Wednesday, July 24, 2013

40 Bags for 40 Weeks, Parts 1, 2, and 3

A week or two ago, I invented a decluttering challenge for myself, inspired by the whole 40 Bags for 40 Days thing everybody loves to do during Lent. (I think the concept originated here.) Then this post gave me the kick in the pants (or the maternity skirt) necessary to actually get started.

So. My goal is to get rid of 40 "bags" of stuff by the time the baby comes. Since I'm already 20 weeks and change, this actually means something like 2 "bags" per week rather than 1. I think I'll manage. I have a lot of junk.

My first target was our bathroom cabinet. Our bathroom looks like this:

Really, that's the whole thing. Right there. Except there's a towel rod across from the toilet with just enough room for 2 bath towels and a hand towel. Not a lot of storage space, as you can see. So there really isn't any justification for having stuff in there that we don't use.

Underneath the sink, there was a gallon-sized ziploc full of things I brought from home when I got married and have never used since. It's been almost 20 months since our wedding, so...yeah. Probably not going to use those things ever, am I?

Things I got rid of:

Two open (used?) toothbrushes. Gross.

A grimy contact case.

A stained hair tie. (Those things are like 5 cents apiece at Wal-Mart. We're not so poor that I need to keep a functional but discolored one.)

A couple of old razors that are probably rusty or something gross. (The "W" is actually an M; my mother used to get a big package of cheap razors for my sister and me and distinguish them by writing our initials on them.)

A box of disposable contact lenses. It pains me to get rid of these, but those things have expiration dates; no sense keeping 2- or 3-year-old lenses and giving myself an eye infection. If I decide to wear contacts again, I'll get my prescription updated and get new ones.

Two bottles of contact cleaner. Same justification as above, with an added "cheap to replace" factor.

A can of old shaving cream. It's probably rusty or something, plus I don't really shave my legs ever.

Things I kept: Toothpaste, contact cases that weren't nasty looking, a barette, old glasses (because out-of-date glasses are better than none when you're as nearsighted as I am), an unopened toothbrush, and a baggie of bobby pins. I never use bobby pins, but apparently I find the idea of putting my hair up all fancy-like less foreign than the idea of shaving my legs on the regular. I'm weird like that.

The bonus of making this pregnancy-linked is that as I throw things away/donate them/whatever, I can imagine replacing them with corresponding baby items. Like, I just made room for a bulb aspirator and some baby shampoo and...whatever. Note to self: Figure out if babies need toiletries.


Part 2:

I went through that basket you see on the back of the toilet and threw out a few overstretched hair ties and a similarly useless headband. Those things cost like 20 cents apiece at Wal-Mart; no reason to keep them past their prime.


Part 3:

I went through my underwear drawer and threw away a bunch of things--if it was worn out and I had a replacement for it, I threw it away. I need to buy some new things and then go through again and throw away more worn out things.

You don't get pictures. That's gross. It came out to about 17 items total, though.

I think the baby equivalent of underwear is diapers. Hey, Conversion Diary readers, has anybody cloth diapered in an apartment with coin-op laundry? I want to know how crazy I am for even considering it. (They're so CUTE!)

I'm counting myself as having discarded 3 "bags" total, because the 3 days came out to more than 30 individual items. So there. My "bags" will get more impressively bulky when I start ditching clothes-I-never-wear. There are a LOT of those.


Melanie Bettinelli said...

I like the idea of a bag a week much better than a bag a day. One a week I might manage. Maybe I should try it. I need to do some decluttering, but can't get started because it is too big a job. Maybe I could follow through with a bag a week.

The Sojourner said...

Yes, I always found a bag a day too intimidating. This way I can go through a 3-day cleaning fit and then rest up for a week or two before having another.

Lady W said...

My siblings and I got embarrassed at having our initials on everything, so when the dentist gave us toothbrushes we'd make sure to get different colors. I am now trying to think of one personal item that did not undergo the attack of the sharpie.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

I just need some kind of external incentive to get me going and keep me going. I can see where the countdown to a baby would do that. I don't have anything like that right now though.

The Sojourner said...

Yes, external incentives/deadlines are a must for me. Otherwise everything gets done "later."

I was going to warn you that if you decide to do something like this people will get suspicious. ;)

Sheila said...

I've heard of people getting flats and handwashing them. Sort of depends on how dedicated you are to the idea. Since they unfold to a thin layer, they dry quickly anyway.

The Sojourner said...

I'm not quite THAT dedicated. But I might have talked myself into the laundry bill being not that bad when compared to disposables. If I use them for a month and hate them, they have good resale value, right?

Sheila said...

Or they make the best alternative to paper towels in the world. I have to laugh at ads proclaiming that X Brand can pick a whole tablespoon of spilled water, and without breaking! A flat cloth diaper can do a good deal more than that, AND you only have to buy them once. And on that level, it's no trouble to just include them with your regular laundry, I would imagine.

Here's more than you ever wanted to know about handwashing cloth diapers: