Lent? That stuff that gathers in pockets and belly buttons? No, no, no. That's LINT. Lent is a 40 day period of preparation before Easter Sunday. We've all seen the "holidays" on our calendar of Ash Wednesday (that's today)and Palm Sunday. What's up with those days anyway?
The Lenten season is not only observed by Catholics. I can remember Protestant friends discussing what they were working on during their observation of Lent. Not being Catholic, I had to do a little research about this religious tradition on my calendar. Many followers of the tradition "give up" something for Lent. I've had friends give up chocolate, or dessert, or Facebook, or something else that challenges them, with a desire to purify themselves. I'm not ready for that kind of commitment, unfortunately. I am going to participate this year, though! It begins today, on Ash Wednesday, and goes until Holy Saturday. Details seem a little sketchy about whether it's forty days or 46 days, but that doesn't matter to me a bit. I'm here for my own little agenda.
|Hmmm...maybe I could start with returning the heater to the basement, and the rock salt to the garage! I have work to do!|
While perusing Facebook this morning, I noticed a good friend had posted the announcement about 40 Bags in 40 Days De-cluttering Challenge (new 2016 link, updated) offered by Ann Marie on her blog, White House, Black Shutters. The more I read, the more excited I became. Ann Marie takes Sundays off, and that is how her challenge is a 40 day challenge. I, on the other hand, am pushing through, and my forty days will end on Palm Sunday, which just happens to be two days before I need to be done with my move. I'll be culling my belongings from two spacious homes to make everything fit in my small "cottage." This is synchronicity at its finest!
The theory is simple enough. Every day for the next six weeks or so, focus on one area of the house to purge, de-clutter, and organize. Forty areas? Do I even have that many? Oh, yes, I do! I would not want to have to tackle my closet AND my dresser on the same day. I'm not getting hung up on how many bags I use; I will simply focus on one area per day. I'll be eating the elephant, so to speak, one bite at a time. I'm starting to get a little excited. I already pulled out a legal pad, and listed all of the places I want to attack. Um, organize.
As much as possible, I will avoid adding to the local landfill. I will find new homes for my belongings. Family and friends who can use my extra "stuff" will be welcome to it. What is not wanted by loved ones will be donated to the local thrift shop.
My overall plan divided the house into ten rooms or storage areas, and then I divided each of those into two or three sections. Today, I'm going to go for a tiny project: the coffee table. It's bugged me forever to have my yoga mat, weights, and an assortment of reading materials sliding around under the table top. Today, they will be packed away for moving, and the table will be polished. I'm feeling better already! One step at a time, one bag at a time, one day at a time. Who's with me here?
I can't commit to giving up chocolate, or my cell phone, or Facebook, but I CAN commit to this. By getting rid of the things that are unused, unorganized, and unloved, I stand to gain so much. I'm giving up my STUFF, and gaining a simplified, organized home. What could be a better trade-off?
Are you interested? Check out Ann Marie's pages on Facebook: White House Black Shutters, where she will be posting public updates, and you can also ask to be included in the private group 40 Bags in 40 Days (2016 official group).
My first day's results: My living room is spotless. There is not a book or magazine on a horizontal surface. My box of magazines is in the trunk to deliver to the elementary school.
I wanted to start out small, and feel a sense of accomplishment. THAT felt so good, I tackled my big bugaboo, my junk drawer. I went from one big, old disorganized mess to two tidy spaces: the house's junk drawer, and organized bins ready to insert in my new junk drawer when I move.
|Ready for the move.|
To see the progress I've made during the first several days, click on this link: 40 Bags in 40 Days Update. I'm learning that my house is a metaphor for my life. Removing the clutter from the closets and rooms is empowering and liberating for my spirit, too.