Downsizing is also not the word. What I experienced starting last April was so much more. My 50-4-50 list included “Purge 50 items at once,” but The Purge actually encompassed weekly, and sometimes daily, sorting and discarding over five months. It began in my home office area on a Saturday in April. That first purge lasted five hours, included a car trip to a recycling dumpster and half-filled our home’s recycling bin. I shocked myself as I discovered many of the papers I’d stored for so long. After living in our house for 23 years, raising two daughters, obtaining 3 college degrees, and teaching 23 years, the types of papers I’d collected ranged from manuals for kitchen appliances no longer in our home to students’ writing for my research papers to our daughters’ school work to tax returns from more than 10 years ago.

I’m not sure what prompted the first purge, but once I started, I didn’t stop. The Purge also led me to decide I was ready to sell our home and move into a new one. A call to a realtor and a quick purge by Todd and I of some basement items, resulted in us signing a Buyer’s Agent contract and one ticked off daughter. How could we sell her childhood home just as she was leaving for college?

With the prospect of finding a new home, selling our current home, and a move, the urge to purge increased. For the next one-two months, I surveyed every item in our home. “Do I need this? Do I want to move this?” By July, my hope of finding a new home dwindled, but The Purge mindset continued. I enjoyed surprising people with that little something. I gave a former student her 7th grade magazine project from at least 12 years ago. (The Purge spread to include my classroom.) A former colleague discovered an “I Love Cincinnati” magnet on her back porch railing I had planned to give her for at least the last three years. Along with the wooden student desk their mom planned to refinish, bottles of bubbles delighted two young cousins. I wanted to purge and kept purging.

In July when we signed a purchase agreement on a new home and the paperwork to actually sell our home, the purging continued.   Needless to say, by the time we moved at the end of August, I’d purged 50 items more than once. A drawback of The Purge though is that it, and the selling/buying of homes, took precedent over the rest of my 50-4-50 list. I’m still writing in my gratitude journal but my other writing, including blogging, is woefully behind. Now that The Purge is done, I can refocus my energy on attacking that 50-4-50 list. I’ll keep you posted…