Are you doing it? The world's most awesome and awful Lenten project? 40 Bags in 40 Days is a decluttering challenge over the Lent holiday. Short version: Clean out one area per day over Lent. Donate, toss, sell or recycle unwanted/unneeded goodies, and rest easy in your tidy space. (Try not to choke to death on the dust bunnies.) There is also a facebook group that is absolutely amazing. Brave souls are posting before and after pictures. I used to feel ashamed of my messy space. Not so much anymore. Many of us struggle with clutter and too much crap.
I moved into my studio apartment in 2002 and haven't done a major overhaul since then. That's 12 years of crap, people. Although I wouldn't qualify for an episode of hoarders, I definitely have way too much shit. And I'm don't mean stuff. I mean shit. Crap. Junk. Paper. Fortheloveofmike, I'm drowning in paper.
Last night I cleaned an area that was less than 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. I managed to pull out a 30 gallon trash bag of crap. How that is even physically possible, I can't tell you. I had a small bookshelf in my bathroom, crammed with stuff. Magazines from 2010! 'Cuz that makes sense, right? Hold onto a magazine for four years because of one set of pretty pictures in it? GENIUS.
Anyway, the bathroom book shelf is gone. A few other things are gone. I've managed to get through approximately 1/4 of the apartment thus far. I may move this year, so I am going through everything under the eye of, "Am I willing to pack and move this?" It would appear the response is most often, "no. Why the hell do I even have this?"
I am now trying to get comfortable with empty space. I am like hoarders in that I find stuff to be comforting. The empty space in the bathroom where the bookshelf lived freaks me out a little bit. But I have been a slave to comfort, and my freakish attachment to it rendered me nearly brain dead. Asleep at the wheel of my own life. So I am finding ways to get uncomfortable. Being more social. Got that new job where I have to learn how to write government grants (oy, what a pain!). Going on dates. Dates! Talk about uncomfortable. And staring at empty space, allowing for new possibilities.
My miserable job and marriage made me realize just how scary comfort can be. Usually, we see it as a lovely thing--a warm sweater, a comfy couch, a solid routine. But it can also suffocate us and keep us stuck in places that just plain suck. I'm finding the process of decluttering and being uncomfortable kind of exhilarating. I've been able to give a friend clothes she enjoys, and she's selling what she can't use. Donating goodies to Vietnam Veterans of America so they can make a buck or two for their work. I may sell a furniture item or two, if feasible. Mostly, I just want to get rid of the stuff. I may get some new stuff when/if I move. Maybe not. (I'll save first, fellow frugal folk!) But lawdy, lawdy, is this process difficult and wonderful.
Anyone else out there doing 40 Bags in 40 Days? If so, how's it working for you?