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I work with Catholics.  I spend my time listening to them talk, and I pass through the year with them, so there are things that go on in their world that I am party to at some level.  This year, one of THOSE conversations took place around the liturgical season of lent.  A colleague of mine spent those 40 days working on a challenge that she referred to as "40 bags in 40 days."  The idea, as I came to understand it, was to simplify and lighten her life and her home by getting rid of things that she did not want/need/use any longer.

Watching and listening from the edge, as the mostly disinterested spectator, I found her 40 day journey interesting.  Some days, she was exuberant about the sheer volume of stuff that she was eliminating from her world.  On other days, she despaired of being able to keep on, and I'd see the exhaustion and sense of overwhelm on her face.  But, she kept on, and day by day, spoke to the feeling of lightness and openness that was coming to be in her home and in her life.

So, now, I am off for the summer.  I have about 76 days before classes begin again in August.  Can I manage to lighten up here in that amount of time?  Forty bags?  Maybe.  Maybe more.  I really do not have any sense of just how much excess stuff there is around here, but it is significant.

I started today, working to sort through the volumes on my bookshelves, choosing what to keep, and what to do something else with:  send to the grandkid, move to my classroom library, sell at Half Price Books, or just plain toss.  I am figuring that there are probably at least three or four boxes (a box is like a bag, right?) of books that will not be in my house anymore.


  1. A box could be like a bag - certainly in terms of weight it would count. We got rid of tons of books because we got ebooks, and suddenly the availability of them made me able to get rid of so many books. (Not that I had a problem before that... okay, maybe just a little book problem!)

    Good luck, let us know how it goes? I think this is an awesome objective btw.


  2. I didn't have 40 days when I sold my house - but I did cut back my "stuff" and it felt terrific. Good luck with your 40 bags :)


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