Crushing the Clutter: The 3 Week, 50 Bag Challenge

I am not a hoarder. I’ll just say that up front because, one time, I made a joke about my “hoarding tendencies” on social media and got scolded for flippantly using a term that should be reserved for an actual disorder.

There are no piles up to the ceiling anywhere in my house. I do not have 12 potato peelers. Or four foot high stacks of newspapers.

HOWEVER, there is a tiny little hoarder voice in my brain that says, “But you might possibly, maybe need that some day” most times that I go to get rid of something.

And you know what? 9 times out of 10, when I have a very strong thought like this, I regret chunking that particular item all of a week later when I end up needing it and have to go buy a new one.

BUT.

There are still lots of areas in our house that could use a thorough, ruthless edit. I have 3 different storage areas full of decor that I haven’t used in at least a year. That’s not cool. My bathtub in our master is currently housing trash bags full of clothing that I need to sort through (good thing I like showers, huh?).

It’s time.

But it’s the kind of project that I will always push to the back burner because there’s always something more pressing (and fun) that could be done first.

So, I’m turning up the heat (I hope you are fully appreciating my stove-themed metaphors) on this particular project by issuing myself the following challenge:

crushtheclutter

{Don’t you love the random happy/creepy stuffed toy leering at you from the bag on the right? Go haunt someone else’s nightmares delight another child, please}

I saw on The Money Saving Mom’s IG that she was doing a 500 item challenge. And I seem to remember a 40 bag challenge from forever ago. So, call it arbitrary and overly ambitious (it’s both), but I’m going with 50…in three weeks.

The bags can be any size you like, but I’m shooting for trash bags full.

And yes, I’m skeered. I feel like I’m probably going to do nothing but find things to throw away for the next three weeks.

But I like a challenge, and I feel like this one needs to happen to force me to get. this. done–not only for the sake of my home but for the sake of my sanity as well. (Because I know my brain is going to feel a little less cluttered with every bag I donate).

Also, have you heard of this book?

artoftidying

I can’t seem to escape it. It pops up in my IG feed every other day, gets recommended by every blogger I read, and practically reaches out and snags my elbow as I walk through Barnes and Noble.

The premise seems to be that, rather than adhering to a strict organizational code, you simply assess your belongings and your need (or lack thereof) for them based primarily on the criterion of whether they bring you joy.

Or something like that. I’ll know better when it gets to my house because I just ordered it. Most books like this stress me out, but multiple people have mentioned that this one provides clarity without condemnation, so I’m hoping they didn’t just say that because they got the book for free or something.

ANYway, here’s to a more organized, less cluttered 2016!

Are you with me?!

The challenge officially starts Monday, Feb. 8th and ends Monday, Feb. 29th (the last day of the month…I would love to say that I planned that, but…I didn’t. I’m not mad about it, though).

Be sure to leave a comment below if you want to jump in on the challenge. (Remember, they don’t have to be trash bags. 50 Walmart bags is like 200 medium-sized things. I bet some of you feel like you got that many excess toys for your kids last Christmas alone).

I will, of course, be blogging about my progress and ultimate results. So, stay tuned for pictures of all the junk I’m getting rid of! (Can’t imagine how pumped you are about that).

P.S. In conjunction with this challenge, I’m also doing a closet clean-out and selling a lot of really cute stuff that I love…but just don’t wear enough over at my closet shop account @mifmcloset. Feel free to head on over and see if something catches your fancy. The prices on all of the items include shipping, and all you need to do is type sold and your Paypal email to claim them. If you don’t see something you need right away, be sure to check back because I’ll be adding more items (hopefully) daily.

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28 thoughts on “Crushing the Clutter: The 3 Week, 50 Bag Challenge

  1. I read this book last summer…it was very motivational for me.
    FYI- wanted to let you know that you’ll understand this once you’ve read it….thank THE LORD for everything…. ;)

  2. Maybe it will help to think about all the folks who really NEED what you don’t, or they might even just be DELIGHTED to have it!

  3. I love purging!! Best feeling ever! It’s the time restraint that freaks me out! I have five girls (6th on the way) and I feel like anything extra on top of laundry and keeping the kitchen from getting buried in crumbs is so difficult to get around to! Once my “normal” chores are done for the week They’ve piled up yet again and I never get to do those other things. I have to make purposeful decisions to get behind on laundry for a day so I can accomplish those other things. And my kids do a lot of housework!!! How are 7 people in one house so messy???

    1. The time limit scares me too. But it also motivates me. Because, as much as I know I’ll be somewhat behind on several housework things by the end of the month, I also will have accomplished something HUGE that will help me be more efficient in my work in the future. It’s a worthwhile tradeoff for me.

    2. It’s comforting to hear another Mama say this! We have 6 kids and a small home. The regular chores cooking for the family ( including 2 teen boys) , laundry (work and school clothes) and cleaning are so hefty it’s hard to get much else done. But decluttering is so helpful it’s totally worth it!

  4. Marie Mondo’s book keeps popping up in my feeds too! I’d love to hear your take on it when you have read it. I’m not gonna say that I am joining in with the 50 bags – but we are moving in 8 weeks, so I’ll be using boxes to get rid of things (OK, so I’ll probably use some trash bags too…). We’ve already had a garage sale, and I have sold a few things (Including out antique restored baby cot and a queen bed) on gumtree, but there is more to go. And the more space that is left when the items walk out the door really is bliss! :) Bring on change in 2016! And here’s to a more tidy house.
    Sheree

  5. I don’t mind cleaning out… I always seem to have a pile of clothes, toys, household stuff that I am trying to get rid of. My problem is always what do with it when I decide we don’t need it anymore… Garage sale? Social media sale sites? Consignment? Donate? I have a stack of bags in the dining room and another pile in storage!

    I have a lot of digital clutter. Photos and videos that I have never printed or shared. That’s next on my list to organize.

    I am a memory hoarder. Sentimental clothes and stuff from my husband, my kids, and my own childhood. Why!? I have several totes full. Last weekend I tackled three years worth of kids’ papers from school… I had three totes full! Got it down to a small stack for each kid. I have sworn off the scrapbooking clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby until I actually use the stuff I have. I haven’t scrapbooked a single page since my youngest was born and he is almost four!

    1. My goal is to donate the vast majority of what I bag. I, too, get bogged down in the best way to dispose of things, abs then it never happens. So, unless it has a significant value I know I need to recoop, I’m just giving it away to a worthy cause.

  6. Well goodness you don’t shy away from big challenges do you? I wish you well and will be totally impressed when you get this done with! As for our home, the “new” thing we have been doing is recycling. We got a trash can from Wal-Mart that is automatic and has a divider in it. One side is for trash and the other is for recycling. Unfortunately, we the recycling section is too small! So, we have a card board box on the floor next to it. In two days we filled it up! Milk jugs, salsa jars, magazines, etc. It has been a huge eye-opener for us and has showed us how much junk we use and how much we throw away. Now, as corny as it sounds, I get a little bit of joy when I can put something in my recycle box. Yay!! So, I guess my personal challenge would be 50 bags LESS of trash!
    Good luck dear!

  7. Great goal! I must say, I was salivating at the thought of you purging those storage areas of older decor. .wish I lived close to you!!
    Also, I just finished reading the follow up book to the one you ordered.. Spark Joy. It was a great quick read and full of good stuff to think about!

  8. That book is pretty good. I listened to it as an audiobook and then checked it out from the library to read. I haven’t implemented it yet but plan to start in the next few weeks.

  9. This is a great challenge! We really do live in a society that makes it easy to have too much stuff. In October, we lost about 90% of our belongings in a flood. Moving back, we have already donated several boxes of stuff to Goodwill. You learn to live on less and that can actually be a beautiful thing!

  10. Girl ! I’m not the only one with my master bath full of stuff to donate !? Phew! I’m totally with you on this challenge :)

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