40 Bags in 40 Days {Lent 2012}: Update #1

Today is Day 10 of Lent, so I thought I would do an update on my 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.

The first area I decided to tackle was my closet.
My closet is scary. Too many clothes & not organized.
So many clothes, I can't even hang them all on the rack.
Here is a BEFORE of the right side:
Clothes now in Rainbow order:
Here is the left side of the closet BEFORE:
After my closet, I moved onto our Armorie/TV hutch where I keep sweaters & t-shirts.
It was such a mess & full that I couldn't shut the doors.
Then, it was time to clean out my dresser drawers.
Drawer #1 BEFORE:
Drawer #2 BEFORE:
Drawer #3 BEFORE:
Here are all the clothes that I got rid of:
Including this shirt, which I haven't worn in over 5 years, but I have held onto it because it was the shirt I was wearing the day I found out I was pregnant with Kate. But, I realized it was time to give it away, no reason to hold onto clothes that I don't wear anymore.
My clothes/shoes filled up 3 large bags that were given to Goodwill earlier this week.
I can't tell you how good it felt to GIVE IT AWAY!!!!
The next area I cleaned out was my car. Even though Kevin detailed my car for Christmas, I slowly let it get dirty again. I cleaned out 2 bags of stuff in my car. The bag on the left was clothes that the girls have left in my car. The right bag was trash/school papers/Sunday School papers, etc. that have been left in my car. Gross.
Next up is our downstairs hall closet. Other wise known as my dumping ground.
This closet has never been organized & I seriously just stuff things in there. Ugh.
The top shelf of that closet:
So.Much.Better! I got the plastic drawers & I am storing the girls Arts & Craft Supplies in there.
This closet didn't have any stuff to give away, but check out my trash pile....just from this closet! The black bag is full of trash & the piles in front of it are recycling. All that from 1 closet. Embarrassing.
I also cleaned out under our bed. Besides a lot of dust bunnies, I was able to fill 2 bags of things to giveaway (A down comforter, and tons of pillows/throw pillows that we haven't used in years)
So, after 10 days, here is my list as of 3.2.12
I have cleaned out 8 areas on my list (and, I added 4 more areas #'s 31-34)
I have filled up 9 bags, plus a huge recycling pile.

Next up, I am planing on working on the girls rooms & closets!

I am 1/4 of the way there.

I have tried to do 1 area each day, but to be honest, I haven't gotten much done during the week. I am just so tired after a full day of teaching 140 middle schoolers & I would rather hang out with my girls than clean. Some days, they have helped me clean out areas, but mostly they get in the way. ha! The weekends are when I get the majority of this done.
I have no problem getting rid of stuff, it is just finding the time & energy to do it!
But, I like having it broken up into different areas....it feels so good to highlight the areas I have finished. And, the Before & After pictures remind me to keep going!

I will say, once I get started on 1 section, I just want to keep going!
It has been so therapeutic & freeing to throw stuff away and/or bag stuff up to give away.
Cleaning & organizing my "stuff" has made me realize how much I have & how much excess I have. It is honestly gross how much "stuff" we have that we don't need.
Even though I gave away 3 bags of clothes, I still have drawers & a closet full of clothes and shoes.
Makes me sick to my stomach.

If you are doing this also, how are you doing so far?
Has it been easy? What have been your biggest challenges?

And, If you haven't had a chance to check out the Soup recipes that were linked up to my Soup's On Linky Party, go check them out HERE. I have looked at all of them & they all look SO good. If you haven't linked up, you still have time. The linky will be open until Wednesday!


  1. That is awesome. I'm a little bit behind but definitely getting rid of "stuff". I agree with you, it's gross how much "stuff" we have. Along with this process of cleaning out, I'm thinking twice before I bring ANYTHING home. Thanks so much for sharing this project - I just love it. Be blessed and enjoy your weekend.

  2. I loved this post and this series. I can totally relate! My car just collects things and before I know it it's a mess again. The thing is I like it so much better when it's organized and clean. I just need to make myself stay on top of it!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I was planning on cleaning out my closet today, and seeing this is giving me more motivation to do it. It feels so good to open up and door and know that there is no hidden craziness behind it!

  4. Wow! What a big challenge. Thanks for sharing this idea. My problem is that when I clean my closet, I never want to get rid of anything. I always swear that I'm going to wear that again...but I never do. Maybe I need a friend to supervise and make me part with some things.

  5. I understand the feeling. This spring I've been on a "get the house organized" crusade too and have been taking at least 1 box to Goodwill each week. I've spent less on clothing now that I can actually see what I have! At the beginning of the year, I turned all the hangers around in my closet with the plan to eventually get rid of what I don't wear, and it's helped me rediscover some thing I really like - I figure out that I have a lot more I should donate.

  6. Thank you for posting your before and afters...that's reality! My closet could go head to head with your before. Putting that on my to do TODAY!! Happy weekend!

  7. I love the honest look into your closets! Your shoes look like my shoes, but my closet light is burnt out and so I am totally in denial! The 40 bags in 40 days is a great idea and you have so inspired me!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. I haven't been doing this but it is on my to do list (my FIL is staying with us for a month so we are waiting until he leaves) and my shoes looked like that before Valentines Day but my hubby made me a shoe rack for V Day and I have organized shoes....it feels so good..and I am ready to do it with the rest of my house! :)

  9. Hey Mel, Jon was gone for two weeks so I was in the house alone at night a LOT! I finished our whole house except for our walk-in attic. I was surprised at how little I got rid of because I go through this whole ritual every spring. I did say good bye to a lot of "projects I plan to do":

    * picture frames I was saving to spray paint and hang
    * fabric for cloth napkins for the boys' lunch
    * kitting stuff. When will I knit??

    I have to say, it was really good to get out every item in our house, touch it, and make sure it is used.

    Anyway when we moved 18ish months ago, I refused to move anything to the new house that we didn't want to keep. Things are better organized after my effort but I wanted to comment to give you hope that it gets easier!!

  10. That's awesome and inspiring. My house is clean but I cringe at the thought of someone seeing my bedroom closet!! Love the before and after pics. Way to go :)

  11. So motivating ... making my list ASAP! Thanks for sharing! :)

  12. I need to do that with my closet too.

  13. Wow you are going great! I have 3 bags down. I will not get to 40 because we did a big clean out over Christmas but feels good to clean out again! Now if I could just get my husband to clean out the garage we could get 40 bags!!

  14. Way to go Mel!!! You have really accomplished a lot. I can absolutely relate to the items from the car...mine gets the same way! I have been cleaning out (not as much as I would like) and it feels nice. Next round I should take pictures and post...thanks for the encouragement. Happy purging :)

  15. I love it!!! Doesn't it feel great to just get rid of stuff. I did a lot of this while I was pregnant and nesting and I just love looking in our cleaned out closets and spaces.

  16. Awesome progress with the 40 bags in 40 days. Don't you just love crossing things off a to-do list, especially when it comes to home organization? So impressed! Go Mel, Go!!!

  17. I LOVE seeing your results! I, too, am about 1/4 the way through my list, and my current count is 12 bags. Your car was my favorite, I hadn't thought of it, but mine is just like that with all my girls debris! Just added it to my list - thanks for sharing. :)

  18. I love it. Although it sounds like I have a harder time getting rid of things (the sentimental kind)! I'm happy to report that after 10 years I got rid of my favorite, first maternity shirt that I bought myself.
    I sent three bags to goodwill just from one of Addison's closets. It does feel good to move it on out.

  19. I saw this on your blog and have been doing it too. I had 11 45 gallon rubbermaid tubs full of clothes & clothes my girls have outgrown.... I am down to a 15 gallon and 1 45 gallon. I didn't document it in photos like you did & I wish I had. I am going to blog about it soon though. I feel like it has been a weight lifted off my shoulders in a way... I knew we had way too much stuff, but there was a "story" or a reason to hold on to each and every item. I snapped pics of some of the things I was holding on to & will write on the back why (like the shirt that says I LOVE MOM with lipstick stains all over it. Masyn hid under the bathroom counter in her new shirt and played in my lipstick while I was in the shower when she was 18 months old & I just couldn't part with it... well, I finally did.... along with about 12 big black trash bags of stuff. and I am ashamed to say how many bags of trash.....

  20. your closets look great, mel. doesn't it feel freeing having all that stuff out?!?!
    i also color coordinate my clothes in my closet. makes decision making easier.

  21. OMG, that first photo with your clothes hanging on the hang hangers because you have no room to hang them.... That's exactly how my closet looked until I started to go crazy being cooped up recovering from my Cesarian. Glad that I'm not that only one :)



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