Inside: Learn how to ruthlessly purge your house of junk to enjoy a more simplified space!

Do you feel like your house is starting to become full of junk?

Are you hanging onto too much stuff that you’ll probably never use again?

Has clutter become a huge problem in your life?

It might be time to ruthlessly purge your house of junk.

If you aren’t sure how to purge stuff from your home, but you’re ready to make a change and transform your life, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn how to purge your house – even when it feels hard – and declutter your space.

Are you really ready to be ruthless to purge your house of junk?

Now, before you begin, you’ve got to ask yourself one question.

Are you ready to be ruthless?

When it comes to decluttering and purging, many people approach the task like it’s going to be easy. And then they end up holding onto tons of stuff they thought they’d be able to part with.

But if you’re really trying to purge your house of junk, you’ve got to be ready to sever the emotional ties you’ve made to the stuff you own and let it go. 

When your goal of having a clutter-free space becomes more important to you than holding onto all of the things, you’re ready to be ruthless in decluttering your stuff.

Some people who are really ruthless will end up doing extreme decluttering and have very dramatic results. Even if you don’t want to take it to quite that degree, you can still make a big impact on your home.

How do you know when it is time to purge junk?

You might be wondering, “Do I really need to purge my house of junk?” 

If you’re asking that question, the answer is probably, “Yes.”

Most of us keep too much stuff in our homes without even thinking about it.

Keeping less clutter around can bring lots of benefits. They include: mental clarity, better focus, and less stress, not to mention less time spent cleaning. 

You’ll definitely benefit from purging junk in your home – so why not start today?

how to purge your house

Why does decluttering and purging my house seem so hard?

The idea of decluttering your home and purging your house of junk can seem overwhelming and even a little bit scary. Change is hard and it takes work to create a decluttered space.

We develop a sense of attachment to the things that we own, especially if we’re dealing with any kind of scarcity in our lives. 

But one thing’s for sure – as overwhelming as it might feel, you can absolutely figure out how to purge stuff from your house as long as you’re committed to making a change.

How do I start purging junk from my home?

The hardest part about purging junk from your house can be getting started. Fortunately, all it takes is a single step to start building momentum and ultimately transform your space into a clutter-free, junk-free sanctuary.

The best way to start purging junk from your home is by starting. Get the 5 Areas to Declutter in 10 Minutes to help you to begin making progress right away!

After you start on some easy areas in your home, then move through room by room to ruthlessly declutter the junk in your home.

Have a plan for what you’re going to do with unwanted items.

If you think you have so much junk you need a trash-hauling solution, like a rentable dumpster, go ahead and look into renting one.

Do you think you’ll want to hold a yard sale and try to turn a profit off of your stuff? If so, that’s fine, but realize that it will take longer to achieve the clutter-free space of your dreams.

Responsibly donate the items that are still in good usable condition. Using your local Buy Nothing group or giving to trusted organizations in your area are great options.

By making a plan and having a checklist of steps to follow, you can stay on track and declutter your house for good.

how to purge your house

How to get ruthless when decluttering junk!

Ready to start decluttering your junk? It’s time to get ruthless.

And by that, I mean – it’s time to make some hard decisions. Say “no,” and get rid of some of the stuff you’ve been holding onto. 

Not quite sure how to take a ruthless approach to decluttering your junk and purging your house?

Think about the fact that you’re labeling it junk.

If the things that filled your home were all valuable, you wouldn’t call it junk – and you wouldn’t be thinking about purging it.

Somewhere, subconsciously, you’ve recognized it’s time for that stuff to go.

Don’t start your junk purge with the sentimental stuff

It certainly can be hard to get rid of some things, especially items that evoke strong memories or come with sentimental ties.

Make it easy for yourself to build momentum when purging your house by starting with the easy stuff – old magazines, a closet full of clothes you never wear, or something else you truly don’t care about.

When was the last time I used/thought/needed it?

If you’re having a hard time parting with a specific item, ask yourself, “When was the last time I actually used this? When was the last time I needed it?” 

You can sometimes make yourself see a little bit of logic and reason by asking those straightforward questions. You can’t argue that you need that spatula if it’s one of six in your kitchen and you haven’t used it in at least six months.

Don’t cry over “spent money,” It’s already spent

Some people struggle to get rid of stuff because they see it as throwing away money. You bought it, after all! Getting rid of it is essentially throwing that hard-earned money into the trash… right?

While it isn’t ideal, there’s no use crying over money that’s been spent. It’s already gone. You aren’t getting it back, and if you aren’t using the stuff you spent it on, you aren’t getting any value out of it and it’s just taking up space.

It ends up serving as a reminder of past purchase regrets and nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life.

If it’s junk, broken, and you haven’t fixed it by now, you aren’t going to!

Are you one of those people who holds onto stuff that’s only a little broken, convinced you’re going to fix it one day?

Chances are, that day never comes – and that’s one of the ways you’ve accumulated so much clutter and junk in your home.

If you’ve been holding onto stuff that you could fix but simply haven’t, stop trying to convince yourself that you will. Either do it, or get rid of it. 

If it’s still packed from your last move, let it go

Still have items packed in boxes from your last move? It’s time to let that stuff go. If you haven’t bothered to access those items in years, then clearly they aren’t very important to you.

People have a tendency to hold onto items for someday when…, but, often, someday never comes and they’ve used up valuable space in their home for years storing extra stuff.

Holding onto excess stuff can keep you from fully embracing your life now. It also means more things to move and maintain.

Tips to keep junk from building up again 

Once you’ve finally managed to declutter your home and purge your house of junk, you’ve got to find a way to keep it that way forever. The last thing you want is to undo your hard work and find yourself in the same mess you were in before. 

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent junk and clutter from building up in your house ever again.

Why am I buying this and is it “junk”?

Before you make a purchase, ask yourself why you’re buying it. Is it something you need? A planned and budgeted purchase? Or is it just something you want – something you’re going to forget about entirely in a few days?

Sometimes, you might realize what you’re about to buy is junk – or will become junk quickly enough. In those situations, moving on and saving your money is the wisest course of action.

Learn to shop more intentionally to keep clutter from piling back up in your home.

Do I want it or do I need it?

Another way to determine whether or not a purchase makes sense is to ask yourself – is it something you want, or something you truly need?

While you don’t have to deny yourself of all ‘wants,’ the things you need to buy should clearly take precedence – and shouldn’t contribute significantly to junk or clutter in your house.

how to purge your house

One in one out rule

If you have lots of a specific type of item, like shoes, clothes, or bakeware, an easy way to keep your collection under control is to embrace the “one in one out” rule.

Every time you buy a new piece to add to your collection, get rid of one. Sell it or donate it, if possible. Make room for whatever you’re adding so you don’t end up in a situation where you’re surrounded by junk.

Wait at least 24 hours for new purchase

A good way to keep yourself in check is to wait at least a full day before deciding if you’re going to make a big purchase.

By giving yourself time to truly think about it, you’ll gain clarity and be more likely to avoid making a poor purchasing decision.

Benefits of purging your home of junk:

There are many benefits that come with purging your home of junk. As painful as the actual process might be initially, you’ll certainly enjoy the rewards that come from a cleaner home, like…

Enjoy Your Home More

With less clutter and mess around, you’ll be surprised to see how much more you enjoy relaxing at home. A clean, organized space can be uplifting and calming – unlike a cluttered, junk-filled space, which can cause stress and anxiety.

Home Functions More Efficiently

When your home contains only the items that you actually love and use, everything is more efficient. Cooking, cleaning, working, relaxing – everything becomes easier.

There’s simply less to distract and deter you from what you’re actually trying to do.

Less Money Wasted

If you live in a cluttered home that’s filled with junk, it can be hard to even know what is in your house. 

Sometimes, you might find yourself buying stuff you know you already own – but simply can’t find. And that’s a real waste of money that can be avoided if you can manage to purge your house of junk.

It feels great to get rid of junk!

Purging your house of junk might sound scary, but once you get started, you’ll be amazed to see just how amazing it can feel to live in a clutter-free space. Not only will your space benefit from this shift, but your mind will, too! 

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  1. Great article Julianna! One thing that had really helped me to Declutter ruthlessly is that feeling you get right after you donate, trash or sell something. It’s gone! It wasn’t so hard! You feel lighter! It’s GREAT!
    Instead of letting things eat me down and waffling about whether or not to get rid of them, I’m just free!

  2. Julianna,
    Help! I have probably at least 300 books I have accumulated over the years. How do I ruthlessly start getting rid of most of them? Do I donate them to thrift shops? Do I take them to a used book store that may give me a few cents for each one? I have no desire to carry them along to our next home.

    1. Hi Joanna. I’d go with whichever option you feel best about. If you want to get a little money back, feel free to take them to a used book shop, but if you’d rather just be able to drop them all off and make it really easy, then donate. You could even save some of your favorites to put in a neighborhood library to share with others in your community.

      1. I remember taking multiple boxes of books to a used book store on Portage Ave in Winnipeg. He told me to leave them with him and come back in a few hours. He only took a few books and suggested a brop them off at the Grace Hospital further down Portage Ave. Now I drop books off at Firehall and they are used for Children Hospital book sale in the spring.

    2. Dear Joanna. Keep a few with real sentimental value. Realize that you won’t re- read most of them. You can borrow them (from a library) or easily buy them again would you ever feel the need in future. Donate to a thrift shop selling books ( not all do) or give them away. Selling them isn’t worth it; they will give you peanuts for the 10 best ones and send you home with the rest. Enjoy the empty shelves. Your mind will open up to other information and books, inspiring you in your life.

    3. Theres websites like Pango Books where you can sell them for more than bookstores will give you!

      1. When you have a hard time parting with something that is “sentimental” I found that if I take a picture I can still hold the memory but give the item away to be re-loved by someone new.

        1. This really does work… Because most of the time we’re really looking at the spines of these books… Sometimes for many years without actually picking them up.

    4. Joanna, I too have more books than I could hope to read in a lifetime. I put some aside, that I have read and enjoyed. I give them to friends and ask them to pay it forward, don’t return it. Anything else you have read goes to charity. Same with anything that you have started and can’t get into, you probably won’t. Having said this I am still struggling to let them go. Also I am not going to buy any books unless it’s for book club. Hopefully it’s a start

    5. I donated most of mine to 3 different libraries – one being in an assisted living facility. They were thrilled!

    6. Depending on the books, you can donate them to your local library. Also, senior centers and assisted living facilities often have little libraries that need replenishing. You could donate them there.

    7. Most public libraries will take donated books, CDs and DVDs. They usually have a book sale once a year to raise funds for library programs. Check with your local library to see if they do this, then donate your books.

    8. Most public libraries have a book store of used books that they sell very reasonably.
      Sell to used book companies online. Some pay postage as well.

    9. I actually had every book that 2 of my favorite authors had written. And had read them several times! A member of my Church had started a small bookstore, Christian, and since both authors were, I donated!! it felt SOOOO good!! Just my opinion!!

    10. I had a lot of books last year. I ended up sorting into categories and donating that way.

      Young readers went to daycares and elementary school libraries

      Self help books went to women shelters.

      Novels went to public libraries and high schools.

      I also sorted other books to nursing homes and jails.

      1. Thanks for mentioning and remembering to donate books to those who are incarcerated. Many lives have been enlightened, informed, and even turned around through a prison library.

    11. See if your local library has a Friends of the Library group. Our friends group has a used book sale area at our library where they sell donated books. The money raised is used to enhance the library offerings. It is a great place to shop for books too. They most expensive book is $3!

    12. Low income housing usually have bookshelves for book exchanges between residents. They would love fresh supply I am sure.

    13. I don’t know where you live, but our fire halls take books and twice a year they have a book sale as a fund raiser for the Children’s Hospital. Much better experience than when I carted 6 boxes of books to used book store. He told me to come back in a few hours. He purchased about 3 books so back into the car. Luckily one of our local hospitals was a few miles down the street and remembered they had a box inside the front door to collect books for their annual book sale fund raiser.

    14. If you have children’s books you can donate them to a school. See if a retirement home has a library you could donate to them.

    15. If you take them to your local library, you can get rid of them and keep them, too – because they will be accessible there. And, the answer to the objection that you would have to drive across town to use them is that you don’t currently use them.

    16. I sold some of mine using the site to find buyers for my books first. after that, call around to thrift stores and sometimes libraries if they take donations. if there are any little libraries in your neighborhood, there is an option. be prepared though, you may just have to trash them.

  3. My most difficult things to declutter are some things that belonged to my mother and photos. I have asked my daughters if they want anything and mostly the answer is no. There are a couple of things that I have decided to give them. My Mom had a lot of jewelry and mostly nice jewelry. I want her things to be appreciated and loved like I do. It sounds silly but that is how I feel. What are your suggestions for moving on from her things?

    1. I had the same problem. I took the Jewlery and decorated picture frames and then put a picture of my mother in it. I gave one to all my children. You can go on Pinterest to get ideas to do this

    2. I was going to go through my mother in laws photos and copy some and make a binder for each of my daughters with a little family history. My grandmother had labeled some of her jewelry for which family member she wanted to have it. I thought of taking some to a jewelery shop that can take the stones and put in a setting that would be more my taste.

  4. Hi Julianna,
    Thanks for a great article. I struggle with what to do with things once I’ve decluttered so end up with a garage full of boxes. Some things are things people would like and too good to throw away, others are high quality clothing items or household things I feel I could sell for good money, and sometimes do, but then there’s the effort of selling them. So I keep holding on. Can you advise on the post decluttering distribution as that’s what I find hardest. Thanks, Cat

      1. This is the most confusing thing for me, when my friends talk about the reselling of their goods that they are finished with. I don’t understand this. How much money do you hope to gain from an item you probably didn’t pay much for in the first place and secondly, you took the most valuable part of the item’s life of usage- when it was new. My friend couldn’t declutterfor almost 10 years because she just couldn’t find the “appropriate” time for the sale. Assuming you don’t actually need the money and assuming it’s not a valuable antique, one word-DONATE. I could not keep quiet with my friend and she finally saw the light, and her house is beautiful beyond belief now. So many wasted years…..

        1. I think it depends on what you’re reselling. Some people enjoy the process and like a yard sale, those bits of money add up. That said, it works for some people and not others so knowing yourself and whether or not it is worth your time and effort is key.

    1. What about donating clothing and household things to a women’s shelter or organization that helps them find homes and jobs?

    2. Find a resale shop in your community which supports causes you believe in. They always appreciate clean, quality items to re-sell.

  5. Find a few local places that accept donations for each kind of thing; I.e: old blankets and towels go to the animal shelter, books to the spring library book sale, worn shoes and other textiles to the green bin, household items to the women’s shelter on the first Saturday of the month etc. Then label a box for each place (if you have the space). And then take it to that place when the box is full.

  6. My daughter in law and I were just talking about purging our houses yesterday and how my son and my hubby aren’t ready. We said we were going to send the guys out and do it, LOL. I have Fridays off and one Friday I cleaned my desk area, it felt really good afterwards. I told my hubby that I may just need to pick a space each Friday and purge it.

    1. I have been on a roll purging, but my husband is not on board. How do we get our husbands to get on board and purge also? My husband always says to leave his stuff alone. I get discouraged.

      1. You should respect his wishes. Would you want him to get rid of you stuff you hold dear? Maybe you can come to an agreement with some areas decluttered and others where he can keep things which might be useful every once in a while.

  7. You talk about decluttering and then you mention trashing items. So what you are doing is decluterring a specific home and cluttering up the Earth instead. Responsible decluttering includes finding new homes and being responsible for what we purchased. There are may Facebook sites that have “Buy Nothing groups” Does it take a bit longer? Yes. I gave away 400 items in the course of a year. All in new homes, appreciated by new owners. We need to act responsibly.

    1. Also, finding someone in a Buy-Nothing group who *really* wants an object takes the sting out of parting with something you have loved. Very different from taking it to the thrift bin.

  8. I feel frustrated at reading so many columns and seeing so many videos about decluttering and downsizings that focus solely on getting over the emotional ties to STUFF. I don’t have that problem. I have a huge house that contains too much stuff — good stuff and junk — and I don’t care about most of it. My issue is how can I get rid of it all so I can move to a smaller place? It is so daunting. I just want someone else to take care of selling, donating and throwing away all my stuff. I would love to make a bit of cash as Lara Spencer does for people on “Everything But the House”. Does such a service actually exist? Advice needed!

    1. While options vary by location you definitely could hire a professional declutterer/organizer to help you do that. There are also junk collection companies who will come remove items from your home. Best wishes!

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