Salute to Spouses Blog

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Websites we love: 40 Bags in 40 Days

The season of Lent begins today, a time when Christians focus on simple living in the 40 days before Easter. Often, many people give up a perk or something they enjoy during this time to help focus on their religious studies.

Whether you practice Lent or not, the website 40 Bags in 40 Days is an awesome idea. It is tied to the idea of Lent and literally cleaning out your house and giving away everything you no longer need.

For military spouses who move every two to three years, the idea of an organized decrapifying session is heaven-sent.

The site provides a blank 40-day list and suggests you make one before you begin with the spaces you want to clean out, and keep one as you go to list what you have actually cleaned out.

Closets, un-opened boxes from two moves ago and toy boxes are obvious choices. But the site reminds you to clean out less obvious spaces as well, such as email inboxes and digital photo files. Isn’t it time your 12-year-olds baby pictures found their way off a disc and into a photo album?

Each day’s challenge does not have to be a complete overhaul of a room. We have a stack of papers that have been sitting on top of our piano since we moved, a year ago. This bothersome, 1-foot by 1-foot space is a perfect contender. We can clean it out, even on a busy day, if we put it at the top of our agenda.

The garage, it needs to be cleaned too. And we will put it on the list, but on a Saturday, when little else is happening.

Our favorite part about this project is that the website not only cheers you on, but also tells you where to put all that stuff. There is no need to send all our stuff to the dump. Almost everything we will declutter this season is re-useable. The site points you towards shelters, collection points and non-profits that can use what you no longer need.

Remember to burn or shred any official documents. Military families seem to have a social security number written on every paper they touch. Don’t let that fall into a donation box.

We know. Spring is busy. New sports seasons are starting, the yard will need mowed again soon, after you finish shoveling that last bit of snow. There are holidays and parties and events to plan and attend.

But try the 40-bag challenge. Even if you only clear out five spaces, those are five less areas you have to clean out in the rush during your next PCS.

And that is always a good thing.

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