Friday, March 14, 2014

40 bags in 40 days- Decluttering for Lent!

Have you heard of this challenge? 40 bags in 40 days is a project where you tackle a different area of your home every day during Lent (Sundays are a day off) and get rid of stuff you don't use. The idea is to fill a bag of unnecessary stuff everyday but as pointed out in the details, the size or type of container isn't the focus, it's more of an incentive to deal with the unneeded stuff we acquire one bit at a time. That's good because there are no garbage bags in my house since we stopped buying them a few years ago but I'm sure I have enough reusable bags to take care of 40 days worth. Maybe sorting out those bags is the first place I should start!

Not being particularly religious, I don't normally participate in any type of Lenten ritual but this is one I can get behind. Since Lent started over a week ago I'll be a bit late but I had actually been working on this on my own recently so the timing is perfect. The website has tips on areas to focus on (like email accounts and pinterest boards if you run out of stuff in the house) and suggestions to keep you motivated. There are even some forms you can print out to list the areas you'd like to attack, keep track of what you've finished and how many bags you've managed to get rid of. I don't think I'll need that but I'll try to post updates here to keep myself honest.

I have a few areas that really need work- our landlord recently decided to paint the hall for us and it was a bit of a shock to realize how much had accumulated in that space when we had to move it all out. It's become a pile of chaos in the livingroom and I've been procrastinating in dealing with it because there's a lot to sort out and I want to get rid of a lot instead of putting it all back. So that is definitely on the list.

Today however I am focused on  the top of the refrigerator and the spice rack. I keep a lot of dried herbs and spices and have used many different containers over the years, most of which I hang onto. There's a particular rack of decorative jars on top of the fridge that have out lived their usefulness and I need to part with it. A few of the jars are missing and none of them sealed that well to begin with. Not to mention that the top of the fridge is less than ideal conditions for herb preservation. So all of the tired herbs are headed for the green bin, and the remaining spices are being re-jarred in more practical containers that will fit in the proper spice shelf which also got reorganized. The old jars and rack will be cleaned up and donated to a thrift shop.

Early spring is a good time to deal with all of this clutter, before the nice weather arrives and I won't want to be indoors! I think the biggest challenge for me won't be filling 40 bags, it will be finding places and time to find new homes for the bags once they are full!

My properly organized spice rack!


  1. Bravo for your "courage" to "attack" that task. It is a thing I've been wanting to do for a long time but hadn't the energy and the courage to do it. Let's hope that this year will be the year because I wan't to sell my house in a year or two and go live in a place where there is no shoveling and no wood stove. This winter was hard on me...

  2. I'm binging this back this year because it was so effective! Last year I made a list of things I needed to de-crappify and every day I picked one project to complete. On a high energy day I tackled one of the bigger projects and on days when I was less enthusiastic I did something simple like delete old emails. Breaking it down like that really worked for me and my ADD issues- I could make myself spend an entire day cleaning out the spice rack and feel like I accomplished something without getting distracted on other projects. I made one cupboard the recipient of all of the things that I wanted to give away. By the end of the 40 days I had cleared up things that had bothered me for years, gotten rid of a ton of things (7 garbage bags worth went to Goodwill, 3 shopping bags to a consignment store, 3 bags of books went to various places and so on.) It actually made a huge difference in our seriously storage deprived apt- so noticeable that my friend (who spent the winter in Mexico and missed the process) couldn’t get over the change. I’m already lining up my list for this year!