Have you guys ever heard of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge? I heard about it from the blog White House Black Shutters. It’s a commitment to clean out different parts of your home (and digital life) for forty days straight. It’s not a hard and fast challenge forcing you to fill 40 entire trash bags full of stuff, but it’s the motivator to take a little bit of time each day to clean out what you can.
Ann Marie gives tips, printables, and accountability to help you complete the challenge. Whenever I visit Ann Marie’s blog, I am inspired by her clutter-free lifestyle. It’s not to say they have no unnecessary things in their house, but until they moved to their new home, her family of six lived in a two-bedroom home. All of the children shared a room, and somehow this wonder mom made it look feasible!
Being married to Whit has changed my perspective on clutter and “stuff.” Whit’s life theory is to do more of what matters, and do less (ideally, none) of what isn’t important. With stuff, this equals not keeping anything that’s not of value, and spending more money to have fewer, higher quality things. Whit Theory coupled with reading the book Radical and meditating on biblical truths has transformed my desire to shop and buy and have, into a yearning to have less, not be tied down to my belongings, and give more. If I was called to the mission field today, would my love for stuff keep me back? When I lived in Venezuela, and traveled to Australia, I was reminded that I can easily get by with just a few possessions.
For the past year or two I have tried to actively have a mindset of having only what I like and need, and not letting unused or unneeded things pile up. Some of the principles in The Happiness Project really helped me be able to part with certain things. So, even though every so often I go through “purge” spurts, and I’ve already gone through all areas of our home once or twice (and gotten rid of bags and totes of things!), I realize that we still have more than we need! There are countless reasons to purge more: donating to people who need my stuff more than I need it, trashing unused items or junk that decreases fung shei (you know, that stuff that every time you see it, it puts you in a bad mood or does nothing for your happiness?), selling items to have more money to put towards quality items that will last, remembering that God provides and I already have everything I need, selling things to have more money to give, etc.
I’ve only been with the challenge for the past few days, but it’s amazing how many things I’ve found to get rid of because of having a renewed attitude, more motivation, and just taking the time to do it (knowing that we’re moving soon is also a huge factor! Do I want to pack and move this? No? Gone.) I’ve gone through books, movies, socks and underwear, our miscellaneous closet, craft supplies, and even computer bookmarks. The key to succeeding at 40 Bags in 40 Days if limiting yourself to one area each day, so you don’t get burnt out or overwhelmed.
Would you try the challenge? I highly recommend it!
PS – After I wrote this, I found a reference to the challenge here! So random. Bit of a bleak article however.