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40 Bags in 40 Days

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Good morning, everyone.

As some of you know, when Peter and I married in 2002 (2nd marriage for both of us), we both sold our houses and had a new one built. Unfortunately, we both brought many things that we didn't end up using... duplicates of most things.

We've had yard sales, donated lots of things to the Salvation Army and local hospital thrift store, but still have way too much "stuff".

To make things more difficult, Peter is a big collector... model trains, Dinky toys, coins, stamps, postcards, etc. etc. etc., and his collections have outgrown the house. The worst part is the newspapers and magazines to go through "someday", and the piles of clippings he has already cut out to be organized... again "someday". They've taken over his "office", an extra bedroom, the basement and the garage.

I've nagged, pleaded, cried... nothing worked very well until I discovered the "40 Bags in 40 Days" method of cleaning. I found this on the SP Hoarding Team. Yes, I call Peter a hoarder sometimes, which he hates.

The 40 Bags, which apparently started as a Lenten project through some churches many years ago, challenges you to fill one bag a day of things to be tossed, donated, or otherwise culled. For us it's been a lot of big recycling bins full of paper, but also more donations to the hospital store, and North House (a homeless shelter). I've also put aside several boxes of books to be donated to the next Friends of the Library book sale.

It's a start, and I feel good about it. I've also used some of the Covid lockdown time to finally make scrapbooks from some of our trips, crochet prayer shawls for people in hospitals or nursing homes and bring photo albums up to date.

Now if I could only convince Peter to donate a bunch of coffee mugs, wine glasses...

Thanks for reading; any tips will be appreciated. emoticon emoticon emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    47 days ago
    47 days ago
    47 days ago
    That is a great start! My husband has helped me overcome being a "collector". emoticon
    49 days ago
    Good For You......................

    en Ken and I have our annual Spring cleaning, we fill bags and take them to both Good Will and St. Vincent DePaul plus our local hometown rummage sale which gives the proceeds to the Food Harvest and also a fund for electricity for those who cannot afford to turn on the heat in the winter months (based on need).
    49 days ago
    I love the idea of 40 bags in 40 days. What a great impetus for clearing out STUFF! You have inspired me to do quite a bit of tidying.

    Re extra mugs etc., I gave away quite a bit of extra kitchen/dining items to someone who had just gotten out of jail and had nothing. (My psychologist friend was volunteering at a halfway house for recovering addicts, and told me of the need to help rehouse someone who had lost everything and was trying to start over).

    The hardest for me is getting rid of things that were gifts or reminders of my mom. I would like to keep a few very special items, but I have WAY too much of her Oriental vases, beautiful clothes for church and dressy events (no one dresses up here, not even for church or theater). Plus I kept the big poster boards of photos that we put up at the memorial service, even though the photos are slowly curling away from the board (they were cheap enlarged photocopies of photos, my sister kept the originals)
    49 days ago
    Good for you and Peter. I know how hard it is to release some things. I am working on it but not fast enough for my husband. I'm glad you are making progress.
    49 days ago

    The "THINGS" that are mementoes of places and events... an option to keeping could be...
    "PICTURES" with a caption of why it is important.. the what, where, when, whatever...
    the memories that the item generates.

    I had a family ring that I used to wear all the time... but then I feared something would happen to it and it lived for a while in my jewelry box.. then I took a picture of it.. and gave it to my niece's daughter... My sister always wanted the ring and her grand daughter was born on my sister's birthday.. thus I thought it appropriate to gift the ring to her. When I get lonesome for the ring.. I pull out the photo.. and tons of memories come flooding through my mind.

    50 days ago
  • YMWONG22
    emoticon emoticon
    50 days ago
  • EOWYN2424
    My room is a mess too!
    50 days ago
  • LORI-K
    Oh Gail! I feel for you. Truly I do. I am the female version of Peter and I totally understand and get his “collecting” thing. My poor hubby can empathize with you and Elizabeth’s sister. My Mom was the same way. She was especially overwhelmed with the newspapers and magazine thing. Piles and piles and rooms and rooms......
    It physically hurts to part with things that mean so much to us, but are just clutter to everyone else.
    I’m so happy you found the Hoarder team (it’s what we are, whether Peter likes it or not). I hope the 40 bags in 40 days is a good solution for both of you, and it will also be such a blessing to others who are truly in need of the items you are freeing yourself of.
    I definitely think it’s some sort of personality trait. A certain gene people like Peter and I have. I can’t tell you how many “collections” I have and have had throughout my life. It started at a young age.
    Hang in there and keep culling. It’s so hard for everyone, but y’all will get through this. One day and one bag at a time.
    50 days ago
    My sister is living with the exact same kind of man.
    Even when they downsized from a quite large home to a smaller three-bedroom ranch house they had to dedicate one entire room to his stuff, plus the garage and a shed, I believe.
    He was an only child and inherited his parents historical, art, photos, two old aunties who had no children left him more stuff and he just is having a hard time parting with any of it.
    My sister has given up fighting with him about it all and she swears if she throws anything away he’ll just replace it(not the old family things but like any of the 40-50 Oxford shirts that he owns or the 30 or 40 pairs of khaki pants or 20 pairs of sneakers in his closet).
    He is not a collector but looooves to shop, especially for bargains.
    There are only two of them and he buys $200 worth of food regularly.

    Btw...our library accepts and stores donations all year for their summer sale.
    50 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/24/2021 10:10:34 AM
    emoticon Gail , must feel so good!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    50 days ago
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