Every day during Lent this year, empty one bag of 'stuff' that is no longer needed from your house, totaling a loss of forty bags of stuff!
1.) Taking a look at the size of your family and household, with an acknowledgement of how much 'stuff' is present, make a prudential choice on the size of bag to be employed during this challenge. Bag size should be small enough that the goal of 40 bags during the season of Lent is able to be accomplished, while not being too big that you are left with nothing. We must still live in the world, after all!
2.) If smaller children are a part of your family, a 'gauge' may be helpful to keep them engaged and help them keep track of progress. As part of your preparations, make a 'paper chain' of forty numbered links. As each new bag is started, place a new link in the bottom of the bag. This way, as the chain gets smaller, there is a greater sense of accomplishment.
3.) This challenge necessarily involves sacrifice. Each member of the family should be encouraged to give something to each bag, or there could be designated bags for each member of the family.
4.) Instead of just throwing things away, recycling is a great way to encourage good stewardship of the gifts we have been given, as it symbolizes that we are passing along our gifts to others. Families with children are encouraged to pass along clothes that no longer fit or toys that sit dormant in a closet to families in need instead of just throwing them away.
5.) Units of count need not necessarily be trash bags, either; however they should be equivalent. For example, a box of gently used toys or clothes could equate one bag off the chain. A stack of books donated to the parish library is another easy equivalent.
As the family accepts this challenge together, bonds will be created that will last a lifetime. Lessons are also learned not just by saying, but by putting it into practice. Here, the simple lesson will last throughout life that having fewer things can lead to a greater contentment in life.
(Credit due to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for this handout on vocations and family faith formation)
For more inspiration visit Simply Catholic, who did the challenge last year, and is doing it again this year.
I've decided for our home, I am going to use brown grocery bags. Not too big, not too small... Since we are already a couple weeks into lent, I am not going to aim for a bag a day, rather a total of 40 by Holy Week. I should have a good start with what I've decluttered this past week, since I wasn't able to get to St. Vincent's today. I am no where near done with what I had planned to accomplish this week, but I have made quite a bit of progress... Hopefully I will be able to "catch up" this coming week.