Are you guys ready? Ready for what, you ask? Ready to completely change your life. Ready to declutter and simplify your life. Ready to get rid of emotional clutter. Ready to figure out how to get a handle on all of the things holding us back.
What is 40 Bags in 40 Days?
A forty day period in the spring (coinciding with the 40 days of Lent) where you focus on cleaning one area per day. In this one area you challenge yourself to declutter, simplify, decrapify, and get rid of things you don’t need. The goal is one bag a day but you can have more or less.
The 2014 challenge officially goes from Wednesday, March 5th to Saturday, April 19th. Sundays are your day off.
You can start it whenever you are finding this post, we’ll still be here to cheer you on!
How many years have you done this?
I first read about 40 Bags in 40 Days in 2010. Sarah from Clover Lane shared her journey that year. I googled and found other blogs and Catholic websites on the topic. I was in love with the idea! But so so so scared.
I took the plunge and decided to do it in 2011. I was so nervous to publish my first post on it, The Stuff – It’s Taking OVER! But you know what? People responded and let me know I’m not alone. And they were going to do it with me. (That post and the comments on it still give me goosebumps. Please read it if you want to know you’re not alone.)
I’ve now held challenges on this blog in 2011, 2012, and 2013. And now I’m starting it in 2014.
After three years, I’ve come a long way! My house is simplified. But I’m human, and I still have a big shelf full of decorating crap that I don’t need. And a drawer full of papers I should have thrown out a while back. And…
Yeah, I could go on. Clutter and having too much stuff are normal (at least I like to tell myself that) and careful editing is an ongoing challenge.
How do I start?
Keep reading. :) I have a printable for you to fill out and plan all of the spots you are going to work on each day. Here is a list of suggestions for places in your home, and one of “non-stuff” places to declutter. One per day from your junk drawer to your dresser to the toys to the basement. We have a Facebook group that is SUPER supportive and amazing. And you can always follow me on facebook and instagram and see my embarrassing progress and let that motivate you.
Other than that, just get rid of stuff. It’s really as easy as that.
What kind of bags do I have to use?
Any kind! Contractor sized garbage bags, grocery bags, tall kitchen bags, boxes. I would even count a big furniture as a “bag” or item out. Don’t get hung up on the container. Focus on that spot and get it clean.
Just 40 bags?! I have way more than 40 bags!
Hey girl, hey. Stop making that sad and defeated face.
Don’t focus on the bags. Focus on getting all of the unnecessary stuff out in one spot per day. Don’t go nuts and tackle five spots because you want to prove something. Don’t get all bummed out because you missed a day (or ten). Just focus on one. spot. per. day.
You might have 40 bags, you might have 12, and you might have 73 1/2 bags, 4 boxes, 2 dumpsters, a chair, and a piano. It’s all good. :)
I don’t have enough stuff to do 40 bags!
Kidding! I don’t think I do either, but every year I tell myself that. Read the last question and focus on the spots instead of the number of bags.
Where do I put it all?
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.
Can you come to my house and do it for me?
Yes. Only if you have a million dollars to pay me. ;) Or maybe a couple thousand? If you’re interested, I’ll send you my Paypal address. ;) HA!
(any other questions? I’ll answer them as things go on and add them in here!)
I’ve set up a few things to help us, here they are:
1.) Daily Progress Printable
It’s easy to just jump into decluttering but it can get overwhelming. I’ve created a handy printable for the 40 days to help you plan and keep track of your progress to stay motivated. You have one day off on Sunday, but feel free to switch it up and take one day off a week whenever it 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:
When filling it out, use pencil! First, write down what rooms or spots you would like to work on. When you work on that spot, fill in your progress: how many bags you got, where they will go (goodwill, garbage, family member, garage sale).
Day 1 will be the day you start, don’t forget to give yourself Sundays (or at least one day a week) off when filling it out.
2.) Get tips and support every week
I will be sending out a newsletter once a week with decluttering tips, organizing inspiration, little bits of motivation. Maybe even some of the best before and afters from other people’s progress! Sign up. I promise not to spam you and will send only one email a week.
3.) Lists of Ideas
I’ve compiled the following posts on ideas for spots you can include when tackling the challenge. Here is a list of 78+ areas to start decluttering.
But not all of the cluttery spots in our life are actual stuff! Here is a list of “non-stuff” items to declutter. You know, like Pinterest boards and emails, etc.
4.) JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM
If you’re posting a picture, please use the hashtag #40bagsin40days. Let’s face it, everything looks good in black and white or with a pretty filter on it. Even your bags of crap. ;)
Here’s a picture you can share to all of your people (if on your phone hold your finger on it, save the image, and share on instagram):
I’ve found this particularly helpful when I didn’t want to do my day’s bag. I’d take a picture of a dirty crazy room. Then freak out a tiny bit because I just shared that embarrassing mess to uhh, EVERYONE. But then what happened was almost magical. I’d GO NUTS ON THAT ROOM because by golly, I wanted to prove to all those insta-peeps that I am not a slob. I promise I’m not a slob! It was incredibly motivating.
Follow me (@whbsblog), say hi, and tag me in a post if you are participating with us on Instagram! And don’t forget the #40bagsin40days hashtag when you post. If you’d like to cruise my own personal progress, search #whbs40in40.
5.) JOIN OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.
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. Think of both 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:
6.) Printable Sticker Chart
This is new this year and I am sort of geeking out over it.
Remember when you were potty training and every time you stayed dry (yay!), you got a sticker? I have made a printable sticker chart for you to place little stars and smiley faces or My Little Pony stickers for every bag you ditch. Not your kids, although they might get a kick out of it, YOU.
Do you need to do it? No.
Is it fun? I think so.
Download your free printable here, or click the image:
If you you’d like to order stickers with little tiny pictures of garbage bags, here is how. Embrace your dorkiness.
- download this image to your computer
- go here to Moo.com (that affiliate link will give you 10% off) and select under “more products” select “sticker book”
Their instructions are pretty simple. Upload the image (no cropping or moving needed), select sticker book, and order!
7.) Tell everyone you know
I want everyone I know to join us. I want everyone you know to join us. I want to change our lives, I want to see your progress. Big or small, embarrassing or beautiful. I want to help you and I want you to become a better version of yourself. We are in this together.
I want everyone to know that:
- You don’t need all of this stuff.
- It won’t make you happier.
- Your home should not make you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
- You do not need to be embarrassed.
- You can do this. (repeat that)
- You are not alone in feeling this way.
I want to start a revolution against all of this stuff that everyone tries to sell us and tell us we need. Because guess what, we don’t!
I want your home to be a place where you are surrounded with only the things and people you love. None of that paper clutter, none of the craft supplies to remind us of ideas never carried out, nor clothes telling you what size you used to be.
You need this.
We are all here for you and we love you and we want to see you succeed!
We want to free you from the unnecessary stuff in your life keeping you from being happy.