A Minimalist Moment: The Urge to Purge

Some folks march to the fridge and stuff their faces, others hit the bottle, many head out for retail therapy. Me? When I’ve reached the end of my rope, thrown in the towel and broken the last straw on the camel’s back (whatever that means) — I purge.

What do I get rid of? It can be anything that doesn’t move. On its own, that is. Likely targets are those piles of hapless papers, closets full of unsuspecting clothes or maybe the countless bins of well-meaning craft supplies. My merciless roving eye casts about for the next victim to pay for my wrath.

I know this is probably wrong, but I can’t help it. The desire for a clean slate and uncomplicated surfaces takes over and I’m already circling my quarry, hoping to get the unnecessary object out the door before it even knows what hit it.

My rules of engagement:

1. Ask first. If I am not the owner of the offending item, I must procure permission from the perpetrator (this includes the dog).

2. Remain calm. I don’t want to be caught rummaging around in a dumpster at midnight, flashlight clenched between my teeth, with tosser’s regret.

3. Keep a limit. Even though I can’t get enough of those elimination endorphins, it’s no fun to find yourself with nowhere to sit at the end of the day.

Hopefully, after my purging fix I am calmer, a solution has appeared to my problems, the drawers are better organized and my house is emptier.

Within reason, of course.

If you are interested in reading about minimalism in all its glory, Tanja at Minimalist Packrat and Francine of Miss Minimalist have compiled The 2011 All Star List of Minimalist Blogs. There’s 124 and counting, so go click some links!

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8 thoughts on “A Minimalist Moment: The Urge to Purge

  1. The same thing happens when we get a new manager at the store, except things that move around on their own are included the list. They get a wonderful feeling of control, until some stupid vendor throws a pallet down the trash compactor and jams it up. Then they realize why we had that ratty old 2×4 taking up space in the corner. It’s not easy to come across a 2×4 that is knot free and straight grained enough for two gorillas to pry on it and not have in break. At times like that you don’t really care if it smells and is covered with rotten spaghetti sauce from a fork-lift mishap last summer.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Ah yes, the hazards of a clean slate. I will say that my straightened-out wire coat hanger is off limits on my binges. Your descriptions are amazing–I can just picture that 2×4 with the spaghetti stains!

  2. I do the same thing! It just feels so good to toss things–so liberating! My family honesly thinks I’m a bit over the top with it, but it feels good! I don’t toss anything I have doubts about, and I have yet to regret any of the things I eliminated.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      You are so right, Annie! Don’t knock it until you try it. Letting go takes courage–and you have that in spades. I’m still in awe of your ultimate act of kindness recently. In fact, you have made my week and given me hope that there’s some genuinely nice people out there in the world. You are one of those.

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  4. Oh yes, I know this feeling well. I also clean house, but focus on something particular, maybe windows or the miniblinds in one room. Scrub scrub scrub. Out out damned annoyance! Then somehow it’s all better.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Hi Meg! The purging comes easy, but the cleaning–not so much. I’m working on it, though. Spring cleaning does sound good to me right now, and I’m gonna use “out out damned annoyance.”

  5. Pingback: The Downsizing Dozen: Make It Stick | Suburban Satsangs

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