Day 1: The Purging Begins


Two things here: 

1. I wanted to let you know that I read nearly 100 pages of this book last night. (The candle is on it to hold down the cover so you can see it fully.)


2. There was no way on earth I was showing my closet in its current state in the first photo!


So here it is in all its ugliness. I will admit I am ashamed to have anyone see it. Thinking back, I don't know that I've ever let something get to this point.

That being said, it is what it is!


This is the closet at the end of my bedroom. It is where I keep my winter clothing and coats. And a bit of everything else!

It also has the shelves, which as you can see, I've taken upon myself to fill to the brim.

I know I cleaned out this closet last summer. But you wouldn't know it by looking at this utter mess, would you?


It is embarrassing. But showing it galvanizes me into action. 

By taking down so many things I had on my apartment walls, all those things had to go someplace. And here is where it all went. 

When I change any decor, this is where everything goes. I don't have an attic. I don't have a basement. I don't have a garage or a shed. This is it, folks. 

Now you see why I'm striving for cozy minimalism.


Someone asked how to join The Urge To Purge series, and there was no way for me to reply to them. So I'll say it here: All you have to do is start purging. 

And if you'd like to join in the discussion, do so in the comments. If you don't want to do that, email me with your progress. 

If you just want to do this and not communicate with the rest of us, that is okay too!

The whole point is just to begin. 

We can talk about our progress on a daily basis. Ask questions, give advice. Whatever you feel is warranted or desired. 

***

As for the book I started, I must say the print could be better in the book. But then I'm noticing more and more that publishers aren't doing such a great job on the editing and publishing of books these days. 

But aside from that, I will say that the pages I have read thus far have spurred me toward feeling much better. I think I might be able to finally climb out of the deep dark hole I've found myself in.


Not only that, seeing other mothers' pain and reading their stories gave me insight and pushed me to understand things that were foggy before. 

I started the book with shaking hands, literally. I didn't know if I could bring myself to read something that I knew would bring pain to the forefront. But I made myself do it.

And oh, I'm so glad that I did!

   
In under 100 pages, I see things with much more clarity than I did before. 

I've gone back and forth for three years wondering where the fault lies. Why this happened. 

And really, that is a futile exercise. Because I'll probably never really know the whole story.

I saw a bit of myself in all of the mothers whose stories you can read about in this book, and have come to some realizations that, had I known to focus on them earlier, would have saved me a lot of sorrow. 


The world has changed, folks. Our era was all about respecting our elders. 

If you read this book, you will read the statistics on what has changed since we were young. 

In doing some research, I have found another book I might want to check into.


I found this on his website:

A SILENT EPIDEMIC

It is not an exaggeration to say that there is an epidemic of parents who have been estranged by their grown children. 

However, because of the shame that parents feel, it is largely silent. It is silent because few parents want to admit that their own child doesn’t want to talk to them, spend time with them, or blames them for how their life turned out.

Check out the website here if you want to know more.

I'm headed back to that closet to dig in! No time like the present.

To all of you, Happy New Year! It is the first day of a new year for new beginnings.

And acceptance for things we cannot change.


56 comments

  1. Oh my gosh...my extra bedroom's closet looks just like that. It's where I put decor items I can't let go of, but are not out on display. Hoping for help on how to let go...

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    1. Mine is now clean! It only took me a couple of hours. I took five big black lawn bags of "stuff" to the corner dumpster in my vintage wagon.

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  2. Brenda, Happy New Year! Thank you for sharing both books with us, as well as your real life closet pics. (I promise I had a closet that looked pretty similar to this one when we lived in a small space, by the way.) I love this purging series that you've begun and will be doing some of the same. Three cheers for new beginnings!

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    1. Cheers! It took a few hours of me wearing shorts and a t-shirt in cold weather (I get really hot when I take on these projects), but I have that closet in order.

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  3. Happy New Year, Brenda! Looks like you are starting 2017 full of fresh resolve to put life in order. So much less stress when we do! The books look very good, and I am glad they are giving you some clarity.
    I am taking down Christmas decorations today...and freshening things up. I have a lot of purging to do this year, too! This week my husband cleaned out a cabinet full of old cleaning supplies and brought them to the recycling center...we have a near empty cabinet now. Inspires me to keep going! Wishing you a Happy 2017, Brenda!

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    1. I hope I never let that closet get that bad again. Now it is cleaned out. Will show pics tomorrow.

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  4. Brenda, I just started a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's a Wisdom book and very thought provoking for me. Not very big,only 140 pages. You might like it ,I do ,it's meaningful to me.

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  5. I'm glad you are getting some clarity from the book. I started on my first space to purge, declutter and organize. It's not going to be a short process but at least I started. I have a box for the thrift shop, some for a friend and some for a church rummage sale in the spring. So it's ongoing but I've started!

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    1. You have to start somewhere. A drawer. A box. Good for you, Linda!

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  6. Happy New Year Brenda and Pupsters!
    I see the challenge in your bedroom closet. Culling through what you want and donate is a personal decision, you do have some cute dishes. I do have a closet for my seasonal decor and a cabinet in the kitchen, so I'm grateful. Now, the books, perhaps I need to read them, especially with the second quote, less respect and with one child, although not with her father. My silence ( it can physically hurt you ) needs to stop and find my self respect by staying my thoughts and concerns.
    Seeing that my husband is home this week, I'll need his help to decide what needs to go in the hall closet.
    Have a wonderful day, Kathleen in Az

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    1. I won't beg to see her anymore. Done with that nonsense.

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  7. I've been sorting, and purging since November...so I'm taking today off. It all started when I needed to find some important papers...and in the process I found 4 bags for the garbage can, 1 bag to shred, and I started to dispose of other tangibles in the process. So, I'm taking one drawer, or shelf, or cupboard at a time. I just need order in my life. It feels so good...and I don't have to do it all at once, I can take my time. I don't want to get burned out in the process. Good luck on the closet! ;)

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    1. Yay for getting this far! I think we get too overwhelmed if we look at the forest and don't see the individual trees!

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  8. Happy New Year, Brenda!! I'm looking forward to your purging series. I'm already pretty good at it, but I know there is always room for improvement.
    All the best ~

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    1. I'm with ya there! I'm done with that project and now my gift to myself is to get to watch HGTV's Tiny House series.

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  9. Just an idea from the photos..maybe actually hang pictures being stored on shelves on the closet walls up high above the shelves. That way, you would have a bit more shelf space.

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  10. I hope you find some healing in the process of reading that book, Brenda. We had a son who was estranged from us for many years...but finally found his way back 'home'...and it has been good for the last few years. Sometimes all you can do is just let them go...because you have no control of anyone except yourself. We found that out as we strove to 'fix' that which was un-fixable....not even knowing what we were trying to fix.
    Blessings to you in the New Year. I have been purging for the past several months. Feels good...so good! xo Diana

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    1. She's 42, so not a youngster pouting. It's painful and it's shaming. Because isn't it always a mother's fault in this society? I'm done with the blame. I hope. Hope I don't slip into that dark hole again...where I feel depressed and anxious and down on my myself.

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    2. I just posted here about my 45 yr old son...and our lack of communication. I have never felt depressed about the situation...I did miss him...but I just couldn't let the anger he had and voiced often, affect me any longer. It's been somewhere around 20 years since he's spoken to me. I know the outside world sometimes looks at us as perhaps a bad person/mother/monster...but you and I both know our own situations...and knowing you from blogging, you're a good person, just like me and many others out there...and you shouldn't get down on yourself. You can't let the situation do that to you. Hugs

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    3. I do empathize and sympathize with you of course, because it hurts deeply. Yes, people can judge us. But they need to remember not to do that until they've walked in our shoes.

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  11. Happy New Year! I laughed at the picture of your closet(s0 that I wouldn't feel so bad about mine) Honesty makes me tell you that every closet in my home looks exactly like that!(or maybe worse???)In November we had someone come and get every single item out of our attic and we went through all of it. We made donations of the good stuff and took a huge trailer load to the dump. That attic is the cleanest room in our home now! Over the next year we hope to do all of the closets, drawers,shelves and the workshop and that attic also. Whew...The book sounds like something very helpful. We are fine with our children, but two of our oldest grandkids don't seem too interested in us or spending time with us. Hurts my heart, but I just pray for them and maybe it will get better some day. Best wishes for this new year. Carolyn in Florida

























    Honesty

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    1. Yes, the pain is somewhat indescribable...

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  12. Happy New Year Brenda. I purge as I go. Especially the last 10 years or so. I open a closet or a drawer and it's full of stuff...even if it is done in an orderly fashion, I purge. It's Oh, so much easier. I just look at stuff and think when did I use/wear/need this last? If it hasn't been in several months, it's gone. I have never "missed" anything I decided to part with, nor have I gone out into the garbage to retrieve anything. So that's good.

    I have a grown son, 45, who hasn'talked to me in at least 20 years. I took alot of guff from him toward the end...and then finally said, I've had enough. I saw him at his older brother's wedding 6 years ago and he barely said hi. But, I can't take back anything I may have said or done [I did apologize] in the past...it wouldn't help if I could. I know I wasn't the BEST mother, but I did the best I could. I was 19 and 20 when I had them.

    Stop by my new blog https://strengtheningmyresolve.blogspot.com/ which just began today. I was at Jan's Place prior...but needed to make some changes to what I was doing with my blog. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the word RESOLVE since coming up with my blog name lastnight. I know it was meant to be.

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  13. You have no idea how many of my close friends find themselves estranged from a child. One friend has a daughter with children that my friend neve met. Another friend's son decided not to communicate or see his dad ever, for no reason! It is painful. You're right to say when were brought up to respect our parents! It's a new world sadly to say, when our adult children find us unimportant to them.

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    1. We are disposable, it seems. Reading about the experience of others sure does help, because you feel so alone. Like the doctor said, an epidemic...

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  14. Happy 2017 Brenda. Hope this year will bring you lots of new adventures and happiness. I just cleaned out my spare closet and gave a lot to Goodwill. Feels good to purge.
    xxoo
    Kris

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    1. It does feel good, Kris. Emotional purging will feel even better I imagine.

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  15. Thank you for this post on the book. I think because it is a silent thing, I didn't even know other people where going though it. I felt all alone and wondered what I had done wrong. I kept making excuses until he was 40 and then just walked away. It's like a sinking ship--you can go down with it or head for shore. Our children make their own decisions as adults--but we don't have to be pulled into them too. It's lonely; it hurts; it is what it is.
    Good start on your purging. I've found instead of trying to say "what don't I love", I sort by picking the thing I love the least. And--Repeat. I better get going on my purging now.

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    1. You're so right. A sinking ship. You can go down with it or swim to shore.

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  16. Congratulations on facing your fears and reading the book. I truly empathize with you so much; I have had similar relations with my only child. My heart has been broken SO many times. I have found it is helpful to know that others are sharing in the same type of experience. The reality is that it is up to us to find ways to lift ourselves up on our own and that is a difficult and rocky path with many ups and downs. Best wishes to you Brenda.

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    1. You are always a parent, and it's hard to just switch that off. I don't think that's possible. You worry about how they may feel about their decision down the line, and you don't want them to hurt. But they are adults. So you have to let it be.

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  17. Your closet actually looks a whole lot better than any closet or cupboard or drawer at my place. I definitely need to purge and organize but it's gonna take baby steps, a little at a time because there's so much to do. My dad stopped talking to me 11 years ago. I know exactly why and none of it has anything to do with me. After a year, I called him, trying to make amends, but by the many things he said in that conversation, I realized I no longer needed or wanted him in my life. Sometimes relationships are really just not meant to be, whether family or not. I don't do drama, that's for sure. Take care and all the best for the new year.

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    1. I never knew my parents. I wondered if this was genetic, my child "abandoning" me too. I read this thought was fairly common from the book. Crazy all the things you come up with to make an excuse for their behavior toward you.

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  18. I have random spots around my house that need a good purging and reorganization! I started on a large closet and it is 80% done....and I stopped for Christmas. Ha! I know, excuses. 😊 I am fine with my parents and my adult children...but I have a sister who has not spoken to me in years. Her choice. It used to hurt, and I get twinges now, but I was told that I cannot fix her or her issues. That somehow freed me from being hurt. Think mean girls in high school. Ha! I also like the quote in the grey box!

    Just finished taking down the Christmas decorations...but they need to go to my embarrassing corner of the basement. You will never see that mess! Ha!

    Sheila

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    1. I hope that I can distance myself from the pain. I'm reading this book to take steps to acceptance. You can't change some things, and all you can do is to accept it.

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  19. I will have to tell my friend about this book. She has been estranged from her daughter for many years and she still grieves over her and wonders what happened. Of all the young people I've met, she was the one I would have least expected to not want a thing to do with her parents after she left home.

    I have started and stopped with the purging so many times. Part of the problem for me is all the paperwork I am buried in. It seems I save every piece of paper that comes into this house. It's so overwhelming to sort through it all. If someone has a good method for tackling this kind of job, I'm all ears!

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  20. I have closets, cabinets, and rooms that look much like your closet. I have cleaned out a ton, but have so much more. I will do a bit each week and carry it to GoodWill or a consignment shop.

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  21. Brenda, looks like a fabulous start to the new year! Purging and understanding...

    Happy New Year friend. :)

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  22. I have started on the bathroom which is where I wanted to start..the deep built in shelves in there will be so useful for storage when I get rid of all the stuff that is cluttering them up...Then the whole room will be getting a deep cleaning...Now that I am sleeping in the daytime and staying up at night to have more time with my son...the night owl...All of you ladies here will probably be finished for the day when I am just getting started...lol...I figure it is not going to be fun..but it is going to be worth it in the end...Excuse me...I believe I hear a bathroom calling my name!

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  23. Good for you for purging your closet! I can only imagine how hard that is when it's literally the only place in your house you have to store stuff. My main living areas are fine; it's my basement that still needs work. For the past couple of years, I've been cleaning and purging down there, but still have a ways to go. Most of it is my household decor stuff.

    I hope reading that book brings you some clarity and peace of mind. Blessings to you.

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  24. Hi Brenda, we cleaned our closets after thanksgiving. It was exhausting and we promised to not let it get that bad again b/c we are gettin' too old for the energy it takes to clean it! LOL BRENDA ...........THANK YOU for sharing the book. Like Sheila, we are good with parents and kids. However, I have a cousin (we grew up like siblings) who has really surprised us in the last 10 years of being really ugly. Not just to my family, but her own as well. She talks bad about her mom in front of us too. We have been struggling so much about what to do. It's useless to give more & more chances. We have to cut ties completely. We are pretty optimistic and positive folks, so that is why this has been so hard. May 2017 give you peace and comfort. I guess at our age we have to love and care from afar. Speaking of a positive note....THANK YOU for your amazing blog, honesty, fabulousNess and adorable pups all year every year. May all your LIGHT and great sense of humor carry you and return to you 10-fold! HAPPY 2017 Brenda, Abi, and Charlie <3

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  25. I just posted...but i wanted to add something; you just gave me clarity! I can more forward with confidence, not second-guess myself! Thanks again!

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  26. Purging is freeing and I suspect it should go on year after year. When we moved to FL last April we left more than a dozen large pieces of furniture and so much else, lots of it going to our kids. And I know that as I unpack after we move back to TN there will have to be much more purged. And sometimes it has to be sneaked out or put in the bottom of the trash sack because R.H. always thinks we may need it someday!

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  27. Thanks for the suggestion of reading this book. I am going to go to my library and see if I can find it there. We have a daughter who has been in and out of our lives for more than 10 yrs now. We have not spoken or seen her in the past two years. I have a hard time sleeping at night wondering how she is or what she is doing. In the past whenever she would come around it would be in a time of crisis and we would help her and then she would just up and leave us with no notice. I have read all the comments here and did not realize how many other parents have gone through this. Thanks for the suggestion of this book and good luck on your purging.

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  28. I think I'm the one that asked you how to join up with purging. Mine actually started before Christmas. We cleaned out our back bedroom. My hubby saves everything especially every little receipt he ever gets, plus old magazines, & other paper. I made him pare all that down & we recycled a bunch of it & donated a lot so we have started. Christmas decorations are down, holidays are over, time to get crackin' again. Next on the list is our master closet, which doesn't look too bad, but there's so much in it I never wear anymore. It needs to go. Next is the bathroom closet. I'm taking on the challenge.

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  29. 2016 was my year of purging and despite taking nearly one trip to the thrift shops (to drop off stuff, not shop) each week, I'm not done. We actually made a run on New Year's Eve of stuff I've been hanging onto because it was passed on to me from family. But, I don't like the things, haven't had them out of the attic in decades and finally said goodbye.

    2017 will still be a purging year.

    Happy New Year

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  30. Brenda I am glad that the book is helpful and healing ; as to your closet I think that you are a mastermind to have fit that all in there ! :)

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  31. I am so glad that book is helping you, Brenda. I can't imagine either of my daughters cutting me out of their life.

    And that closet? Wow, what a great space, can't wait to see it all sorted out!

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  32. I think we all can say we have closets that need purging and organizing....I hope that you find peace in reading that book....Happy New Year!

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  33. I have one storage closet all clean an organized and it sure feels good...working on my clothes closet as we speak...just took a large garbage bag full of clothes to Goodwill...
    I am taking it a little at a time so as not to get overwhelmed..

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  34. I could show you much worse closets at my house! It always seems like a good idea to stuff things in them when someone is coming over and then I never deal with the stuff later. Like you I am off to a good beginning this new year and it really feels good. I hope I can keep it up this time!

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  35. I'm just now finding your purge series, Brenda. It is a freeing experience, letting go of things and getting the rest organized. I look forward to seeing what you do.

    As for your thoughts on parent/adult child estrangement, it has become an epidemic, yes. I think the selfie generation has a lot to do with how adult children view people, in general now. It seems to be all about them and if anything upsets their little apple cart, instead of working through issues in a mature and grown-up fashion, they simply cut people out of their lives. Sadly, we have counselors who are actually giving that advice to them as well. This I know for a fact. I mean, isn't counseling supposed to help people learn how to get along with people? Any coward can shut the door of communication and walk away.

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  36. Just when you feel like you are the only one out there feeling hurt you find out that you are not alone. I've learned you can't make someone change if they don't want to change and all the sympathy in the world doesn't help unless the person sympathizing has experienced the same issues, as someone said earlier, "You have to truly walk in the other person's shoes to understand what they are suffering through." My favorite saying that helps me is "ignorance is bliss...what I don't know can't hurt me." I don't mean not paying attention when the situation is occuring but once everything you know to try fails, then instead of looking for what is happening I avoid contact with the antagonist at all costs.

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She majored in professional writing/journalism in college, where she won awards for her feature writing. She loves to decorate, garden, enjoy nature, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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