A few weeks back when I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across and subsequently shared a photo about a different kind of Lenten sacrifice: it was called the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. The premise is simple: remove one bag of excess items from your home each day for 40 days.
In my mind, I really wanted to do this, and not surprisingly, several of my friends said they were on board as well, either “liking” the post, or leaving comments like “Great idea!” and “I’m definitely going to do this!”
But were we, really?
Or was the challenge going to go to the same place where Facebook recipes and Pinterest crafts go to die?
Not this time.
After months of trying to declutter on my own, I decided to launch an accountability/support group on Facebook for anyone wanting to really give it a go. I created the group, put out the call to my online friends, and within minutes dozens had joined. By the end of the day, we had close to 200 people from all around the world, all ready to commit to the challenge of ridding their homes of excess clutter.
One of the first things I asked people in the group to do is to think about their “why.” For me, it’s less about cleaning up my physical space and more about mental clarity. My husband and I have three kids, two cats, and too darn much stuff. From clothes to toys to piles of paper, the stuff occupies far too much of our time and energy. Because I work from home, I am impacted by that reality nearly every waking hour. I want to make sure I’m living my life in a way that reflects what I say are my priorities…and “stuff” isn’t one of them. It’s time to pare down and simplify.
Many group members have shared their reasons why, and the answers show just how powerful a connection there is between our homes and our overall well-being. Some have seen firsthand through relatives or neighbors the burden that a jam-packed house leaves when the owners pass on. Others are finally confronting years of bad habits, in some cases fueled by depression, that left their homes in disarray.
The group is a safe place: no judgment, no shame. Some post pictures, others share stories, and many just lurk around the edges.
Whatever the case, we’re nearly one week in and the enthusiasm is still there. So we have a plan — I asked participants to fill out a worksheet of what they plan to work on each day, and to record how it actually went. Just think — if we can really do this, if the 200 or so of us can each purge 40 bags, that’s 8,000 bags of clutter GONE!
I’ll keep you updated as we move to Week 2, and you’re always welcome to join the fun!
If you’d like to join the private Facebook group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.