The Great Home Purge, Day One

It’s Day One of the Great Home Purge, and I already dodged the first bullet: the “Come Have Fun” text. This is the most dangerous of Home Purge enemies, and if I was really smart, I’d just put my phone away so I was unaware of any and all weekend brunches, trips to the park, notifications of 75% off all-my-favorite-things clearance sales, and invites from friends to come do something far more fun than sort through my pots and pans cupboard.

But no, I am strong.

The second dangerous Home Purge enemy is finding something really cool I forgot about and letting it take precedence on the priority list. Like say I’m cleaning out a linen closet, and I find a box of photos and, instead of completing the linen closet and moving on to another closet, I redirect my attention to the photos and spend the rest of the day arranging ten-year-old photos in chronological order and Googling acid-free album pages for which to store them.

The third Home Purge enemy (oh, this one’s a doozy) is tricking myself into thinking I need a little inspiration to clean, so I tell myself I’m just going to make a quick trip to Homegoods to buy a pretty dish towel or maybe Anthropologie to pick up that wild honeysuckle candle I’ve been sniffing the last three times I was in there. And I convince myself that I cannot begin to clean until I have something to make me want to clean. So I leave the house to buy a dish towel or a candle and I come back four hours later with the dish towel and the candle and a new shower curtain and cool measuring cups and, most importantly, storage bins because surely they’re going to magically organize everything. Except I’m tired after all that shopping. So I light my new candle and lie down.

But no, I am strong. So strong, that I am, in fact, going to cut this post short so I can clean. I’d much rather write than clean. I actually considered redesigning the look of my blog today, because anything sounds more fun than purging.

But no, I am strong.

Heidi just invited me to go antiquing.

“No, I’m cleaning,” I answered robotically (it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done).

“Wow. You’re blowing me off,” she answered. “You’re good. You’re really good.”

I am so strong. I’m doing this.

A few bits from the last couple days:

Brett and I took Nella to have lunch with Lainey yesterday. Instead of eating at the picnic tables outside with just us, Lainey asked if we could join her friends. I love that she wanted this.



And then she proudly showed Nella around.




They watched a movie together last night in Nella’s room. The novelty of a seven-inch screen amused them.


Friday Phone Dump:

Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram iPhone app (free) and dropped into a 12×12 collage using a photo editing software (Photoshop Elements works). I am @etst (enjoying the small things) on Instagram if you care to follow the feed.


And your #enjoyingthesmallthings photos. (If you use Instagram and have a photo that makes you happy, share it by using the hashtag #enjoyingthesmallthings. Yours may be chosen to be shared in a Friday post.)


Happy Weekend!


Cue Rocky Theme Song. Cue Garbage Bags. Cue me, fully armored, headin’ out to PURGE.


Leave a Comment
  1. I so love those pants Nella has on! Good luck purging. I started about 2 weeks ago. have lots more to do. Happy Weekend!!

  2. I am all too familiar with the excuses to avoid the Home Purge. I’m hoping taking the few minutes to read about YOU getting motivated to purge will get me off the computer and into our cupboards!

  3. I just cleaned out my dingy basement the other day — after procrastinating for a good six months because it’s such an awful job. My in laws came over, took the kids, and said Go Clean!! Oy! Took a few hours but it was well worth it. Hope you don’t get distracted today 😉

  4. Oh, I know that spring is the time for cleaning, but something about summer coming to a close has me in a purging mood too!

    And what better time than before the holidays!

  5. I’m doing the same today. So far just going in circles because there is So Much To Do, but my intentions are grand and my afternoon/evening plans just fell through, so I’ve no excuses. Let the good times roll.

  6. Your Fall cleaning spree is just the inspiration I need to get going on my own. I have some mini-projects I want to do but I can never seem to get enough done during the day. I spend way too much time on Pinterest looking up pictures of “wall decor” and pinning more “must-do crafts.” Except I never DO any of them. It’s time to stop saying and start DOING!

  7. Yes! Motivating me to clean out my awfully cluttered linen closet and to buy more Laura Ashley/RL dresses for la baby.

  8. Yes! Motivating me to clean out my awfully cluttered linen closet and to buy more Laura Ashley/RL dresses for la baby.

  9. I love your strength (in everything not just to clean :-) ) I need to purge, my home is drowning in 14 yrs of hoarding stuff, we’re hoping to start some home improvements (a loft conversion and extension) but until the rest of the house is tidy and sorted I can’t get to it! I’ll be following your purging with interest! E xx

  10. I’m doing the same thing today! Skipping a parade, breakfast at the in-laws and anything else that comes my way (except checking in on fb, and your blog) 😉 Good luck…I’ll assume before/after pics are to come!?

  11. Cleaning & purging is such a hard endeavor to start for me, but once I get going it’s hard to stop until it’s completed. Then there is a feeling of such accomplishment that I think about the next task…which will wait for the next spurt of motivation. LOL.

  12. So unbelievably ME! Yikes! WHYYYYY do those stores call our names? (like we need any more CRAP to have to purge NEXT TIME!)

  13. The best motivation for a good purge is foresight. Look forward to the joy you’ll feel afterwards. Look forward to having some free time once its done. Now, go forth and purge!

  14. Don’t purge Nella’s cute pants!

  15. Happy Saturday!!! Oh what gorgeous light in your photos, and OF COURSE, what gorgeous subjects!! :) Go, mama, go. Clean that house! I’m humming the theme song for ya 😉


  16. You go girl!! Stay strong and it will feel so good afterwards!! It’a a great time of year to get organized and change things up.

  17. I love Nella’s swinging pony tail! :) We did the big purge when we put the house on the market in the early spring. Sadly our house didn’t sell and it’s ready for another purge. Thanks for the motivation! :)

  18. The Story of Stuff will make you think. Here is a link

  19. Good job!! You said NO. wish I could. I kid you not A friend just called and said lets go anitiquing, so I stopped purging/cleaning, packing up the kids and were off. Hubby is out of town, no responsibilities tonight. Have a great day purging/cleaning.

  20. Have a great weekend!
    That last picture is adorable!

  21. Stay strong and keep purging! It’s an ongoing process for me.

    I love Nella’s pants!

  22. I know what you mean. It’s the internet that does me in or reading a book and suddenly I’m not doing what I said I would. Like right now! I’ve put together a Your Trash is my Treasure event for today, a swap of sorts with everything unclaimed being donated to a non-profit here in Baltimore called the Youth Empowered Society. It starts in three hours and I’m going (should be going) through my own things to give away….Gotta go!

  23. Be relentless! Purge away! I absolutely LOVE a good day of clearing out like that. It’s so symbolic of life. :)

  24. I’m going to follow your lead today. I did a pretty good purge in MARCH before we moved but SIX MONTHS LATER we are STILL not organized and decorated and the backyard is STILL destroyed because we cut down two tress right after we moved in.

    So I’m saying NO this morning. It’s City Wide Garage Sale day too… *sigh* Gotta be strong.

    I adore the school lunch time you had and I love Nella’s dress in the last photo. Hope the purge goes well today!

  25. Love the school pictures! The younger siblings in our home were always so much better prepared and more excited about school because they were exposed to the school environment when visiting the older siblings.

    And I love that your girls are cozied up watching a 7 inch screen. We just bought a cheapo portable DVD player and my ten year old and 2.5 year old love to snuggle up to watch the old DVD’s we have from when the 10 year old was 2. They make little pillow and blanket nests on the floor. Sweet sister time.

  26. Get a dumpster. Having a dumpster in the driveway, knowing that you are paying for it,knowing you only have it for a limited time drives you to purge like you’ve never purged before. It is a very cleansing experience to fill that thing up and watch it leave.

  27. Ohmahgahd Kelle – I do the same thing you do! SO happy I’m not alone, that’s why nothing ever gets done! Oh, but this is a great read… :) I’m starting tomorrow and I have great plans envisioned. I just hope I don’t come across too many spiders in the boxes… maybe I need to buy a cute pair of cleaning gloves?! 😉

  28. Hi Kelle, sorry if it was mentioned before, but do you read ? I read it and I pin the ideas on Pinterest, then I gaze at the organized closet pictures with cute labelled storage boxes and then I read some more and pin some more. Then it’s too late to do any cleaning or tidying up. I’m definitely not strong as you. :) The only organized part of my life is the Pinterest, heh!

    Anyway, I’m reading with great interest all your post about kindergarten because I’ve got a 20mo toddler who is very VERY shy and I worry immensely about her when she starts nursery/pre-school. Your posts gives me hope and helps me more than you could imagine. Thank you for that. ♥

  29. Love the last picture of Nella sitting with the plants by the window. She looks beautiful.

  30. We are doing the sameee thing at our place. I wish I could get rid of 50% of everything we own. I would feel more at peace with less clutter! I can’t seem to do it in little steps though, and since i don’t have 2 whole days to do so….it never gets done. Baby steps, I suppose…

  31. Nella’s pants at the school are adorableeeeeeee!!! I had my first day of purging yesterday as well. I cleaned out all the kitchen cabinets, medicine cabinet and bathroom cabinet.

    Tonight I will tackle my closet. I may never resurface.

  32. First of all, the comment about the lady on the hair dye box CRACKED me up! Give Nice & Easy a try, love it! Now you made me want to do a small project I’ve had on back burner, to the paint store I go.

  33. isn’t that the way it is when you’ve got your mind made up…saboteers come out of the woodwork. including yourself. i’m trying to fit back into some of my pants and then i’ll get comments like “oh you look so great”, “you don’t need to lose weight”…or my favorite “just love yourself and buy a bigger size”. WHAT is wrong with people? i just want to fit into the pants i already own…let me be!! so get to hustling girl…let #operationcleanthatclutter commence:) no distractions allowed!

  34. oh and loved seeing my crab up there. he was yummy;)

  35. every your post make my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Good luck on The Great Home Purge, Day One!! I too have home purge enemies…especially the third one…needing a little inspiration to clean. I so get it!!
    That was me this morning. Walking by a sink full of last night’s dishes, piles and piles of laundry, school papers piling up from the first week back to school and the worst one of them all…Lego Land hit by a tornado in my son’s room…RUN!!! But I too will be strong and focused on getting it done!
    Stay strong my friend…the rewards of purging are grand!!
    Have fun between the purging :)

  37. I am all too familiar with the enemies of purging. Power to you, Kelle! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  38. Purging is so much fun, but I know what you mean about distractions! How is your morning sickness by the way? Gotten any better? I’m 35 weeks today, and other than feeling like I could fall asleep at any moment, I’m eating like a COW (and this from a gal who puked up every tidbit she ate from conception to week 16!) Happy cleaning!

  39. Thanks, Kelle! You reinspired me to get back to my cleaning!

  40. too funny, i am also doing the home purge. my motivator is 2 sisters that demand to share a room. all i want to do is go to the bed store, when i know i have to sort through old baby clothes first. paralell lives! i think it is september, or should i say that i blame september. good luck!

  41. We’re attempting to do that at my house as well. We’ve fallen victim to the 3 enemies…its not going well

  42. I am loving your “purging” posts, as I too am in the process of purging! (and it is a process and one that I am not the best at) Having a baby due in ten weeks or so is a great source of motivation too but like you I am WAY too sentimental do purge properly! My husband is so much better at it than me. Unwanted/unliked gifts out they go!!! Happy Purging to you!

  43. Your life so often mirrors mine… I have found my daughter starting Kindergarten has inspired me to be more organized (including some major purging!). I have this real fear of being ‘that mom’ who forgets a permission slip because i can’t find it on my desk or counters!!

  44. Cracking up because after gymnastics this morning we got out of the car long enough to dump our crap in the table, then headed back to the garage and purged like maniacs. One full recycle bin plus one full garbage bin = happy family.

    Happy purging,

  45. think in your head that you’re going to put your house up for sale, and give yourself a timeline, and ourge you will! when you start thinking and looking at all the stuff you’d have to move and box up, ugh. that motivated me a ton (and we actually did list our house with a month’s notice).

    two questions- 1. can you share your friday phone dump template? i think you can do it through google docs. 2. do i have to have a non-private IG feed for you to see my pictures i hashtag? just wonderin’. : )

    happy purging to you!!

  46. I had this similar fight with myself today…except not about cleaning the house…about reading and doing an assignment for my Environmental Law and Policy class. Let’s put it this way…I would have much rather cleaned. I wasn’t as strong as you though, I went downtown with a friend for a bit, talked with my roommate for an hour, and then even tried to find a good reason to go for a run first. You know it’s bad when you’d rather run a few miles than sit in the living room and read. But point of the story is I got the reading done and you’ll get the purge done!

  47. It’s purge time at our house, too! I’ve broken it up into smaller projects or I get gungho and don’t finish it! Good luck! Love all the pic of the girls!

  48. The more you post about purging, the greater the chance that I will do it our home, too. I’m always purging little by little, but crap is coming in little by little, too, and I’m not making any headway. I need to do a major one and breathe some peace into this cluttered house.

  49. I love that you could go to her school : ) So special.

  50. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who gets distracted during cleaning/purging/organizing! You skipped antiquing?? You’re hardcore….you go girl!! I would have caved on that one!

  51. I am laughing so hard because I do all of those things especially #3. My secret weapon is my bff Amy who lives in LA (I live in Spokane) and she is a anti-hoarder…like maybe she has a minimalist problem. (she doesn’t have kids…) She comes and wham, my closet is cleaned, organized, the old clothes are donated. It is sick and awesome at the same time. I could totally send her:) Good luck!

  52. I started purging over the summer when I was on vaca from teaching. Then August came, and with it the Olympics….and just like that, there went the purging! On a separate note, I am in love with Nella’s dress in the last picture.

  53. When in doubt, throw it out! Purge on!

  54. Where did you get Nella’s pants, they are so cute on her? I am so proud of you to reject a trip to add more to your house but was just wondering if you thought Heidi was testing your ability? HA, I would like to know if she really went without you.

  55. So tell me Kelle…Does the attic need to be purged too? Don’t forget to go through places that everything seems to go when you don’t know what to do with it! When I decorate at Christmas and unpacking boxes if there is something I don’t like I put it in a corner of the garage where I have things I am going to sell at our garage sale that I have every summer!
    Happy purging…the feeling you get in the end is so rewarding!

  56. LOVE YOUR POST! Can totally relate to the dangerous Home Purge Enemies!!! Still laughing about how true this is. Good luck in your home purge and hopefully it will motivate me to do mine too :)

  57. Totally need to get my butt in gear and do some home purging too. But I am SO easily lured by all those enemies and more. Procrastination queen. My husband thinks I use the ‘but I have three kids under 5′ excuse far too often 😉

    Good luck! Always feels so good to have a good clean out x

  58. Love Nella’s pants. And that last photo is just precious. Good luck with the purging. I try to do it twice a year and there’s always so much stuff!

  59. I love Nella’s dress in the last pic!!! So sweet and litle house on the prairie esque.

  60. Hi Lady K! So, the other today I saw a maternity top with a unicorn on it (it had sequins and everything) and I fleetingly thought ‘I bet Kelle would love that – shall I send it to her?’ Good thing I didn’t now I’ve caught up your last few posts and read about Project Declutter! The last thing you’d need is a sequinned unicorn top! I’m so with you on Project Declutter by the way.

    So excited to hear about Lainey’s school adventures – my eldest girl starts Reception next week (wail!), so pleased to hear Brett is well after your scare and so lovely to see Nella blossoming! Much love to you all from across the pond.

    Brit Girl x

  61. I had big plans like that this weekend… but instead, we had a tornado (in DC!?!??!) and a power outage.

    Also, Lainey showing Nella around school is adorable.

  62. My goodness, you’re a rockstar. Go Kelle!

  63. I’m now fully motivated to clean my house!! Woohooo… go Kelle!!!

  64. Very inspiring blog :)

  65. I love the picture of your baby bump in the photo dump. (I’m such a poet.)

  66. Hey Kelle! I keep EVERYTHING my kids bring home from school. To keep from losing things and havings things stuffed everywhere and anywhere, I buy an accordion folder at the beginning of each school year. I label it with the school year. It works great! I get to hoarde, umm, I mean keep, all of their things.

  67. Your family is so sweet in that picture of Lainey, Brett, and Nella. I love all your pictures.

  68. I totally love 3 things of this post: 1)Nella’s last picture, 2) Lainey’s fashion 3)The instagram pic of Heidi and you with her little baby girl.
    I so need to purge my home as well, and I always look for excuses to procrastinate, so I guess I will take the challenge with you

  69. I love your posts and pictures! You have inspired me to do a little purging of my own. I cleaned out a drawer and cabinet this weekend. I know it isn’t much but it is a start! Thanks! :)

  70. Love, love, love the photos of Brett, Lainey and Nella walking holding hands. Such a beautiful image of family togetherness and unity.

  71. i though the girls shared that room? Your house confuses me, haha!

  72. Get it, girl! Your purge inspired me to do a home purge of my own over the weekend. The hubs and I got rid of ton of stuff. Some to Goodwill, some for a yard sale, and some for the trash bins. And it feels SO good to have the weight of all that stuff off my shoulders. I feel lighter, cleaner, and more open to new things. Thanks for the motivation, Kelle!

  73. Nelle sure is stunning! Good luck on the purge!

  74. I love that last picture of Nella. Looks like an ad. For anthropologie babies… anthrobaby.

  75. Nella looks like such a big girl sitting with her sister at the table in the cafeteria! Oh my goodness.

    And then look at that pony tail flying in the wind while big sister shows her around.

    Made my heart melt!

  76. Keep being strong! It’s so tough! This weekend we managed to get 50% of my daughters ‘soon to be’ big girl room cleaned out which involved piles of ‘save’ ‘donate’ ‘sell’ and trash! Whew…it was tough because the weather was absolutely perfect!

    Keep up the good work because then you’ll keep me motivated!! :)

  77. ,,,love the final photo of nella. and the photo of nella trying to get through the gates of school. appears she’s eager to attend,,,

  78. Hilarious to read about your home purge enemies because I can SO relate to every one of them, especially 2 and 3!!!!

  79. You inspired me to clean out my hall closet and while doing so I found a picture of the twin towers taken while out in NYC on my 23rd bday, 3 days before 9/11/01. Wow. Closet still isn’t done but I am so happy I found that photo.

  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

  81. I love this! the procrastinating is exactly what i do. check out the FLYLADY online. you can get daily emails with 15 minute tasks to get organized and stay on top of things.

  82. Ugh, supporting Chick-Fil-A. Nooooooo.

  83. Those adorable pants are Matilda Jane Clothing. I am a Matilda Jane trunk keeper and sponsor on Kelle’s blog. Those pants are RUFFLE pants and while those pants are not availabe that style is in other fabric options. Contact me to order or have any questions.

  84. Kelle, PLEASE contact Paper Clouds Apparel (a company that showcases artwork from special needs individuals to provide much needed funding to their schools) and submit some Nella artwork for their shirts! Her (and big sister too!) would make the cutest shirts ever with their adorable creations.

  85. you have the most beautiful family xx

  86. I just came across your blog through sweet Nella’s birth story, and am now skimming through seeing all these adorable photos of her! Gosh she is gorgeous! Both your girls are! And whoever gets their clothes as hand-me-downs is SUPER lucky!!

    Thanks for sharing such a great story, and to see her now is just heart warming!

  87. Sparkling BLog!!!!! so nice post.

    see also my blog

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