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Welcome to the 8th year of our 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering & Homemaking Challenge!
Each winter, as we enter into Lent, we have tackled the clutter in our home. We have prepped for the birth of children. We’ve decluttered after the loss of a loved one. We have dealt with paper clutter, toy clutter, electronic clutter, yard clutter, sentimental clutter, and just about everything under the sun that takes up space in our homes and prevents us from feeling peace.
For the last seven years, I have focused on the spaces that others can see when they visit my home. But for year 8, I’m tackling the hardest part of our home yet – our basement!
Our basement has become a dumping ground for all the things we have no idea what to do with around the rest of the house. I am hoping to get one bag of stuff out of the basement, and either to the curb or donation site, each day during Lent, from Wednedsay, February 14 through Thursday, March 29.
How to Begin Your 40 Bags in 40 Days
The goal is simple, fill 40 bags with stuff you no longer need and get it out of the house. The task of filling all those bags, however, can be a bit overwhelming. Our 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge is set up to help you declutter and spring clean your home while reflecting on the type of home-life you want, and the type of homemaker you want to be.
You can complete the challenge individually or as a family. In our home, it’s more me and the children working to fill our 40 bags since my husband is at work during the day. However, on weekends, he definitely helps out because that’s when I tend to do more of the heavy lifting projects that require two adults (like moving items out of the garage, basement, or attic).
Look around your home right now. Walk room by room and take a mental inventory of how that room makes you feel and how you would prefer it feel. Are there areas that are in obvious need of decluttering? Is there furniture, toys, or clothing you already know you can do without and would like to sell or donate? Are there areas in your home that need to see a dust cloth and a vacuum that you have been putting off?
What is the easiest room to get decluttered and cleaned? Write out an actual list, starting with the easiest room to conquer and ending with the one that is causing the most dread. Starting with the easiest or least overwhelming room will help you check off something big from your list, and give you the sense of accomplishment that you are getting this process started!
Some rooms can be done in a single day, others may need longer. There is no right or wrong way to do this challenge. This year we are focusing only on the basement. Your goals are obviously different.
10 MINUTES A DAY
When I talk about the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, the biggest concern people have is the amount of time it’s going to take to declutter and clean their homes. I know it seems daunting, but remember bite by bite, nibble by nibble.
My first suggestion is to work in 10-minute chunks. Walk into the room you are going to work on. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Now clean up as much as you can in that 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, you’re done! That’s the minimum you needed to do today and you can walk away knowing you’ve accomplished something. If you have more time, come back and do another 10 minutes later.
My second suggestion, many hands make light work. Whether you have children, a spouse, a roommate, or even a friend helping you the whole process can go faster. Delegate cleaning and decluttering tasks and you can all tackle a single room or several rooms at once.
WHAT GOES IN THE BAG?
Obviously, trash goes in the bag. That’s usually the easiest one for people to deal with. We want the trash out of our homes. Gather it all up in all of its forms, bag it, and take it to the curb or dumpster. Easy!
Anything that is broken, goes in a bag. This goes for toys, electronics, lamps, and so many other items around our homes that have missing parts or are broken but still taking up space on a shelf.
Pare down what your closets. This is often challenging since we have such an emotional attachment to clothing. If it has holes or significant stains, its time to toss those items. Things that no longer fit, but are of good quality, can be donated (and keep the receipt for your taxes) or sold at consignment to make a few extra bucks.
Even the smallest shopping bag of trash or unwanted/unneeded items counts as a bag. Aim for at least 1 bag each and every day (besides the kitchen & bathroom trash) and you are well on your way to decluttering your home!
I’d like to invite you to join the Homemaking Basics community on Facebook. We are a very supportive community, with the goal of making our house a home. We share our challenges and celebrate our successes. The group provides a forum for inspiration, as well as tips and tricks for tackling projects around your home. Click here to join.