40 Bags in 40 Days

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As part of our Lenten practice this spring, we invite you to prayerfully examine your spaces by taking part in the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. Think about your closets and drawers, your car, and everywhere else you “live” each day. What do you really need to keep, and what could you give away or repurpose? Some of your items might end up in a landfill. Others could be donated, recycled, or given to someone with a greater need or appreciation.

Ann Marie Heasley, the creator of the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, says this:

“My material items also take time to maintain, manage, and put away. When I have more time, I can spend it with those I love, teaching my children to go forward and be decent humans. Or spend the time helping others, volunteering for a good cause, in church or in prayer. To me, Lent is a time of prayer, sacrifice, and self-denial. Getting a little bit uncomfortable and offering it up for good intentions; to improve yourself for the better of those around you.”

How to Start:

Ask yourself these questions:
Do I sometimes buy more when I have enough?
Do I let food go to waste?
How do I value my possessions?
How do I feel when I’m asked to help someone in need?

Identify areas to declutter:
Figure out where to declutter, and write down one location per day! Keep track of your progress. You can use whatever method you like, but we recommend this tracker!

My Progress – 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS

Repurpose your “stuff:”
Before you throw items in the trash, look into whether an item can be donated, reused or recycled.

  • Clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories can be exchanged at the WPC clothing swap on Saturday, April 15th! More details coming soon. Clothing that is no longer wearable can be dropped at Austin’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center or placed in a bin such as this one at the Lowe’s on Steck.
  • Find out if your neighborhood has a Buy Nothing group. The Buy Nothing Project creates hyper-local sharing networks where neighbors give and lend items for free, either in a Facebook group or on their dedicated app. You might not be using that bread machine, but your neighbor might want to! Find your local group here.
  • Austin’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center is the place to take electronics, Styrofoam and household hazardous waste such as paint and cleaning products. See a list of accepted items here. Your local big box electronics store or library branch may be a more convenient place to take items such as dead batteries and old computers.
  • Furniture: Salvation Army and Goodwill both offer home pickup of larger items. Or contact Movin’ and Groovin’, a local nonprofit that provides furniture to families exiting homelessness.
  • Books: take to Recycled Reads or simply place in your recycling bin.
  • Unexpired non-perishable food items: bring to church for donation to Manos de Cristo.
  • Not sure where to take something? Austin Resource Recovery has a handy “What do I do with…” search function on their website.