Monday, April 9, 2012

40 bags in 40 days {wrap-up}

Phew. What a ride. 

40 days, 40-ish spaces. 

40 bags. {At least! Maybe more!}

Out. The. Door.

This 40 bags challenge is called a challenge for a reason - it took some hard work and elbow grease to endure 40 days (somewhat continuous... Sunday's were my day off) of purging. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it was really hard. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Hindsight is 20/20 and I learned a few things along the way. If you're inspired to give 40 bags a whirl, here are my post-purging pointers.

Tips for Completing a 40 Bags Challenge:
  1. Find some friends. Seriously, seriously, seriously. Life is richer, deeper, and flat-out more fun when shared with an authentic community.
  2. Write your list down. Seems like a no-brainer, but some people resist this or don't make the time to do it and then you're left with minimal commitment (i.e. a recipe for failure). There is something about putting your pen to paper that helps to seal the deal. {Free printable from Sugar Tot Designs}
  3. Make sure your days are do-able. Try to limit each item on your list to something you can tackle in about 30 minutes. If it takes you longer than that, you'll probably get overwhelmed and quit on day 3. If you need several days for the garage or the basement or the play room, schedule in more than one day for those spaces, or better yet, break them down into smaller chunks.
  4. Figure out a {group} accountability system. Will your friends email or text as they work through spaces? Will you talk via a private Facebook group? What about meeting for coffee or a play date once a week to share progress updates? Make a plan and then have everyone sign their name in blood. Kidding.
  5. Commit to a {personal} accountability system. I Instagram-ed and blogged my way through my list. That's probably too much of a time commitment for most people (I actually enjoy the consistency of documenting everything), but figure out a way to document your progress. Keep a running tally of bags you've filled, snap pictures, or just take the time to check things off your master list as you go. (You did write your list down, right?? See #2.)
  6. Stick to one space per day. There were days when I got off a little and worked ahead or had to play catch up, but the times 40 bags flowed the best were when I was intentional about setting aside time for one space per day. Period.
  7. Start with an empty a space for best results. This allows you to take inventory, and it forces you to touch every item before deciding whether to keep or toss. It also allows you to wipe things down and start with a clean slate which is always a good idea. {More on my purging process here}
  8. Keep in mind the greater goal. What is your greater goal? Are you doing the challenge to get ready for a garage sale? Or to practice intentional living during the season of Lent? Maybe you want to simplify or downsize or generally just stop tripping over clutter. If you keep your goal in mind, you'll be less tempted to quit when the going gets tough.
  9. Form an exit strategy. How is the stuff going to get OUT of your home?  How can you keep little hands (or bigger husband hands) from retrieving long-forgotten treasures? Separate donate / sell / throwaway boxes and bags worked well for me. I also took three separate donation runs during the 40 days because I wanted to make sure everything made it out of my house in a timely manner.
  10. Remember that any forward movement counts as progress. Check your negative self-talk at the door. Even if you have a plan and an accountability system and the best intentions in the world, sometimes life gets in the way and that's OK. Don't beat yourself up, just keep going.
Get ready, grab your bags, and go! A less cluttered, less overwhelming, more intentional life awaits!

{Previous 40 Bags Posts @ the terpblog}


  1. You did amazing! I wish I was that dedicated! Congrats!!

  2. Hmmm...this is something I could do. I like how it's broken into small chunks. Thanks for blogging about it!

  3. that I read this it all makes sense and I am ready to tackle my next 20 days;)

    You have a gift! Way to rock it!

  4. What a cool idea! I actually have a friend who is a home organizer and we bartered services, so she's going to get me off to a good start. Then, if needed, I may do my own 40 bags/days! Would need some accountability: I'm good at starting things, but not so good on the follow through. ;)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...