40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS 2013 Declutter Challenge

My goals for a clean, happy home are simple: decorate only with what you love, keep only the stuff you need, get rid of the rest. But year after year I fall into the same trap and the stuff starts to pile up!

declutter your whole home a spot at a time for 40 days with whitehouseblackshutters.com. free organizing #printable, facebook group, and more! #40bags40days #cleaning #organizing

The last two years I did something called “40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS,” and over the course of the 40 days of Lent, as a sacrifice I challenge myself to declutter and get rid of 40 bags of stuff. See both years here. You don’t have to celebrate Lent, and you can start it whenever you are finding this post. :)

The stuff can get organized, donated, given to a family member or friend, go in a garage sale pile, to Freecycle, get sold, or go into the garbage. Just get it out of your house.

I’ve been asked so many times what size the bags have to be, if boxes or furniture count, if you can still participate if you don’t have 40 bags or if you have more.

The answer is up to you!


The goal is not necessarily to have 40 bags, but to tackle one spot a day. Your junk drawer, your bedroom, your car, your basement (stretched out over a whole week), or your dresser. I want you to do a deep cleaning of your whole house but take it one spot at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself.

The tough part is that not only are you ditching the crap, but you are ditching the stuff that maybe you kinda sorta still like. But if you’ve been hanging onto it for six years and you still haven’t used it? Uhhh, maybe it’s time for it to go on to a new home. ;)


I’ve set up a few things to help support you (and ME!!!) through the 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS journey:

1.) Printable calendar and goal sheet

I’ve created a handy calendar for February and March to help you plan and keep track of your progress. I’ve allowed for one day off on Sunday, but feel free to switch it up and do what works for you.

I highly recommend printing out two copies: one for planning (rooms, spots in your home, where you want to work on) and one for your actual progress. Download your free printable here, or click the image:

declutter your whole home a spot at a time for 40 days with whitehouseblackshutters.com. free organizing #printable, facebook group, and more! #40bags40days #cleaning #organizing

When filling it out, write what rooms or spots you’d like to tackle on the planning copy. On the real-time progress copy, you can write the spot you actually tackled, and how many bags you got, where they will go (goodwill, garbage, family member, garage sale). Write it all in pencil!

Are you starting after Wednesday February 13th? here are some blank calendars so that you can keep track of your progress. I’ve left a spot for you to mark what day of the 40 you are on, don’t forget to give yourself Sundays (or any other day) off when counting.


2.) Join our facebook page and closed facebook group.

I’ll be sharing daily pictures and reminders on our facebook page throughout the 40 days, but I’ve also set up a closed group (nothing is posted to your newsfeed, only members can see the contents) so we can support one another and share pictures, stories, triumphs, and vents. Think of this as your own little support group full of cheerleaders who also need to ditch the clutter. :)

join the 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS facebook group here, or click the image below:

declutter your whole home a spot at a time for 40 days with whitehouseblackshutters.com. free organizing #printable, facebook group, and more! #40bags40days #cleaning #organizing #storage #simplify

3.) Join us on Instagram

If you’re posting a picture, please use the hashtag #40bags40days. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photos (if you give me permission), and let’s face it, everything looks good with a pretty filter on it. Even your bags of crap. ;)

Follow me (@whbsblog), leave your username in the comments, or tag me in a post if you are participating with us on instagram! And don’t forget the #40bags40days hashtag.



4.) Blog about 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS

I will have a weekly recap post and link party for 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS every Saturday right here. I’ll share my challenges, victories, and pictures from the week before.

If you have a blog, feel free to talk about your journey! You can use the image at the top of this post, as long as you link back here. Post when you can, once a week, a few posts a week, whatever helps you! Talk about your goals, your challenges, share your instagram pictures, do a recap, ask for support or advice, etc. Then head over here and link up your post so others can follow in your journey. :)


5.) Spread the Word

You can share this tweet:


Share a link to this post on your facebook page and get your friends on board.

or pin this image:

declutter your whole home a spot at a time for 40 days with whitehouseblackshutters.com. free organizing #printable, facebook group, and more! #40bags40days #cleaning #organizing

Have Passionfruit ads? I’d love to do an ad swap (leave a comment, or email me)

Whatever you can do to help spread the word to your readers or friends would be awesome! The bigger we get this, the more people we have supporting us and the better we can accomplish our goal!


6.) Win Free Stuff

Aren’t we trying to get rid of the stuff? Yes. Yes we are.

I’m currently lining up sponsors and prizes for this year’s challenge that will help us with our goal, not just give you more stuff. So stay tuned! Keeping with the “getting rid of stuff” theme, I am thinking organizational, home improvement, cleaning, etc. Email me at amheasley (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in becoming a sponsor.


Any questions? Goals? Things stopping you? Or

Are you ready to join us and get rid of the “stuff” weighing you down?


  1. Amanda M. says

    Thanks for the challenge! Can’t wait to get started. For some reason my blog isn’t coming up when I type it in, so I’ll have to see if I can figure out what’s going on =(

  2. says

    I am so ready to do this! I want to move as soon as possible (make that have to) and I really don’t want to take a lot of clutter with me when I go.

    • KyleeJ says

      That’s the position I’m in as well. We’ve been wanting to move for about 5 years, but we keep putting it off because of all the nonsense we KNOW we need to get rid of and not take with us.

  3. s.pipes says

    So want to be in! Found you via Pinterest. Will be out of state traveling for 17 of the 40 days…maybe I can join & de-clutter my house in the first 23.

  4. Casey says

    I cannot wait to start this challenge tomorrow. Such a good idea during Lent. I tried adding myself to the Instagram list, but it didn’t work. Sorry

  5. says

    I love this idea!! I am def one to throw out or donate , I mean a lot!! Hubby says if he stands still too long he will get put in a Hefty bag ;) But this is motivation to do it again. I mean I know I still have too much!! It feels so good to declutter.

  6. says

    I’m in!! I was JUST telling Adam we need to purge and then you post this. It’s like you are reading my mind!

    I will post this on my blog (not that I have a ton of readers =P) and FB, too!

  7. Mauve says

    I started my 40 day declutter today with my pantry. We have a food and clothes closet at my church for the less fortunate.

  8. says

    I absolutely LOVE this idea. I was going to blog about decluttering, but you know what? I think I’ll link over to you and do this. I’m a bit late starting, too, as I was out of town this week, but that’s ok. I’ll just do a little catch up. I wrote about this goal earlier in the year – to declutter and simplify my life in many ways, so I’m going to hop on board! Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. says

    I’m so glad to have found this. (Feelin’ really thankful for Blog Talk at the moment. :) This is so inspiring! I’m gonna start gathering stuff up. One of our thrift stores in town, the proceeds go to the battered women and children’s shelter. You feel like you are giving love when you donate! Thanks for the inspiration! k.

  10. says

    I just found your blog this week and I am enjoying it. I will be starting the challenge sometime in the next two weeks. I posted a link to your site on my blog. I can’t wait to update you on the progress.

  11. Debby says

    Love this. I have been doing this since the beginning of the year, but I am looking forward to following along with you all for inspiration and motivation to keep going. My biggest accomplishment is I have taken 6 file drawers and 2 cardboard file boxes and have reduced the paper to a 2 drawer file cabinet. Feels so good.

  12. says

    Well shoot! I’m joining late but I figure it will give me some structure to what I’m already doing as I have energy. =D Will print calendar, will print calendar, will print cale… (hopefully) – lol


  13. Gretchen says

    Hoping for a 2014 Challenge! I am getting a start on this before Lent…need to de-crappify to even have the wherewithal to work on the important stuff!

  14. Kay says

    It is currently 4.05pm in my time zone. Since reading your webpage at 1pm, I have had a one hour meeting, and de-cluttered TWO zones… I am really pleased – I can now find my scarves/hats/handbags AND you can see the top of my dressing table – which had been piled three layers high.


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