Your Winter Purge

Whether you are staging your home for sale, packing for an upcoming move, downsizing, or just trying to keep clutter under control, winter is a great time to purge closet, cabinets, attics, and basements. Reducing your belongings makes it easier to keep your home clean and organized, and especially of you have a move on the horizon, streamlining your storage will literally lighten your load.

Weeding through clothing, cookware and collections is less overwhelming when you have a game plan. Here is a tried-and-true method that many of our clients have used to prepare their homes for sale. First, completely empty your closet or cupboards. Once the area is empty, wash shelves and drawers. You’re less likely to put junk back into a space that’s spotlessly clean.

Next, divide items into four piles:

  1. Garbage – Items that are broken, worn out or otherwise past their prime can be sorted directly into the trash can. This will give you an immediate sense of accomplishment.
  2. Keepers – The things your intend to keep can be returned straight to their rightful homes. Wash, clean, or fold these items that need it.
  3. Uncertainties – You will waiver about some items, and that’s okay. Take the time to try on clothes you’re unsure about keeping and test gadget from the kitchen cupboards that you haven’t used in a while. Consider whether these items have been worn or used in the last 6 months. Those items that don’t pass the test should be purged.
  4. Re-gifts and Donations – Items that are in good shape can be passed on to others in a variety of ways. Friends or neighbours may be happy to receive some of these castoffs, but that is not your only option. Ottawa has a number of great businesses that sell lightly-used children’s toys ad clothing, brand name apparel, sporting goods, and furniture on consignment. Those items rejected by consignment shops will be welcomed by local charities, churches, and other organizations. Here are just a few suggestions:The Ottawa Mission provides meals, shelter, and support to men in need, and accepts donations of men’s clothing and toiletries.

    Harmony House provides support to women leaving violent or abusive relationships and accepts donations of clothing, housewares, and other supplies for their clients.

    Refugee613 has been key in helping refugees resettle in the Ottawa area, and collects donations of furniture and clothing to assist them in rebuilding their lives.

    The Ottawa Humane Society accepts donations of used towels and blankets, and unopened pet supplies.

    The Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts donations of new and gently-used renovation and building materials, and home decor items.

Deep-cleaning can be stressful, especially if you tend to have deep sentimental attachments to possession or anxiety about a clean slate. If you struggle to part with belongings you’ve held on to for a long time, finding an organization to support with your purge can make it easier to let go. Avoid holding on to things simply because they were given to you as gifts or might be classified as “heirlooms.” If you don’t love them, their provenance is as not important as the space they’re taking up in your life. In fact, there is great peace of mind to simplifying. Being able to put your hands on just the item you’re looking for is its own reward – and your home will look fabulous when it goes on the market.