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Overwhelmed By Clutter? Take It Out — One Bag At A Time.

Posted by Luke Hancock

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Mar 10, 2014 5:28:00 PM

40Bags_40DaysHoarders. It’s one of the more popular reality shows. Sure, it appeals to our baser instincts. We love to see someone whose life is more twisted than our own. Maybe we know someone whose house might qualify for a spot on the show. Or maybe you’re just one stack of newspapers away from your home appearing in its own episode.

Kids, pets, vacations, holiday and birthday presents, clothes, hobbies — the list goes on. Our houses fill with memories that are difficult to get rid of, even though we should.

There’s a simple solution: Get rid of the useless, the old and broken, the memorabilia that does little more than collect dust and make a home a mess. Might we suggest the bag-a-day approach?

We saw it on the lifestyle blog White House Black Shutters: 40 Bags In 40 Days, a decluttering challenge with the same time frame as the pre-Easter period of Lent.

Why 40 Days?

It’s easy for homeowners to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the job. Clearing the clutter of decades of hoarding (or its less intense cousin, collecting) is an overwhelming task. We’re simply too intimidated by the size of the job, so instead of getting started we sit paralyzed in front of the television watching the Home Shopping Network buying organizational tools, which temporarily appeases our inner cleaner, but in the long run only add to the clutter. There’s a better way.

All you need to do is fill one garbage bag a day with the junk that clutters your home and your life. Go room-by-room clearing out materials the no longer belong.

Filling one garbage bag a day isn’t intimidating and after a couple of weeks, you’ll notice a cleaner, happier home.

Tackle It Bag By Bag


In the bedroom: There are a number of simple tricks to help you get rid of the chaos. Start in the bedroom. If they don’t fit anymore, put them in a bag. Turn all the hangars in the same direction. As you pull items out of the closet to wear, face the hanger in the other direction. The clothes on hangers still facing the original direction after a year need to go. Drop them in a bag.

In the basement: The basement is filled with kids’ toys. If something hasn’t been played with in six months (or six years), it’s time to fill a garbage bag.

In the kitchen: The kitchen has plenty of gizmos and gadgets that look brand new even after years of marriage. Maybe because they were wedding gifts and haven’t seen the light of day — let alone the inside of an oven — since they were unwrapped after that happy day! (When’s the last time you made a Bundt cake or carved fruit with a melon baller?) Fill a bag.

Elsewhere in your home: Games with missing dice, puzzles with missing pieces, furniture with missing or worn out cushions, shoes with holes or loose soles, your husband’s lucky pair of underwear — the ones he wears, without washing them, until his favorite team loses — are perfect for a bag.

Newspapers, magazines, and unread books all make great fodder for bags and dumpster bins. One room at a time or even one area of one room at a time is all it takes. Fill one bag a day, and soon your home will have all the room you remember from the day you moved in.

Bag The Bags!

After you've finished putting everything into bags, cart those bags away by throwing them all in a Bin There Dump That rental dumpster bin. Find a local franchise operator on our websiteAnd for more tips on clearing the clutter from you home, subscribe to our One Man’s Trash blog by filling out the form to the right. 

Image credit: samlavi via photopin cc

Topics: Home Renovation