Monday, March 10, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days on the Start of Lent

This past Wednesday, on the first day of Lent, I began a "40 Bags in 40 Days" challenge. The goal is to go through one's home and get rid of a bag of items that are no longer needed or meaningful each day (with the exception of Sundays). This will lead right up to Easter - so in about 1 1/2 months, the house will have undergone a transformation and spring cleaning.

The idea came from a pin that I saw on Pinterest that led to White House Black Shutters. To get started with the cleaning process, there are some ideas on another pin that leads to an image that provides ideas for cleaning by "themes" rather than specific areas.

Well, this is rather embarrassing. 
I just kept piling up books I wanted to read and things I wanted to do.
This started around mid-December when my Mom was hospitalized and 
almost died because of an allergic reaction to medication she was given. 
During the month in the hospital and transitional care, she had multiple strokes. 
She's now receiving health care in her home 24/7.
She's had two more TIAs (mini-strokes) in February.
Needless to say, organizing and cleaning were put on hold during this time.

For example, going through the entire house and organizing home decor, toys, junk drawers, closets, or tops of desks. For the first couple of days, I focused on bookshelves.

Before and after pictures of one area that has
homeschooling books and supplies.

I thought this process would be a good way to get some spots organized in my home that I have put off for awhile.

This bookshelf holds some of my homeschooling curricula and teacher resources; and
the bottom shelf holds Sophia's homeschooling books and notebooks.

Going through the bookshelves that have our current homeschooling books on them was a good way to look at what we still need to cover this school year, and what we can let go and cover another year.

Another thing I wanted to address with the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge was putting things away in my office that I had brought there to get out of the way. The rest of the "public areas" of the home - the living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, and hallways - are orderly. My home office is not a room that people go in, so I had been using it as a place to simply place things until I had more time to clean and organize.

Caregiving and homeschooling have been taking top priority up until this point.

When I was cleaning other parts of the house, I put items on the floor in my home office.
It became kind of a "dumping ground."
I spent time going through each item and putting it back where it belonged, or 
donating it if I no longer felt it was needed or meaningful

However, the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge is help re-focus my efforts on things I need to do that are still important.

This area just needed to have things put away - in closets and on shelves.
It didn't take that long to do.

On Saturday - only 3 days into the challenge - the focus became even serious. In the process of putting things away, I opened the closet door and noticed water - sitting water - on some of my shelves. Couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

Starting taking things off my shelves, only to realize that this is going to turn into a major project that involves some significant water damage in my home office because of the recent heavy snowfall combined with warmer temperatures that we are currently experiencing.

This was my first indication that there was a problem:
standing water on the bookshelves in the closet. 

I was stunned at the amount of water that had seeped into the home somehow and into the walls.

This is only a fraction of the water-damage that has occurred in my home office.
This is at the top of the ceiling - 
out of normal vision unless I'm standing on a chair.

From what I'm seeing, there will be a lot of repair work over the next few months with re-roofing, and new insulation, shelving, carpet, and sub-flooring.

I had to empty all the shelves because water from the roof leaked into the house,
onto the walls, and onto the shelves. 
Many homeschooling books and resources were damaged.

The office connects with the living room, so I'm not sure what level of damage has been done to that shared wall.

An area on the ceiling where water from the roof has leaked in.

What's so strange is that it has been frigidly cold for the entire winter. There was a short, multi-day period during the third week in February that was warm (in the upper 20s/low 30s), and then there was a huge snowfall (11 inches) followed by temperatures and windchills in the -10 to -25 degree below zero range.

This week, the weather is in the 20s to low-40s. The substantial melting happened on Saturday and Sunday. I'm sure there will be more today since the temperatures will again be in the 40s.

Another area where water is coming into the home.
I'm surprised at how quickly the water came in
and the damage it has done that's visible.
I'm sure once the sheet rock and carpet is removed, 
we will see the full extent of the damage. 

Had it not been for this challenge, I would not have been working to clean my office and most likely would not have discovered three areas where water is leaking from the roof into the home...down the walls...into the walls...and onto the floor.

Even after having a neighbor boy shovel off the roof and get the majority of the snow and ice off of it, I noticed late yesterday afternoon that water is still coming in. The insurance company is sending an adjuster and contractor out hopefully in the next day or two to fix the problem.

At any rate, I've worked on bookshelves that hold homeschooling and personal books; my home office; and the piano in the living room.

Focused on putting away the items that belonged elsewhere; and
putting out only the piano music that we are currently playing.

Another way that I'm going to be looking at streamlining my life is by updating and condensing some items. For example, I had a rolodex in my office that had business cards, return labels on envelopes, and pieces of paper with names and numbers. I entered the information into my iPhone so that all the contact information is now in one place and accessible wherever I am.

All the contacts in the rolodex 
are now in my iPhone.

I no longer need the rolodex now and have happily tossed it. This creates more space in my office while making one aspect of my life more efficient.

At the end of the first (short) week (Wednesday through Saturday), I have eliminated 26 bags from the house. Of those, 8 bags have items that are being donated to the secondhand store, and 18 bags are filled with trash or recycling.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Oh no! That roof leak looks like it is going to be quite a project to repair. Sorry about the books that were ruined. :( You were really meant to start this project and catch this when you did. It had been too cold to melt for so long, but now the time seems to have finally come. I hope they get this repaired quickly.