Saturday, May 05, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

For the last few weeks I have been contemplating starting what seems like the daunting task of cleaning out my apartment, not for any particular reason- like moving, but more based on a vision I had that if I clear my living space of clutter and useless objects, then I may just clear my mind in the process. However every week has come to end and for one reason or another I just can't seem to get the enthusiasm I need to take on this task! In short, I thought my apartment just had too much stuff in it and I had no idea where to start!

Whilst pin (ing) away on Pinterest this morning (and for your inormation my pin boards are a lot less chaotic than my apartment), I saw a Pin for '40 Bags in 40 Days'. Now, being a girly girl I straight away thought it was one woman's list of the 40 handbags she was going to use in 40 days, but as I flicked through her list of rooms, drawers, cupboards and down to the instructions; I realised I had found the answer to my problems.

Decision made than and there! Tommorow I begin the '40 Bags in 40 Days' challenge.

So if you would like to join me in this 'letting go' exercise here is how it works:

Grab a bag- Pick what size of trash bag you want to use. I'm using tall black kitchen bags (use what works for you, paper sack, grocery bag - whatever).
Fill the bag- Each week day for eight weeks fill one bag (or equivalent). It can be a bag of toys, clothes, papers, collected junk mail, 1992 tax forms — whatever you have too much of. Equivalents count: anything about the size of a trash bag counts: a box of books, an old TV, a computer system. Anything that you can count as clutter or excess is fair game.
Make it go away- Donate as much as you can, sell something if it has real value (but don’t count it until it is gone) don’t be afraid to trash things.
Toot your own horn- I deserve this and so do You. I'll be posting updates on my blog, Twitter #40TBC, @40tbc or follow 40tbc , joining the Facebook Group. By letting someone know how it goes - keeps it motivating to you and to others.

A bit of google research later, I have found some invaluble pointers to make sure the challenge is a success-

"If you find you have trouble starting or the first few days things seem to be going well but then you start to flounder there might be a couple things that you can tweak."

"If you found the first few days you were pulling stuff out of your house like gang-busters but now you have basically stopped because you can't figure out what to get rid of - you are using too big a bag. Scale back to something smaller."

"Your house is cluttered and you fill a bag a day but no one (not even you) can tell. If you have the energy use a bigger bag (or do two a day). If you find filling a bag saps your energy keep with your one bag a day - just keep going. Fill your bags from one room day after day until you notice a difference."

"You can't seem to fill a bag even though you have a ton of stuff. If you find you are sitting with say boxes of baby clothes and can't let anything go even though your youngest is taller or a box of an ex partners belongings, that they are never coming back for than you are you are probably dealing with attachment issues. If you pick up something and it brings back a flood of memories and you are worried that tossing the item is somehow going to diminish the memory you definitely have attachment issues. This is hard and tricky and can be emotionally raw. Try to find a good place for those things you feel attached to but know intellectually you don't need. Give them to a crisis pregnancy center, a women's shelter, the Goodwill. Let someone else be blessed by your abundance. If it helps take a picture of the item and post it to instagram or a blog and write the memory down. Then you have a visual memory and the story, you can even share it with others if you are so inclined. But let the thing go."

"If you can't put anything in your bags because you might need it later. You are living in a fear mindset. Ask yourself what the absolute worst thing that will happen if you toss the item in question and then you will almost always find it will be ok."

"If you can't put anything in your bag because you are planning to use it latter stop yourself. You HAVEN'T used this yet. Sometimes this is valid most the time it isn't. It is helpful to put these items aside and do a Use it or lose it exercise."

"Your children or partner are complaining because stuff is vanishing. You need to sit down and talk with them - it is possible you are being too enthusiastic it is also possible that they have "stuff" issues or "change" issues."

"Your children or partner are complaining because they are tripping over bags in the garage or foyer. At least weekly drop them off at your favorite charity store. Sstory harries even pick up stuff if you call them."

"You can't figure out where to start. Your closet. No, don't argue - if you have a better idea you wouldn't have asked. Yes, there has to be at least a few things you can give away. Now go get your bag and start. If you just did your closet and your bag isn't full do your linen closet - anything that hasn't been used in a year goes in the bag - if your bag isn't full after that switch to an smaller size bag."

Most importantly the key to success with this challange is to HAVE FUN. This means feel free to rewrite the rules listed above to fit your life. Letting go of stuff is liberating — yes, it feels like a chore, but it will be a great accomplishment.

If you are inspired like me, here is my list as a starting point for you and your challenge.

Maybe you'll join me?! If so, good luck and I'll keep you posted! Yippee (Yes, I am actually excited about cleaning). Here we go!

Note: Though I will try to make sure that I do the best I can by giving away or donating what I can and recycling what I can and not mindlessly adding to the landfill; Being GREEN is not the primary objective of this challenge.