March 7, 2014


For a time, Big Daddy and I moved every few years. We moved into our home in IL in 2001 and moved to our first rental in Michigan in 2004. We moved again in 2004 (crazy, right) to our second rental in Michigan and moved back into our home in IL in 2006. Our most recent move was to where we are now, Ohio, and that happened in 2010. We are just about to tie our record for “the longest time we lived anywhere without moving”. We lived in IL for the final time for 4 years and six months, so in January 2015, Big Daddy will have lived here, in Ohio, longer than we’ve ever lived anywhere since getting married.

Maybe that’s why the “let’s move!” discussions are heating up. We both have ants in our pants and can’t stay stationary for too long.

One of the great benefits of moving often is that it forces you to cull your belongings and be absolutely certain that what you’re packing is worth transporting hundreds of miles. It changes your perspective on a lot of things and I’ve found it’s easier to part with items.

That leads me to now. Our four year anniversary is only three months away and, as you can guess, the accumulation of living some place for years is starting to build up. I follow a great blog called White House Black Shutters and she announced that for Lent, kind of, she’d be holding a 40 day challenge. The premise is simple; remove 40 bags of clutter from yr house in 40 days. Donate it. Toss it. Just don’t keep it.

I did some de-cluttering at the beginning of this year and I felt pretty confident that there wasn’t really 40 extra bags of anything here. I mean, a few, of course, but 40? I was skeptical.

Three days and three bags in, I’m starting to see that coming up with 40 bags of clutter isn’t going to be that hard at all.

I’ve tried a lot of methods to try and keep the house clean over the years. I have a lot of good talents, but I’m not a good housekeeper. I’ve struggled with that and then finally have come to accept it. For me, keeping the house “clean” requires two things 1) I have to do the basics every single day and 2) I need to keep the stuff in the house to a minimum. The reason I like the simple concept of 40 Bags in 40 days is that there is no prescribed place to start. The pace is simple and manageable, but most of all, you are not trying to fit your home into someone else’s mold. That’s the worst part!

On day 1, I walked into the kitchen and knew the kids’ supply drawer was full to bursting. I started there. When I finished, I noticed I hadn’t filled a bag,so I moved on to the junk drawer.

Day two was similarly simple. The spice cabinet was a mess. I fixed that, since the bag wasn’t full I moved on to the kids crafts and games cabinet.

BUt, even after it was clean, I felt like it was going to be organized in a manner that would allow us to keep it clean. Baby Bee and I made a trip to Family Dollar after school and I was able to get some inexpensive organizing tools that would reduce the mess and increase our ability to keep the cabinet clean in the weeks to come.

My process is easy; since I started in the kitchen I just keep moving in a linear fashion. Windowsill behind the sink,

…and since my bag wasn’t full I moved on to cleaning underneath the sink.

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