Thursday, February 26, 2015

31 Bags in 31 Days

Self-reflection has been the name of the game since the beginning of the year.  All of the books I have been reading seem to be reinforcing ideas that I have had in the past, the biggest of which is that we have too much stuff.

After I read some of the statistics in Interrupted I realized that I have way more than I truly need.  My family has so much, and has been blessed in so many ways!  As we go through the normal day to day it can be easy to grumble and gripe about different situations in our lives, or not having x to help with y.  But, when you get down to it, we really have more than most people, and need to be thankful for it.

I don’t want you to think I am an ungrateful person, but when put in the context of what others do not have, it seems incredibly selfish to have as much as we do.  To help you with my line of thinking here are a couple of interesting facts from Interrupted, p25.

If you make thirty-five thousand dollars annually, you are in the top 4%.
If you make fifty thousand dollars annually, you are in the top 1%.
Half the world lives on less than two dollars and fifty cents a day.

These facts are sobering to me.  How can I ever feel need when I do not know real need? 

All of this led me back to my house, and the painful fact that I cannot seem to get a handle on the stuff we have.  We have so much stuff.  It seems like I am constantly de-cluttering and re-organizing stuff.  It is a full time job!  No wonder I don’t have enough time for other things, I am constantly moving stuff around!

I decided that I wanted to try and make better use of the space we have in our home, make better use of the time that I am given every day.  I don’t want to be a manager of stuff.

Since March is around the corner, and with March comes spring (hopefully!), I decided that I wanted to have a big old de-cluttering of stuff party!  What better way to welcome spring than with a clean house and less stuff to manage?

Please join me for 31 Bags in 31 Days.

The plan is for me to get rid of one bag of stuff each day.  Now, it doesn’t all have to be trash, in fact I hope that it isn’t!  I want to donate a lot of the stuff we have, but I realize a good portion may, in fact, be junk that needs to be thrown out or recycled.

One bag of stuff a day certainly sounds like a lot, but I am sure that when I start going through my clothes or books I will easily be able to find enough stuff.  Now, I am planning on using trash bags, but you could use the plastic grocery bags you get when getting food each week. 

This will all coincide with a huge spring cleaning of my house.  This winter has been long…OK it is still going strong here in Maine.  I need to freshen up everything and try to make sense of all the books that I have been reading.

Remember, my word of the year is intentional so I am trying to be intentional about the things that take up space in my life.  Are they really needed?  Is it helping me in some way?  Is it something that I think is incredibly beautiful, and therefore brings joy to my life?  Or is it something that just sits taking up space, or a toy that my kids do not play with, or a book that I never plan to read? 

Is this extreme?  Kind of.  But, I have to think about how much space this stuff actually takes up in my life, and how it isn’t needed.  I don’t want it here, and I feel sick thinking about the stuff that we spend our money on when someone else is unable to have clean drinking water. 

I am not saying that we all need to go into voluntary poverty, but will getting rid of broken toys or clothes that no longer fit, or even things we don’t use often but store just the same, really cause us to go into voluntary poverty?  Nope, but it will be a good lesson in realizing how much we have, and how much we don’t need crowding our lives.

Have you thought about how much you have lately?  Is it wearing on you trying to keep it organized and clean?  Have you thought about releasing some of that stuff to free up space in your mind and understand the blessings that you have?


  1. Very nice! We did a major decluttering a coupe of years ago, and when I start to notice it getting bad again, we each do "a thing a day". Each one of us has to find one thing per day to add to the "Goodwill box". And preferably a piece of garbage at the same time (my kids just love to keep the boxes that their things come in for some reason).

    1. I often wonder why we keep buying toys when my kids love the boxes just as much! You might be able to see a carpet tube in the picture above - the kids have been re-purposing that for about 6 months now. First it was a tube for cars to drive through, then it was propped up to have cars "race" through it, then it was made into a tree for a pretend jungle....

  2. I love this idea!!! I think I've got to try this. Please keep us posted on how your progress goes! My husband and I have been really amazed recently by how much stuff we really do have.

  3. This is a very good idea. I need to watch the HOARDERS show every so often to poke me into motion! We have lots of stuff here. LOTS of stuff. Summer of 2016 will mark two of my children getting married. I will NOT store their leftover stuff here. The stuff they don't want or don't want to deal with. Until then, I will make an attempt to declutter my own stuff. My bookshelves are overflowing and I just LOVE books, but come April 16, (we're tax people) there are a lot of people who will be blessed by these too full shelves. Thinking some boxes into my Sunday School class would probably find some new homes...a bag at a time, perhaps.


I love to hear from my readers and try to respond to all comments either here or through e-mail. Thank you for taking the time to comment!