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**First posted in 2016
40 Bags in 40 Days | Combat Clutter and Live More Simply
Several years ago, as I contemplated what I should do for Lent, a friend suggested that instead of giving up something, we should do something to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. It was then that our annual 40 Bags in 40 Days was born, with the purpose of combatting the clutter in our lives and living more simply. In return, we would donate much of what we culled from our homes so that it could help someone else.
This year’s 40 Bags in 40 Days will kick off on Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the season of Lent. During the challenge, your goal is to spend 10 minutes each Monday through Saturday decluttering a particular part of your home. Each Sunday is a day of rest and reflection, and mentally preparing for the week ahead. Some days, you will be able to fill a bag with what you were able to declutter from your home, other days you may just be reorganizing the items and tidying up. Focus on the tasks for each day instead of the idea that you need to remove 40 bags of stuff from your home, and the challenge will be a lot less daunting.
In the past, I have heard a lot of people say that they don’t have the time to declutter their homes; they are busy with work, family, and other obligations. I’m here to tell you that you can find the time! Each of these tasks takes about 10 minutes, and you do as much as you can in that amount of time. Set the timer on your phone, and get started! If you have more time, by all means, keep going until the task is complete, but just getting started is better than never starting at all.
Before you begin to combat clutter during the 40 Bags in 40 Days, take a few moments today (yes, only 10 minutes) and print out the daily check list and gather 2 large bags or boxes, and label them – DONATE and SELL. Keep them in a central location so you can easily fill them with the items you are getting rid of during the next 40 days.
The next thing you want to do is make your family aware of what is going on. Let them know you won’t be throwing away their favorite things, but you do want them to know that no new stuff is to come in the house without something else leaving. You buy a new pair of shoes, an old pair needs to go in the trash or donate bin. Your child gets a new toy, add an old one to the sell bin for an upcoming consignment sale. Get them on board, and have them help! Same for your spouse or partner. The more members of your household that are on the same page, the easier it will be to combat the clutter in your lives.
Like with any journey, its good to have a support system in place. Join the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge community on Facebook, and get support and cheers as you work towards your goals of decluttering your life and living more simply.
As you move forward on this journey, I will also be working right along side all of you, decluttering my own home. I’m keeping it real during this process – I need this as much as you do! Our home is not company ready, and we have a lot of random stuff cluttering up every room in our house. I often dream of having more space, but the reality is more space would just mean more junk. Its time to minimize and simplify.
Each evening, around 6pm, I will be sharing the challenge for the next day so that you can take a few moments in the evening to mentally prepare. I’ve always liked having an assignment explained to me, and that’s pretty much what these posts will be. A detailed explanation of what you are to do in your 10 minutes of decluttering and cleaning up. I hope to inspire you, and learn from you, during our nightly posts over the next several weeks.
And I think that just about wraps it up for the Combat Clutter “pre-game”. Print out your check list, get your bins ready, join the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge community, and I’ll see you back here starting tonight at 6pm for your Day 1 assignment.