Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Going on a Junk Raid!

OK!  The time has come! 

Are you ready????

If that's a YES

I'm going to assume that you've: 

1- Talked to your spouse and family

2- Set your space priorities with a written plan
3- Scheduled small jobs in on your calendar
4- Gathered and labeled 5 containers (like this?)

And now we're off!

And to help you with this, I have my wonderful friend Emily who let me come over and take pictures of her and I dejunking and then organizing her linen closet...just to help you SEE how it is done.

Here is Emily's Linen Closet before we started.

You might say "That doesn't look bad!" 
And you're right.
I've seen a lot worse and I'm sure you have as well.

But I think this is an even better example of how 
you can take good and make it great.
And besides...the same principles apply no matter 
how messy your space might be to start with.



and when I say TOUCH, I mean you need to physically handle each item, one at a time and hold it in your hand.

I have just recently read Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and while I did not necessarily agree with everything she had to say (more on that in another post), one thing she and I agree completely on is the need to touch every item. She says

"...the trick is to handle each item. Don't just open your closet and decide after a cursory glance that everything in it gives you a thrill. You must take each outfit in your hand. When you touch a piece of clothing (I would add when you touch any item...clothing or not) your body reacts. Its response to each item is different. Trust me and try it."

I have found it to be a completely true statement...when you touch an item and hold it in your hand and feel it on your skin and think for just a minute about that item, it makes it so much more easy to make decisions about it's worth and usefulness. I don't know why it works, but I know it does.

One mistake people make in dejunking is, like Marie says, they just open their closet or cupboard and glance in to see if there are things that can be gotten rid of. Sure, they find a few things. But it really doesn't do the same thing has handling each item individually. I don't know how to say it any more emphatically. Just trust me on this...TOUCH every single item, no matter how silly that sounds. And when I say touch, don't just glance a finger over it. It needs to be held in your hands and evaluated, even if just for a few seconds.

Here's a picture of Emily touching an item in her linen closet.

See how the blanket was in a plastic bag? I had her unzip the bag and touch the blanket. And when you touch an item, what are you supposed to do next?


1. Do I like this item and use it often?

Marie Kondo would say "Does this item bring me joy?"

One of the reasons I really liked Marie's book is the simpleness of this question and the concept behind it. We all know, when we think about it, exactly what she is talking about.  We all own things that really do bring us joy. We purchased a really cute top and every time we wear it we get compliments and feel pretty! Or we received a really great cheese knife for a wedding gift and it works so wonderfully that we tell all our friends about it! In fact, every time we cut cheese with it we are practically bursting with happiness at how well it works and how much we enjoy using it. Do you know what I mean? Or maybe we ordered a book on Amazon, not really sure if we wouldd like it, and it's ended up being one of our most favorite books of all time. We reread it often and enjoy it each time.  That's what Marie means by "Does this item bring me joy?" and that's what I mean by "Do I like this item and use it often?"  If you evaluate your possessions with these questions, it will help a lot on your journey to know whether you should keep it or discard it.

2. Do I need this item or could I use something else instead?

A need is different than a want, right? 

Basic needs:  food, water, shelter, clothes, love?

Because we are living in the middle of the Affluence Curse, it's beyond difficult to determine exactly what a need is. I'm pretty sure we could all look around our homes and say "most of this isn't a NEED." So let's adjust our thinking on this question....

Do I need 4 years worth of Martha Stewart magazines or could I just throw them all out and start over with next month's edition, recognizing that 80% of magazines are advertisements anyway and subject matters in magazines frequently repeat themselves?

Do I need 23 cardigans stacked neatly on the closet shelf (even if they all fit well) OR could I just pick my 5-6 absolute most favorites and let the others go?

Do I need a special kitchen gadget to peel an orange or core a pepper (even if they work fine?) or can I just use a good sharp knife instead?

Ask yourself honestly....do I NEED this?

3. Does it work like it should (is it missing parts/pieces, doesn't fit right, etc.)?

Nothing's worse than putting together a puzzle, only to find 1 or 2 pieces missing from the box. Ugh!

Or how frustrating is it when you pull out the Monopoly Game and the Park Place property card is missing? and there are only 9 $100 bills instead of 20?

What about that sweater you bought at the hip and chic Colorado ski resort a few years back that ended up being so itchy you can't even wear it for an hour without going crazy!?

What about the old boom box that won't play CD's anymore, no matter how much you beg and bribe it to but you are sure someday, somehow you'll be able to fix it? (Never mind that we all have ipods and iphones and NO ONE uses CD's anymore!)

When things don't fit or work properly, they are adding negatively to your life. It's time to let them go and be free of all the hassle and frustration!

4. If my house was destroyed, would I replace this item with money out of my own pocket? 

Even though some joke occasionally about how liberating it would be if someone were to just set their home on fire and let them start over in the "acquiring of possessions" department, the sad truth is that that does happen sometimes. And it is devastating.  The only reason I bring this up here is to talk about what happens when someones house burns to the ground (and they were wise enough to have home owners insurance?) 

The cost of rebuilding their home is covered (called the "Dwelling" in official insurance terms)

and so are the contents of your your home ("Personal Property" in the official language) along with any liability you might have to neighbors' property and your loss of use (hotel costs, etc. for while your house is being rebuilt).

After the fire, what will happen is a family's insurance agent will contact them and ask for a general itemized list of furniture, appliances, clothing, and household items (the contents of your home! how hard would that be?) and then will reimburse for those items up to a specific dollar amount (somewhere in the $200,000-$400,000 range.)

So, to make it really simplified, at some point All-State or State Farm or Geiko or whomever you are insured with, would write you a check for, let's say, $300,000. And that money would be yours to decide how you would spend it and what you would buy again.

Obviously you'd buy beds, couches, pots and pans, sheets and towels, etc. 

BUT would you replace ALL 18 of your pots and pans....or would you buy one nice 6 piece set and a medium-sized teflon frying pan?  

Would you buy 5 extra sets of queen size bed sheets? or would you just buy 2? one for your bed and one to spare?

Would you buy 5 wire whisks and 7 rubber spatulas or just a couple each if you really cook a lot?

Would you buy 32 pairs of socks or just enough for 10 days plus a laundry day?

These are the kinds of questions you have to ask yourself when you are dejunking! 

Ultimately you are asking:


The reality is, when you think of it in terms of money going straight out of your pocket to purchase an item, there are a LOT of things most of us would not replace.

And if that's the case with you and your specific possessions, don't keep them! Let it go and be free!

5. Is there someone else out there who could use this item and appreciate it more than I do?

I love working with all sorts of different people in the process of helping them dejunk and geting control of their spaces. And if there's one thing I know, everyone has different personalities, history, experiences and desires. We all have different things that "speak to us" in different ways than they might touch others.

For some people that are dejunking, one of the things that helps them let things go is knowing that, even though a particular item in their home is still working and useful, there are people out there who could use it and enjoy it even more than they do. And sometimes that thought really helps them in the process of saying good-bye to something they deem valuable.

For example:

Let's say you are a big Nike fan and have lots of running shoes that have plenty of wear left. 

Nike shoes are expensive and comfortable, no doubt about either of those things. You paid good money for them and even though you realize no one really needs 16 pairs of shoes, you have figured out a way to store them in your closet without too much problem.

But what if I told you that there was a person out there who didn't have a single pair of running shoes and could really use them? Could you give a pair or two up to them?  Yes! most of us would in a heartbeat.

So, let's just assume when we are dejunking that there are a LOT of people out there who don't have and can't afford to buy the things that we have.  

If we are dejunking and can see that we have an abundance and that in getting rid of some of our things we could really help someone else, let's do it right?

Let's ask ourselves 

Is there someone else out there who could use this or appreciate it more than I do?

and then let's let it go and make someone else's day brighter and more enjoyable!

It feels oh so good to bless other people AND help ourselves at the same time! That's called a WIN-WIN, ladies and gentlemen!

Oh! and remember!  We talked before that you cannot and SHOULD NOT take on the job of FINDING this "someone else" person that could really use your stuff! That's silly and ridiculous, remember??  SO, hand your beautiful frames, books, games, George Foreman grill or running shoes over to the Womens Shelter or Salvation Army and let them help you find the person that needs it more than you!

to review...
since that was a lot of information

While on a Junk Raid y
ou are going to:

1-Touch every single item and...

2-Ask yourself these questions:
  1. Do I like this item and use it often? Does it bring me JOY?!
  2. Do I need this item or could I use something else instead?
  3. Does this item work like it should? Is it missing any parts or pieces, doesn’t fit right, etc.?
  4. If my house was destroyed, would I replace this item with money out of my own pocket?
  5. Is there someone else out there who could use this item and appreciate it more than I do? 

And then place the items in the appropriate, 
labeled bags or boxes 

Here are Emily's bags as we were working:

Can you see here that she didn't have any papers in her linen closet but she did have a LOT of expired prescription medications that needed to be discarded properly? SO early on in our work that day, we decided the papers box was going to be the place for those medications that would need special attention at the end of the day.  Later Emily was able to take them to a local pharmacy that collects and disposes of expired medications.

And after all that,



For your 2 or 2-1/2 hours that day, you have to stay focused! Turn off your phones! Put a "Do not Disturb" sign on the front door! Take care of any and all distractions before you get started and then stick with the job for the whole time! You'll be amazed and how much you can get done when you stay right there and attack it!

Good luck!! YOU CAN DO IT!


Next Post:  Organizing (there's THAT word!) After a Junk Raid


  1. Where's Emily's linen closet "after" picture???

  2. I'm really enjoying your blog posts! I read the Marie Kondo book last year and went through SO many things in my home in the last few months. There's more to do though. I'm looking for some time SOON that I can set aside to go through things again. =)