Thursday, September 22, 2011

What do You do When You’re the Only One in the Family Purging?

Oh, were you expecting me to have an answer to that question for you? I don’t have the answer and it’s something I’m struggling with right now. If you’ve read any of my organizing posts you’ll know that I’ve been trying to purge and streamline my stuff. The problem is getting the rest of the family on board.

As I’ve continued my purge process I’ve been nagging gently reminding my family to go through some of their stuff. As an example, when I finished the laundry/storage room I had a basket of winter wear. For a family of four we had the following;
  • 15+ hats
  • 10+ scarves
  • 15+ pairs of gloves
  • 8 gloves missing a mate

 I finally cornered gathered everyone with the intention of all of us picking out 1-2 items to keep. You would have thought that I was asking them to give up their most prized possession in the world. There were all kinds of excuses of why they needed to keep the items. 
  • Why do you get to keep four pairs of leather gloves (because I’m the mom and two of them are never worn)
  • But that’s an Abercrombie scarf
  • That scarf was made for me by……
  • But what will my friends wear when they are over and they need a hat or mittens?
  • Those small little gloves are cute; I don’t want to get rid of them!

 I did manage to pry a number of items from their clutches but we still have more winter wear than what we need.  My plan is to go ahead and donate the items that we're all in agreement can be donated.  The rest I'm going to stick in our winter wear basket and monitor it.  In the spring I'm going to make the kids get rid of whatever wasn't worn this year.  I could go ahead and just get rid of the stuff but I want the kids to see the benefit of purging.  When they see what they kept but didn't wear hopefully they'll see the light and understand what I'm preaching.
For some reason we tend to hold onto stuff we don't need.  Maybe it's our caveman instincts trying to hold on to stuff during the good times for times of scarcity.  Whatever it is the change has to come from within.  I'll keep working on the kids and make them get rid of stuff they don't need, I am their mother after all.
 and I do have some pull.
Also - if you would be so kind head on over to Circle of Moms (button located at the top of the post to the right) and vote for me.  One of my kind readers nominated me for the top 25 home management blogs over there and I could use the votes.  I really would appreciate it.

I'll be linking this up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie
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  1. We have exactly the same problem! My husband won't let go of a thing! Fortunately he doesn't buy much...but still, we stay a maxed out capacity. (And I had to ask my mom to stop giving him things cause even though he doesn't wear the three coats she gave him, he "might.")

  2. It also helps to do some research on charities to donate to, like a women's shelter or homeless shelter, then present that information to your family. Explain how much more others need the items. Could help change the families mindset.

    Haley @thedistractedblogger

  3. I wish I knew the answer... My husband is the "hoarder" in our family. (Not really, but it sure seems like it sometimes.)

  4. Kerrye & Alana, my husband is the hoarder in our family too. I was actually going to write about his 20+ pairs of underwear but I though that might be TMI :)

    Haley, that is a good idea except the biggest offender is my husband (not saying the kids are perfect). I really think it's his conservative nature to want to have 'stuff' just 'in case'. I'm going to keep trying, one of these days I'll get there :)

  5. When my husband & I got married I counted his t-shirts.... he had 41!! Yes, you read that right. In his defense, he drives tractor trailer & at the time his run was 2 weeks out at a time & if he didn't have time to run to the laundromat between runs, he still needed clean clothes.

    Currently my husband has 4 totes of out of season clothes... I have 1, that is not quite full (same with the Princess & the Lego King).

    As for the rest of the stuff around the house, I have decided that I will get rid of what is mine & limit the children. Then when the complaints come, they won't/can't be about anyone else.

    When getting rid of stuff, like towels & stuff, I have set a limit & then pick stuff that I KNOW I want to keep or what SHOULD be kept, then I ask the rest of the family to make decisions on the remainder. For example, on the glove thing - I know that we need at least 2 pairs here (one to wear & one to change into when they're wet), but I'll let them choose 1-2 more pair - as long as they fit in their cubby baskets by the door.

    We have a 9 section cubby by the door. Everyone has an open cubby to store extra shoes & 1 basket to store gloves, hats, etc in the winter & bike helmets, swim goggles, etc in the summer.

  6. it's the same way here...I try to get the others(hubby, 3 kids, ages 14, 12, and 4) to purge SOMETHING but it never happens. i tell the bigger 2 kids all the time give me any clothes you arent wearing/too small/holey/etc but I can only get my hands on it if I catch it going through the wash

  7. Remind your husband that he has a support system, family/friends, in times of need and those at the shelters have no such support system. Maybe volunteer one day.

  8. Oh, I know what you mean. I keep hoping my good example will make an impact, but it is not working as well as I would like. My example is not so great, but I do make purging efforts a lot, so they see me working at it. I am divorced, so it is just the two kids, and I do have the benefit of being able to demand a bit more, too. I like to send my kids to their rooms with the task of finding 20 things to donate, and 20 things to throw away as fast as they can. My 14 year old daughter thinks that is kind of hokey now, but she knows I might lock her in until it is all done, so she goes along with the short task. I am trying to get a routine where we do just a bit of purging every night, but it is hard to fit everything in.

    For clothes, though, I take them out of the dryer and put them directly in the giveaway pile, or they would never give them up. Although I do want to teach them the benefits of purging, sometimes the benefit of getting rid of things they don't even notice are gone outweighs the fighting over how much they need and want whatever it is they haven't even thought of in a year or so...