The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge usually takes place during Lent, the period of 40 days that comes before Easter in the Christian calendar.
Though it’s connected to a Christian observance, you don’t have to be a Christian (or even religious) to take the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. In fact, you can take the Challenge at any time during the year.
40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge
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What is the 40 Day Lent Challenge?
The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge was started in 2011 by blogger and decluttering guru Ann Marie Heasley on her website White House Black Shutters, and the Challenge has really taken off since it got its start.
According to Heasley, “Since I started hosting the group challenge in 2011, millions of people have learned about #40Bagsin40Days and countless participants have changed their life, created more manageable homes, and refocused their outlook.“
That’s a lot of people and a lot of clutter.
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How to Take the 40 Day Declutter Challenge
Here’s how it works: over 40 days, each day, you declutter one bag of stuff from your home for a total of 40 bags at the end of the Challenge. This year, the Challenge starts March 6th and lasts until April 20th (the day before Easter).
Those of you who are good at math are probably thinking, Wait. That’s 46 days. Well, you’re absolutely right! While I’m not so good at math myself, my counting isn’t off here.
Because the Challenge follows the season of Lent, you get every Sunday off to rest and take stock of the changes you’re making. If Sundays aren’t the best option for you to “take off,” choose whatever day of the week works best for you.
Similar to the Konmari method recently made popular by the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge is a great way to cut the clutter not only in your home but in your life as well.
Why you should try 40 Bags in 40 Days
In case you needed any, here are some other reasons to seriously consider taking the plunge and accepting this 40 day lent challenge to declutter:
- You feel overwhelmed and stressed out by all the clutter in your house
- You want to simplify your home and your life
- You’re digging the Minimalist movement and want to hop on board
- You’ve tried decluttering before but it didn’t take
- You’ve been meaning to declutter but haven’t started because it’s too overwhelming
- You observe Lent but always have a hard time deciding what to give up for the season
- Your In-Laws are coming to visit for Easter
Now that you’ve got the motivation to give this purging challenge a go, let’s talk about a game plan for your 40-day decluttering journey.
Preparing for 40 Bags in 40 Days
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to set aside some space for sorting. As you go through your clutter, sort it into different categories instead of throwing it all in the garbage. Stuff that’s expired or damaged can probably go in the trash, but everything else should be sold, donated to charity, given away, or recycled.
Decide how many categories you’ll sort your clutter into and what to label them, depending on your available options and level of commitment.
If you would really like to keep your stuff out of the landfill but are worried you won’t have time to follow through, you can book an appointment with an eco-friendly junk removal company like LoadUp. They’ll come and pick up your unwanted junk and take whatever can be salvaged to be recycled or donated to a local charity.
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Ideas for Your 40 Bags in 40 Days: Areas to Declutter
The original idea behind 40 Bags in 40 Days was to go room by room and to fill 1 bag per area. While this may not work for you and your living situation, it does make the whole process a lot easier by breaking it up into more bite-size pieces.
If you feel like you have so much clutter that you don’t know where to even begin or if you live in a small space and are worried you won’t be able to fill 40 bags without doing 1 item per bag, don’t worry.
Breaking down the 40 days into 40 bags or boxes by room
Here are a few ideas for areas of your home and the things in them that you can tackle each day to get you started:
- junk drawer items
- expired foods
- old spices
- unused appliances, cookware, bakeware, etc.
- extra coffee mugs & plastic cups
- damaged shoes
- clothes that don’t fit or are rarely worn
- worn out clothing
- old belts, ties, scarves, purses, and other accessories
- bedside table clutter
- stained, damaged throw pillows
- coffee table clutter
- rarely watched DVDs & Blu-Rays
- duplicate print photos
- all that stuff you’ve hidden in storage furniture but is never used
- unused makeup, perfume, cologne
- old, expired toiletries
- sample-size products
- broken & unwanted personal care items
- expired & unneeded medications (NEVER flush medicines. Find your nearest old medication drop-off location to dispose of properly, or crush and mix with kitty litter or coffee grounds before throwing away.)
- random paper, junk mail, etc.
- mysterious cords & cables
- broken or outdated computer equipment & software
- clutter in & on your desk
- empty printer cartridges
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- unused sheet sets & bedding
- ratty, stained towels & bathroom linens
- board games & puzzles with missing pieces
- not-so-nice hangers
- everything you stuffed in there to hide and ‘deal with it later’
Garage / Patio
- rusted out old grill
- worn out seasonal decor
- old sports & exercise equipment
- outgrown toys & playground equipment
- old paint (PLEASE dispose of this with your local Household Hazardous Waste facility. NEVER throw old paint or other chemicals in the garbage.)
Accept the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge
Something to keep in mind is that you don’t have to fill a big black contractor garbage bag, or even a tall kitchen trash bag each day. It could be as simple as grabbing a used grocery bag and tossing out all the old pens and pencils from the junk drawer, and boom. One bag down.
In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a bag! You can count bags or boxes of old junk in your 40-day, 40-bag journey. Pro tip: Fill all those old Amazon boxes you haven’t recycled yet with your clutter to kill two birds with one stone.
If you’ve come in after the Challenge has started, that’s okay too! Start wherever you are and do the best you can. You can even do several bags in one day if you’re feeling froggy and use those extra bags to have a cheat day or two if you need them later on.
The idea isn’t to deep clean your entire house, but instead to lighten the load of unnecessary stuff that may be getting in the way of living a more simple life. The less clutter you have lying around, the less stress you feel and the happier you are.
Do the Most Good with 40 Day Declutter Challenge
Remember, if you’re worried about what you’re going to do with all the stuff you’re decluttering, don’t! There’s no need to worry when you can call LoadUp, your nationwide, licensed and insured junk removal professionals.
Loaders will do all the legwork and heavy lifting for you, and they’ll dispose of your unwanted clutter and your old bulky junk items in the most environmentally friendly way. The best thing about LoadUp is that they offer fair and transparent pricing with no minimum, unlike all those other junk removal companies.
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At LoadUp, we want you to succeed in cutting out the clutter and all the unnecessary junk in your home and your life. The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge makes it easy to clean up the clutter in your home, and LoadUp makes it even easier.
No matter how you decide to declutter, remember that LoadUp is here to help and we’re all rooting for you. So get out there and change your life for the better. You’ve got this.
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