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The Great Holiday Purge


The holidays are looming in front of us and if you are anything like me, I obsess about cleaning when I know that family and friends will be visiting.  It’s not to say that my house is a mess the rest of the year. On the contrary, it’s usually fairly neat and tidy.  I do have a tendency to drop things on the kitchen table and accumulate piles of paperwork I need to organize, but other than that, I can have people drop over unannounced and feel confident they won’t run screaming from my abode.  However, like most individuals, I seem to accumulate way too much stuff. It’s hiding in closets, drawers, cupboards, in the basement and even in my studio/office/witchy cottage. Now, with the threat of hosting my first Thanksgiving in years, I’m spurred into action. The Great Holiday Purge has begun.

If you’ve ever attempted to rid yourself of year’s of accumulated stuff, you understand how difficult it may be.  First, there is convincing yourself that a purge is actually needed.  My internal conversation goes something like this:

“It’s not that bad. I think I can shove one more thing into this closet and still be able to get into it.”   Then there is the, “I know I can close this drawer. Wait. Nope, not happening. Too much stuff.”  Then there is my all-time favorite “If I push really hard I can put XYZ into this cupboard.” – then try to open it later to have half of the contents fall out. Finally, it’s “Hmm, maybe I really do need to get rid of some stuff.”

Success, phase one is complete.  I’ve actually convinced myself that I need to start the purge. Now the second phase, a phase fraught with pitfalls, self-coercion, frustration, lots of swearing and sometimes a few tears.  It is the “choosing what goes” phase. Trust me, this is the most critical and most difficult phase to complete.

My personal strategy for phase two is to pick one area, say the bedroom closet, and pull everything out of it.  I mean everything. Clothes, shoes, bins, whatever is currently in the closet, take it out.  When done there should be nothing but bare closet (or organizer if you are fortunate enough to have one).  Then one by one, pick up each item. Really look at it.  Do you still love it?  Have you used it in the past year?  Does it fit? Is it torn, broken, 20 years out of style? Does it make you happy? As you go through this process create three piles,  one to keep, one for items to throw out (for broken or beyond repair items), and one for donations to a local charity.  Once you’ve got everything sorted, go through your “keep” pile again, but even more critically.  Really look at each and every item.  After looking at it again do you still want it?  Do you truly need it?  Don’t hesitate, follow your gut and then choose wisely.

Last, but most important, when you’ve completed your piles, get rid of them.  Throw it out!  Place your items to donate into a bag and place them in your car – and try to get to the donation center before the holidays are over. Move all your “keep” items neatly back into the assigned closet, drawer or cupboard, after said closet has been vacuumed, dusted or wiped clean of any dirt or debris.

Go to the next closet (or drawer or cupboard) and repeat. Now. Just do it.  Don’t forget to include a magickal purge as well. Get into your coven room, shed, sacred space or altar box and clean! Are there old, half melted candles that need to be disposed of?  Do you really need 12 jars of full moon water?  Is your broom loosing its bristles and falling apart? Do your herbs still smell like an herb or have they lost their scent and need to be replaced? Is that altar cloth looking a little ragged or torn?  Use the same three phases of purging and set your magickal house to rights as well.

Yes, the entire process is time-consuming and frustrating, probably why most of us avoid it like the plague.  It’s also not much fun, unless you are channeling Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory, in which case you more than likely wouldn’t have this issue to begin with.  Fun or not, once you have gone through and purged your little heart out you will be amazed at how great it makes you feel. Personally, I feel freer, my home feels lighter and less crowded and the energy of my space seems to lift and be revived.  I may have wailed and moaned, procrastinated and avoided, but once completed, I have a new sense of pride in my home and myself.

Now, when the relatives descend en masse and your friends drop by to share some holiday cheer. you won’t have to close the bedroom doors and lock the medicine cabinet.  The Great Holiday Purge will have been a success and now your home will be filled with love, instead of junk. Your family will only see the warmth and joy you have to share and you can relax and enjoy this wonderful time of year.

Blessed Be!