrecking ball would destroy us all. I know. Very elaborate. I have no idea where this game came from, but, for me, it worked. I remember running around craz-cleaning with my siblings to avoid being “wrecked”. Instead of hum-drum chores, we were having fun. (At least I was :)

It’d be nice to say that I outgrew my need for motivational games but let’s just be honest; life was a whole lot simpler before the house, and the kids, and the carpool, and the meal planning so maybe we need some silly games among all that responsibility.

Enter: The purge game.

Like my childhood games, it is embarrassingly simple. However, it works wonders for me.

The general concept? -Can I get my purge pile taller than me? There you have it. I know; complicated as ever.

My personality thrives off of a little bit of a challenge so just purging one box or one area doesn’t quite thrill me like a pile taller than my head.

However, as with any challenge, it’s not challenging unless you make it…. Challenging. So I thought I’d up the ante for a few weeks (just for you, reader friend ;)

I’ve actually had a lurking purge-need for several months (As-in, the basement floor was becoming less and less visible). I had a friend come help me back in April when we actually got rid of several boxes of things... but that was just the tip of the ice berg.

I needed to go bigger.

I assumed my friend didn't want to camp out in my basement for several weeks, so I thought I would change my usual game to make it more challenging.

My brain was starting to feel a little like these pictures below:

Therefore - Enter the 42 foot purge. 14 days; 7 piles that are taller than me. Impossible? Feels like it… which is exactly where my silly personality begins to get excited.

Of course this challenge came with all of the questions…

Could I really find 42 feet of stuff to purge? (That would mean the pile is taller than my house which simultaneously thrills me and depresses me in the same moment)

For a bit of reference, my arm is at 42 feet in the picture below. Sure my my house looks teeny tiny from this perspective, but the fact is... the purge pile is *significantly* taller than my house.

Why on earth do I have that much extra stuff?

How would I feel eliminating a pile taller than my house?

Was it ridiculous to try?

Who knows until you do!

…And then the haunting question hit me… It’s the killer of all good purge sessions.

You’ve heard this question ringing in your ears if you’ve ever so much as tried to throw out a tooth pick… (ok, I’m exaggerating a *little* but go with me).

Here’s the the purge-kill question:

But what if I need this later?

Enter extreme anxiety and sign me up for the Hoarders show… because THAT’S where it all begins!

Do we want to be foolish and throw things away that we actually need? No… but how do we KNOW what we actually need?

Hear me out: I’ve been ACTIVELY pursuing an intentional home (aka, minimalism-ish) for at least 2 years now, and I JUST came across a breakthrough question that was like opening a window after a fresh spring rain. It was SO HELPFUL to me… so I thought it might be helpful to you.

The question came from author Kathi Lipp who was being interviewed on the FamilyLife Today podcast. (Highly recommend that podcast!)

While many minimalists define the worthiness of a purge by whether or not an object brings you joy or how often it’s used or how it makes you feel, Kathi’s question gave me greater pause than most questions.
Her question? -Would you buy that again?

Now...depending on your spending habits, this could be a dangerous question. Some people would buy anything again just for the thrill of buying it. However, for me, this question is a true test of whether or not something is actually adding to the home/life I’m trying to create. Some things, I would buy again twice over… while other things, I wouldn’t give a nickel to buy.

And so, with my silly game in mind and the “would I buy this again” question on my lips, I declared war.
“...ok crazy blog lady…I’m too tired for war. I’m just trying to keep my brains intact through the 181 daily requests for snacks, meal prep, cleaning, and back to school shopping”
Yep. I get you. Sometimes I’m SHOCKED at my inability to finish a thought without 4,000 children interrupting my train. I get it.

But look at this: Author Kendra Adachi says that “Every item you own is a fixed decision. When you buy [or keep] something, you’re deciding it’s worth choosing over and over again. You’re deciding to give it space—in your closet and your mind. If your closet is full of items that aren’t worth choosing, they’re taking space away from the items that matter and make you feel like yourself.”

In this quote, she’s weighing the worth of having a capsule wardrobe, but I think this can be true of every single thing that we own.

What is worthy of the space in your mind?

Is that expired makeup worthy?

What about those broken toys?

The unflattering sweater?

How about the dresser that doesn’t *actually* fit in your bedroom?

Would you forfeit the space in your mind to save a few baby clothes?

What about rarely-used kitchen gadgets?

How about things that we actually DISLIKE but we feel guilty about tossing?

I'll ask it again: What is worthy of the space in your mind?

Or on a more positive note: What do you WANT to occupy your mind?

Hear me mom-friend. I know one thing for sure: Your mother-mind is VALUABLE. We NEED that baby to be working at top capacity because we’re doing a crazy crazy crazy important job with it! What do we want in there? Clutter and cobwebs?! I think not.
If everything we own is a fixed decision that occupies the valuable real estate of our minds, let’s be wildly intentional with the things we own.

And guess what will happen if we are?!


After this 42 foot purge, my girls’ bedroom is functional again, we can open the car doors in the garage without smacking into things, I can see the floor of the basement, and I’ve got a little extra cash in my pocket because I sold a few things :).

"But what if I don’t have time for crazy blog lady games????!!!!!!" ..........That’s OK!!!!!!!!!!!

You know where I started 2 years ago? With one blue tote of random toys that I hated.

They were the awful bunch that have no set, or home, are missing all the pieces, most of which were partially broken. They were the sort that were daily dumped on the floor just so my kids could make garbage angels in the carpet only to get up and leave it for someone else to clean.

I hated that bin, but I didn’t think I had permission to get rid of it.

I’m here to give you permission to start there.

What’s stressing you out the most?

It’s ok to start with ONE box in the bathroom

It’s ok to start with ONE box in your wardrobe

What about ONE box in the garage?

Because EVERY time we are intentional, we will have more space for what matters in our minds!

I’m here to cheer for you mom-friend!

Defend that mother-mind!

It needs all the space you can give it! ;)


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