Today is both Valentine’s Day and it’s also Ash Wednesday. I am not a religious person, but every year during Lent I attempt to “give up” something for the full 40 days. Honestly, it’s just something I’ve always done. It was important to my step mother, and so it’s just one of those childhood traditions that I keep on doing, even as an adult.
This year, I’ve decided to change it up a bit. In the past, I’ve given up pop, chocolate or potato chips, usually just substituting one junk food for some other junk food until the 40 days was up. This year, I was inspired to give up clutter instead.
All over Pinterest and Instagram I’ve seen the “40 bags in 40 days” challenge. This is where you fill a garbage bag full of unwanted clutter from your home, everyday for 40 days, starting on Ash Wednesday all the way to Easter. I totally LOVE this idea, but the truth is, I just don’t have the time or enough “stuff” to take part in this challenge. I’ve simply decluttered too much over the years to be able to fill 40 bags full.
So instead, I decided I would give up just one thing each day for the 40 days. Here is the kicker though, it can’t be just some random junk I didn’t want… it has to be good stuff.
I’m guilty of holding onto things I don’t use or love because they are useful, expensive or “fantasy” Cas envisions herself using them someday. I have items that I love the “idea” of, but in reality, they are being wasted in my home. So, everyday for 40 days, I am going to choose one of these things and gift it to someone else. Maybe I’ll give it to a friend, family member or even donate it to a charity, but the intent will be to share what I have and bring joy to someone else.
I have extra clothing and necklaces I rarely wear that I know my sister would love to have. I have expensive perfumes collecting dust and old tablets that we never use – I should donate these to our local women’s shelter. We have a really good desktop computer that we’ve stored for over a year in our office closet – it’s time to give it to someone who needs a computer. For Christmas a few years ago I got an Xbox 360 (it’s still in the box). I’m sure a teenager would love to have it. There are books, craft supplies, electronics and toys I’ve held onto, despite never actually using them, that would be loved and used by other people in my life.
Why am I holding onto these things? They just seemed “too good” to let go of, and donating them felt wrong somehow. When I change my perspective from letting go and getting rid of to sharing and giving, it suddenly feels like the right thing to do. Simply changing the words associated with decluttering from negative to positive have completed changed the way I see these “good” items in my home. Giving feels a whole lot better than letting go for some reason.
So if you love the idea of giving up clutter for Lent, but can’t commit to something as big as 40 garbage bags, consider taking the 40 gifts in 40 days challenge with me. Not only will we be decluttering our homes, but we will be spreading joy at the same time. #40gifts40days