When her father passed away my friend Ching found herself facing a 2 story, 4 bedroom, 3 bath, family room, full kitchen and back dining room, formal dining room, living room, den and 2 car garage house with 45+ years worth of possessions to purge.
Not an easy task. Neither from the emotional point of view nor from the huge amount of physical effort involved. This was a big scale project that needed some planning before starting.
When working on goals that need repetitive tasks there are two possible approaches.
The first is the serial method: start a piece, work on it, finish the whole first piece, work on the next one, keep going one by one until all the pieces are done. The other one is the parallel work: do one type of work for every piece, do the next bit for every piece and so forth until all the pieces are finished.
Should Ching work room by room until the house was empty or should she do it by type of objects from each room?
In this case Ching started by macro purging dividing stuff into three main categories:
- - things that she would keep (stay)
- - things that were still useful but not for her (give)
- - things that were no longer useful (trash)
The first step was to tackle what she could easily reach, moving large objects and trashing what she could without having the large refuse bins that construction sites have.
That made some much needed space to finally have room to manouver around and out of the house. The process included dealing with what family and friends wanted, what charity organizations were willing to pick up, and getting rid of the rest.
With this first macro purge she created the floor space to start sorting through the items she had set aside in boxes for a second keep, trash or donate cycle. It's at this stage that she could finally go room by room, staying vendor specific. For example, she pulled out all towels to donate to Women's Center DownTown to use in their kitchens. The rest of the items were sorted downstairs in triage based on which party was coming to pick it up.
In this refined cycle she kept the calls to each of the organizations to a minimum as those were a lot of her Saturdays and days off when she needed to be at home waiting for the trucks to arrive, then direct the removal of the items in the house.
The garage was treated as a separate project because there was a lot of hazardous chemicals etc that needed to be disposed of properly which meant a lot of research on the matter.
If you are planning to move:
+ do your research first (recollecting times, maximun weights, recycling facilities in the area)
+ take big things out of the way first
+ process objects in three lanes: keep, give, trash
+ enlist the help of family and friends
+ take breaks and eat as healthy as possible
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou