40 Bags in 40 Days

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU for all the awesome comments on my last post about house size…I love it when a blog post turns into a conversation. I’m really enjoying reading all your responses, getting different perspectives on house size, and just generally getting to know y’all better. That comments section is a wealth of knowledge and if you haven’t read it yet, you should (and add your two cents!)

While reading the comments on that post I noticed a theme…most of us struggle with “stuff”,  myself included. We have no place for it, too much of it, and have a hard time parting with it. I hate that stuff is such a struggle for me because it’s just stuff….it doesn’t matter, I can’t take it with me, and most of the time it’s more of a burden than a blessing. It takes time and focus away from the things that really matter. I’m a creative person who lives on a budget (and I bet most of y’all are the same), and I tend to retain clutter because “it was only $3!”, or because I want to save it and repurpose it in the future. But stuff stresses me out, and it REALLY stresses my husband out. He is the ultimate purger.

ANYWAY, yesterday I ran across THIS POST on another DIY blog called White House Black Shutters. It’s called the The 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge, and it is about simplifying and getting rid of clutter.

40 bags in 40 days

I just told Adam about this, and I didn’t even finish my whole first sentence before he said “you can just stop there, I’m in”. I even warned him that while decluttering things usually get worse before they get better, so he’s prepared.

I’m really last minute on this, because it starts TOMORROW (today for everyone that reads through e-mail). The challenge runs March 5th- April 19th, and each day you pick one space to completely organize and declutter. 40 spaces, 40 bags, 40 days. I know 40 bags sounds like a really large amount, but don’t concentrate on the bags, concentrate on getting rid of stuff. If that ends in 10 bags or 100 bags, both are great.

I’m not going to post all the details here because they are so clearly laid out on White House Black Shutters. She has more a lot more information, including free printables to get you started and keep you on track, and a facebook support/encouragement group for everyone that is participating. Also, I promise not to fill up my blog with updates on this, I’ll just post a recap when the 40 days is over. Now that I just said that I really have to do it… talk about accountability!


Honestly, this sounds like a really daunting task, but I’m excited. Having less stuff in my house sounds so…freeing. More organized spaces means less stuff for my boys to move around and destroy, which means less time cleaning and more time…well, not cleaning. Doesn’t that sound appealing?

So, who’s with me?

Update – CLICK HERE to see how I did!

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  1. This sounds great! With five kids, I feel like I could easily come up with 40 bags in 40 days. Perfect start to spring cleaning!
    normaleverydaylife recently posted..Snow DayMy Profile

    • Seriously, I feel like I could complete half this challenge just by going through all my kids clothes!

    • Anonymous says:

      LESS STUFF IS MO BETTAH! I got rid of everything but the essentials last year after moving out of my 2200 sq ft house and into a 31′ travel trailer with my husband and three offspring. It’s a challenge figuring out what to take and what to let go, but the end result is SOOOOO worth it. You would be SHOCKED at how much you can live WITHOUT. I recognize that the minimalist way of life isn’t for everyone, but that’s no excuse to hang on to everything you have. I would encourage everyone to take a leap of faith and trust that God (and your intuition) will guide you through the process of letting go of some clutter in your life. It helps me organize my thoughts even. My brain doesn’t go on circuit overload if I’m not looking at 5 rooms I have to clean on a daily basis because there’s so much STUFF to be picked up. Thanks for the challenge Ashley. I’m sure there’s even MORE I can get rid of after being in my TT for the last 7 months

  2. I’m in! I already cleaned out my basement, 2 closets and my kitchen cabinets so hopefully I will be a little ahead and be able to keep up. What a great challenge.
    [email protected] recently posted..Comment on Removable Bird Faux Wallpaper by CaraMy Profile

  3. WOW this is perfect timing. I have already cleaned out a entry closet last week but nothing since. So this WILL really motivate me. The family thinks I could do 40 bags in 40 hrs. haha..not! This will be quite a challenge when I have knee replacement on March 25 so maybe I should do double-time.

  4. Laura :) says:

    This is scary to ponder but exciting, too!! I just got done with a personal challenge of getting rid of 10 things a day for 10 days (donation worthy only counted, I didn’t count stuff I tossed) and while it helped a lot I know now it was just a warm up for this!! Haha!!!! Super cool, I’m in!!!! :)

    • Glad you’re in, and it is scary! I’m not really worried about the getting rid of stuff part, just the time and energy that goes into something like this. Hopefully I can keep up!

  5. I’ve been doing a similar project along with Elizabeth, at Ready Set Simplify. It’s 365 items in 365 days. So far I’m at almost a hundred and it’s only March, so I’m happy with that. The chart’s pretty cool, too. :) So I’ll just follow along with your progress with interest!

  6. I’m with you. Going to share on my blog tonight! Eek! What am I doing?! I’m excited. Thanks for the post!
    Liz recently posted..Suspended ShelfMy Profile

  7. Oh, Anne-Marie is total radness (White House Black Shutters) and her decluttering challenge is one that I fully intend on doing (though I have to move, so I’ll probably chuck more than 40 bags.

    Can’t wait to follow along with the challenge! What fun! (and how freeing!)
    Tara recently posted..Criss-Cross Leather CuffMy Profile

  8. OK, I admit when I saw the title, my first thought was “that’s ambitious!” Making a bag a day is a challenge I would like to attempt. Now I’m sad, instead of sewing 40 bags to hold all my stuff, I need to get rid of 40 bags of stuff. :-)

  9. thanks for the heads up on this one – we definitely need to de-crapify over here!! LOL
    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG recently posted..House Lovin’My Profile

  10. Debbie Ortega says:

    This sounds like a great idea! Apparently I became exactly what I didn’t like that my mom would do. I hold on to “stuff” just because you never know when you might need it. My garage, kitchen cabinets and closets are full of stuff we never use. It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate over the years and never realize it. I am accepting the challenge of decrapifying my house and organizing it so I can actually find something when I need it.

  11. Wow. I’m in! I’ve already been trying to do this for months (years) but there are some areas I just don’t end up finishing up. Or I’ll have gone through most of the toys, have to do something else, and the toys get all scattered. So very fun.
    Sarah recently posted..Chicken Mansion RevealedMy Profile

  12. Lindsay says:

    In January 2012 I went through my house and did a major purge. No closet, drawer, cupboard, or box was safe. I can’t tell you how much stuff I looked through and could not for the life of me imagine why I had kept it for so long. Notes I took in college classes (10+ years earlier) and hadn’t looked at since? Why? It was so freeing and felt so good! Have fun and I can’t wait to hear about it when you’re done!

  13. Put a picture of my first declutter project on Facebook. Tomorrow going to tackle paper junk, tax time just around the corner.

  14. Ami A in LA says:

    Already with you – (and further to your post about house size. . .) – I about to put my 3,600 square foot house on the market and downsize to a 1,800 to 2,000 square footer. In preparation, I have been cleaning out closets, storage rooms, kids old stuff, my old stuff, his old stuff. . .you get the picture. It has been a liberating experience – I thinks you will enjoy it. But I will warn you to leave extra time to enjoy the memories that some of your old stuff will evoke! Sometimes one closet can take forever it it contains all your kids old items! (Especially if they are college age like mine!) :-)

  15. 40 bags sound like a lot but when I cleaned out my last one bedroom apartment to be able to downsize I had to have filled close to that many bags plus passing on items friends and family wanted. Good luck with your challenge, I don’t think I own enough any longer to fill that many bags.
    Lois recently posted..Keeping BusyMy Profile

  16. Ellie a.k.a :) says:

    I’m in too! Most men are “ultimate purgers”. My husband would get rid of just about everything! Have to keep and eye on him so he doesn’t throw out the good stuff!

    • Ellie a.k.a :) says:

      On the other hand, my husband just said, “people who don’t collect anything and are ready to throw away all that “neat stuff” don’t have the imagination to realize it’s potential”. (He, like Noah, collects wood – it keeps you warm, it keeps you afloat and it can even house your animals!!) Think of all the things your useful collectibles could do for you, so use them. :)

  17. I did this for lent a few years ago–40 days, 40 bags. I wish I could have done more–I think at one point I was throwing away drink coasters to make sure I could get through. I really need to do it again and decrapify the house ;)
    Kelly recently posted..When I Give Voice to an Opinion, Part 1My Profile

  18. With moving soon, I really need to do this in order to not bring with us things we do not need. Love this idea
    Kim recently posted..How We Saved Tens of Thousands of Dollars in One Year!My Profile

  19. Alicia W. says:

    Maybe because it feels like spring, or it just seems harder to keep things clean, but this has been on my mind lately too. I may not do the 40bags/days thing, but I definitely feel motivated to purge and reorganize. Thanks!

  20. I am LOVING this project. I’m so glad you posted about it! It’s definitely hard work but breaking it down into one are per day is my salvation.


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