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Growth Spurts: Purging

By Carrie Bevell Partridge

Every once in a while, I get the urge to purge. I start feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter and excess of stuff in our home, and the longing to pare down overtakes me.

Some things are easy to get rid of — things that are broken, incomplete sets, shoes and clothes that haven’t been worn in years, toys, old magazines (besides Parents & Kids, of course), kitchenware that sits unused, knick-knacks that have no sentimental value. Other things are a bit harder to part with — books, furniture we’ve had for a long time, things we “might need one day” (a day, I might add, that rarely comes), anything remotely sentimental. It takes a certain kind of mindset to be able to purge effectively and well. If I’m feeling overly sentimental, it’s not the day to do it. And if I’m feeling like a bulldozer with no regard for what’s in my way, it’s probably not the day to do it either, for risk of having post-purging regrets. But if I’m somewhere in the middle, purging can be a very good and healthy exercise.

Entering into a new year often lends itself to a natural time of purging in our lives, too. Many of us spend time reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the coming one. We take an inventory, of sorts, of the positive and negative elements of the previous year. And then comes decision time…What will we leave behind us, and what will we carry forward with us?

Discipline is required when tackling this type of purging. We often have trash or baggage that we’ve grown so accustomed to carrying with us that we don’t seem to notice it being there anymore. (My kitchen countertops can testify to this.) Continuing to carry it with us, however, can lead to feeling burdened and overwhelmed — often unnecessarily.

There are usually a few things that we are more than happy to leave behind us. But other things, even though they are broken or incomplete, are still very much a part of us and must continue to move forward with us. Some things we have no control over, so there is no decision to be made other than what attitude we will have toward it.

Some things I’d like to choose to leave behind me this year: disappointment in myself for not living up to certain expectations (mainly my own), arguments with my husband and kids, wasted time, pettiness, selfishness, frustration, a desire to control things, hurry, and distractedness.

Some things I’d like to choose to carry forward with me into the new year: laughter, good memories made with my family, exciting expectations for the future, hope, joy, a desire for improvement, deeper relationships, slowing down, simplifying, and focusing on what really matters.

If you haven’t already done so, take some time for yourself to consider what should remain behind you and what should move forward with you in 2019. Be sure you’re in the right mindset, so as to avoid being a bulldozer. Then purge away!

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at and

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