Saturday, March 8, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days Update

Get ready for another True Confession of my human weaknesses. Lately, I have recognized my shortcomings as a domestic goddess.  I'm not too proud to admit my problems, as long as I explain what I've learned about myself, or share my plan for improvement with you. Are you shocked that I share these things? I know I'm not alone in my struggles; that is the reason I approach these topics in my writing. I share my journey, hoping to encourage and offering hope, assuring others that I've been there; I know what it's like, and I know things will get better. I have exposed my dark secrets for all to see. Not only have I bared my soul as I've gone through the grieving process, but I have opened my home, closets, and drawers to the virtual world.

I admit it. My junk drawer wasn't the only junky drawer. My living room doubled as a gym; the underside of our coffee table doubled as a storage area for yoga paraphernalia and weights. My shoes were strewn in disarray in the bottom of the closet. I had gotten used to the way things were, and I knew I wanted better. Starting in the living room was the best move ever for me. It is the first thing people see when they walk in the door, and I spend most of my day there.
My home is a metaphor for my life; I can see that now. From the outside looking in, my house and I look like we've "got it goin' on." On the surface, we are both tidy, comfortable, and fun. Go poking in dark corners, and peeking in closets and drawers, and skeletons won't be the only thing you find. There are cobwebs, confusion, and clutter within. This is true of both my home...and my spirit.

When I first heard about the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, I knew it was exactly what I needed. You see, I had just 42 days to get myself organized, packed, and moved into my little house. I'm moving my belongings from two spacious homes to a small cottage that is about 900 square feet. If I were Snow White, I'd have to cut back to two dwarves; there's just not much room there. Only four days in, and I am already feeling the effects of getting rid of unnecessary STUFF. Organizing what is left has been very therapeutic for me. I think the house is breathing a sigh of relief, too. We both feel better already.

I've mentioned before that I have "Selective" OCD Issues. My hangers have to be white. The floor of my closet is a jumble of shoes, but my clothes are hung according to color, from black to white, with colors in an order that make sense to me. All of the clothes need to be facing the same direction. I don't know why I'm so particular about the hanging section, and so haphazard with the shoes, but soon my shoes will be paired and orderly, too.

Since beginning the 40 Bags in 40 Days De-cluttering Challenge, I'm happy to report that I am making great strides in eliminating excess, and organizing what I need or love. 

Day 1, I wanted to start small, so I removed all of the magazines and books strewn over every horizontal surface in the living room. The magazines went to the fifth grade team at school, and I gave a couple of books away. All of the workout gear was packed away. I dusted all of the furniture, and the room looked inviting and tidy. The result was so pleasing, I decided to tackle a harder project: the junk drawer. 

Knowing I would need small tools and office supplies when I move, I divided what we had, and organized it into two separate groups. By the time I was done, I had tamed the chaos of one drawer, and discovered a sense of calm was settling over me. Yes, it was somewhat empowering to know I could part with unnecessary items, and organize the essential. 


Day 2, I was on a roll, so I focused on two target areas. I knew the bathroom vanity would take awhile, so I picked something simple: the coat closet. I actually used the coat closet as a break from the bathroom project.

We had enough newspapers stacked on the floor of this small space to start fires in the wood stove for the next ten years. (That is a slight exaggeration; I hope I'm not making anyone hyperventilate over my hyperbole.) After wiping down all of the shelves and floors, I returned the games to the top shelf, the hats to the next shelf, found a couple of coats to donate, and organized the floor for one stack of newspapers, and a couple of pairs of shoes.

The bathroom vanity was a little overwhelming with all of the travel-size shampoos and lotions I'd collected over the years. There must've been 8 bottles of hairspray. I have a 31 Tote that I carry with me for weekend getaways, and it holds all my daily makeup and toiletries. I decided to wash that along with my fabric makeup bags in the washing machine. After I THOUGHT it was empty of all of its contents, I took it outside to shake out the debris that tends to settle in the bottom of bags and purses. Unfortunately, I had missed a bottle of bright orange nail polish, and that plummeted to an unfortunate end on the sidewalk below the deck. That's how cleaning goes for me, though. I create mini-messes and disasters as I plow through the tasks.

Day 3, the bathroom closet was calling my name. All of the expired medicines were removed, and what was left of the over-the-counter medicines and first aid supplies was organized into plastic bins. I tend to keep the bath towels and cloths in neat stacks, so I just straightened them, and cleaned the shelves and floor before putting everything back.

Day 4, since I'm traveling north today to collect my clothes from the other house, I decided to clean out my car. Luckily, there were only ski helmets and a bag of skiing accessories to put away. The trunk is now ready for boxes and hanging clothes to bring home this weekend after my niece's wedding shower. 

I'm not even a week into the project, but I am finding that it is quite liberating to know that I am not being weighed down by the STUFF in my life. It's getting easier to part with things. I wanted to start with these first few projects because I have some harder things to deal with in the future. So far, I've only had to make decisions on very few sentimental items. That will be more challenging, but I'm gearing up for it. I'm realizing that each area I've conquered is a gift to myself. Organizing is empowering and liberating. And it feels good to have a sense of accomplishment each day, no matter how small.

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT are offered for those of us who are taking on our clutter one bag at a time, one day at a time. (Click on link.)

In case you missed this earlier confessional, here's the link to And the Better Homes and Gardens Award Goes to... Thanks for stopping by. It's always nice to meet new friends through my blog. 


  1. Replies
    1. Helen, thank you for stopping by, and the moral support!

  2. Clearing the clutter really does free up the mind, and I seriously need to get on it. You're on a roll!

    1. I have to. My moving deadline is looming in the very near future. The challenge is for 40 days; my moving day is 42 days after the challenge began. ;-)


Thank you so much for stopping by Randomocity. Like most writers, I enjoy interacting with the wonderful people who read what I have to say, so please, if you would like to leave a "blogment," I would love to hear from you!