40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge

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.

join the decluttering revolution! Challenge yourself to simplify and get rid of 40 bags in 40 days. #40bagsin40days

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, 2013, 2014, and now 2015.

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!

Show off.

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.


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):

join the decluttering revolution! Challenge yourself to simplify and get rid of 40 bags in 40 days. #40bagsin40days

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.


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:

join the 40 bags in 40 days closed facebook group!


6.) 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:

  1. You don’t need all of this stuff.
  2. It won’t make you happier.
  3. Your home should not make you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
  4. You do not need to be embarrassed.
  5. You can do this. (repeat that)
  6. 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.

Join me.

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.

Ann Marie Heasley
Hi there, I'm Ann Marie! I get a kick out of making stuff, love pops of color, and am a garage sale junkie. My style is simple, colorful, and kid-friendly. I think your home should be a place where you feel happy! Join me as I share glimpses of our everyday life, creative projects, and tips to make your life a simple one.
Ann Marie Heasley
Ann Marie Heasley
Ann Marie Heasley

Latest posts by Ann Marie Heasley (see all)

Ann Marie Heasley
Follow me on Pinterest!
Ann Marie Heasley


    • Josie says

      I’m in! Some of my bags are headed to http://www.thredup.com. It’s an online consignment store for kids and women. If I can get a few bucks for the clothes I’m clearing out that’s awesome. If you need anything new, new customers get 30% off with promo GET30. But you can just get paid out for your stuff too.

    • says

      I started this already….I rented a dumpster from one of the companies here in town and filled it almost full in one day. Mind you some of it was limbs and branches from all the ice and snow we had this winter, but most was from my garage and in the house. I am so tired of all the clutter and I want to feel proud of my house…..and I was able to get my Scentsy room put together!!!! (Yes..That is my website above if you want to shop any!!!!) I am not done by any means….spring break is coming up and I will knock out a bunch those days for sure…..plus do some painting and other things! Looking forward to it!

    • janet says

      I need to do this, I am a recent widow and it is scary to let things go. I shredded 3 bags of paper and 2 bags to go. Why do I think I need receipts from 15 years ago?

      • Julie says

        You can do this! I was widowed 9 years ago (I was 50 yo). After a year of being widowed, I sold “our” house and bought a townhouse. I had a lifetime of stuff to go thru … However, I found it to be a part of the grieving process – especially going thru old checks, etc. I discovered checks I’d written as a newlywed, checks written to pay the tiny balance due after our son was born, etc. I would take a box a night and just read the checks (or whatever was in the box for that year) and then shred most of it. Anyway, you can do this!! Good luck :)

        • Sue says

          I am a widow now for almost 13 months. I haven’t slept in our bedroom since, and I’m not really sure I want to. But it has become a cluttered mess, a no-woman’s zone, and embarrassment. I need to de-clutter there first!!! I’ve gotten rid of the clothes from his dresser, but the ‘all over the place’ clothes still have to be dealt with, along with all the ‘valuable junk’ that has been shoved in there!!! It’s 10 p.m. on March 5, and I just got this far, having found this post on FB at 9:45. I will have to start tomorrow. I’m disabled and have to manage energy levels. If I get started tonight, I will be up all night, lol!!! Thanks for being here! I follow FLYLady, but this is going to help a lot!

          • says

            Sue, your story sounds like mine. I was widowed 8 months ago and am also disabled and have to save my energy. My husband died in our bedroom so I can’t handle sleeping there. My mess is very close to Hoarder situation. I want desperately to clear my house but it is so very overwhelming. This site has gotten me excited to try to dig in. I can easily fill a bag a day because there is just so much clutter. Getting the energy to do it is the trick. I am going to try the 40 day 40 bag challenge and maybe I will be able to make a difference. It might just help my depression. Thanks for the challenge.

          • Kristen Weaver says

            I am also a widow, my husband died in 1997 at 40 yrs old. One thing that can be done with any clothes that you want to remember is to cut squares from them and sew (or ask someone to sew for you) a pillow or blanket cover for you. I tried to do this but the person took the clothes and never made the pillow for me. But when my Dad died 3 1/2 yrs ago my sister took many of his old ties and made pillows for each of my siblings and my Mom, it is nice to have something like that to remind us of happy times. (and it doesn’t take a lot of space)

      • Annette says

        Wow! Spotting your comment made me think…” I can do this”. I was widowed 15 months ago and it has been super difficult to go through some of the doors (closets) and drawers. I am starting today. I have to make this space more “me friendly”. Thank you for your comment, good luck and Godspeed!

        • Jan says

          I’ve been inspired by these comments. I was also widowed 10 years ago (at 51 yrs) and still need to do major decluttering. All of your comments have given me the encouragement I needed to get at the “hidden” treasures in the boxes stored out of sight. Thank you all!

          • Linda says

            I too am a widow, just short of 3 years. The hardest part about clutter is that this was my husband’s family home. It took years to get the old out but in almost 40 years, we filled it back up. When he died, we filled 3 40-yard dumpsters with his stuff from his man cave and the garage. I now have the urge to declutter the house and have a yard sale. This challenge just might get me moving.

        • Margaret Wilson says

          I’ve been widowed for a year and a half. I have memories of 61 years of marriage that’s so hard to part with. A favorite jacket if his I put on around the house in winter but I keep thinking if I give it to goodwill, someone else will be warm for the winter. This will be my starting point and I will declutter my house of junk and memories because the memories are in my heart. Thank you all for the help and motivation.

          • says

            I’ve been widowed for 15 years, so I have a suggestion for the rest of the widows:
            First–When going through your late husband’s belongings, keep anything that causes a physical reaction, like your stomach tightening, or tension anywhere. You can review it in a year and you might be able to let go then.
            Second–Take a picture of the item! You can enjoy it for years, but not have your house clogged up with “stuff” that other people might treasure that you and your late husband don’t need anymore! This is especially helpful it the item is large!

          • Ellen Carlisle says

            I’ve been widowed for about 1 1/2 years and have been in our home for almost 18 years. In December 2012, only four months after my husband’s passing, I decided to renovate my kitchen and breakfast room. I spent January and February going through cabinets, packing and tossing. I had to call at least two different charities to pick up my discards, the the renovation expanded to include my living, dining and one guest room (foundation issues). I have so much more room in my cabinets and closets and find that I now carefully weigh each new purchase with these questions: Do I need this? Will I use it regularly? If I can’t answer “yes” to both questions, I don’t buy it. Also, during the renovation when I lived in my master bedroom and bathroom, I made myself go through my husband’s things. I couldn’t get rid of everything at once, but I made a huge dent. I have since been able to purge more of his things, as well as more of mine. I am sure that someone is enjoying his suits and his warm jackets. My next project is the attic.

      • kathleen says

        1st. I’m sorry for your loss.
        2nd. When my husband passed almost 1 year ago, I had the recycling dumpster in the office for 3 weeks. Now a year later I’ll wheel it in again. I have not missed any of it.
        Good luck and God bless.

        • says

          Hi ladies… ,my partner died over ten years ago,. I kept some of his clothes.. I’m wearing his old dressing gown now, and let the rest go to a charity shop….
          I also put my life on a completely different path..I made a decision to live for both of us and get far more out of my life than ever before xx

          Love to all of you and hoping you find your path through the grief xx

    • Hannah says

      An average trash bag is 13 gallons, x 40 is 520. Let’s say only one fourth is actual trash. If 100 people do this that’s 13000 gallons of extra trash in landfills. You are supporting garbage. The giant black bag as the logo is terrifying, what the hell is wrong with everyone?!! Where do you really think someone is going to toss something after they put it in a trash bag.

      • Janet says

        I can see your point about filling up the landfills. Sometimes we throw things away because its easier than donating or recycling. We need to take care of our planet and be responsible for what we leave to those who come after us.

        That said, I’m ready to start!!!

      • Sheena Myers says

        ‘Hannah’ you sound like someone I know named Catherine. “40 bags in 40 days” is just a name to encourage & motivate those of us that are overwhelmed with ‘stuff’ in our homes to begin the process of organizing by simply ‘filling’ a ‘bag’, box or whatever a day. I suggest you join the FB group so you can learn more about this amazing concept. You would quickly see that we are not literally taking our clutter & throwing it in a landfill. ~ https://www.facebook.com/groups/40bagsin40days/ ~

      • Kristen says

        “Every party has a popper; that’s why we invited you!” I fill 30-gallon bags, not 13-gallon ones. But before you panic, I *donate* them. Not every “trash” bag is going to a landfill. Sure, some things need to get tossed because they aren’t good enough quality (broken, soiled, missing pieces) to donate, but I recycle anything I can so the load of garbage is minimized. If you actually read the post, she writes, “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.” That’s a lot of options, and note that garbage is last.

      • Hannah W says

        Hannah, I hear you! It’s sad to think of all that trash going into the landfills, but I challenge you to think of it this way: almost all the people doing this challenge will consume less, and for the rest of their lives throw away tons and tons less garbage than they would have. So though we have to accept that we made mistakes, and generated more trash than we should have, we don’t have to live that way forever! By clearing our house out and buying less stuff, we’re contributing less to the crazy consumerism that is rampant in America. So I say what the hell is wrong with someone who WON’T do this?! Let’s reduce consumerism one bag at a time!

  1. says

    Looking forward to doing this. It is my first year! I love the word “decrapify”. It so needs to happen at my house! We are swimming in crap over here. :)

    • Claire says

      Your comment really resonated with me. We are planning to sell our home and move, and we are so deep in “crap” that it sometimes seems too daunting. But a bag a day–I can do this!

      • says

        We have lived in the same house for 8 1/2 years. We moved in just after we got married. We have since added two kids to our family. It is unbelievable the amount of stuff we have.

  2. Bonnie K (BornInaZoo) says

    I did this last year. One bag led to another and then a 10-yard dumpster full purging my basement. I’ve accumulated a lot of clutter since then … probably not another dumpster full, but definitely 40 bags worth.

    I’m in!

  3. says

    With spring cleaning and decluttering in full swing, we’ve been slammed with people wanting help with organizing and making their home more stylish and functional. You can do it!!

  4. says

    Love this idea! We have been saying for an embarrassingly long time that we need to do some major de-cluttering in our home but I think we have just been overwhelmed by it. I think that one area a day is very do-able.

  5. says

    Oh, I need this!
    I’ll be not at home from the 5th to the 12th but I have the best intention to catch these days up and still fill 40 bags at the end… Only that I will probably have to use smaller bags because there’s only so much that fits in my small students apartment ;)

    Love, Midsommarflicka

  6. says

    I love this! I only managed a few bags last year, but we have since moved, and sweet niblets, the amount of crap I have is just ridiculous….but I think it’s hereditary so it’s not really my fault, right? ;-) We’re expecting baby #2 in June, and I definitely feel the need to purge what I can before she comes.

  7. says

    I am so in! I just printed my daily progress sheets and will post them in my kitchen command center (a place I hold sacred only for really important things!). I’m following you and will blog/instagram/tweet my progress

  8. says

    Let’s get our purge on! I have been anxiously awaiting for this time of year! I have been doing some pre-decrapifying so that I don’t feel behind before we even start! I just wrote a blog about 40 Days, 40 Bags… I am proofing it before I post. :)

  9. Heidi says

    So glad I found this! I was looking for something to motivate me to spring clean and doing this as a community is especially inspiring. Thanks! I’m going to create an Instagram account just for this :)

  10. Elkwoman says

    I understand the need to declutter and simplify but this challenge worries me abit. Please don’t just throw stuff in the garbage. Remember in this world there is no “away” in “throwing away”. It is going into our earth. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose. My new motto is “Keep it and Love it”. That way I won’t throw things out and buy more in it’s place.

    • Debbie says

      I do agree that we need to be more mindful and aware and not just throw things in the garbage. Recycle, donate or give to someone who really needs it. You’d be amazed at the people who would find your cast-offs to be a treasure! That furniture that you think is so outdated would be lovely in the empty apartment that the young couple share…you know them – the young couple just getting started who barely have enough money to pay the rent and buy a few groceries, the young couple sleeping on an air mattress and using folding chairs and a card table? Yeah, them. The old toys that your kids never play with anymore would thrill the little kiddies of the single mom with 3 kids of her own that she is trying to support on a waitress salary – no extra money for toys in her budget. So, yes! Definitely be mindful, but find ways and places to use the good stuff…don’t just throw it out and add to our already overloaded landfills. If it’s good…pass it forward!

      • kris says

        Yes, I pulled out things out of my Plastic cubbard(where all my extra plastic kitchen things go) and kept about 20% and was putting rest in a goodwill bag and then found out one of husband’s therpist had a fire a few months back and she needed to replace some kitchen things and I had her go thru the stuff 1st, she took some that she would use and we still have a black trash bag for goodwill

        • Juanita Patke says

          Salvation Army can always use household items and clothing. I am told they only have one paid employee and the others are volunteers. They also help out people that need a little help when times are tough. They have become the charity that get my donations.

    • Roxanne says

      40 plastic bags … eek! Old pillow cases, cardboard boxes … recycle, give away that stuff then fill up those pillow cases and cardboard boxes again. ;P Great idea!

      • Caroline says

        What to do with the 30+ empty Girl Scout cookie cases? 40 “Bags” in 40 Days! The size is smaller than a garbage bag, but faster to fill and easy to label, making it easier for the recipients to organize on their end!

          • Rachel says

            Great minds think alike! I’m already doing this, but didn’t know it was an official “thing.” I started my Spring Cleaning/Decluttering a couple of weeks ago and already have 10 bags! For Lent, I’ve given up watching TV, so I have a lot more time to declutter. Today, I took the 25-year-old portable TV from my bedroom to a woman from church who needed one in her nursing home room because the facility doesn’t provide TVs. I’ve arranged to sell some of my stuff at a community Attic Sale at the end of the month where low income families shop. I’ve been praying to God for people who really need my stuff because I refuse to just throw it away and add to landfills. That’s not Christian. I also refuse to donate to charities that resell my treasures to rich kids who think it’s retro or trendy to shop at Goodwill. Already, my prayers are being answered and I’m on my way to the Zen lifestyle I choose.

    • Rita Revell says

      Unfortunately those of us who clutter really need to downsize. Be assured that folks will be recycling as well. When the clutter is cleared up, then most of what’s left will be the things you value.

  11. says

    I’ve been struggling to decide what to give up for lent, and even though this scares me – it’s something I desperately want to see happen in my house and it fits some of my other goals this year, so I’m going to join you! Eeek!! Do you have suggestions for the 40 areas?

    • jobeibi says

      For me, 40 areas is easy. Ten rooms with 4 corners each. Every corner, a gold mine of clutter.

      Sunday, when I first saw this post, I cleaned five bags of junk out of the entry way closet. I had to ask, when was the last time anyone in this house wore a size 3 shoe?

  12. Juanita Patke says

    In the fall I decided to clean out different areas of my home. Cubby where I store items for gifts, basement, craft room and storage area. I then called some friends that run a charity event for Fisher House. I asked them to come over and take what they wanted and thought they could use for the event. They took a truck load! The best part was the event was two weeks ago and I was thrilled to see what they ha done with beanie babies, flower pots, etc. Baskets of items I donated with a few purchased items made a wonderful silent auction item.
    So, now its time to start on my dresser and closet. Thanks for your post.

  13. Lara says

    Saw this on a friend’s Facebook page. Planning on putting our home on the market in the next 30 days so this is JUST what I needed! Feeling a bit overwhelmed but will give it my best!

  14. Carol says

    I am a shopaholic and packrat. i love the name decrapifying and I know I need to do this. I feel so overwhelmed and I am drowning in my stuff. What a great idea for lent! I so need the support. Can’t wait to start!

  15. MarieB says

    Hi! I’m new to the site, but not new to being overwhelmed by all the stuff!! My question for everyone is: do you let the kids help get rid of stuff, or do it without their input? The seem to want to keep the McDonalds toys and get rid of good toys. Also, what (besides the McDonalds toys) is garbage, vs stuff to give or sell? I don’t like generating so much garbage, but I guess with 4 kids the is inevitable! HELP!!

    • says

      Get the kids involved. Don’t focus on the amount to remove as much as them removing SOMETHING (this will get them in the habit of decrapifying). They may only do it one day a week and de-clutter their desk or sock drawer or closet floor then closet shelves, etc.
      BTW McDonald’s toys are great classroom reward ‘store’ items. Personally, I hate having garage sales, so I give pretty much everything away…Goodwill, or local school, or library, or foster kids’ program. Things that are broken or don’t work get put in the trash.

    • says

      I let my kids donate the Mc D toys to the kindergarten toy chest, as well as any small toys. the kindergarteners love the new toys. The teachers don’t have to buy them and they are out of my house. Also if you have home supplies or children’s items, check if you have a pregnancy help center near by. They will take infant /children clothing and they will take toys, and home goods like old pots/pans or dishes for these women who are trying to make it mostly on their own. Don’t forget your local hospital too! I work in a NICU and we are always in need of swings, bouncy seats and crib mobiles. I just thought I’d give some suggestions for the ladies that don’t want to just toss items. Plus we are helping other women in our community.:)

  16. says

    I’m excited to have found this in time to start at the beginning. (Usually, I discover a great challenge 2 days before it ends.) Thank you for sharing!

  17. Marie says

    I just finished tackling my closet and have a huge bag of wire hangers… then noticed the rest of the house! I am ready for this and will need encouragement..

    • Morrigan says

      Most dry cleaners are happy to reuse any wire hangers you have for donation. I simply put mine in the bag with the next round of dry cleaning.

  18. Mendy says

    It’s so crazy because I started this on Sunday without knowing about you and then my friend posted this on Facebook! I’m all in!

  19. Angie Joens says

    I am in !!! I am so tired of clutter and things. This year I devote myself to de-cluttering and getting rid of things that bog down my life !!! YEAH!!!

  20. says

    I just wrote my 40 Bags in 40 Days post this morning! I also found out about it through Sarah at Clover Lane. Small world! I love your blog and can’t wait to have a more thorough look around.

  21. Heather says

    I can’t get the Daily Progress thing to print right. :( But I’m in anyway. I almost always feel the urge to get rid of my crap, so this is a really good way to get started.

    • Kirsten says

      hey, Heather, I just printed mine and the first copy didn’t turn out right. Then I got it: go to the page, click download, click open in adobe (or whatever it is, not save), then print. It gave me a perfect, full sized page. Hope it helps.

  22. Kirsten says


    I’m brand new here and have been working on decluttering for a few weeks on my own…slowly slogging through it. I plan it every year but am having a hard time staying motivated this time. A support group and sticker chart? Sold! Thanks for the remotivation and pep talk, I am in!

  23. ShamrockShannon says

    It’s like you were reading my mind!!! All the emotional stress in my life that’s out of my control is hard enough. I have clutter EVERYWHERE in my house it seems. I can’t stand it any more. However when I look around I don’t know where to start. It’s all so overwhelming and the mere thought of going through everything is exhausting. I also struggle with having an emotional attachment to ‘things”. Not only me but youngest daughter does as well. My husband keeps everything because you know “we might need it someday”. If we ever did need it we wouldn’t know where it was so the point is mute. We need help. I am committing to this project. I can “control” this and I will. God help me!!!! For real!

    • Lacey says

      My husband is the same way! He collects and keeps everything. I’ve caught him keeping old carpets from people’s homes as well as anything with copper! Luckily he has his own “man cave” to clutter up. I think I might try to get him to jump on board this challenge with me.

  24. Stephanie Marshall says

    I am cleaning out too- just remember what your tired of looking at , means allot to someone else. Allot of animal rescues depend on donations to sell to make money for their rescues .Please check them out. You can also call your local fire station and they often have a charity set up for people who have lost everything in a fire . Make your cleaning count and turn lives around. It’s very rewarding. Think back to a time when you had nothing ,hard to believe with all the stuff we accumulate but it can be such a help to young ones starting out.

  25. Jen says

    I just moved in a new house in July and I’m overwhelmed by the amount of crap I boxed up and carried with me! I’m in and I’m ready to decrapify! I’m sectioning off my basement into “spots” because that has become the catch-all for everything! Thanks for this great idea!

  26. says

    What a great idea! I am a professional organizer in the Twin Cities, and though many people seek my services because they can’t declutter alone, plenty of others need just a dose of inspiration and motivation to get started. (And a deadline sure helps as well.) This 40 Days project does that. Tackle this project with a friend or as a family, and see how wonderful it can be to release. For those looking for professional help, there are organizers nationwide: http://www.NAPO.net (National Association of Professional Organizers).

  27. Heather Dillon says

    I started to do this once before but failed after one day. My problem is when I start I end up with huge piles of stuff everywhere & it is worse than it was before. At the moment I am going thru some of my Mother’s things. I know they are not worth anything but it is so hard to just throw them away. Things like clip/screw earrings that I remember her wearing. The other problem I have is I spend too much time on the internet looking at Pinterest, etc. & looking at others wonderful pins on organisation.

    • Juanita Patke says

      Try your local senior center. Our center has an ongoing sale and a lot of the ladies love clip on earrings, pins and other costume jewelry. It is sold at a reasonable price that the seniors can afford.

    • Heather Dillon says

      Thanks Juanita, that is a good idea. My mother is in a nursing home so I will clean them up and try there first.

  28. says

    This is exactly what I need for the Lenten season! Thank you for the push! I’m in Germany, where it can be time consuming to sort stuff into Categories because there’s a sense of responsibility in how you get rid of things. They even have a huge list online for my city to help determine how to dispose of everything from A to Zed.

  29. Sarah says

    This would be perfect. I have been trying to figure out my Lenten devotion and hadn’t come up with anything meaningful. This would be a big deal for me personally and would have the added benefit of making my husband very happy.
    Thank you for the motivation and the charts…I think that’ll help. I don’t know if I’ll make 40, but like you said, that’s not the focus. And even ‘something’ is better than ‘nothing’, right?

  30. Patricia says

    This is perfect timing, I just got rid of a boyfriend with too much emo garbage and ready to clear up the rest of the crap holding me back in my life, from clutter to mental hurdles. I can’t wait! Now, which corner, table, closet, drawer can I do first? :-)

  31. says

    I’m in!
    I started last Spring really digging in deeper than ever. I deleted 6 big black trash bags from my own closet and have done tons more since. We just did my sons room but I’ve got the overflow from the epic room flip in my sun room, waiting to be gone through. Thanks for the nudge :))) Luck to us all. Shannon

  32. Sue E. says

    I stumbled upon this site through In the Heart of My Home’s blog where I visit periodically when I need some inspiration. Tomorrow begins Lent. As I polish off some chocolate chips and red wine tonight, I think about Lent starting. What does God want me to do or not do to draw closer to Him?? My husband has just about had it with the clutter in this house. We homeschool, and he has a home office, so he is around it all day. Also, we are considering moving this spring, but he is doubtful we can get it ready. I felt God calling me to ease his discomfort by working hard to clean out this house during Lent. AND THEN I read your post!!!! God is SO Good!!!! Now I feel like I have a little accountability, as well as a focus, on how to accomplish my goal. Thank you, Ann Marie! Where can I go for support if I am not on FB?? You mentioned a closed room at the top. Is it just these comment pages?
    Blessings to you,
    Sue E.

  33. Linda says

    Anne Marie,
    On New Year’s I had dubbed 2014 “The Year of the Purge”. I am amazed at the things that come through my life that fit into this plan. Enter this post, posted on facebook by a friend. I love this idea and will begin tomorrow. Thanks for the idea.

  34. LisaT says

    I love idea. I feel like it was sent specially to me as I so need to depravity! I’m in! I can do this!

  35. Kimberly Huffstetler says

    I found something that works for my family along the same line. When we purchase a piece of clothing…. we pick and choose 5 items to donate away… it is a win win…. if you want it bad enough to get rid of 5 items, then it’s definitely worth the purchase, Plus, you are thinning down the surplus you’ve accumulated over the years.

  36. Beth Davidson says

    This sounds great – except I only have 15 days to do mine in! My son is coming to town on a business trip and I want to get rid of EVERYTHING that does not belong any more! I already have a ton boxed up – mostly books, magazines, and clothes. There is still a lot to be done. The things I have the most trouble getting rid of are – MEDICAL BOOKS, both professional reference books, as well as novels re medical professionals – I will be 70 in 11 days and I still have all kinds of medical books from high school, college, and my medical transcriptionist days. I also have a ton of self-help books, both communications in marriage and in eating disorder type things. I have two places I am donating things to – the Dallas Indian United Methodist Church and a garage sale at First Methodist Church in Forney, TX, benefitting a marriage encounter coming up in a few weeks. Having these definite things to donate to is what finally got me started on my efforts. Lots of luck everyone.

  37. Victoria says

    I am looking forward to starting this journey, but scared of failing. Can’t finish what you don’t start!

  38. says

    I was just sitting here at my workspace and talking to my husband about Lent and I popped onto this site via Amy Allen Clark. We’re IN all the way in getting ourselves into donation mode. We have too much stuff and so many others are in such need. Thank you. Thank you for this…

  39. Debbie says

    Today is my birthday and the beginning of Lent. What better time to declutter and decrapify than today?! (I didn’t know anybody else used the word ‘decrapify’ besides me and my kids!) I love this and I’m anxious to get started.

    Ok…here we go. Take a deeeep breath. GO!!!

  40. Shari Eckert says

    I’m in! I intended to do this last year. I’m not letting Lent get away this year without completing this. I am so ready to not be overwhelmed with “stuff”. I can’t wait for the feeling of peace on Easter Sunday knowing I did it!! :)

  41. Tracey says

    Ok it is just turned Thursday here in Western Australia but I am in, Can call it Autumn cleaning. Just what I need we are moving late this year or early next year depends upon when the new house is built so do not want to take extras with us.

  42. Debi C says

    What to DO WITH AT ALL??? …..Does anyone know of a good article or a website that will help people locate charities and organizations to donate items to, local recycling centers, etc? Anyone have any ideas on easy ways to profit from sales of unwanted items – donating profits to charity of your choice….?

  43. Christie says

    I am going to try as I really need to do this but I have fibromyalgia and that makes it difficult some days. I know I just can’t continue to live my life in a cluttered house. It makes the depression that I sometimes deal with (from having chronic pain from the fibro) that much worse.

    • Dece Gherardini says


      I also have fibro and I started with one bag today in my son’s bedroom. I have to be honest that it felt like someone had kicked me all over when I finished, BUT I got the bag all the way to the trash can outside. Fibro and the accompanying depression has pretty much sucked my motivation dry. But a bag a day? I can DO that. I can sit down and go through old clothes, etc. and it will make a bag (or box).
      I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in the crappy fibro OR in managing the pain while decrapifying your home. I felt proud of myself today and I haven’t felt that for a long time! LOL

      One day at a time. Do what you can and let the rest go. :-)

      — Dece

  44. B says

    I love this idea! I need this idea! I’m totally in!
    The fact that I read this today (the day it starts) is perfect. No time to procrastinate and worry about it.

    Good luck vanquishing all the pile monsters everyone.

  45. Sandra Heinzman says

    Can I count putting away my Christmas decorations and taking the tree down for this challenge? I still have everything up!

    • Faith Thompson says

      Oh my goodness! I do too! That will be the first thing I take care of. I have been put on chemo treatments again and am tired constantly, but I can do this!

  46. Renee Keel says

    Started in our family room today. Three bags, one of trash, one of recycling, one of items to sale or donate.

  47. Diane says

    I would love to try this but who has the TIME? I’m up every morning at 5:30, cook breakfast, get my family off to work and school and then take myself to work. I get home at 5 if I don’t have to run errands. Once home, I cook dinner, then do more work for my job– this will last anywhere from 8:30-10:30– and some nights even later. In between I’m trying to have some contact with my family and relax a LITTLE. Saturdays are usually spent with kid activities (many Saturdays we are at high school competitions from 6am-midnight). Sunday I go into a coma for a while, cook breakfast and dinner (lunch is every man for himself), do laundry, go to the grocery store and then, yes, prepare for work the following day. If I were a stay at home mom, or part time mom perhaps I’d have time to go through closets and drawers. My husband’s schedule is much the same and yes he does help with laundry, cleans the kitchen and does all the yard work.

    • 2blessedmomma says

      If the clutter makes you crazy, start small. Clear a drawer while the water boils or you put away laundry. It doesn’t have to be monumental, just an effort to simplify and be thankful for all that we have. I am a full time mom, housekeeper, and professional. My sanity is worth 5 extra minutes per day to declutter. If you need it, make the next 40 days about 5 minutes yo easier breathing for you. Good luck, you are one busy gal!

    • says

      Maybe you can shift your focus to not necessarily 40 bags, but to spending a few minutes a day cleaning out things you don’t need. I’ve been working most of the day as well and am having a hard time getting to my spot, but have been taking a few minutes here or there to chip away at it. Or maybe even resolve to reduce the items you bring in and up the items going out? Some people might need a few hours, but if it is all under control, a few minutes here or there might be sufficient.

      You sound like a wonderful wife and mother! I’m amazed at all you do. I do agree that free time is a precious commodity and should be spent with your family first and foremost. :) Thanks for your insight!

    • Terri says

      Diane, I think if children are at competitions 18 hours every Saturday, it’s time to re-evaluate what is most important in your life. Your post sounds frantic and exhausting. For your health and sanity, I hope you find some things to let go of, whether they are taking up your time, or taking up space in the closet. Only you can set those priorities. Children and adults alike need time to relax and breathe, and not be scheduled 24/7/365

    • JanL says

      (update to a previous comment)
      Diane: My children are grown, but we are raising our grandson (he’s 5, has been with us since 22 months old). My husband works long-hours, I work too so keeping house, getting grandson to/fro kindergarten, speech therapy, counselor, music classes, play dates, library, homework, reading to him, being a loving ‘parent’, etc keeps us busy. Decluttering is often the last thing on my agenda. here are some things working for us.
      With a kitchen-trash-bag in grandson’s room, as he dresses & notes that a shirt is too small, pajamas too tight, or a pair of pants too short, in the bag they go. When bag is filled, it goes to a friend with younger boys, or in my car. The next time I pass a thrift store, I pull up to their drop-off center. If a charity calls asking for donations & say they’ll be ‘in my neighborhood’ with a truck, I say yes… and stick that bag outside the front door as I leave in the morning. They will take it away for me!!
      I also keep a small box to fill intermittently. As I cook or put away dishes in kitchen, if I come across a dish I don’t use any more, a stray pan lid with no pan, or excess kitchen utensils, into the box they go, Same disposal method as above.
      As I put away laundry & find clothes with holes/stains, etc. if workable, I cut with scissors & put in ‘rag bag’. When I put laundry away I pull out those not worn & stick them in the bag too. When I’m dressing and realize I avoid wearing certain things, into the bag they go instead of my old method of leaving in the closet for that ‘someday’ need.
      I was a ‘saver’ of containers too. Often they were a source of frustration moving them from spot to spot for ‘someday’ projects. I finally put a separate trash can to toss them in. If I haven’t thought of a use before trash day, they go in the recyclable bin.

      One success story for us: because people feel ‘sad’ for the grandparents raising a child, we get lots of gifted hand-me-down clothes. We are VERY thankful for the help & the money savings, but sometimes its overwhelming. We asked our grandson’s daycare if they would do a ‘clothes exchange/giveaway’. I took three black giant trash bags to them, they arranged everything & multiple families were able to take clothes for their children free of charge in just a few minutes extra time at the daycare. What were not taken were taken to a donation center by the DAYCARE MANAGER!!

      My oldest son died when he was 20. His belongings have been the hardest for me to part with. As many have noted on this list & especially the widows, memories are not in the items, they are in the heart. Darcie Sims, a famous grief therapist, says: “let love be what you remember most.” I think this is a fitting statement for all families. I don’t want my children/grandchildren/husband remembering me for my clutter, but for my love.

      I certainly won’t get 40 bags in 40 days, but I’m pleased with the ‘something is better than nothing’. Best wishes to all of us in our journey. Sorry for writing so much but this struck a nerve for me.

      • Sandra says

        set a timer….5 min, 10 min, 15 min….whatever you can do. STOP when the timer goes off so you won’t get overwhelmed.

  48. Sucheta Frankel says

    I have been afraid of this process for a long time…despairing I will ever succeed. Thank you for coming along at just the right time.

      • Sucheta Frankel says

        Thanks. It helps. Today was a very tiring day wherein I was out of the house most of the time (unusual). When I finally stopped at 9:00 PM, I was so exhausted that I doubted I would be able to start. But, I really didn’t want to NOT start. I didn’t fill any bags, but I DID declutter THREE small areas that have been inundated for a very long period. I’ll sleep well tonight! But, I’m not sure 40 days is long enough!

      • Becky says

        Gee, this is almost like an answer to an unspoken prayer!! I just saw this on my FB page today, but am motivated and enthusiastic about starting tomorrow (maybe tonight?!) I am so tired of being embarrassed about my house because I just don’t keep things neat and organized…and am totally overwhelmed by the enormity of it all….but ONE BAG AT A TIME….I will try. I’m artsy/craftsy and have way too much stuff even though I love being able to pull out something to decorate someone’s house on a whim, or help with a school project…..but let’s be real here….I have way too much stuff and my son is NOT going to want every card he made me in school, or my wonderful collection of eclectic bunnies……or…….
        Ok, I’m in and appreciate knowing that I’m not really alone and that the “Hoarders” TV crew is not going to show up at my door…I’m scared and embarrassed, but determined. Thanks SO much for providing the means and support.

  49. Beth Perry says

    Without even seeing this page yesterday I got fedup with my shoe pile and straighten them up and took 5 pairs for the consignment store! I already have one bag!!
    then I tackled my pre/post baby clothes- 2 bags!!

  50. karen says

    just printed the progress sheets and I am trying to fill it in~not sure I have 40 areas in my house (its kinda small) but I am open for suggestions and will work with what I have so far. I think motivation with other people will be very helpful..

    • Juanita Patke says

      Like you I won’t have 40 areas and definitely not 40 bags but its day 3 and I have filled several small grocery bags with recycle items and papers to be shred. My office is shaping up so I will tackle the file cabinet one day. Linen closet and my closet are on the list. Craft room will never be organized as every time I start organizing I start on a project and forget about organizing and tossing.

  51. Staci R. says

    I’m ready to go! I’ve always been an organizer and hated clutter, but being married to someone who isn’t bothered so much by a little clutter, and with having two children, I haven’t been true to myself and stayed on track. Can’t wait to get moving and see the progress and feel so, so much less stress!

  52. JanL says

    I will remove some items from my home… as you say, its not the amount of bags but rather that I am taking some unneeded things away.
    note to Diane above: Our lives are similar. The way I’ve started doing this is put a trash bag in my 5-year-old’s room; as he gets dressed for school, play or church and he complains that a shirt is too small or a pair of pants have suddenly become ‘high water’, in the bag they go. when the bag is filled, I give it to a friend with younger boys or put it in my car. The next time I pass a thrift store, I pull up to their drop-off center & leave it there. Also, if a charity calls asking for donations & say they’ll be ‘in my neighborhood’ with a truck, I say yes… and stick that bag outside the front door as I leave in the morning. I have been amazed at the effect this has had without trying to rearrange my life. Also, I’ve found I have clothes in my drawer that haven’t been worn in some time, so when I put laundry away I pulled out those never worn & stick them in the bag too. I certainly won’t get 40 bags in 40 days, but I’m pleased with the ‘something is better than nothing’. Best wishes to you, also.

  53. Ruby says

    It’s a good idea, but I wish you’d put much more emphasis on donating the unwanted items. Because ‘decrapifying’ is such a first world problem. Having clutter is a luxury and you can be sure that someone out there does need what you’re throwing away. If you’re going to promote this activity, I think you should also provide ideas and links for people to donate their goods, and information about the kinds of things donation centres tend to accept. Freecycle is also awesome and more info (or at least a link) on that would be good too. The last thing we need is people just dumping it all in landfill. Thanks.

    • says

      I agree! It is much better to be donating items to those in need. We love Freecycle! I will be writing a post with a list of places hopefully sooner than later. This post and movement grew a bit faster than I was expecting.

      Thanks for your insight!

    • Sucheta Frankel says

      I, too, want to donate every useful thing….however, that has kept me from actually getting things done…I don’t have time to organize and take everything (too overwhelming) and so have done nothing. As of today, this is changing.

      • Laura says

        i’m in the same boat as sucheta… wanting to hang on to really nice/good things so that i can give them to someone in need has always kept me from decluttering… i hate yardsales.. a lot of work just to have someone want to give you .25 for a $25 item. I would rather GIVE it to someone in need… my granddaughter is 4.5 yrs old and i’m still waiting on that ‘someone’ to give the babybed with all the ‘decor to match’, play-yard, boppies and the list goes on and on and on… my daughter and i started yesterday and it’s unbelievable how much ‘stuff’ got boxed up along with bags of just plain ole trash to go out!! loving it!!! ps… planning to call some of the local ‘teen pregnancy & battered women shelters today and see what they are in need of.

  54. roxy says

    6 1/2 years widowed for me and I still can’t let go of everything. We were young newlyweds.. It’s tough… But we had been together 7 years and we built up a lot of “stuff” during that time. Every year I try to reduce his pile by half so it isn’t so over whelming. Good luck!

  55. says

    This is a fabulous idea! We’re in the throws of decluttering this house as we prepare to move. I can’t believe all the stuff I’ve already gotten rid of! I thought I needed it all too, but man, once you dig in and really think about it, there’s so much stuff that can be let go!
    Hope you (and everyone participating) have a great 40 days and get rid of lots of clutter!!

  56. says

    I’m so excited about this! I saw Clover Lanes posts about this years ago and have wanted to do it. I’ve done other things every year since 2011 and I planned on doing the 40bags Lent this year….and what did I find on FB this morning….a link to this page!! So excited you’re doing this! I’m happy to know there are others like me. ;)

  57. Julz says

    I am in. My husband is returning is returning from deployment #4 in may so of course I want the house to be ready when he gets back. Moving every 3 years with all this stuff isn’t easy.

  58. Laura says

    i have been saying i was going to do this for years!! this past week, my daughter and i actually ‘started’ the process without ever hearing of this 40bags thingy…. this came along at a perfect time as encouragement! i’m sitting here reading comments, etc and my daughter comes to the door and says “hey, this is a great idea” and shows me the progress sheet that she printed off ~ we are on the same page!!! i can’t even imagine our home (which includes every drawer, closet, 2 attics, 10×16 storage shed with a loft) being 100% DECRAPIFIED and DECLUTTERFIED!!!! every inch of the list above is bulging at the seams :( … anyway… my daughter (Christie) just headed up the stairs with some boxes so I better get off here and get me some boxes!! (but see.. we ‘had’ already gone to the grocery store and picked up some boxes) … ****for the lady somewhere up the list that said her place was small and that she may not have enough spaces to fill up her list.. if your drawers look like mine… that could be a several day job.. maybe list kitchen drawers and/or cabinets, bathroom cabinets, etc. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!! Sooooooo ready for the challenge!!

  59. says

    I am so overwhelmed with the clutter in my house. I dont even know where to begin! When I saw this, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head… This is it! You can do one thing a day! Breaking it up might be the way to FINALLY get it done! I am so in!!!!

    • Rebeca says

      Jen, I too am overwhelmed with the enormous amount of clutter. I have tried on my own to do similar projects but it just seems like there is always something that gets in the way of my being successful. I like the idea of putting a timer on and just doing it bit by bit.

      I am going to give it another try.

  60. Justyna says

    How much stuff do you buy to be able to declutter 40 bags a year? Maybe it’s better to stop buying instead? Good luck anyway:)

    • Morrigan says

      The more time you spend decluttering your stuff, the more stuff you realise you can live without. As you let go of each thing, stuff overall has less of an emotional hold on you and you may find it easier to let go of the sentimental clutter next year or perhaps things you never considered clutter before.

        • Morrigan says

          You are more than welcome to share it, Ann Marie. And you’re welcome to use my name if you wish. I hope someone finds it helpful.

          I’m in the midst of a 2014 things in 2014 purge and am embarrassed by how much stuff remains even after The Great Apartment Purge of 2013, but I’ve learned that decluttering and simplifying my life is an ongoing process and that the further I get, the easier it becomes to let go of things I had considered ‘sacred’ before.

    • Morrigan says

      Hmm, sorry Anna — it appears that my comment posted below the one I intended to link to. Sorry if it doesn’t make sense in the context of your comment.

      Good luck on your journey!

  61. Roberta says

    I’m starting today. I’ve been teaching for over 20 years and I need to do this in my classroom, too.

  62. Maggie Bancroft says

    This is a great idea. My pantry needs purging and you have given me the impetus to get it done. Then onto the dresser and closet. I did my hall closet and what a great feeling when it was done. Tomorrow is supposed to rain and that will be a good day to get busy. Thanks for this, I’m in!

  63. says

    I just found out about this and this is great timing as I was thinking about what I needed to do for spring cleaning. I actually had just gathered up some clothes for a consignment sale tomorrow. Thanks so much.

  64. Nadine says

    Late to the party BUT all signed up. How do I find the “instructions” so I can get todays bag done?

  65. Juanita says

    How do I join the private Facebook page? I followed the link, but didn’t see how to request to join. Thanks! I’m in!

  66. Maureen Hayes says

    I am so in! I am moving on May 1st and desperately need to declutter, so this is perfect timing! Thanks for the kick in the pants the support.

  67. Beth says

    What to do with the stuff? There is a single mom who has a couple of yard sales each year in my neighborhood. I told her to come by my house periodically, and she could have my stuff for her sale. It is easier for me to purge, knowing she can use the money. Plus, I don’t have to haul it off. She comes to me.

  68. Krysta says

    I’m so pumped for this challenge that I passed it on to my FB friends as well. Decrapify caught my eye! We got married over a year ago and merged households. I love to organize but at times it has become overwhelming and I wasn’t really going through the crap but simply organizing and putting it away fearful that we might need it or have sentimental value…I started the 40 bags in 40 days with the master bathroom. I threw expired meds, 1/4 filled travel bottles, and old washcloths with holes in them away. In the spare bath I keep extras like shampoo, lotion, shaving cream, body wash, etc and thought we were low on stock but to my surprise, it was restocked before bedtime by simply organizing and putting things in their place. I announced to my family that before anyone buys anything because they think we are out of it, come to me first! :) Such a freeing feeling! Clutter free helps you store necessities properly and gives you the ability to clean easier! Happy 40 in 40! 1 Bag, Day 1 DONE!

  69. Stephanie says

    This sounds awesome! I’m in! I actually had started doing a bit of decluttering last night…and I will count that as day 1! Thank you so much!

  70. Linda Petersen says

    ok, my email is broken now, but i/m getting that and new computer next week. It will take me 40 months, but, I’m gonna go with the flow here. I’m 65 soon, so will need to push me. This may be the only thing that saves me., but I’m in, what do I do now??

    • Juanita Patke says

      I am 72 soon to be 73 and it really is hard to get moving with this project. All of my friends think I am organized. Ha! Only when I am in charge of an event. My closets seem to need constant decluttering. So at our age if we sort and look at items and remember something special, then part with the item, we still have that great memory. So hang in there.

  71. Karee says

    I love decrapify.
    One time my sister and I had a garage sale and we called it a sh*t sale. Getting rid of all our old sh*t. Hah!

  72. Sue C says

    I love this idea and the fact that I am “giving up clutter” for lent this year. After the horrible winter we have been having in the Midwest, it will feel good to get rid of the blahs while getting the house ready for spring.

    • Virginia Jolly says

      That’s what I thought about this: giving up clutter for Lent! And what a cool way to serve yourself and others!

  73. liza says

    IS ANYONE thinking about REUSE, RECYCLE, Reduce, etc. . . . why the emphasis on throwing out. . . a little more effort folks and we can REDUCE our CARBON FOOTPRINT. . . PLEASE recycle all the paper, and plastic stuff, and give the clothes and old lamps, etc. to a church for their tag sale, etc.

    • says

      For me, when I hear the word “decrapify” recycling and donating come to mind. I donate and recycle a lot more than I throw into the garbage. Plus, I’ve been cloth diapering since I first became a mom 6 years ago and composting my entire life. I think it’s okay if I throw some things away.

  74. says

    First time I’ve heard about this and I’m in! I’m recruiting friends for support but YES! Funny thing is I was talking to my friend about the trash and realized the pedal bin in the kitchen broke about 6 weeks ago but it’s been sitting there since!!! Broken, unusable, but still there. Today out it goes!!!
    I will be reusing, and recycling where possible and have a couple of large boxes for donations!

  75. Ashley says

    Oh my gosh, I have to do this, but am having serious commitment issues ;) I have been fighting the clutter disease my whole life. It’s so overwhelming, but if I can make myself focus on one spot per day I think I’ll survive. I’m ready to decrapify!

  76. Jamie says

    I live in a small community where we have to gather all of our recyclables and take them to the recycling center ourselves once a week. With the bad weather, they’ve been closed for a while. But you can bet they’ll be mighty busy when they finally reopen (hopefully next week). I’m hoping to have a full carload for them. lol
    I think a part of this project that I appreciate is that as you declutter, you have to set aside anything that could possibly have any use left in it and find a way to get it into hands that could use it. It is satisfying and so healthy to get your own space decluttered, but experiencing the feeling of helping others and not filling the landfills while doing it is another layer of satisfaction. And hopefully it will help us when we have needs in the future: maybe there’s another way to accomplish what I need rather than making a purchase.

  77. says

    I need this. With a new baby my life has been crazy and I’ve neglected my original plan of de-cluttering the house so I’m so happy I saw this shared on FB. I think by actually focusing on just one spot a day, I will be able to do this. Maybe not quite everyday (depends on baby) but I will definitely try. There’s tons of stuff in our closet that we no longer use that can either be re-purposed or donated so I can actually ‘see’ my clothes again. Knowing what the house is like I’ll probably have enough by Spring to have a garage sale. I’ll also do a post of this on my blog so I can hold myself accountable.

  78. Claire says

    Every time we’ve started to de-clutter together, my husband has become snarky and focused on *my* part of the problem (his is actually much more extensive, but I dare not mention that!). So this is good because I can do a bag when he’s not around to criticize and I can just quietly handle *my* part!

    • Hannah says

      An average trash bag is 13 gallons, x 40 is 520. Let’s say only one fourth is actual trash. If 100 people do this that’s 13000 gallons of extra trash in landfills. You are supporting garbage. The giant black bag as the logo is terrifying, what the hell is wrong with everyone?!! Where do you really think someone is going to toss something after they put it in a trash bag.

  79. Bette Clements says

    I just saw this a few minutes ago browsing my FB, and I feel like it was meant for me! Have been wanting to do this for way too long. I start and set goals, but always find a reason to be distracted and fall off my plan. I’m one of the folks that will have 140 bags, at least! Great inspiration to be part of a bunch of folks all struggling through the same situation of “too much stuff”! Will start tomorrow on my Day 1. Won’t take this Sunday off so I can catch up with the rest of you. So, I”M IN!!!

  80. says

    I declutter often. It’s kind of like a declutter binge, so i don’t know if I could do forty bags in forty days. I like the idea though. I do think I need to go on another clutter-free frenzy again.

  81. Sharenalicia says

    This is soooo on time because started doing this on Tuesday, March 4th!! I’m bagging up things for A) The trash B) Goodwill and C) For sale on EBay!! I came to an epiphany on Tues that I can’t move forward in my life (starting a new home-based business) because I’m held down by my own clutter!! No more!!

  82. KC says

    I’m happily jumping into the challenge, which I saw on a FB friend’s page. My house seems to be closing in around me. I’m a single mother now, and my house is TONS better than when my ex lived here … and for a while, that was enough for me. But now, the house is seriously bothering me.

    Also, I’m at a point where I am deeply needing change in my life, but I am stuck in certain ways. This challenge makes me feel I’m changing something! Thank you for this.

  83. Susan says

    So I am starting this challenge a little late. I will admit I am a pack rat. I am a teacher and I am always thinking of things I can use in the classroom. I am currently laid off and I need to get rid of most of my stuff to move into a small a place as possible (ie maybe a studio apt). I really need to get rid of most of my teacher stuff, son’s old items/clothes, and other things I have held on to. Wouldn’t mind donating, but could really use the money to help cover the cost of a move. Any suggestions for places to sell stuff? I have a ton of kid/teacher books especially, but not sure how to go about selling them or if it would be worth the time to get a few cents for them. I have tried at a garage sale, but only sold a couple (even though I had them priced at 50 cents each. Suggestions from anyone?

    • says

      For books that will sell for quite a bit of money, we sell them on Amazon. If Amazon doesn’t think they are worth that much, we list them on paperbackswapper (or something like that). They also have a dvd swap site which is how we recyle the DVDs wet don’t watch anymore so that we can get “new” DVDs for free.

    • Hannah says

      An average trash bag is 13 gallons, x 40 is 520. Let’s say only one fourth is actual trash. If 100 people do this that’s 13000 gallons of extra trash in landfills. You are supporting garbage. The giant black bag as the logo is terrifying, what the hell is wrong with everyone?!! Where do you really think someone is going to toss something after they put it in a trash bag.

      • says

        Uh the recyclables in the recycling bin, the ones that could still be used go into 1. donations box 2. garage sale box 3. repurpose box 4. composting bin and the rest of the actual trash goes in the trash where they usually would go anyway regardless of this challenge? I believe most of us do have a plan you know and aren’t just irresponsible garbage tossers. Maybe next time you could ask us nicely, please? :-)

  84. Hannah says

    An average trash bag is 13 gallons, x 40 is 520. Let’s say only one fourth is actual trash. If 100 people do this that’s 13000 gallons of extra trash in landfills. You are supporting garbage. The giant black bag as the logo is terrifying, what the hell is wrong with everyone?!! Where do you really think someone is going to toss something after they put it in a trash bag.

    • says

      Hi Hannah,

      If you have read my blog or posts over the last 4.5 years you would know that I am not advocating garbage but rather creating a simplified home. I have many posts on recycling and reuse, talk frequently about shopping second hand to reduce consumption. I turn down many advertising opportunities because I STRONGLY feel like we just don’t need everything that people are trying to sell us. And we all need to cut down on what we have and waste.

      My intent with this series is that hopefully removing this “bag” of clutter from our lives will reduce consumption in the long run. While SOME items are indeed garbage, MOST items can be recycled, reused, or donated. In fact it is ironic that you have found this and commented because I have been working on a post with this specific topic when I saw your comments across the site pop into my inbox.

      I simply used a picture of a bag because it goes along with the title of the series that has been going on before I even organized this challenge 4 years ago. I am sorry you find it offensive and terrifying. You have great points and I happen to agree, our world’s consumption is disgusting. But the only thing we can do about it now is to take care of it, whether the solution is to donate, reuse, or in some cases, yes, garbage.

      Thank you for your insight.

  85. Julia says

    Didn’t read all comments so hopefully not duplicate info. Have a plan and a spot for all items to donate/recycle/trash. Our bags go immediately by front door and we stop by our donation spot on our next trip out. No time to rethink. Places to consider: animal shelter for old linens & clothes, free cycle for about anything, curb for major items & post on craigslist (people will take), establish a secondhand pile at work(people will also take – just don’t take items for your home!). Pass stuff on to someone who can use & you’ll feel great! Good luck, all.

  86. Lucinda says

    I just came across this today but I want to do it. I posted it on my Facebook page and I have 2 friends already that are doing it to. I am so EXCITED!! I moved a year ago so I got rid of a lot when I moved, but my problem is the boxes that I have not unpacked yet and organizing the stuff in those boxes in the house or getting rid of it! I need shelving ideas for the house to put all our books, DVD’s and such. I have an open concept floor plan and it is hard to find wall space to put shelves. If anyone has any suggestion it will be much appreciated.

    • Sandra K says


      I also moved last year (September) after 18 years in the same house. We got rid of TONS of stuff (the attic alone took 17 hours), but now I still have boxes in the garage at the new place that I haven’t felt like unpacking and finding a home for in the house. That is now my project for these 40 days – and finish unpacking the boxes that are already in the house! I suspect I may find a bunch more stuff to get rid of as I unpack. It took us two months to pack up the old house and go through everything and we ended up renting a storage unit for stuff we wanted to keep but not bring to the new house (stuff my husband refuses to part with that should just be gotten rid of). Our main problem is books (need more bookcases in the new house) and vinyl albums (in storage because don’t have the custom built record shelves we had in the old house). Once I’m unpacked, I’ll bring a box of records to the house at a time, play them, then take back to storage and bring another box over). Someday I’ll sell them to a collector, I’m sure. But vinyl is making a come back and I love playing them.

  87. says

    I love this idea! I’m starting today but totally have enough crap to catch up over the weekend. The more crap I get rid of, the more I seem to accumulate! If only I could get formula to work on my bank account! *sigh*. Anyway, really looking forward to this challenge and getting to know some of you in the group.
    Ann-Marie (another one!)

  88. Krista says

    When my FIL passed away, my MIL had a stroke, we buried my FIL, put my MIL in hospital and my son turned 12 Christmas week 2012, I thought I could not get any busier or any more stressed.

    I was wrong. That was just the start.

    In January 2013, I had the task of going through the apartment they had lived in for forty years. My husband grew up there. So, my work was cut out for me. My husband works from 0430-until… I am a SAHM with two autistic school age kids, ages 10 and 13.

    I kid you not. I think his mother saved every scrap of paper since 1940. I found junk, like tray liners that you get at a fast food restaurant that were obviously decades old. I found their tax filings from the mid 1960s. Yes, really. I found an unused datebook from 1967, the year I was born. Automobile insurance bills from BEFORE I was born. I found newpaper clippings…I found Jack Webb’s original obit. I found TV Guides from 1970. National Enquirer talking of Elvis Presley’s ‘recent death’. You get the picture. Now, quadruple it.

    I believe I easily shredded about a dozen trash bags worth of greeting cards from every known holiday to man. I found those green trading stamps. Books of them. Then I found a small box that had bunches of them loose. I found pills from the 1960 and 1970s according to the dates on the bottles. THAT was scary.

    All in all, it took five months to get that apartment cleared out. That inclued the basement that had a 1970s fridge. No, it was not in working condition, just there.

    Okay, that was their stuff. I would say after we cleared out that aprartment, brought over mostly papers, photos, etc, to our house, we easily tripled the volume of what was in our house before. I am still shredding. I found bank statements from banks that no longer exist.

    But wait, there’s more! NOW add OUR stuff. My husband collects Star Wars. Well, he did until George Lucas lost his mind, redid all the movies we grew up with, then sold it all to Disney. Now he wants to sell his collection, which consists of about 12 big plastic tubs (if not more). Then he went on to Indiana Jones. Now it is the Walking Dead. When he gets into something, he goes whole hog. We all have enough clothes to fill a stable of clotheshorses or however the joke goes. Toys from when my kids were small. and on and on and on. That does not begin to mention the storage locker we have, (but cannot find the keys for).

    I see photos in home decor magazines of a light airy, white room, glass coffee table with a vase of daisies, maybe a coffee table book of world travel. White couch, white rug, white brick fireplace, floor to ceiling windows…and I laugh. That person has no kids, and is never home. My home will NEVER look like that. Not even if Bill Gates gave me a million dollars.

    All I want is to have a home where I do not cringe walking through. I want a home that has clear space on it. Or at least it does not look like it is made of clutter. Piles of boxes, boxes and piles, stacks of junk, and junked stacks. It gets overwhelming.

    So, I am going to try this. Remember those collections I was telling you about earlier? Where are some of them? In a spare room that was supposed to be turned into my 10 year old’s own room. She and her brother are now to the age where they need their own private space, and I cannot even begin to get a dresser in that room, let alone a bed. Hubby has been promising for almost two years. Not a thing has been done towards that.

    So, I pick up this challenge, take out the clutter, and maybe I will actually get a good night’s rest.

    I’ll let you know.

  89. Virginia Jolly says

    For my first two days, (I started March 7th), I put together two bags. First was the full garbage bag in the kitchen, and the second was gathering papers in a grocery bag to a central place where they can be sorted through and taken care of. A number of my bags will be recycles; some will be shredding, and some will be clean baskets of clothes that aren’t yet put away. I am very happy to have two entries in my 40 bags/40 days chart!

  90. Jill says

    This has inspired me to not only take on the challenge, but to have a garage sale the Saturday of Easter weekend. Nothing will be priced, but donations will be taken. All donations will go to the homeless ministry at my church. Thanks for being a muse.

  91. says

    Hi Ann Marie, I saw my local Habitat ReStore post a link to this post on their FB page, and I am in! I love the idea of de-crapifying, and now that I have holidays, winter and taxes behind me, I want to do this! I have my own blog, and would love to create post and link to this, your post, on the subject – may I have your permission to do so? It will somehow cement the accountability for myself, and hopefully get more blogger friends on the wagon! I’ve also added you to my circle of those I follow. :)

  92. Kendra says

    I just heard about this wonderful event today. I managed to get started in my bedroom and two large bags and two baskets were dropped off at the thrift store this evening. It is liberating indeed. Mostly, I got rid of clothes that haven’t for a couple or even 6 years! I’m still working on losing some pounds but reality is those jeans will never fit me again. And it’s all good!
    Moving forward.

  93. Elaine says

    I’m glad I was told about the Challenge. Like others have said, I have a shorter time frame. Extended family is coming to stay with us for a few days. Over the past years, our house has become clutter central. I’m so overwhelmed. Yet, this challenge gives me hope. A new beginning!

    Even though I’m starting late, I’ve been bagging at least one bag a day since Lent began.So, I think I can do this! Thank you!

  94. Amanda Roth says

    I want to tell you how freeing the last few days have been. I have thrown more than 2 Walmart size sacks of trash away each day. I have a medium size box that went to the consignment shop and 3 bags of stuff have been donated. And I can see a difference in areas of my home already. I have selected a small area or shelf, etc each day and focus on it. Yesterday, the shelf on the top of the desk. Removed all, cleaned it, put back and organized what is to be up there, trashed, dontated, etc. Thank you for this idea. And I post each day’s area before and after on my Facebook page. I am getting praise from friends and family. It is motivating them to do and they say they look for my post each evening to see what I’ve done. This is amazing and so freeing. I put myself out there and asked for support and love, not to judge me for my crap.
    Thank you for the support as well.

  95. Melanie says

    At 6 days in, my husband says “40 Bags in 40 Days is the best thing the internet has given us since the ability to easily track your fantasy sports teams.”

  96. Dani says

    Wow, I am so glad to have found this link. We are a family of 4, children ages 3 & 4, living in a very small 1 bedroom home we’ve “converted” to a 2 bedroom by crating our own bedroom space in an open area on the end of the house. Closet & built in storage is nearly non existent so we have to be very creative. I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed by the clutter that has accumulated over the winter “duldrums’ season that it brought me to tears. I just didn’t know where to start and felt too upset to even get motivated. As soon as I found this this I started right away. Now taking a little break I thought I’d post. I’ll definitely be keeping up with this and will need the positive attitude and motivation to keep going! Thank you so much!

  97. says

    This is great! I like the idea of 40 bags in 40 days. I confess, I get a little (okay, maybe a big) thrill anytime I can declutter our home. I’m looking forward to joining your challenge here. And I love the motivation behind it.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  98. Valerie says

    Thanks so much for doing this. I’ve already gotten seven bags ready to give as donations to teachers, Goodwill, the local food bank and friends. Very little of what I am getting rid of is going to the trash. My next step is to gather some new/like new items up for the PTA’s silent auction. Don’t forget about teachers when you go through your decluttering process. My daughter’s art teacher was more than pleased to get scrapbooking paper, ribbon, hole punches and markers that I will never use.

    • says

      What an excellent idea! I think I’ll ask my daughter’s teacher if she needs any art supplies for when I reorganize my craft supplies.

    • Virginia Jolly says

      Maybe you could give him a bag or three of his own and tell him he can work on his clutter any way that suits him. Then leave him alone. The idea is to get it to a manageable situation, and if he can’t get rid of stuff, maybe it would inspire him to reorganize his stuff so he knows how to get to it for certain projects. And then he would be contributing to the household 40 bags!

      If you have children, then I think you can give them each a grocery bag to do the same thing.

      One time, my dad said we were going to go through the toys to see which ones we played with and which ones we would give away. I knew there were a number of toys I didn’t play with or want anymore, so they went into a bag to take to the Goodwill thrift store. I had a say in it, which was very empowering for me, and it is very empowering for anybody, including your husband!

      When you enlist the help of other people in the house to do their own bag, it can inspire them to continue, because they have control over what is done. What I see in this clearing clutter challenge is a way to take control of one’s environment, and everyone else in the household needs to have that kind of control as well.

  99. Sher says

    I just received an email promoting 40 Bags in 40 Days from Goodwill! It gives whitehpuseblackshitters credit!

  100. roxie says

    A great way to get rid of stuff is to put it near the road with sign that says “Free Stuff”. It goes fast and it’s funny to watch. People look around like they feel like they’re stealing.

  101. Bubbles says

    I am late getting in on this, but on the other hand, I had already taken several bags out of my home before reading your wonderful idea.

    I have OCD, which a lot of us “packrats” do. So my latest thing was helping out this young couple by saving all metal cans and lids for them to recycle and get a little money. They also take the labels off certain cans to give to their children’s school, so it’s a double recycle. I had Wal-Mart bags full of clean cans hanging on every knob in my kitchen, which wasn’t a pretty sight!

    At the suggestion of a friend, I went to Lowe’s and purchased some construction-type bags and dumped them all into there; and set them OUTSIDE my home for them to pick up at their convenience. I was amazed at what just that one thing did for my kitchen.

    All of the empty bags, which were perfectly clean, went to my favorite charity for them to use when they are helping other people with food and clothing. And I didn’t even have to fold them up neatly!

    I didn’t stop there but the rest is things already posted by other people. A lot of recycling in one way or another.

    So although I’m late on the start date, I’m actually ahead of the game as far as number of bags taken out of my home.

    Wishing everyone success on getting their homes back instead of just a place of C.H.A.O.S. : Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. This is an expression used by the FLYLADY, who someone referenced earlier.

  102. ron b says

    I finally sold my china cabinet on Craigslist so am a bit proud of myself. It was a beautiful antique but had been empty for the past year and why had it been empty?
    Last year I finally gave a bunch of antique glass to my aunt’s collection and I gave my grandparents’ china back to my mother.
    Everyone was happy (well not Mom as she has to figure out which of my siblings would like the china now). Still I was a bit sad to see the china cabinet go.
    I’ve been trying this past year to declutter and stop storing things I rarely if ever use. It’s been freeing. When I move next time it will be a tad quicker and simpler.
    My books have been a bit of a challenge but I will be going through them again this week. I do find, like many of you, that I still need to go through my things and that’s no doubt why this particular 40 bag challenge is be a yearly event.

    Great post.
    Ron B

      • Virginia Jolly says

        I gave up so many books one year because I couldn’t keep but a few, and I cried. I had to give up my great SF collection: Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Ann McAffrey, and so many others. It is very difficult to replace, but perhaps someday I can regain them at least as e-books. :(

  103. Toni says

    Love this idea. Just saw it tody. I have gotten rid of about one 30 gallon bag per week since becoming a minimalist. That was about one month ago. I love doing this and it is quite liberating.

  104. says

    You had me at ‘decrapify’! I had already made a similar commitment for Lent, and even started a blog to try to make myself keep it up (http://giveawaythrowawaylent.blogspot.co.uk), but I admit I have found it difficult to get into after so many years of hoarding. Now I’ll try some of your suggestions and hopefully get back on track!
    (Found via Joshua Becker’s ‘Becoming Minimalist’)

  105. says

    Thanks again for this inspiration! I have been blogging about my progress at mylittlesomethingsweet.com

    I link back to this page in all of my posts…I am so, so excited you got me started on this journey! Thanks again!

  106. Sandy says

    I’m packing to move off grid. Getting rid of lots of stuff. Some days its easy and some its hard. I’m keeping the local charity busy. After the drop off, I notice I’m in a better mood. Big relief, but then back home to do more. Its hard to get rid of memories, but I figure, I won’t forget and if I do, I won’t know it, lol. So I’m putting the things I truly need and want into storage, While I save money to buy my own small piece of land and build a very small off grid home on. My current off grid living allows me to save almost all my money. People think I must be crazy. But divorce and not much retirement means I found a solution. I always wanted to live like this, so no hardship. I will say, sometimes I have to go back over some of the stuff and rethink it, I usually end up getting rid of more. This site and others help keep me motivated. Best of luck to you all!

  107. Virginia says

    I have a friend who got rid of her mother’s books for her by having a separate book sale instead of putting them in with a yard sale.

    Also, talk with your friends: you might find there is a person who is avid for books in your favorite subject and will give them a good home.

    Check book store

  108. Virginia says

    I have a friend who got rid of her mother’s books for her by having a separate book sale instead of putting them in with a yard sale.

    Also, talk with your friends: you might find there is a person who is avid for books in your favorite subject and will give them a good home.

    Check book stores that sell secondhand books,
    including university textbook stores.

  109. Jenny L says

    I started late – but I am catching up fast! 3 out of 4 bathrooms decrapified, 2 out of 3 kids dressers cleaned out, going to start on the laundry room. All in an effort to decrapify and get the house ready to put on the market ;)
    It is so freeing to get rid of junk!!! got over 20 bags either thrown or donated. Getting ready for donation pick up #2 this week! This is a great idea and will definitely continue this past lent! Glad I started following your blog!! Thanks!

  110. Casey says

    It would be great to encourage ppl to recycle it to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, churches and other wonderful programs etc… instead of just throwing it away. You don’t just throw stuff away, it has to go somewhere and let’s give to the needy instead of filling up our beautiful earth with more crap.

    • Sandy Tessier says

      My car is going to be stuffed! all to charity. I drop it off in bins, empty them then bring home to fill again. It never looked like I really had that much, until you empty every drawer and closet. Turns out I do! Humm back to work, have a clutter free day!

        • Sandy Tessier says

          Yes it does feel great! So glad I have a place to bring the items, I wont put in land fill. Giving is the most fun way to recycle :)

        • Sandy Tessier says

          Hi, thanks for your compliment, I work out of town three weeks a month, so I’m in a time crunch. Moving the remainder of my belongings into storage at the end of the month so I can go live in a tiny cabin off grid. Great way to save money for my own little piece of earth to take care of. I will say however, just turned 50, this is working my body pretty hard. Shoulders and neck are killing me. Not complaining, just hurting :). Onward to new life of not buying a bunch of stuff I don’t need. I wish you well!

          • Bubbles says

            Wow! Now I’m even more impressed: You work away from home for 3 weeks at a time, so you’re doing all this in one week a month!

            I’ve heard of living off the grid, but not sure how it works exactly. Do you just have solar panels for your electric? However it is you’re going to do it, I’m proud of you!

            Wishing you all the best in your new life.

          • Leah says

            Wow Sandy! That sounds amazing! I know this is an old post, but I would love to hear more about your off-grid lifestyle. We too are interested in downsizing and going off-grid. Blessings! Leah

  111. says

    I just heard about 40 Bags in 40 Days from a friend of mine after I mentioned my recent efforts to simplify & organize my household. I’ve started documenting some of my efforts on my blog… here’s my most recent post on the topic: http://goo.gl/K8GgbI Thanks for all the great inspiration & lists to keep me going!

  112. says

    I just found this post via Panoply via Share it One More Time linky party. What a great idea. I am going to give it a try……..not sure how many bags I will get but this is definitely a motivator!

    For those out there that have books or magazines you’re getting rid of…….. if you have a VA Hospital nearby call and ask them what kind of books and magazines they will except (just make sure that you either remove or cut you name and addy off the magazines you donate).

  113. Jamie says

    I just have to say that I love this idea. 40 bags in 40 days was just a tad overwhelming for me but I took your idea and adjusted it for myself. We are doing 1 project a week of organizing and decluttering. I took your list and broke it down by week. I know it will take awhile but at least we are cleaning out some of our junk. After 3 weeks, I’ve already cleared out everything that wasn’t necessary in our kitchen/office. Feels so good. Can’t wait to continue the purge!!!!

  114. says

    I just found this today and it was just what I needed! I work almost full time as a teacher, my husband is a farmer, we have 3 kids (age 3,4 and 5) and a quite large farmhouse. I always feel overwhelmed by all the work in the house, but I really think 40 bags in 40 days will be a great help to get our house organized and clutter free.
    I am Norwegian, so sorry for misspelled words and language mistakes :-)

  115. Mary Campbell says

    I’m at 28 boxes so far. All gone. Ten boxes of quilting stuff out the door to a guild tag sale on Ash Wednesday. Not all mine. I said I wasn’t taking donations ahead of time, but picked up some from members over 80 years old. The ministry of decluttering. Also got a call about someone from church sitting in a new empty apt, so I off-loaded a chest of drawers, crock pot, broom and dustpan, and a couple of waste paper baskets. I’ve been getting rid of duplicates in the kitchen and cleaned out the linen closet. Reading the blog and comments suggest that others have much classier trash. Freecycle and the refugee center have been my chief recipients. Yesterday I blitzed through the bookshelves and took four bags of books to the library book sale.

  116. Megan says

    I am late to this because I have been busy but here I go…I was widowed 19 years ago and have moved twice since. Once you move stuff that you never unpack you realize what you can get by with

  117. Virginia Jolly says

    My worst enemy is paper. It is also my Soul’s bread and butter (because I’m a writer). But worse than having paper I’ve written on hanging around is having so much junk mail to plow through. I gathered up 6 reusable grocery bags full of paper, and today I have sorted through three of them. I have filled up 3 bags of recycles to go out and one plastic grocery bag of trash hanging around with the papers.

    Right now, my count these 40 days (Starting March 6) totals 34 bags as I count them. I am very proud of myself. And a lot of this is in anticipation of having my windows replaced, as the window installers need access to all the windows at once. (And that’s 4 sets of double windows!) To me, getting windows is my reward for getting my papers under control.

    Also, I have identified the need to have 2 receptacles in each room: 1 for trash, the other for recycle stuff. So I will need to buy these pretty soon. I count that as another reward.

    Eventually, I will be getting rid of a beautiful computer hutch that I can’t use (and maybe the desktop computer, too, ultimately.)

    I have folded clothes waiting to be placed in drawers, so that’s on the list of “bags” of clutter to be cleared.

    I think this challenge is good for me. And I can keep going. And during the spring and summer, it will be easier to take recycle stuff to the recycle dumpster a mile away. (We don’t have street collection at my condo.)

    I am so glad a friend posted this to me on Facebook! It has been quite a blessing!

  118. Yasemin says

    A reminder of another place to take your stuff: Your nearest Really Really Free Market (RRFM)! An RRFM is a community freecycling event– a market place that does not involve money or trading or swapping. People bring whatever they wish (but they don’t have to). They also take whatever they wish (but they don’t have to). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Really_Really_Free_Market

    If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling, or at least the hassle of selling every single item, an RRFM might be the right place for you. An RRFM not only helps you to de-clutter, it is also a place that you can find items that you *really need*–free.
    I go to the monthly Toronto West End event. http://rrfmarket.blogspot.ca/ Search for one near you.

    • says

      Thank you for letting me know, I didn’t see it until you sent this. I’m happy to see that there was such a great response and people are interested in it. Thank you for sharing it, Amanda! :)

  119. says

    Love this idea! What an awesome post and I am so glad I got to meet you yesterday!
    Looking forward to following you in future posts too, Ann Marie!

    Alison :)

  120. Kara Mazza says

    Doing this now, been at it 2 days and have 14 bags done. a lot for donation and repurposing but garbage and recycling too. Very liberating!!

  121. Janice says

    I was able to unload a ton of items today to a friend who has a much younger child. I am so happy as I finally got my foyer back, it was a ton of stuff including a plastic picnic table and 3 drawer tupperware bins, plus a few boxes and a full trash bag. Ahh so freeing!!!

  122. says

    I like what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever
    work and coverage! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

  123. says

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  124. Brittney says

    De-cluttering your home can be very overwhelming, but these tips help organize that process. Thanks for sharing!

  125. Amber says

    Please do this again this year! I need the accountability and encouragement! I really need to get my house in order. Love your blog, and really enjoy seeing your new house come together.

  126. Cindy says

    I’m in for my second year–still have a ways to go, but made a dent last year. Bad knees slow me down, but it helps that others are doing this too! I’ve printed off a planning sheet and I’ll be ready to start on Weds. Let’s do this!

  127. Margie says

    I did this challenge in a different way, separated with my husband, he was the junk collector, amazing how many things went out the door with him. amazing thing is 4 months later I’m still trying to get him to deal with certain things. with reminders on a bi weekly basis. I’m at the point right now that anything left is going to be donated or sold off. suggestions

  128. says

    I’m so excited to be taking on this challenge!! Thank you all so much for the amazing inspiration! For anyone who wants to follow along, I will be documenting my 40 days here….. http://www.thelodgeonhaydon.com Day one has been posted, and I’ve been on a roll this past week, there is so much more to come! : )

    Thanks again Ann Marie!~

  129. Mauna says

    Oh My!
    I’ve just came across this blog and I love it!
    More specifically this posting!
    I’m 25 and like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t have a lot of material items…
    Well in the past week my boyfriend I have moved, we found ourselves packing up more than I imagined!
    And it’s like.. all mine, naturally. Stressed out about the crap I now have in boxes, that I don’t care about, I don’t use, I always forget I have, yet somehow I’m attached? This has inspired me to tackle the boxes that would have remained unpacked more lord knows how long!
    Woo! Let’s do this!

  130. Allison says

    Thank you for the inspiration, motivation, and resources! I am due for my second baby in 44 days! I am desperately trying to get rid of stuff in our former “junk room” to make it a nursery. I hope it keeps me on track!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>