#40Bagsin40Days

I feel guilty.

I feel guilty all the damn time.

I feel guilty about pretty much everything, even things that I don’t control and have had exactly 0 impact on.

The running joke in college was that someone managed to get me to genuinely apologize for the meteor that killed the dinosaurs after copious amounts of vodka in a very short period of time.

This surprises anyone who actually knows anything about me exactly not at all, but for those readers who haven’t been dealing with me for the last 30 years, this is a combination of:

  1. Italian New Yorker heritage (which is a WHOLE other post) and
  2. Growing up Catholic

Yep – I grew up Catholic. Confession, Communion, Confirmation, the whole shebang.

I taught CCD for my service project and then for another 2 years til my brother was Confirmed and we got our Sunday mornings back. I sponsored my cousin the Chef for HIS Confirmation a year after my brother’s.

I WON $10 OFF THE BISHOP DURING MY CONFIRMATION MASS.

And I have not set foot in a church for anything other than a wedding or a funeral in 20+ years.

But yeah, even now as a happy little polytheistic Pagan/heathen I carry the Catholic guilt, as most of the Recovering Catholics I know do.

This time of year is always a little odd for me – I still celebrate Easter with my family because any excuse to roast a leg of lamb is good enough for me, but I am more than over the whole idea of “What are you giving up for Lent?” I’ve done more than enough pointless self-sacrificing between my 20s and 30s – you an pry my chocolate, my coffee, and my occasional clove out of my cold, dead hands, thanks so much.

BUT!

It’s #40Bagsin40Days time! THAT kind of sacrifice I can handle!

40bags

You can keep KonMari, I’m a White House Black Shutters girl!

I do this challenge every year since randomly finding it on Facebook. I also fail this challenge every year because reasons. (For reference, see also – DEPRESSION POST, which I swear I will stop referencing one day.)

Short version – following the Lenten model of self-sacrifice and “giving up”, this challenge runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday and encourages participants to clear 40 Bags of stuff out of their space in 40 days.

These are, of course, flexible guidelines. You don’t “fail” the challenge if you’re not throwing away 40 bags of garbage, for example. You don’t even need to use actual literal bags – purging a closet and donating a box of clothes? BOOM! BAG #1 OUT THE DOOR.

It’s not even limited to the home.

Got a grocery store bag of random crap kicking around in the car because life happens? IT COUNTS.

Office a disaster? IT COUNTS.

Storage unit? You bet your sweet ass IT FREAKING COUNTS.

Which is good, because that is where I am focusing 85% of my efforts this year. My bedroom and my living space need a clean up too, but that will be far less labor intensive than storage.

In spite of what was shown in the photo on the Depression Post, there is a lot of good usable stuff in my storage. Most of it has not seen the light of day since it was initially put in when I got divorced and moved out.

All of it has been packed, repacked with the ex’s stuff, then torn back apart when the ex moved out.

“Unmitigated disaster” is a pretty accurate description, I’d say.

I know I will have a good deal of stuff to throw out, shred, and/or recycle – I hold onto paperwork for way longer than necessary. I wear clothes til they are irreparable/fall in tatters from my body, then hold onto them longer to “repurpose” them (which I’ve never done). I have stuffies and collectibles out the yinyang.

And I’m paying what amounts to basically a car payment for the privilege, which, given my current situation, triggers the Recovering Catholic Guilt Avalanche every month.

“Do you know how much faster you could pay things off/get your own place/get your shit together if you weren’t spending that much on storage?” etc.

So a lot of it has gotta go.

I keep getting offers of help, but I’m pretty sure I’ll do most of it on my own. Everything is so mixed together I’m going to have to be one of those pains in the ass from Hoarders who needs to look through

EVERY.

SINGLE.

FUCKING.

BAG.

PERSONALLY

and I can’t put anyone else through that frustration.

But you know what? I have no one to blame but myself. Choices were made to the best of my ability with the information I had at the time, and now I’m dealing with the fallout. It is what it is.

So for the Lenten season, I’m going to purge, baby, purge in hopes of easing some of that wonderful Recovering Catholic Guilt. I’ll still need a storage unit at the end of it all, but hopefully I can move into a much smaller (and cheaper) unit.

I’ll do my best to document & share the process – who knows, maybe this will be my nudge to get my FB group up and running.

Anyone else going to participate in #40Bagsin40Days? How can I help support and hold space for you?

 

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