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The Bed Bug Purge—Do You Really Need All That Stuff?

My friend recently had a bed bug invasion of her home. Before you judge her cleanliness, you should know that bed bugs don’t care if a home is immaculate or filthy so long as there is fabric to live on and flesh to bite.

Now that we’ve established the disclaimer, let’s add a bit of educational material about how to rid one’s home of bed bugs. When the critters are discovered, the homeowner must launder and dry (or dry clean, but that costs extra) every unattached piece of fabric in the home: clothes, coats, curtains, rugs, bedding, and towels. Every piece. Then an exterminator comes to take care of the rest. Both things must happen.

As my friend was toting every piece of fabric from her household of five to the Laundromat, she decided to purge the entire home. If you’ve never moved or had to rid your home of a pest invasion, you may not realize exactly how much stuff you own. Purging your belongings has the potential to allow you downsize. As you look into purging your own belongings, consider these factors and respond accordingly. Sometimes frugal living means not hoarding things you don’t need.

How do you know if you need to purge?

  • How many towels do you use in a given week? How many do you own?
  • Are there items in your closet that you can no longer wear or haven’t worn in over a year?
  • How many coats hang in your coat closet? If each family member only wears one at a time, how many of those coats are superfluous?
  • When was the last time you cleaned out your drawers of unmatched socks, holey undergarments, and other items you don’t wear or use?
  • Are there items in your closet that still have the tags on them because you haven’t found the perfect accessory or occasion to wear them?
  • When you look in your closets, garage, or attic, are there boxes that contain items you’ve forgotten about? If you’ve forgotten them, chances are that they aren’t as important as you thought they were when you stored them.
  • Have you moved to a new climate and don’t really need as many clothing items from the old climate as you have?
  • Are you storing items because you “might” use them some day but have yet to do so?

What to do with the items you no longer need?
bed bug purgeNow that you’ve found items you don’t really need, what should you do with them? I’d like to offer some suggestions:

  • Donate them to a local charity.
  • Upcycle them into something new that you’ll use more often. (For example, use strips of old t-shirts to make a bath rug.)
  • Provide hand-me-downs to family or friends.
  • Throw away items that are of no use and can’t be recycled.
  • Find a new use for the old items. Use them for something you don’t already own, like a reusable dusting cloth or burp rag.

You don’t have to have bed bugs to purge your home. In fact, you’ll probably be glad if you purge before the bed bugs arrive.


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