Lent starts next Wednesday, March 6. This will be my 10th Lent of trying to do something in addition to giving up sweets – such as actions that will help me be a better person by sharing my stuff, my money, simplifying my life, spending less, wasting less, eating less, and being less critical. All of these commitments are my way of increasing my solidarity with those for whom having less is not a choice but a necessity. See my Living Lightly blog home page for an overview. (Not eating sweets is a sacrifice but mostly it is a daily reminder to be faithful each year’s commitment.)

This year I decided to go “room by room” clearing out things I no longer need. One would think that by year 10 I would have little extraneous things left since I don’t purchase a lot of new things. In fact, the casual visitor to our home would probably not consider it cluttered. That’s because
1.  We have a big house with lots of closets
2.  I’m a good organizer and can magically hide things.

But, I have become aware that as I age and watch peers deal with disposing of parents’ belongings after they die, that I don’t want to burden our children with sorting through all our stuff one day.

So here’s the plan: go room by room finding things to give away, throw away, or re-purpose. I invite any of you intrepid souls to join me.

How Many Rooms Per Week?
With 6 ½ weeks of Lent I figured I would do a room a week. Unfortunately math is not my strength. As I said, we have a big house with 8 primary rooms (not counting my husband’s office which I figured was his responsibility). It doesn’t neatly fit a 6 week plan. As I walked around I realized that I should also count bathrooms and hallways since they often had closets and stuff to prune. I came up with:
8 primary rooms (4 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room, and my basement office)
2 bathrooms
5 hallways with closets or shelves
1 unfinished basement storage area (laundry room)
16 rooms total
Answer: I decided to take 4 days for each of the 8 primary rooms (that’s 32 days) plus 1 day for each of the 8 ancillary rooms (8 days). This totals the 40 days of Lent.

How Much Time Per Day?
A perfectionist without a life might say, “As long a it takes.” I don’t have a lot of discretionary time each day. Who does? So I arbitrarily decided to commit to 30 minutes a day of pruning. This seemed reasonable amount of time without feeling prohibitive which might block me from starting. I will allow myself to add extra time if I just feel so motivated once I get into a project like a clothes closet or book shelves and just really want to finish it.
Answer: 30 minutes a day (a little more if I feel motivated and have the time.)

Where to Take the Stuff?
Answer:  The usual places. See Where to take it all.  For overall background and national information, see Recycling Revolution. For Cincinnati area resources click here

Any Exceptions?
Answer: Like any good plan there will need to be exceptions. I will be out of town some days. I may get sick. I just sprained my ankle so that may delay me at least 6 months. 😉 It’s OK, The process is adjustable and I’ll forgive myself.

Accountability: I’ll post my progress about once a week. I’d love to have you join me and tell me how it’s going with you.