Decrapifying: 40 Bags in 40 Days Stage 1

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know I’m kind of into the minimalist thing. Most recently, I did Project 333, although that was actually a couple of… ulp… years ago now, I think.

So this time I’m embarking on the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.


The idea? Toss the trash! Decrapify! Get rid of 40 bags of stuff that you do not need in your house.

You can do this in a lot of different ways. My sister-in-law is doing the scrapbook version. And if you’re super hardcore, you can pare down until you have, like, 97 things and can fit all your worldly belongings in 3 bags. (This appeals to me more than I can even tell you, but I don’t think it’s practical for me at this particular juncture, for lots of excuse-y sounding reasons that no one wants to hear.)

I, however, will be decrapifying in the traditional sense, and removing bags of crap from my house.

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I had a little bit of an unfair advantage in that before I even heard of the project, I had packed up three bags full of stuff that had been sitting in my “donate” pile, which happened to be on top of my dresser, and was so tall that it was threatening to topple over and bury me in a pile of ill-fitting pants and blouses. Sue me, but I’m counting these three bags because I have stuff happening in the next 40 days and I could use a head start.

three bags to donate

I’m also counting my weekly paperwork sessions as a bag because I always end up with at least one bag of paperwork trash every time I finish sorting all the mail, paying all the bills, getting rid of expired coupons, and so forth.

See what I mean?

stack of paperwork


Day 1: dresser “To Donate” clutter, 3 bags
Day 2: paperwork, 1 bag

Total bags: 4

10% there already, what what!

On day 3, I decided to tackle my kitchen gadgets. I had done a major kitchen clean-out not too long ago, so there wasn’t a lot I was unhappy with, and I admit to doing a less-than-thorough job on this.

I did clear out this thing:

chilluminati case

It is every bit as weird and mysterious as it seems. You see, I am a member of the super-secret Chilluminati, which basically means that Corkcicle sent me this case full of products of theirs.

Know what, though? They weren’t doing any good in the decorative case in the cabinet, so I ditched the case and threw the Corkcicles in the freezer where they belong.


Day 4, I really rolled up my sleeves and decided to tackle the dreaded make-up drawer…

makeup drawer

UGH! I’m giving myself anxiety just looking at that thing. I started by taking everything out of the drawer and laying it out on the counter. While I was at it, I threw my make-up brushes in some make-up brush cleaner.

all the makeup

So here’s what I do when I’m trying to sort, purge, and reorganize:

  1. Take everything out.
  2. Sort everything into piles of “like” things. Sometimes I have to sort two or three different ways to end up with piles that make sense, but for the initial pass, I just do a quick job of it. All the moisturizers together, all the foundations together, all the lipsticks together. You get the idea.
  3. Purge the duplicates, or separate them into a “replacements” pile if you’re planning to use them once you use up what you’ve already got.
  4. Throw out the broken and/or expired stuff. Throw out or give away the stuff you never use.
  5. Sort into piles again, this time based on how you use the stuff. I ended up sorting mine into a pile of stuff that I use every single day, and then two piles of stuff I use for special occasions: one pile if I decide to go with pinkish make-up, and one pile if I decide to go with brownish make-up.
  6. Put it all back in a way that makes sense for how you use it.

Since I use the stuff every day, I have a really good idea of which things I need to be able to grab, and which things I can stick in the back of the drawer and only get it out once in a while if I need it.

reorganized drawer

And while I was in there, I cleaned out all the hair and brush bristles and errant eyeshadow and stuff that accumulates in make-up drawers. Pared down, reorganized, and spiffy-clean.

I ended up with one bag of trash, and a pile of stuff to give away.

makeup drawer pile

So, here’s the final count of bags as of today:

Day 1: dresser “To Donate” clutter, 3 bags
Day 2: paperwork, 1 bag
Day 3: kitchen gadgets, 1 bag of giveaway items (not pictured) and 1 mysterious black case
Day 4: make-up drawer, 2 bags (one to trash, one to give away)

Total bags: 8

I am well-pleased with my progress.

So are you in? What are you going to decrapify? Share in the comments– I wanna know. (And please tell me your make-up collection is at least as gross as mine. I still feel a little bad about how much I have, even after I decluttered it.)

  • Beth Caudill

    While I need a 40 days of bags for just my attic, I don’t have time for a spring cleaning this year. I’m stupidly busy and the crap can just sit where it is because I don’t have time for it.

    I moved my makeup out of my bathroom drawer because I couldn’t find it. Then again, I only use it on special occasions…maybe 10 times a year. It’s sitting in a pretty case under the sink. However…the other bathroom crap drawer looks worse than your makeup drawer did and needs a good cleaning. Do you hire out?

  • Lisa Victoria

    Yay for you! I’m in on the 40bags challenge too and I’ve made it to the 12 bag mark. Not all large bags, but bags none the less 🙂 Been making it fun by telling my guys anything they don’t like of mine, they have the right to nominate. I can still veto – but haven’t had to use that power yet and my bag count keeps going up!

  • Ellie Weezle

    Hmm… we have a car-full ready to go – it’s just never a convenient time to take it! Ok, I will join if I can count the car-full as a week, but I won’t count it til it’s out of the house. Today I will work on the 3 drawers in the Japanese cupboard. Tomorrow, the big bin of bathroom stuff that has been sitting in the spare room for a year (true) waiting for shelves in the bathroom to go up. They aren’t up yet either. Must nag sweetie.

  • Ellie Weezle

    Tadaaaaah!! I did the 3 drawers. got them down to 2 with room in, & 1 empty, which I have now filled with more useful stuff. 1/2 box to go away, a few handfuls to garbage, and other stuff put away where I can find it (I hope). Does everyone find it nerve wracking and stressful? just me? one down, 39 to go…..