For those of you who follow me on Social Media, will know all about the 40 days 40 items challenge as I have been sharing my 40 days online. The challenge is instead of giving up chocolate or alcohol for Lent (let’s face it, who wants to do that after a year of Lockdown and home schooling) to let go of 1 item from your home, which you no longer want or need. It is an opportunity to review your space but also make your clutter count by finding one of the many routes to donate, recycle, repurpose or upcycle your item. Charity shops may have been closed but there are still many charities which rely on donations and have been working during the Pandemic.
These charities include homeless shelters; Food banks; Women’s Refuge and animal rescue centres. If you don’t know your local charities, your Community Facebook group is a good place to start or a Google search of Local Charities/voluntary service. During the @APDOUK Spring Clearing Week last week, lots of other tips and places have been shared and you can find these blogs on my Social Media pages too.
Over the 40 days, these are some of the things we, as a family, have decided to let go and where they will go. Considering that we are living in a short term rental between house moves and most of our belongings are in storage, we found surprisingly easy to come up with items each day.
- Clothes we no longer wear or have outgrown for myself and the 2 children. We would pick a category e.g. jumpers and then have a trying on session with music playing and see what still fits and often found more than 1 item a day. Be realistic, will you really get back to that size clothes and even if you did, would you wear it?
- CD’s found in the glove compartment of my car from a Ballet class my daughter did a few years ago. An example of a place it is easy to leave things and forget about them.
- Peppa Pig items which my 7 year old won’t use as too babyish….blanket, hand warmers, swimming items.
All of my daughter’s clothes and the items above have already been passed on to a family via the local Facebook Community group and the rest is waiting for the charity shop to open.
- Food: items donated to the Food Bank where have multiple items or things that the children have now decided that they no longer like to eat.
- Clock which had a loud ticking noise the alarm clock would wake the dead! Ready for the charity shop – handy for someone hard of hearing.
- Kitchen gadget which was supposed to be time saving (you know the type) but just sat in the drawer as it was actually more of a faff than doing it the normal way. In my Charity bag.
- Children’s cutlery which was still in the drawer but never used and children’s hangers. They are now too small as clothes often fall off them and the children don’t need an excuse not to hang up their clothes properly. Both of these will go to a friend for her Grandson and a craft project of making peg bags.
- Towels which were looking a little worn and never got chosen from the cupboard – we all have our favourite bath towels – don’t we? These were donated to a local animal rescue centre.
- Beaver Scout top which will donated to the local group to pass on to a family as my daughter has now decided to do another activity.
- We also had a couple of items of clothes which were broken which are being recycled or the frilly green skirt is being used in a craft project.
The challenge is a good way to get started and whilst it has now finished, you could start your own 40 day challenge today, or any day. By reminding yourself that you only need to find 1 item a day, it is helps reduce the overwhelm of tackling a big area and as I always say “start small”.
It’s a good idea to have some bags ready for Charity, rubbish and recycling so you can add to them each day or as you spot items, rather than telling yourself you will deal with them another day. Try to get them out of the house as soon is practical, so they don’t annoy or find their way back out of the bags. Enjoy clearing some space in your home and the knowledge that you are making your clutter count by helping others.
Louise Simpson is a Professional Organiser and Coach helping people reduce the feeling of overwhelm and get the time and space they need. She offers a range of support both virtually via Zoom and in Essex homes, to help with Organising, Decluttering and Productivity. You can find more about how she can help you improve your wellbeing here. She has been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Essex, selected Podcasts and is co-author on the Amazon bestseller “Ready to Rise”. She is also a proud member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers.