In the bag. A Spring Challenge.

This will be the closest I imagine that I ever come to posting something resembling a Hints from Heloise post.

(Which is something I read voraciously as a child. First the Hints, then the comics. I took great pleasure in reading those little tips, and saying to myself, well duh anyone knows you can use all those little grocery store ties to make a mobile to hang over your goldfish bowl! As I was pre-writing this post in  my head last night, I had sense heavy memories of myself lieing on the living room floor scanning for her tips in the late afternoon light of the large living room windows. What other ten-year old found solace there? )

Over on Moms of Hue today there is an inspiring post by Adiaha Ruane about her choice to revamp her metaphorical  “About Me” tab, to make it more reflective of who she chooses to see herself as now. Letting go of old baggage so to speak. She sites spring as an impetus. On the phone the other day with my mom, she asks in regard to some ramblings of discontent that I was sharing, if “the time of year had anything to do with it?” This morning an email from my father, a Mainer by birth, who reminds me that he “always felt this way this time of year..”

Mud. Endless rain. Winter’s departure. Rebirth. Sure, I get it. In Chinese the character for spring also means love and wine. I was also told that chaos is in there too. Uh huh. So, why wouldn’t I feel this way?

What way? Well I am not ready to divulge all of that yet. But, I am ready to share a life changing tip, that might fit nicely into everyone’s spring like mud dances of late: put it in a bag, and get it out of the house.  What better way to facilitate emotional spring cleaning, then actual unloading?

A bag a day.

Find one corner, or one part of a closet.

One basket of kids toys.

One drawer in the bureau.

One shelf of books, or  tshatshkes (chäch-kə,Yiddish for trinket),

or those plates you never use-

and put it in a bag.

A small, medium or large bag is up to you.

It goes by the door.

You recycle, re-gift, re-sell, donate, or dump.

The point is that it is out.

You are lighter. It took fifteen minutes.

You do it again, tomorrow.

A bag a day.

I am doing this until May 15th.

(I cheat occasionally, and give myself a day off if I did two bags earlier in the week. But only do that if you have been practicing this exact science for more than a week!)

I don’t know if she still reads Mama C, or will read this post, but I have a friend out there who did this with me last summer, and she wrote to say that her and her husband rediscovered “house pride,” after doing this for five weeks. They got so into it, and literally felt all of this new found joy for where they lived.

And who doesn’t want that?

If you join us in the bag a day challenge for a week, or a month, leave a comment, and let us know. I’ll post a follow up on/around May 15th to fess up to how I did. Folks can check back in then. Nothing like a little peer support to revamp our external and internal houses so to speak.


  1. I’m in MamaC, I am IN. Hmm…. I think the trick is not to think too hard on where to start! Maybe I’ll throw out one tired old story I hold about myself WITH each bag…. hmm again.

  2. I’m in. The bags will be small until I finish the illustration deadline I’m on – and taxes. After that, watch out!

    Do I get extra credit for having to haul stuff not just to the front door, but off the island as well?


  3. I like this idea! It is a managable amount of time to devote each day with what I imagine will be spectacular results. I’m already starting to decide what I want to go in the bag today 🙂 Thanks, Mama C!


    • Jill-YEAH. Have fun with it. It is so infectious once you start. The frenzy will sweep across your house! And it’s good for the little ones to watch us let go too. This can be very hard for adoptees to do I have found. Sam has to be VERY ready to let something go. For good reason!

  4. I do still read Mama C, as often as I can, as a matter of fact. I’m the friend who rediscovered “house pride” after 5 weeks of decluttering in the summer. Then school started and I went back to work full time after my third maternity leave and the clutter started accumulating again. It’s an ongoing project, I see, or something that can be revisited periodically as Catherine has, and now she’s inspired me – again – to start my spring cleaning. Out with the old but not in with the new; it’s the space, not the stuff, that helps you to see your home and your life in a whole new light. I need that help to get that perspective again; and again, you posted something at just the right time for this happy reader of your work. Best of luck to you in your decluttering; we’ll be taking up the challenge again here in Toronto along with you.

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