Last week I undertook the 40 bag challenge, again. I did this last year and because stuff never ceases finding a way into my house, I gladly purchased a new pack of trashbags, set aside a spot in my garage for donations and got to work.
WHAT IS 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS?
You can find the official challenge at White House Black Shutters. Very simplified it is a rapid fire period of declutter-ation. The goal is to fill up a bag of stuff you no longer need or want — it can be stuff you want to donate, resell or simply put in the trash bin. The bag can be a large trash bag or a small grocery bag, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re filling up a bag and getting rid of it each day.
The 40 bags in 40 days coincides with the 40 days of Lent, each day you pick an area to declutter and fill a bag with stuff to get rid of. It is that simple!
The goal is one bag a day, however, you can have more or less. The 2017 Challenge starts March 1st and goes to April 15th.
I am a big picture kind of gal, and I have already plotted my course based on my trouble areas, and I thought I would share my 40-day action plan with you, in case you are finding yourself in need of a little inspiration. This really is a great ‘boot camp’ style of declutter-ification, and once I got started I found it very therapeutic to let go of so much. And you know what? I don’t miss it, any of it!
I tried to cluster my areas that need work by room, but I will be working in each area according to my estimated time I need to finish a section. Closets will require more time so I will do those while the kids are at school, and save smaller projects for weekends.
My 40 Day Declutterathon
- Declutter Adult Clothing (Dressers): There’s only so much space to store clothes, and there is only so long a person can hold on to a leather bomber jacket. If it hasn’t been worn in a year it is out of here!
- Declutter Adult Clothing (Closets): Same as dressers!
- Declutter Kids Clothing (Dressers): As someone who occasionally struggles with keeping laundry under control, more isn’t always better. In fact, I find it actually works against me. My kids will sort through their clothes looking for a favorite shirt or comfy shorts, dropping whatever else was out of favor on the floor, which would end up in the laundry basket, needlessly adding to the size of Mt. Washmore. I am going to significantly pare down the kids clothes!
- Declutter Kids Clothing (closets) Same as Dressers & have kids help!
- Kitchen drawers silverware, serving utensils, plastic wrap, storage bags etc.
- Kitchen Cupboards and pantry containing food items. Toss expired foods, opened items we didn’t like, and consolidate any duplicates into one container.
- Fridge Toss expired foods, opened items we didn’t like, and consolidate any duplicates into one container.
- Freezer Toss expired foods, opened items we didn’t like, and consolidate any duplicates into one container. Defrost iceberg that is forming in back of icemaker.
- Kitchen Cupboards containing pots and pans, serve ware, and plastic storage containers.
- Small Appliances Gather all the small appliances from around the house (don’t forget those you’re storing in the basement, garage, attic, etc.) Throw away or recycle* any that don’t work or are missing important parts. Donate, give away or sell any that you have not used in the past year. *Contact your local town or county government to see if it offers an appliance and electronic recycling/disposal program.
- Kitchen Paper Clutter Cookbooks, recipes, owners manuals or any other paper items stored in the kitchen.
- Kitchen Linens and microfiber cleaning clothes. Any looking like they’ve seen better days? I send mine to the shop with my husband to use a grease rags.
- Kitchen Under-Sink Storage Area Declutter cleaning products, supplies, and other stuff I’ve been shoving under there.
- Junk Drawer (s) I have a few drawers that classify as junk drawers that are in need of a thorough going through, I will ruthlessly purge the crap and organize the rest.
- Bathroom #1 Declutter vanity drawers, countertop, and other flat surfaces. Toss all garbage that is on the counter (empty toothpaste tubes, tissues, etc.). Throw out any old makeup. Relocate any items that don’t belong on the counter.
- Medicine Cabinet or vitamin/home remedies cabinet or cupboard. Go through and discard any that are expired. Our community collects medications at the local police station, contact your local town or county government collection days or locations for turning in unused medications. Or you can ask your local pharmacy if such a program exists in your area or how best to dispose of specific medications.
- Bathroom #2 Toss all garbage that is on the counter (empty toothpaste tubes, tissues, etc.). Throw out any old makeup. Relocate any items that don’t belong on the counter.
- Front Entry, We don’t have much in our front entryway, but I would like to create a dedicated space to contain all the “out-the-door” essentials for each person.
- Front Entry Closet or wherever you store coats and shoes. Throw out any coats and shoes that are ripped, torn, or completely worn out. Give away or donate any jackets that no longer fit anyone in the family. Give away or donate all coats and shoes that have not been worn in the last year (that allows for seasonal changes). Limit each family member to 1 dressy coat and 1 daily coat per season in the front hallway, all others can go in their respective closets.
- Back Entry Same as Front Entry if applicable.
- Office Desk Pare down desk items, sort papers, relocate items that don’t belong on my desk. I don’t have desk drawers, but if I did I would go through those too 😉
- Mail I have a mail shelf that quickly gets out of control, I will deal with this, I will also use this day to contact The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS) and opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. When you register with this service, your name will be put on a “delete” file and made available to direct-mail marketers and organizations. This will reduce most of your unsolicited mail.
- Office Cabinets Shred any unnecessary paperwork with your name, address, or account numbers on it, consult this post on how long to keep tax and financial documents.
- Living room put items that don’t belong in the living room away (I’m talking about you kids toys), this is also a good time to give your furniture a good hard look, Does it all fit, or does the space feel cramped ? If there is still too much stuff for the space available now is as good of time as any to make some harder decisions about moving big items or letting them go.
- Adult Books and movies or CDs Return any that don’t belong to you. Purge any that you haven’t listened, read, or watched in over a year (or whatever time period you think is reasonable). Purge any that you don’t enjoy.
- Dining Room I have to confess one end of my dining room table always has “junk” on it, kids school papers, documents I need to deal with. This is the day I sort it and create a system for dealing with it, that doesn’t involve me looking at it while I eat.
- Kids Toys Throw away any toys that are broken or have missing pieces. Relocate items that are mixed in with toys but belong somewhere else. Donate, give away, or sell all toys that the kids have outgrown.
- Kids Books and movies or CDs Books are hard for me, I understand they can be special, that being said I don’t declutter these without my kiddos present, I am always surprised at what they are willing to let go and what they value and want to keep. Guide them to donate, give away, or sell all the books and movies that they have outgrown.
- Craft, hobby or sewing supplies. We keep ours in a bin that looks like a glitter bomb exploded in it, that I generally avoid like the plaque, but not today!
- Laundry Room Recycle any empty detergent bottles that are lying around, Finally toss those socks that have been mismatched for awhile.
- Closets Sadly we don’t have many of these in our old farm house, but we do have a couple of under-stairway storage areas I will be tackling.
- Linen closet. Bed sheets and pillow cases, throw blankets, any other linens that you haven’t gone through yet.
- Kids Backpacks & School Supplies.
- Holiday supplies and decorations (includes Christmas ornaments and decor, as well as other holidays, and you could also include things like gift wrap).
- Adult Bedroom Clear flat surfaces of clutter: Bedside Stand: Clear off the surface of the night tables and decorate only with those items that are needed, and a couple of pretty decorative items. Go through any drawers and get rid of those items that you do not need, love, or need to access at night. Dressers often the dresser becomes a catch all when things don’t have a real home, find a home for these things or get rid of them!
- Kids Bedroom: Clear flat surfaces of clutter. Bedside Stand: Clear off the surface of night tables and decorate only with needed items, and a couple of special decorative items. Go through any drawers and get rid of junk. Dressers often the dresser becomes a catch all when things don’t have a real home, find a home for these things or get rid of them!
- Garage- Day 1. The Garage is near the end of the 40 challenge because this is where I am storing my donations. If you don’t have a garage, this could be your attic, a storage closet, or shed.
- Garage- Day 2. If you don’t need a second day for the garage (I will!), you could use this day to tidy your front or back porch, sweep walkways, or put away seasonal decor items that may have been outside.
- Don’t forget your car! So much junk accumulates in my car, I will use one day to go through and give it a good sorting and cleaning.
- Any area of your home that hasn’t been addressed yet. I will use this day to deliver my donation and recyclable items to the proper location.
This is my 40 day plan! As I type this I am well into day 6 and have already cleared the fridge, freezer, adult closets, Master bedroom flat surfaces, laundry area and master bathroom, and I am feeling really good about my progress!
Are you doing the 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS CHALLENGE? Do you plot out your plan of attack also or just wing it?