40 Bags in 40 Days

It’s time to kill the clutter bug. And I don’t just mean trapping it in a cup and tossing it out the front door with a grossed-out squeal. That damn bug will find its way back in, you know it. This is a brutal enemy who you must squash, maim, and destroy.

This bug is far more dangerous than the cute little spider to whom you want to give a second chance…


This bug eats away at your time, your peace, your health, and your sanity. Clutter, although sometimes a result of sentimental items you care for, is generally detrimental to our well-being.

I remember once, a few years ago, I was helping a friend pack up their house because they were moving. I thought to myself, if I had to move, I’d almost rather my belongings were accidentally set on fire so I would have no choice but to start over and buy all new, more practical things for my home. Otherwise, I’d be dragging in boxes of things that I have some sentimental attachment to, and an overwhelming feeling that I would use them “at some point.” Then the boxes would be put in a closet, only to see the light of day once every few years.

When I walk into my room, I want a place of peace and respite. I thought about putting down a yoga mat the other day, and doing some exercises, but I had too much stuff in the way. My futon was covered in books, old paperwork I don’t need, and  a few purses I have no place for, and clean clothes that I didn’t put away are scattered around the room.

My room, where I would like to find peace, is full of the opposite. It’s stressful even being there, so I do my homework on campus sometimes, to keep from being distracted by the urge to clean. That isn’t the way life is supposed to be, having our lives dictated by our clutter. Having too many clothes is a first world, blessing of a problem, but it’s obnoxious to so easily lose track of laundry because you don’t know what to wash first, and then you run out of places to put it. It’s the same with shoes, books and old notebooks full of childish whims.

I have too much stuff, as do most people. That is why the 40 bags in 40 days seems like an amazing idea to me. This challenge coincides with the 40 days of lent. Every day you find a specific section of your home to de-clutter and you fill a bag. Follow this link to discover more about this challenge and to find some helpful tips, like a printable plan for the challenge.

I’m not going to lie, with class and work taking up 90% of my day, I’m not positive I will actually manage the 40 bags in 40 days, but I would like to attempt it. At the very, very least, I plan to find a few items to give away, every day, and I encourage you to do that as well. If you achieve 40 bags in 40 days, that is terrific, and quite a feat. However, parting with items you don’t necessarily need, every day, is also a great way to begin the destruction of the clutter bug colony, which has infested our society.

The question is, how do you go about finding a way to part with items you have kept around for years, only now? You have probably heard of Mari Kondo and her techniques for de-cluttering, but I think it’s important to think about the wisdom behind her ideas.

She believes that if you handle each of the items with which you are considering parting, in order to keep it, you must receive a positive feeling from it. If not, toss it.

“By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now.” -Mari Kondo

This won’t always work, especially if you are de-cluttering after a recent breakup or an upsetting incident where nothing seems to give you a positive feeling. But for the most part, I have noticed first-hand how this can make an impact on my ability to part with things.

I ask you, today, to begin this 40 bags in 40 days challenge with me. Even if we don’t get all of those bags filled, think about how great it would be, at the end of these 40 days, to be closer to having a cleaner living space, filled only with items that give you positive feelings.

Good luck!




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