Forty bags from my van

Well, maybe not 40 bags, but I did take 4 small bags of garbage out of my car. I didn’t take a before picture, because I was absolutely embarrassed by the state of the place! The joke in our family is that if we ever get stranded, we could survive off the leftovers on the van floor.

So, I cleaned, vacuumed and organized the van. Honestly, I don’t think it will stay that way. We are in the car a lot, so it gets pretty messy. I just need to get better at maintaining it. For now I’ll enjoy the neatness:

Clothes Hounds Part 2

I finally got through all the boys clothes.  I could have opened my own Macy’s with all the clothes they had.  I am grateful for the generosity of my neighbors, but I know that it is selfish of us to keep that which we know we can’t use.  So, here is the after shot:

These are 10/12, 12/14, 14/16, 16/18, 18/20, S, M/L.  This also allows the boys to see what is in the boxes so that they can find stuff when they need it.  I am so happy to finally have completed this task.  It has been on my to-do for a long time.

And here is the pile of donations:

I put my slipper in the shot to give you an idea of how large the pile really is.  It ended up filling 2 large and 5 medium bags.  That more than makes up for not getting rid of anything for the other 3 days, right?!

How is your FBFFD going so far?

Clothes Hounds

I have four sons, ranging in age from 3 to 16.  I have a lot of clothes for them, each size up through adult sizes.  We get many hand-me-downs, for which I am very grateful.  I can’t imagine what it saves me in time, money and aggravation (can you imagine having to shop with these boys?).  People have been very generous, and as a result, I think we have way more clothing than my boys could ever use.  So, today I started the onerous task of sorting everything by size, gathering stray shirts or pants from the far corners of the house and those tucked at the back of the closet.  Here is the pile of sorted:

They are sorted into size 10/12, 12/14, 14/16, 16/18, 18/20, S, M and L.  Tomorrow I’ll begin the choosing and purging.  I can’t wait! My goal is to be able to close the lid of each bin.  I’ll keep you updated!

The Linen Closet

I wish I had taken a before photo of this linen shelf.  Just picture everything jammed in there, tumbling in a cascade down to the floor and the contents of the black crate pushing the wire shelf up out of its holder.  I sorted through all of it, matching sets as best as I could.  I placed the fitted and top sheets into the pillowcase for a nice neat package.  I saved one extra set per bed.  I chose that number on the premise that if all of my kids get sick at once and required their sheets be changed, I would have a clean set.  If they happen to get sick again before the other set is out of the washer and dryer, then I can use a sleeping bag, etc.  Really, how many do you need?  I’m not going to tell you how many you need, but I would say that in this modern day of automatic washer and dryer, you can afford to go with “less is more”.  I also kept 2 extra pillowcases for the occasional bloody or runny nose.

I ended up with this pile to donate.  When I think about getting rid of stuff, I always think about that Scripture passage Luke 3:11 “If you have two coats, give one away…”  I think that’s helpful advise!  Donating is a form of almsgiving, since the items we donate will either directly benefit someone in need or the proceeds from its sale will.  This information can help us get over our reluctance to let things go.  Happy purging!

On to the Kitchen

I didn’t have much time today to sort and purge, so I just focused on a drawer in the kitchen. As you can see, it contained various plastic plates and whatnot. I’ve been trying for some time now to move away from using plastic. I have some Corelle dishes and bowls that have withstood the punishment my kids dish out.

I took this opportunity to give the drawer a good wipe down and moved the Corelle in for easier access.

And here is what I’m donating. Not a huge pile, I know. But remember, slow and steady wins the race!

What have you blessed others with today?


Courage to Attack the Basement


I went away this weekend to an AMAZING mother’s retreat.  I came back so refreshed and feeling renewed by the Holy Spirit, that I jumped right in and defeated my enemy, the basement!  As you can see in the before photos, it was pretty overwhelming.  The toys had partially gotten put back on the shelves, but some things were missing pieces, broken, or just not loved anymore.  You know it’s time to purge when the 8 year old is telling you that he’s glad you’re getting rid of stuff!

I was able to get rid of two bags of trash and have another sizable pile to donate, which I plan on doing tomorrow.  That is the key to the Forty Bags, getting stuff out of the house.  Because if the bags are just cluttering up your coat closet, the front hall or the trunk of your car, then you will not get the peace you seek.  Remember, a lot of charities will come right to your door to pick up your donations!

Here is a peek at the after and the stuff leaving my home:

Games with all their pieces and organized so the little ones can’t easily reach them and undo all the hard work!


Erm, please ignore the unvacuumed floor.


Here’s the pile of things that will soon be blessing someone else’s home.


Nothing brings contentment than garbage leaving the house!


Happy purging!

Letting Go

I’m going away this weekend to a mother’s retreat, I’m so excited! So, between getting the house ready and myself packed, I wasn’t able to go through more areas of toys. I ended up sorting through some stuff in the first floor bathroom cabinets.  I had a lot of cloth diaper stuff in there that has been needing to be dealt with for a long time.

I have been putting off getting rid of some left over baby stuff.  I hadn’t used the cloth diapers for a long time.  But the thought of getting rid of them overwhelmed me.  Why?  I asked myself the same question.  I mean, they get pooed and peed in, so why would I be holding on to them like a treasure!  I think it is more what they represent; a baby.  A new soul toddling around here, growing and learning, and being loved. I trust God’s plan for us, I know He loves me. I hold the hope that another baby will be part of His plan for us.

In the meantime, or if our baby having time is over, I need to pass these on to another mother.  I hope that they will in some way bless her as she tends her babies.  I can’t hope to receive blessings if I my hands are clutched tightly.  And I think that passing them on will help me to travel whatever path God sees fit to set my feet upon.

Have you been ramping up this week?  I hope it is going well!

I love cloth diapers on a baby! So cute!


Catch the Last Train to Goodwill


I actually sorted all of these on this past Monday (I know, it really shouldn’t count towards the FBFFD, but I was especially motivated to get them done, and opportunity knocked).  I was absolutely amazed by the sheer amount of trains.  There were 5 Percys, 3 Skarloeys, 3 Berties, 3 Tobys, 3 Harolds, and 7 Thomases.  Why?  Why would anyone have 7 Thomases?  Well, toy companies are no fools.  They know that they can charge more for a track set if it comes with the train.  And that people will buy the track set for their child, even if it comes with yet another Thomas or Percy.  And of course you’ll buy the 60th anniversary Percy because he is silver not green, or a motorized Toby and a talking Toby, because they don’t make one that does both.

Okay, now that I’ve finished my rant about toy companies, we can move on to more enjoyable things.  I was able to consolidate the train toys and tracks into 2 small plastic bins, rather than the big, ugly, dilapitated box they were in.

What success did you have today?

See how happy Percy is since the extra trains left Sodor!



Toys Were Us

As I said yesterday, my plan is to start with toys.  I managed to gather all of the cars we have in the house.  Now, this is a group of toys that I do purge a couple of times a year.  I’m not even sure where some of these cars came from!

I had just enough time to FedEx it, and I was astounded by how many cars we had.  I didn’t take a before picture, but here is an after:

I was able to fit everything in this small basket.  I keep an itemized list for donations, and I got rid of 1 large dump truck, 2 Little People cars, 20 Hot Wheels cars, 2 medium toy loaders, 3 wooden cars and 1 talking Thomas the Tank Engine toy.

I feel like I am off to a good start.  Still not ready for the basement of evil, but we will get there!  Baby steps, right?!

Hope you’re off to a  satisfying start!

Setting Goals

I thought I’d write today about how to go about having a more effective approach to the Forty Bags for Forty Days (FBFFD) challenge. As with most things in life, a good way to start is to plan what you want to accomplish during this Forty days. Here’s how I typically begin:

1. Gird my loins and take a stiff drink.

2. Send the husband and kids away for forty days so no one sees what I’m getting rid of.

3. Sit back and hire someone.

Just kidding!

I know the areas of my home that steal my peace, so I didn’t need to spend time evaluating where needs work.  If you spend any amount of time in your home, you know exactly which areas make your blood pressure increase. My heart attack inducing area is the basement.

As you can see, chaos reigns in this section of the house.  Luckily for me, I don’t have to go down there that much. But, I still know it’s there, haunting me like a bad burrito.  So, it is on my list, but I can’t start in this area.  It’s like running 5Ks before you try a marathon.  You gotta build up.  Maybe girding my loins and taking a stiff drink might not have been a bad suggestion after all.

My plan of attack is to start with the toys.  My nemesis, toys.  Everywhere I turn are toys, even in the bathroom.  They are more insidious than dust bunnies.  Now, everyone’s method for starting this FBFFD is going to be different, and I encourage you to do what works for you.  When I start with toys, my preferred method is the FedEx approach.  I pick a toy group, like hot wheels cars.  I gather them all in one spot, then I sort and purge.  If you are feeling democratic, you could involve your child in this.  Explain that other kids don’t have any cars and that your family really has more than you need.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not.  I have a pretty good handle on which ones are my kids favorites, and I use extreme prejudice when sorting them.

Sometimes I don’t have time or the energy for the FedEx approach.  That is when I employ the smash and grab approach.  In the smash and grab, I just make a quick judgement on items that have the unfortunate luck of crossing my path.  This is a good way to go with the items that end up on the kitchen counter for weeks, or the whatnot that has been on the bottom of the toybox since 1989.

As you start to fill bags, you will find it easier to let things go.  Remember, if you are donating the usable items, you are blessing someone else.  And finding peace in the process.  It’s a win-win.

Are you ready for tomorrow?