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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Forty Things

I’m on a mission.

I am striving to go through every inch of our home and find 40 things to donate or recycle every week for a month. Yep, my goal is to remove 160 items that are no longer used, appreciated, or are merely trash from our home.

I’m doing this as a way to observe Lent.

For those of you who may not be familiar with Lent it is a time of of self-examination and reflection in preparation for the coming of Easter.

There are a total of 40 days that began on Ash Wednesday (February 1oth) and end on Holy Saturday (March 26th) which is the day before Easter. The forty days represent the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness.

Lent snuck up on me this year. I was sitting in the church pew last Sunday and our minister mentioned it. I felt myself automatically feeling a bit grumbly. I really dislike it when Easter falls in March. Spring somehow then feels rushed.

Not such a great start at preparing a heart of thankfulness for the precious gift Jesus gave us.

I needed to spring clean my heart. I decided to work on this by spring cleaning my home.

I have a box in the kitchen that bills, flyers and general paperwork gets tossed into. Recently it had become so full that it spilled out of the box and across the counter. Our kitchen is small and such prime real estate was missed. I took 30 minutes and decided to conquer the clutter.

When I was done I had filled up an entire recycling bin with useless paper.


Later in the week came the guest room closet. It had become a hideaway for hoarding.

SO MUCH stuff. Way to much stuff.

Oh I am ashamed.


I was always worried about the stuff when we had guests that actually needed to hang something up.

It took me an entire afternoon. I turned on some uplifting music and dove in.


Along the way I had to make some hard cuts.

Like the yellow, purple and navy vintage cut velvet pillow (shown above on the floor of the closet). I love it but for as long as I have had that pillow it has never found a spot to land in our home.

When such a situation arises I think about Proverbs 3:27.

Someone might have need of such a pillow and I am not using it. So into the donate box it went.

By making hard cuts I found that I now had room for everything I kept.


I ironed and hung up all the table linens which freed up much needed shelf space. The shelves are now nicely organized with like items placed in clear plastic bins.


The other side of the closet features an empty rod waiting to service our house guests.


This next week I’ll be tackling the hall closet.



Curtains in My Tree said...

Good for you ,this is what i'm going to do on my first vacation week next month, clean out things I have boxes in my car now to take to a local christian donation center where the homeless and very needy get first choice at any donations.
Also my garage is going to get a good cleaning.

Your closet is a picture of beauty now

marty (Thrifty & Chic-on a budget) said...

The closet looks totally amazing. I need to do the same thing with my stash in the garage. Way too much stuff.

Melanie's Cottage said...

What a great idea giving up 40 things for lent. I love some good organization. I could so use some donating and organizing in the sneaky spaces in my house.

Kirby Carespodi said...

My teacher friend and I are doing something similar--we are donating 40 blessings--things that we have loved and cherished, but no longer need. (Like my beautiful boots that are a tad tight in the calves.) And my Talbots linen tops that are a little gappy. I won't lose the extra weight in time to wear them in the spring (if ever) and so they are going to my friend's ministry, where she keeps clothes for working women who are just starting out (because they have had to flee a domestic situation or have been incarcerated or have an intellectual delay and they've just been trained through one of our agencies.) It has been painful to part with some of these gorgeous clothes, but it's nice to know they are blessing someone else!

Vicki said...

I am totally on board with this method of decluttering and will begin tomorrow. I keep a pretty uncluttered home but lately I've been feeling discombobulated, overwhelmed, and generally out of sorts. I think this may be the answer to my poor disposition. Thanks for sharing!

Lori @ Dining Delight said...

This sounds like a good way to do a "sacrifice" for Lent. I'm currently giving up all sugar (in everything) and I have such a sweet tooth, it's hard! I had to smile when I read that you "grumbled" about Easter being early this year - I always have the same feelings about Easter/spring when it's in March.

Eilis said...

I am also trying to work on my clutter and give away things. It's inspiring to see your progress! I will tackle some more stuff today!

Rita C. said...

Lent is my time for cleaning out also, Laura. I am following the 40 bags in 40 days, interpreted as loosely or as literally as I choose, depending on the project. It has been anything from cleaning out drawers full of paper, pantry of outdated foodstuffs, and/or clothing. It feels so good, especially knowing when it is taken to a place where others can use them. Your closet looks terrific.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Such a big difference. Love the after look. I try to do that to my closets periodically. The garage also gets a makeover. My hubby tells me, I have too much stuff. It feels good to purge.

Stacey said...

Oh Laura, if you could see our closets. People always think my house is so orderly and it is from all appearances. Inside the cabinets and closets, it's an explosion about to happen. We are planning to begin work on this too.

Sarah said...

Laura, I've been trying to donate each week. I find that if I send off a donation each week, I feel as if I've accomplished at least something. I keep telling myself, "Little drops fill the bucket." It definitely feels good to get things cleaned out and organized.
Congratulations on your system and progress. Great idea!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

It feels so good to clean out and de-clutter! We are planning on making a move in the next year or so...I am already start to decide what will make the move with us...

Silvana Joanne said...

I think that's a great idea for Lent. I too feel like Spring is feels like Christmas was just a few weeks away! Have a great week :-)

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I love your idea of purging for 40 days of Lent, Laura. Whew, you accomplished a lot by doing the closet. I went through several cupboards just last week and sorted, and organized,but I must continue on. I tend to hide things out of the way, because I like tidiness, but then my hidden spots are not so tidy!!
I also read your post on planting with seeds. I hope it all works out because that'll be a big savings!!

Linda said...

Your home always looks so neat, tidy and organized.
Ours is quite the opposite with vast room for improvement. Maybe someday...
Easter falling so early here, means it is normally a very cold Easter. I'm breaking out my St. Patrick's Day and some spring decor this week though - we're gone the week of Easter on spring break, so it can't come soon enough for me ~ heading somewhere warm :)

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Great idea! I just gave a huge pile of stuff away, but I could do more. I found it hard to make a decision on some items. I still have one bedroom (library) to do, because everything got piled into there while working on two of the bedrooms, and the proverb inspires me in a new way. I was trying the Japanese method, and it was working for the most part, but it only worked for certain things. xoxo Su

Sue said...

I am doing the same thing Laura. Not keeping track of items, but purposefully going through each room and determining to keep just what I use - and even parting with some of that๐Ÿ˜Š It's so hard for me. I always start in the easy rooms, and so now have just come to my first hard room, the library. My guest closet will be a challenge too.
I will also be anxious to hear how your seeds work. I have tried various plants and have had no luck. But it could be due to my lack of care come July ๐Ÿ˜

Gypsy Heart said...

I'm doing the 40 bags in 40 days. A "bag" could be a drawer, pantry, etc. It feels so good! Each time I work in my closet and see things I'm not wearing or never have, *shameful*, they must go! My mantra is thinking all things that are in good shape will bless others.

The apts here are installing new washers and dryers. My washer was only working on one cycle and the dryer was fine, just old. I gave them to a couple that I've donated other things to and they were absolutely thrilled! Of course, I told them about the washer but he might be able to repair it. I hope so!

Good luck with all your sorting, tossing and donating!

Auntie Em said...

It feels so good to purge out all the unused items. I get started and clean out a closet or cabinet but sad that I then seem to lose momentum before I get the whole house done.
Our son and DIL and their three daughters did this last year but they worked on donating one thing a day all year. Then in the late summer they had a chance to look at what they had stored and it gave the little girls one last chance to decided if they would be really sad if they never had that item again so they could retrieve it. Nothing was held back that I heard of. The money raised went towards helping a family in need at Christmas time. A good reason to clean your closets! :)