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How a girl who grew up in a third-world country could accumulate massive quantities of junk is beyond me.  I am ashamed.  I have been known to hoard things: unnecessary things; rainy day things; sunny day things; miscellaneous, random, where-did-this-come-from things.  What can I say?  Life happens.  Babies happen.  Ten years of marriage happen.  Busy lives and transitions happen.  And the next thing you know…you’ve got stuff.  Even in a small home.

The thing about accumulating junk in a small house is that you notice it a lot more quickly because, well, space is limited.  And before you know it, that little pile of junk has become a mountain of junk.  It’s scary.  The temptation that I struggle with in moments like these is to start entertaining thoughts like, “This house just isn’t big enough anymore,” or “I can’t handle this cramped space.  We need a bigger place.”  Thoughts like this happen when you live in a small house.  It’s inevitable.  However, thinking like this can be a distraction from the bigger issue- the hoarding of useless junk.

After I’ve put the “I-need-a-bigger-house” thoughts out of my mind, I can start tackling the mountain before me.

As a rule of thumb I go through my house 2-3 times a year and do a massive purge: clothes, old toys, papers, magazines, and miscellaneous things that find their way into my home.  Now that my kids are getting older, and we seem to be bringing unbelievable quantities of papers and binders home throughout the year, I find that a good paper purge is in order on a daily – yes, I said daily – basis.  The paper alone will eat up your house and spit you out if you don’t keep it under control.  This I promise you.

Small-space living calls for some serious de-junking of your life.  It’s the only way to survive.  And I might add, the more you get rid of the more free you will feel.  Simplifying is rewarding in more ways than one.

De-Junking the House 101:

  • EXPOSE your junk!  Go through your house and open up closets, cabinets, drawers. and kitchen pantry.  Pull things out from under the bed.


  • ASSESS what you have and start making piles.


  • KEEP anything that you use regularly or absolutely love.


  • DONATE anything that is in good condition that you no longer need/use.  Bag items up and haul to Goodwill/Salvation Army or any other non-profit organization that will receive donations.


  • SELL any items that could possibly put a little extra $$ in your pocket.


  • THROW AWAY anything that is broken, torn, over-used, or stained.


It’s a simple practice – EXPOSE, ASSESS, KEEP, DONATE, SELL, THROW AWAY.  Next week we’ll take a more focussed look at closet purging and how to bring your kiddos along for the ride, turning the process into teachable moments.  Join me for Part 2 of getting rid of that junk! :)

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