THROW AWAY 50 THINGS. 2016 EDITION.

Tupperware and Rubbermaid bins are on sale at your local hardware store right now. How do I know that?  How do I know these things are for sale around you no matter where you live?  The same way I know exercise equipment, diet books and smoking cessation devices are on sale near you too.

It’s the rule of the resolution.

Take one resolution, add one retailer, mix it all together and you have a frenzy of New Years Resolution items on sale. They’re all on sale for the one month that we think we can accomplish anything like quitting smoking or eating better just because we scream-slurred it out-loud in a drunken stupor at midnight while simultaneously smoking a cigarette and eating a bale of cheese covered something.

Even if you didn’t make a resolution to get more organized, people just naturally want to clean things up in January.  Clean up, clear out, dejunk. Getting rid of all the Christmas decorations gives your house a renewed sense of “Hey, this place isn’t so bad”, and you want to keep it up.

That’s why every year at the beginning of January I host a Throw Away 50 Things adventure of a lifetime!  It’s a well known fact that adding “adventure of a lifetime” at the end of anything will make you more willing to see it as a fun filled activity.  Next week it might be  the Removing Gum From Your Cat’s Fur adventure of a lifetime, or the Washing the Vomit Covered Sheets at Midnight Because it’s Stomach Bug Season, adventure of a lifetime!  All very fun filled as you can tell from the “adventure of a lifetime” tacked on at the end.

Since 2012 I’ve been chucking, heaving and throwing out 50 random things every January.  The Throw Away 50 Things idea was inspired by a book by Gail Blanke, Throw Out Fifty Things.  And every January I’ve tackled something different.  My junk drawer, my stack of warranties and instruction manuals, even my fridge and freezer have been subject to the humiliation of being stripped.

THIS year I had a lot of options.  The Ikea cupboards in my office are filled what I don’t even know what. Random bits of weird stuff that have no business being in the office of a busy, working blogger. Things like staplers and calculators and business cards. What the hell do I need those things for?  I’m a blogger, all I need is a pot of coffee, an Instagram account and a cutely posed cat. That’s it.

The other place of distress in my house is under my bed.  In a small house with almost no storage any available spot to put things is fair game.  My sister, Pink Tool Belt, found out how true that statement is when she helped me move my living room around at Christmastime.  Under the couch we found several iPad skins, a pillow, a birdbath, a laptop table and one prune.

I wasn’t even really sure what was under my bed anymore. For years I just shoved things under there until nothing else would fit, then I walked away never to retrieve a single thing from under there again.  I can’t really see anything under my bed but just knowing it’s there makes me insanely agitated. I hate it.  It bugs me.  I don’t sleep well just knowing a few inches beneath me lays a bunch of useless stuff covered in cat hair.  Also that under the bed spot could be a really cool fort for me. At the very least it could be a moderately comfortable hiding spot.

So under the bed it was.  I was fairly certain there wouldn’t be 50 things I could throw out from under there but clearing out the clutter under it would definitely be in the spirit of “Throw Away 50 Things”.

 

Throw-Away-50-Things-2015

 

What is it with me and pillows? Why did I have 6 pillows under my bed??!  I knew there were a couple, but SIX??  The reason they aren’t on the bed is because they’re cheap, fibre filled, uncomfortable, lumpy pillows.  The only thing that’s changed since stuffing them under the bed is now they’re cheap, fibre filled, uncomfortable, lumpy pillows covered in cat hair.

Garbage.

No idea why I thought I needed to keep the bag my Prada purse came in but maybe I thought if I saved up enough of them I could act out the Pretty Woman scene one day when someone at the feed store was rude to me.

Ditto for the Apple product boxes.

The down duvet is going to my mother, the super-fun plastic surgery magnets to a friend, and I ate the Gaviscon after realizing that Pretty Woman was released over a quarter of a century ago.  And then I decided maybe I should keep the Face Lift magnets for reference.

By the end of it all I dusted and washed the floor under the bed then slid the dining room table leaves back under the bed.  They just don’t fit anywhere else.

I will sleep well tonight knowing the cleanliness and tidiness that is beneath me.  This Princess has removed the pea.

under-bed-3

Now it’s your turn.  I would like you to pledge to Throw Away 50 Things (or clean out from under your bed) so you too can sleep well.

Let everyone know what you’re going to do in the comment section in case it’s some terrifically good idea that no one else has thought of so we can all do it.

Since the bed project went so well I might tackle my office tomorrow night after work.

And by after work I mean after Instagramming photos of my cat and coffee cup.

 

139 Comments

  1. Danni says:

    I LOVE doing 50 things! My friends all do it too now and we brag about all the crap we got rid of. (No one brags about fact that we must be secretly replacing the crap bc we all seem to keep finding 50 more!) I am getting ready to do new floor in almost all of the 3200 sq ft we have here, so ready or not, I will be looking under ALL the beds, dressers, couches, chairs, dressers etc. God help me, it’s the only reason we don’t already have this little project done. I don’t want to KNOW what’s under there. PS I very much like that you ate the gas pill. It made my night.

  2. Dale says:

    My wife and I with over 35 years of pack-rat-itis have fallen into a pattern of 10 items come into the house, yet maybe only 2 items are taken out. Our house is basically a black hole. There are items in our house, I know, but finding any specific item takes more energy than that item is worth. Or there may be a project to accomplish, but it takes longer to find the tool to do the project than it takes to do the project. Maybe I need another Expresso to give me my Ninja powers to get stuff done.

    Does taking stuff to Goodwill before Christmas count in the 50 things to throw away? I thought I was giving Goodwill some designer jeans (the ones with holes in the knees) but my daughter said if they ain’t Levis they ain’t designer jeans. Boo Hoo!

  3. Bridgett Junkin says:

    No problem. I have 20 things right now ready to go to thrift store. Working on office some more tomorrow. By weeks end I should have (including books) about 100. If we count paper I’ll have over 500. But I’m cleaning out my parents house this year so I keep bringing stuff in. ?

  4. Pam says:

    I succumbed to the lure of the on-sale bins last weekend, but haven’t yet put them to use. My plan is to organize and cull the office closet, which is storage for almost everything I don’t need on a daily basis. (Or even on a yearly basis. I haven’t put up Christimas decorations in two years so why do I keep them?) I’ve been pretty good about pulling and donating items every few months, but it just never seems to end. I’ll set my sights on a minimum of 50 things this week. Woohoo…I feel lighter already!

  5. Cynthia Jones says:

    I do this between Christmas and New Year. Knickers. Start with Knickers. Throw out ones with the poop pouch in the back and the ones with bad elastic.

    Then dingy white socks. Then go through your wardrobe and get rid of everything you did not wear last year because it was too tight or you needed a strapless bra with it.

    Then shoes that are beautiful but a bit too firm. Snip off any fancy bling or decorations and superglue them onto Target ballet flats.

    Then your hangers. I like plain timber ones. I cut up dishwashing sponges and put them over the end with elastic bands to stop leaving grooves in tops and cardigans. Throw away any hangers with signs of mould or soak in bleach and water.

    Throw out daggy nighties and jamies. Go get some fun ones from Woolworths or Kmart or Walmart.

    Wipe over your makeup thingies and wash any brushes or sponges. Wipe out the bottom of the drawers.

    Throw away any single costume jewellery and earrings. You have waited long enough for the other one to re-emerge.

    Take a long slow look at your husband while he is not aware of it. Wait a week, do it again. Then take action.

    Get up on a stool and check the top of the fridge.

    Throw some copper sulphate crystals (from the feed store) down your drains and toilet. It kills tree roots inside the pipes. You really should do it once a month with one tablespoon, but I barely clip my toenails, show has time for this shit.

    Vow to pack your Christmas decorations safely and fabulously with individiual padding. But give up every year cos you couldnt be bothered finding the right sized boxes.

    Throw out that shitty relative or girlfriend who makes you feel niggly irritated after seeing her. Trust me they’ll find someone else to annoy. 2016. No narcissists, Borderines, liars or manipulators.
    Crazy=yes, Unidiagosed=HELLO NO.

    • Robert says:

      I can’t imagine having ALL the stuff you just describe, why would anyone keep all that in the first place?

    • Gillian says:

      Thanks for the tips! I didn’t know about the tree roots.

      Some of that madee chuckle because I can see me doing it. LoL

    • Elizabeth Kays says:

      Karen, you have met your match, though apparently from another continent. Recurringly, I realize that “my” tribe has been found.
      Sometimes my hoard tells me just to look for what I MUST HAVE and sweep all that is left into the trash.
      Living in a hurricane prone zone makes me live like that from time to time: Rescue and Save all things I cannot live without, and damn the rest. My imagination savors the loss, though reality has saved it all.

    • jainegayer says:

      I didn’t know about the husband. Took a long look this morning. So far, so good. But I’ll do it again next week. Promise!

    • Mom of Chirp says:

      I particularly loved ‘the take a long look at your husband’ suggestion. I did that and it was the greatest clutter remover I’ve ever had, physically and emotionally!

  6. Cred says:

    I have too many nooks to go through to purge 50 items. I did recently do my project closet but my work table needs love, my closet, guest room closet, under the bed- geez! I’m in the midst of rearranging the kitchen so I will commit to start in the cupboards.
    Thanks for the motivation- I’m not sure there’s 50 things in each of those places but I will focus on a different space each week. I will give myself to permission to stop at 50 but I can see how cleaning up one space will keep up the momentum.

  7. MissChris SA says:

    Mmmmmm, the other half and I decided to do room by room in December.
    I did managed to tidy linen cupboards and some of my wardrobe and all the excess blankets, pillows, towels and duvets as well as clothes went to a charity drive we did at our club for the really needy people.
    We also managed to get rid of the old lounge furniture and purchase new, smaller, more modern one (it looks a lot better).
    I cleaned out the garage (my half) and chucked out about 60 empty food cans that I was keeping for some or the other project – after a year I had done nothing with them. I hate throwing things away that could be turned into something useful, but I did it.
    We also cleaned up old garden furniture and a lot of it is ready to be dumped (we don’t have the luxury of leaving things on the verge here and other people picking it up).
    In all, now that I look at it, not bad – but there is still a hell of a lot to do!!

    • Irene says:

      I don’t know which part of SA you live in, MissChris, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same all over; if I don’t want something I put it outside and it’s gone in minutes! In fact, I was once putting the shell of a washing machine outside one day and a bakkie stopped before I even put it down and the dude asked me if he could have it. It’s VERY rare to put something out and still find it there the next day. :-)

  8. Wendi Miller says:

    I LOVE a good fort ;o)

  9. Mark says:

    You write about cats and cat hair under the bed, but the photo is of you under there! Very funny!

    • Karen says:

      Yes, … well … that’s the after shot where I’ve made enough room for my “fort”, :) ~ karen!

      • RachelSD says:

        I actually snorted out loud at that photo, Karen! How did I know there was going to be a photo of you under the bed at some point in the post!? Cozy fort. :) Off to throw out 50 things…

  10. NinaMargoJune says:

    Perfect timing! (Except that I made a road trip to Goodwill just last week with about 20 items…), but will round up 50 to donate tomorrow. Gotta sit myself down for a serious talk along the lines of “what the hell have I been saving this for?!” Will ask myself the KonMari question also… Does this item bring me joy? …Maybe 75 items tomorrow!

    • Sue says:

      I bought “The Life-Changing Magic . . .” for my iPad several months ago while on a road trip with my husband. After reading several sections to him which he punctuated with exaggerated eye-rolls, I quit, and forgot about the book – until (!) I received in my stocking this Christmas the hard cover edition!
      OK! I get it – so, now I will be concentrating on and owning my contribution to the clutter if for no other reason than to shame him into doing the same!
      Guess I’ll show him . . .

  11. OK. I’m throwing out 50 things from my office tomorrow. Or rather, later today since it’s well after midnight. (One New Year’s resolution was to go to bed before midnight at some point). This sounds like fun. Does each book of English grammar count?

  12. Bev says:

    Love this idea! I need to declutter for sure – still have lots of teaching things and have been retired over 2 years now! I’ll be aiming for more – but 50 is a good target for this month.

  13. Sally says:

    I recognize those Apple boxes! I HAVE those boxes! That’s it, I’m doing it. I’m throwing out 50 things.

  14. Kip says:

    We de cluttered the kitchen this weekend, there are at least 30 things ready to take to Goodwill and one bag of stuff went in the garbage, another into the food/yard waste bin. What a great feeling! We were inspired by the Apartment Therapy January Purge advice-though I wish they’d use a different word for decluttering.

    • Shannon says:

      I hadn’t seen this title for their annual clean up. In years past they called it “the cure”. As in the cure for your miserable little space I suppose. But they certainly have some good tips. I like the outbox. Anything you aren’t sure your ready to part with goes in a box near the front door. Revisit the box after 30 days and most of the time you’re like, “get it outta here!” Happy purging.

      • Shannon says:

        Oops, I see a you’re that’s needed instead of a your. Consider it edited.

      • Sue says:

        Had never heard of the “Outbox”! Love it – now to find the perfect box . . .

      • Mia says:

        Yes, I call mine the “maybe” box. I know the handle-only-once rule, but this works for me really well. Especially for sentimental items; it gives me that transition period I need to decide. After tossing other stuff, I get on a roll and then keep only one or two items from the maybe box and the rest goes.

      • Catherine says:

        We use it to house toys that my son can’t quite bear to give up, even though he outgrew them 5 years ago and they aren’t quality, sentimental, save for the grandkids toys.

        They move into the maybe box and then, usually by the next year he’s forgotten all about them and they can go to a new home.

        Except for the Legos. The Lego’s never go away, despite all the pieces that I vacuum up. They currently live in a contractor size tool box. Anyone have genius storage ideas for them?

  15. Jane S says:

    As I undecorate from Christmas I realize that I no longer want an entire bookcase full of knickknacks. Because it came from a great-aunt, I can’t quite get rid of it. An attic is a blessing and a curse. I did however throw out a large bag of pillows.

  16. Suzanne says:

    Snort. The junk drawer, the lotions and potions cupboard (no storage in bath room) in the hall, that damned blind cupboard in the corner of the kitchen, and the closet by the front door that holds NOTHING of importance but the vacumn and the man’s coats (and 10 sq ft of superfluous shit).

    So why am I on the iPad? Lazy ass, that’s why!

  17. Brin says:

    Karen, your epic cleaning has come to the surface just in time! Oddly enough we seem to be getting rid of some of the same things. lol Only I had two table leaves (no table), one loan sock, cat hair, and a 50 ft. extension cord I had used on an electric clock that lacked 2″ in length to reach the wall socket.

    My whole house is due for a cleaning from top to bottom. I bought and moved in 3 yrs. ago, it’s small and perfect but I had to leave behind 26 yrs. of my ‘stuff’ when I sold my farm. I still have 3 rooms packed in boxes to the ceiling of stuff I can’t live without only now don’t remember what any of it is. So, I will be sorting everything to donate, give away and then pitch and burn.

    Thank you so much for your article as it has boosted my enthusiasm to do this when I would most likely prefer to be doing something else. lol But somebody has to do it, right? :)

    I will be ‘getting rid of’ 50 Things every day until this next May and then I will take a break start decorating again. Whatever needs doing….it never ends. ha

    Hugs, and thanks for everything you do and share, xox
    Brin

  18. Lynn Johannson says:

    The height under my bed is perfect for my many standard size cans of paint. Why so many? Projects, many projects. Why, you say, under my bed? Can’t keep them in the garage, too cold, enclosed back porch, ditto. Used to keep them behind the couch but it made it harder to get to the curtains. Guess they’ll stay under the bed and I’ll clean out my closet instead. With all the old clothes that have outgrown me (I lost 50lbs) I have lots to get rid of ’cause I’m never getting that big again!!! Maybe more than 50. That will make lots of room for new stuff? Ah, the anticipation!
    Lynn

    • Jac says:

      Huge congrats on the weight loss, Lynn – I too have several different sizes of clothing from years of my weight variation. I admire your confidence in getting rid of your “fat clothes” !! Happy New Year :)

    • Lauren says:

      Oh man, genius idea about keeping the paint cans under the bed! Paint deteriorates if it freezes, and I live at the coast so the cans rust (everything rusts)(even things you didn’t think could rust rust).

    • Nancy C says:

      I have a suggestion about the paint cans. It is worth it to go buy a box of large mouth quart sized mason jars and a short plastic bin that slides under the bed. Even if you can’t get the lid on the container, you can place the lid under the container. Pour all of that paint into separate jars even if it takes more than one to hold each color. Promise, your paint will last. You can write what brand, specific color, room, and date with a Sharpie on the side of the jar. Time well spent. I describe myself as an organized craft hoarder. But I will admit I struggle getting rid of things. You should read the book “Stuff ..very enlightening. Or better yet, listen to the audible version while you are purging. http://www.amazon.com/Stuff-Compulsive-Hoarding-Meaning-Things/dp/0547422555/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1452647284&sr=8-2&keywords=stuff. Apparently hoarders have a more than normal attachment to their things.. I laughed because it is so true. I told my husband I treat my stuff like puppies. If I knew they were all going to good homes, I could easily give them away. Cheers on the weight loss.

  19. JM says:

    I’ve already set a few priorities: I have 30 books already picked to donate, and next up is he guest room closet. There are all kinds of things in there that I haven’t looked st since I moved in 2 years ago, and it’s time to clean it out. I need to make more room for my yarn stash, naturally!

  20. Flash says:

    When we moved. Wife said it wasn’t fen shu to have things under bed. So I build a pedestal frame. I do believe I sleep better . Except when I think of that beautiful empty space going to waste

  21. Lesley says:

    This’ll be hard. I’m the person whose home people come to and go, “Wow, you’re so TIDY!” There’s nothing at all under my bed. Last year I decided that my CDs took up too much space so I took all 80ish plastic cases to the recycler and replaced them with neatly labeled CD envelopes. My 80ish CDs now fit in one 12″ box. Can the 17 books I donated to the used book store yesterday count? Of course I volunteer at the used book store so it’s only a matter of time, days really, before I bring more books home. Maybe I should give this some more thought.

    • Kim says:

      Your house sounds AMAZING. This is what I am working towards. I don’t have anything under my bed either. But I have kids. So what you describe is still pure fantasy. But I love it!!!

  22. Sandy says:

    So..how many things does 40 pounds of cat hair under the bed equal? And how does it get there? My cat still has hair (on her). Lots of it. Ok, so now inspired, my under the bed collection of Gracie hair goes away…at least until next Tuesday…

  23. Auntiepatch says:

    Our Annual Neighborhood 4th of July Yard Sale is coming up and I plan to have 500 items in it. That is from my craft room, the garage, the storage shed, and the kitchen. Should be fun!

  24. CINDY FESSLER says:

    6 months ago I sold my 3000 sq ft house and moved in to a 450 sq ft RV… and I went from 3 – 10×30 storage units to 1 – 10 x 10. I have sold, given away and donated… a lot and it feels great! I am left with is quality, pretty, and … what matters. Just do it! Thanks for the inspiration and affirmation. I think I can tackle what is left in that storage unit now.

    • Jhody says:

      We did the same thing about a year and a half ago, from 1150 sq ft to 350 and we love it! It was incredibly freeing. You’re left with what you love. Congrats

      • Gillian says:

        I want to do this! I really only live in one room right now so aside from cutting out all the stuff (pronounced CRAP) it won’t feel like smaller space at all. …and to have one to call my own will be Divine!!

        Real success stories like you both inspire me!

  25. Pat says:

    You are soooo right about the January resolutions. I have already gotten rid of three large bags of clothing, a box of books and another box of miscellany….over 50 items! A friend has me now addicted to the KonMari method of tidying so look out the rest of the house. You start with clothing, then books, papers, miscellany. Hey, I own that green chenille blanket. It decorates my bed!

    • Jean says:

      Do 50 National Geographical count as 50 things? I have 50 years worth!
      There must be someone out there who wants these – help!
      Jean

      • Laura Bee says:

        Schools or art studios would love these! I’d love them, but I am trying to get rid of my own things!

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