Wednesday, March 7, 2012

40 Bag Challenge Update #1

It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff I can find to get rid of every time I start a big round of decluttering. I haven't spent as much time on this project as I'd like to have over the past week, as I've been really busy working on promotional materials for my book.

I have made some good progress, though. The boys and I went through some other areas of their room and purged toys and books relentlessly. My hubby took 3 big boxes to Value Village yesterday, and after he left we found still more:

One of those bags is garbage, and one is for donation. The drawers you can see immediately behind are the bottom of the armoire I was aiming to get cleaned out this week, too. I did tackle one of the drawers, which was absolutely crammed with assorted papers, markers, pencils and about a jillion of my kids' old drawings. I went through it with the boys to make sure I didn't throw away anything they wanted to keep. Surprisingly, it wasn't too hard to select a few keepers and toss the rest into the recycling bin.

So far, our total purge count looks like this:

1 bag of garbage
1 bag of recycling
4 boxes + 1 bag of donations
1 box of gaming equipment sold

That's 8 bags/boxes of stuff out of our house so far - and I have a feeling there will be quite a bit more yet to come before we're done!

As so often seems to happen at our house, this 40 bag challenge has inspired yet another, larger project which will involve totally rearranging 2 floors of our house. Currently, my husband and I have our bedroom in the third floor attic, and the boys each have a separate room on the second floor. One thing that has been bugging me a lot lately is that we don't have a proper "family room" or den where we can all hang out together and watch movies, or just all be together doing a variety of activities (reading, playing board games, etc) while one or two people are gaming. We do have a living room on the main floor, but I am very firm that I do NOT want a TV in that room. Our basement is unfinished, and is likely to stay that way for quite a while given the large number of projects that are ahead of it on the list priority-wise. Our compromise was to have a TV in one of the boys' rooms, which gives them a space to hang out with their friends, and a TV in our bedroom, which gave us a space to curl up and watch DVDs/movies, but it's certainly not been conducive to the whole family hanging out in the same room together.

My brilliant plan (which has received approval from all of my family members) is to move the boys up to the attic, have us take over the larger of the two second floor bedrooms, and convert the remaining bedroom to a family room. I wasn't sure how the kids would feel about sharing a room, but they both seem fine with it and are actually excited about making a change. After taking a million different measurements and planning the rearrangement and elimination of furniture, and the redoing and re-designation of available storage spaces, I think it's all going to work out quite well. It is going to take one heck of a lot of work, though! Not only do we have to switch out three rooms' worth of furniture, we also need to redo each of the rooms as well. They all need wallpaper stripped, wall repairs, closet re-dos, painting, and new light fixtures (most of those things would need to have been done whether we switched the rooms around or not, as we haven't made any significant improvements to any of these rooms since we bought the house). There will also need to be some rearrangement of electrical outlets in at least two rooms. My husband and I are also going to go down from two closets to one, so a clothing purge along with a creative plan to maximize the one available closet in our new bedroom will be necessary as well.

We've all agreed that we're going to paint all three rooms white, so that we can easily switch out the functions of the rooms again in the future if we decide we don't need or want this arrangement at some later date. I feel both excited and exhausted at the thought of tackling this huge project; at least I have three other eager family members to help me out!

If you've joined me in this 40 Bag Challenge, how is it going for you? Have you been inspired to tackle any other large projects while you've been decluttering?


  1. Oh My, it sounds like a few years ago when I moved my youngest out of her room to make my shop. This then involved three room swaps a door to be put in, the moving of lights and electrical. I was a nightmare, but has been so worth it. In fact all the kids are gone now and this big old house is empty!

  2. Sorting out your stuff, from what you can still use to what needs to be dumped in the trash, is a hard task. It’s hard to let go of your personal items, but you can’t keep them forever. You’re your time (but not too long) and make it a habit to keep your room or house spic and span.

    -Tyler Perkins


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