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A Purge By Any Other Name

peace-lilyIs it possible to get organized without purging first? Not really.

In a healthy household, old stuff must circulate out as easily as new stuff circulates in.  Circulation prevents accumulation.  When it’s as natural as breathing, it’s easy to stay organized.

“Purge” means not only toss, but donate, sell, gift, or simply reassign.  Nonetheless, many of my clients just don’t like the word.  “Purge” carries connotations of political executions and vomiting.  So here are some alternatives my clients have come up with.

I once worked with a doctor who initially told me that he wasn’t ready to work with me until he had done some “gutting” first. Much more pleasant than purging.  I guess this wouldn’t have bothered me so much if this was a butcher or even a surgeon, but this was a pediatrician.

Another client, a psychiatrist, spoke of “debriding” his papers. Debridement is the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound.  Charming.

One alternative I do like is “pruning.”  I like the analogy of removing dead leaves to strengthen the healthy ones. People always feel so empowered when they have pruned away several bags of garbage because they can breathe new life into their environment and into themselves.

Perhaps my favorite alternative is “editing.”  It’s good to edit your stuff, not censor it.  Censoring would imply blocking out what matters, but editing is all about taking out what’s not helping to strengthen what’s important.

Yes, anyone can edit, but sometimes it takes a professional to edit in a way that will make your words really work for you.

This writer stands ready, scalpel in hand.

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