When we left the U.S. to live in South America five years ago, we sold everything (well, mostly everything), but we still have a few things here and there that have sentimental value to us that we decided to keep in storage.
Our family of four boarded the plane with only six bags to call our own. Though I hated the feeling of being stripped away of what I called MINE, I suddenly felt a new sense of freedom — a freedom that I had not experienced. It was the freedom of not being attached to stuff.
For the first year in our living abroad situation, I prided myself in not making any purchases that didn’t fit in six suitcases, or couldn’t be sold in a week. I really thought long and hard about everything and anything I bought. I have to admit that I don’t hold on to that principle anymore, and I’ve gathered lots of junk piles all over my house.
When I go down to our little storage closet, I’m disgusted by all the stuff we have down there that we don’t use. As I stand there with this pit in my stomach, I clearly recall my mami’s scolding voice that said, “The poor kids in Mexico don’t have any toys, and here you are taking your toys for granted.” Though I say that jokingly, I still feel a tinge of guilt deep down inside when I see the messy piles of unused items sitting there.
Shortly after this revelation, I decided to do a 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge every year. (I started the tradition in January of 2012!)
Here’s how it works: all you need is to fill up a bag of stuff you no longer need — it can be stuff you want to donate, resell or trash. The bag can be a large trash bag or a small grocery bag, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re filling up a bag and getting rid of it each day.
This is the perfect challenge to take on if you’re needing something to give up for Lent; or have been trying to get rid of the piles of stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of for years, but haven’t gotten around to. Whether you’re into Lenten promises or not, decluttering is refreshing to the soul. If you have children at home, have them help you. It’s great practice for them to learn to declutter, organize, and even giveaway some of that stuff to a charitable organization.
For full details, I wrote about it here in on my website with a more detailed printable. Download your free printable by visiting 40 bags in 40 days challenge printable revised.