Forty Days – Forty Items: Giving Up Clutter for Lent 2019

Forty Days - Forty Items for Lent 2019

This year for Lent The Howell Group decided to give up clutter! Lent is a humble time where those who participate give up something for 40 days. This year, we wanted to do something a little different during this time. We heard of Forty Days – Forty Items, a challenge where you donate something for each day of Lent, and decided to take on this challenge.

Forty Days – Forty Items would challenge us to declutter our own home while giving back to others in the process. This sounded like a great idea for us to do for Lent since it was a project that not only we could benefit from, but others as well. Instead of picking a particular category of items to purge, we decided to declutter throughout the entire house.

We are going to cover the Forty Days – Forty Items challenge in this post and talk about how it changed our outlook on clutter and how we benefited from 40 days of decluttering. If the thought of decluttering for 40 days sounds impossible, read this post to learn how to make it through the time period!

The Stages of the Decluttering Process

The Howell Group chose this project as a way to help declutter our home! So, by giving up items and donating them, we would not only help ourselves, but others as well. For years our family has been talking about going through our household to get rid of unnecessary items, and Forty Days – Forty Items was the perfect challenge to achieve our goal!

We had been putting off the work of decluttering far too long. At the start of the 40 days, we thought that donating one item a day wouldn’t be enough! But don’t start too strong the first week, the challenge does get harder the further along you get.

The first week of decluttering and donating was exciting! We were getting rid of items as we began the pile of donations. But this strong start didn’t last long. Even though the first few days were easy, day 10 proved difficult – it was a struggle to find something to donate.

This was only 10 days into the challenge, when previously on our first day we felt like we could donate an entire room full of items! We wondered how we were going to make it to day 40! But this is where we knew we couldn’t give up. We had too many items cluttering our home and we needed to take control and get rid of some of it. At least 40 items worth to hold the challenge. This was not the time to back out.

So we made it through and picked up our stride for another few days. The middle of Lent was the hardest. There was an uncertainty as to whether or not we would find enough items to give for the rest of Lent. Once again, like we encountered on day 10, we didn’t know if we would have enough items to last the entire forty days.

While at the start of our process we felt like we had an abundance of items to choose from, that we needed more than 40 days to purge our house of the items we no longer need or use, now we didn’t know if we’d have enough. The second to last week was the hardest.

We had to work and search for items in order to complete the challenge. The Howell Group went on a mission to find items and found more than enough items to last the rest of the 40 days of Lent. If not for the commitment during Lent, it would have been easy for us to stop.

Now that we have completed the 40 day challenge, we find that we still have a lot more to donate! It’s all about mindset and letting go of those items that you don’t use; items that only take up space, whether for sentimental value, or a ‘one day’ purpose to be useful.

When you commit to the 40 day donating challenge, don’t give up! Remember that you started so that you could be in a better position at the end of those 40 days. Don’t let the challenge win! Next, we will show how The Howell Group kept up with every donation item for each day.

The List of 40 Items We Donated During 40 Days – 40 Items:

One thing that we did in order to stick to our goal was to commit to videoing each day of Lent. We created a video series on YouTube that showed our progress. Click this link to watch:

Most of the clips are no longer than 30 seconds. It didn’t take long to record the items we found and we hope that as people watch the process they will be inspired to also participate in the Forty Days – Forty Items challenge!

Day 1 – A dress

Day 2 – Ebelskiver and mix

Day 3 – Ebelskiver cookbook

Day 4 – A box of 3 purses

Day 5 – A pair of boots

Day 6 –  A jacket

Day 7 – Train door stopper

Day 8 – A cat decorative item

Day 9 – A teapot

Day 10 – A set of 8 ice cream sundae trays

Day 11 –  A stack of 3 old T-shirts and a pair of shorts

Day 12 – Train sandwich cutter

Day 13 – Two Christmas cookie cutters

Day 14 – Another jacket

Day 15 – A Christmas present decoration you can put a light in

Day 16 – A vegetable pouch for cooking

Day 17 – Earrings and matching pendant

Day 18 – A candle

Day 19 – Two Christmas mugs

Day 20 – 5 Easter glasses

Day 21 – A Christmas decoration

Day 22 – A suitcase

Day 23 – A set of 6 napkin holders

Day 24 – A Christmas plastic cup

Day 25 – Valentine’s wreath

Day 26 – A brown sweater

Day 27 – A salad bowl

Day 28 – A crib mattress

Day 29 – A pair of jeans

Day 30 – A shirt

Day 31 – Another shirt

Day 32 – Two cookbooks

Day 33 – Khakis

Day 34 – A matching suitcase to go with the first

Day 35 – A crib

Day 36 – Three tank tops

Day 37 – A set of four decorative plates

Day 38 – Two cookbooks

Day 39 – A comforter set

Day 40 – A set of four pie crust cutter decorations

It takes 66 days to create a habit and even though we only did 40 days of decluttering, we continue decluttering to make sure this becomes a habit. Getting in the habit of finding something to declutter every day for Lent makes you realize how much stuff you actually have! And also how much of it you don’t actually need.

What 40 Days – 40 Items Taught Us

So what did we learn from this process? What’s the takeaway? This challenge taught us that not only did we have 40 items in our household that we could donate, but that we could actually go through with it! Since we no longer used or needed the items we donated, we are glad we chose this challenge to help us get rid of all these items. Even after forty days of donating, we still have plenty more items we can declutter and donate!

As The Howell Group created a habit of donating an item a day during Lent, our hope is that as we run across items we don’t use or need, we will donate them instead of keeping them in our home. This forty day challenge has helped us realize how many belongings we keep simply because we don’t choose to get rid of them.

Our donation pile at the end of 40 days - 40 items

The picture above is the collection of all the items we donated throughout the Forty Days – Forty Items challenge. As you can see, there’s so much stuff! This donation pile showed us the progress we’ve made. It also reminds us to keep decluttering!

Also, since we donated all of the items from the forty days, it felt great to give back. This challenge has altered the way we think about clutter and has created a foundation for our decluttering habit to continue. Although this challenge was only forty days, we are more conscious of the items in our home we no longer need. We are hopeful that we will continue to remove unneeded items as we come across them.

The Benefits of Decluttering

Decluttering is a benefit for all homeowners, but why get rid of items? Decluttering makes your life easier! It’s easier to find the things you actually need and use if you aren’t sorting through a lot of other unnecessary items. Decluttering also make moving easier since you won’t have as many items to pack.

It’s hard for a lot of us to know when we have too much stuff. The biggest impact that this decluttering process has taught us is that if you don’t use something, then it shouldn’t be taking up space in your home! It changed our outlook from just keeping items and finding space to hold everything to actually being active and motivated to purge the unnecessary items from our household.

We didn’t declutter any paper items during the Forty Days – Forty Items challenge since we wanted to donate the items we decluttered, but this is something that you can do in your weekly decluttering routine. We became aware that we have old newspapers, magazines, and just paper stuff from the mail lying around the house! Piles of it that we thought we would one day have time to sit down and read. We kept these piles of paper in hopes that one day we would sort through them.

So many of us hoard items and just let our belongings pile up. It’s like we have no other choice! Decluttering is gaining back control over the items you allow to stay in your home. It is also a necessary part of putting your house on the market. If you’re looking to list your house, click here for our post on how to declutter your house.

We hope that you enjoyed this article and are inspired to start decluttering your home! If you want more tips for decluttering let us know. We would be happy to help! Please call Dianna Howell with The Howell Group at 205-568-5435 or email her at

The Howell Group Logo
Keller Williams Logo