A Quick Tip For Purging Clutter

I am continually shying away from sharing Hows. I don’t know, it just seems like my favorite advice has always been to throw caution to the wind and dig your own ditch. But here’s a story:

I dog-sat for my mother-in-law this weekend. She is a lovely tiny Oreo-spotted dog that doesn’t bark, a rare breed if ever there was one. I think she is part cat, perhaps, but still. It was an adventure.

I am pretending that Bernie and George loved the extra company, but what do I know? I’m no dog. They were tolerable.

I will say nothing of the state of our yard.

We took walks and played catch and fought over bones, and Bee insisted they all receive dog massages before bedtime. And then.

Bernie, ever the firstborn, ever the high maintenance pet, ever the squeaky wheel, had had enough of the chaos after two days, and when the clock turned 2:31am on an otherwise quiet Saturday night, Bernie retreated to the bed’s underside and began vomiting uncontrollably.

Do you know what is kept under our bed? Nothing of use. There are old college sweatshirts and a sentimental pair of flannel shorts (I do not know how flannel shorts can become sentimental, but there you have it). There is a pile of Bee’s stuffed animals that have been loved (shredded) by George. A spare pair of tennis shoes of which I continue to justify, regardless of my status as a diligent non-runner. Hiking boots, same. There are 84 canvas totes. Good gracious, the totes.

Underneath our bed is the place junk goes to hide so I can no longer lecture myself on why I am hoarding it. I mean, surely if I were to witness 84 canvas totes in daylight, I would take issue. Surely I would drudge to the garage to gather the Goodwill bin, and quickly now.

Bernie did the hard work for me, it seems, as this is the new rule:

If a dog were to expel on your belongings, would you take the necessary steps to revive any of it? Would you scrub the leather, take a toothpick to the brass buckles, head to the dry cleaners?

Or would you throw the baby out with the retch water?

If the latter, here’s a thought: perhaps it has little worth to you. Perhaps it is not of great value, and perhaps you will potentially be more at peace if you save the dog the trouble and just gather the Goodwill bin now.

I don’t know. I kept the flannel shorts.

  • Ah, purging (so to speak)… I have 6 boxes of clothes and a bag of shoes sitting in our bedroom that my husband is patiently tolerating because I want to donate them but not to just any old goodwill, I want them to go where they’ll be well used and needed, but I haven’t done the legwork to find that place yet. The pile of goodwill by the garage door, that one gets regularly overlooked in the heat of rushing out the door in the morning. If my dog retches on any of it, it’s gone. = )

  • “Would you clean dog barf off of it” seems a much more realistic clutter-clearing question than the KonMari Method of asking “does it bring you joy?” Definitely more realistic my my household anyway.

  • Only you could make dog puke sound like an obvious hint from the Universe, because OF COURSE that was why he needed to go do that. You missed your calling as a pastor, I swear. Good job, friend!

    • Ha!!! Of all the careers, I had never considered (or been in the realm of consideration of!) a pastor. ;) Hugs to you, friend!

  • Hahaha! This might be my favorite post of yours to date, Erin! I will definitely be using this thought process to sort through the clutter in my closet this weekend! :)

  • So funny that you posted this just yesterday as, in going through old clothes just this past weekend, found that one of our cat’s had puked on a few things. Yep they were tossed without a doubt and I didn’t feel bad about it. Being 5 months pregnant I was not about to sit there and contemplate the task of trying to wash the items….

  • Love this. I have a tough time getting rid of ‘sentimental’ items that are better left as memories too. love that this leaves no gray area and is much more clear than whether it brings me joy or not.

  • Thanks for the chuckle! You asked a good question. The same can be said for when a basement floods – which many did about a month or two ago. Some people had the sewer back up and other just rain water overflow; but still, wet. So people asked themselves, it is worth drying out, or cleaning? Or it is all trash? And, why have I kept it this long just to throw away? Or not stored it properly? So, asking yourself, if my basement flooded (or if the dog threw up), would I still want to keep this? :)

  • What a novel way to think of this! I finally gave away 5 bags of my twin daughters homecoming and prom dresses and shoes. They’ve been in college for 3 years now – no going back to that style. Now to turn my eyes on my own boarding on hoarder’s madness. I will start to ask that question, even though the dog lives with them. Thanks! BTW, I enjoy your style & will visit again!

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