House For Six

40 Bags In 40 Days: The Plan

Deme Crinion2 Comments
I couldn't be more ready to work through this 40 bags in 40 days challenge over the course of Lent.  I'm not super excited about the work itself, but I already feel a sense of relief that I'm not going to sit paralyzed by our piles any longer.

I hadn't really thought about my Lenten commitment before Ann Marie announced this year's challenge but as soon as I read it, I knew that's exactly what I needed to do.

Do you ever feel weighed down by your house?  By all the STUFF?  I literally feel out of control. Like our stuff is taking over and I can't get a grip on it.  Throw the holidays, a couple birthdays and a new baby into the mix and I feel like we're being overrun. Whenever I think I'm making progress on the chaos, I'm usually just shuffling things from one spot to the next instead of actually dealing with it.

And for me, the real issue is that all the excess somehow leads to a feeling of needing more or not having the "right" things.  I talked about a few ways to fight the Need Machine here (ironically during last Lent) and one of the most counter intuitive but effective ways is to give. stuff. away. 
tips when you feel like you don't have enough

When we're overwhelmed by the clutter and the excess, we become dissatisfied and start playing the "if only" game.  If only we had _____......if only we could fix____......if we could just____then it would be better.   I often tell my kids that if they can't maintain their rooms because they are overwhelmed by the stuff...then they have too much stuff. #blackpotcallingblackkettle

Yes, I've purged in the past, but I've never taken on our home as a whole or dedicated this much time to the task. 

My hope is to approach each room, each drawer, each cupboard, both prayerfully and intentionally.  Do I really need this?  Do I actually use it?  How often?  Is it a double or very similar to something else we have?  Does it have special meaning or significance?  Does it still reflect our style? Do I love it?  What is God calling me to do with it...with this space?

I think a key to success is to go in with a plan, but one that can flex.  And to set realistic goals for each day.  I used Ann Marie's printable to jot down a list of all the areas I feel need attention over the next 40 days.  I ended up scheduling one large room or zone (like the kitchen) each week, and I tried to balance out the days of that week with larger and smaller tasks. Hopefully it's a doable mix but that's where the flexibility comes in #usepencil

I also planned a few days for the unseen clutter that's making me my inbox and backing up/cleaning up computer files.  I would include going through our photos, but that might rate it's own 40 days. 

I have some helpful ideas on how to go through your things in this post here, but one reader mentioned that the hardest part of purging is deciding what to do with all the stuff you're getting rid of.  So true!  There are a lot of it for a yard sale in the spring, sell some items on craigslist, donate to a local charity close to your heart, or just chuck it all. 

Some stuff truly is junk and needs to head straight to the trash, but for everything else you need to weigh time and effort.  A yard sale and selling online take additional time and mean you have to store all that stuff somewhere in the meantime.  Is it worth it?  Maybe!  For something like this, I know my personality and it's usually best that I get rid of things right away.  I'm planning to make a donation run or schedule a pick up at the end of each week...and maybe sell one or two big ticket items on craigslist. 

If you're joining in for this challenge or just have the urge to clear out some closets, I know it can be overwhelming....but you can do this.  You do not need all that stuff.  Our happiness is not in our things.. The mess might get worse before it gets better, but it will be so worth it! 

I'm starting with our biggest frustration and that's our "school zone".  We started out homeschooling all the kids this year and now have one back in school.  We didn't end up using the homeschool area I set up the way I thought we would, and having a kiddo back in school has brought another set of papers/communication/routine.  There are papers and craft supplies and lots and lots of books....all piled in with stuff from my previous office and last year's school projects.  It's time to dig in!

*There's a lot of great resources and a supportive community of fellow purgers over at White House Black Shutters!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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