Throw Away 50 Things

It’s that special time of year!  It’s January, a new year, a clean slate – it’s throw away time!  Throwing away 50 things – since 2012.

Skip right to my tips.

I have stuff. I like stuff.  The word stuff is actually in the title of my blog, so I think it goes without saying that stuff and I are quite fond of each other.  We’re not without our disagreements of course. Like any happy couple, we have our ups and downs, our periods of absolute bliss and our periods of holy shit, get the hell away from me I can’t even look at you anymore.

Oh sure, during the holidays we get along.  Everyone’s in a good mood, there’s candles going which makes all in the vicinity look and feel special, and it’s nice to feel kind of smothered in December.

Through the cool and cruel eyes of January though there’s a definite shift.  It’s no longer nice to feel smothered. It’s annoying. I want SPACE.  And every January I stand in the middle of my house kick a sheepskin across the foyer and throw my fists to the ground while screaming, YOU NEED TO BACK OFF AND GIVE ME SOME SPACE.

And so it begins.  The annual January purge when I don’t see clutter as cozy, I see clutter as claustrophobic.

This isn’t just a weird thing specific to me, it’s a weird thing specific to all of us. That’s why Rubbermaid containers and totes and anything related to organization is on sale in January.  It’s because that’s the month we all lose our minds and feel the need to take control of all of our stuff.

For the past 7 years I’ve been chucking, heaving and drop kicking  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 overhauled. 

To be perfectly honest with you I’ve done my junk drawer um …. a few times.  It just keeps filling up.  And not really with junk.  A lot of it is stuff I’m just not sure what to do with yet. Or where to put it. Take that black skull patch in the centre of the drawer for instance …

I love him!  And I want it on a tee shirt or a hat but haven’t found the perfect tee shirt or hat for it yet.  Regardless, it belongs in my sewing kit upstairs, not in my “junk drawer”.  Ditto for the billion pairs of scissors.

This year I tackled the drawer again in an attempt to get myself worked up to actually organizing the rather stately antique hardware cabinet in my kitchen.

Here’s how I did it.

How to Organize a Drawer

The first thing I did was take everything out of the drawer one by one and put it into an appropriate pile.  I had piles of:

  1. Garbage.
  2. See if anyone else wants it.
  3. Put it back in the drawer.
  4. Put it where it actually belongs.

Yeah. I had a handful of Pixy Stix in my drawer.  What of it?

Once I had a list of everything that I was going to  keep I tested to see if it worked.  Does the yodelling pickle yodel for instance?  Yes.  Good. Back into the drawer it goes.

I tested every pen.  Those that didn’t work went into the garbage. Even if I really liked them at one point and they were my favourite pen.  I know there will be the ultra conscientious among you now thinking, but, BUT you could put new ink in those pens!  So wasteful! You’re filling up landfills with plastic! You’re an awful horrible person and I hope one day you eat an apple thinking it’s organic and IT ISN’T!!!

  It’s O.K. Sometimes you really do just have to throw something out (or put it in the recycling bin). For one thing buying new refills would involve throwing out the plastic packaging they came in so …

Pick and choose your battles when it comes to garbage guilt.

I also tested all my scissors to see what ones worked well enough for the craft corner, the sewing room and the kitchen.  They all got relegated to their appropriate homes.

Which left me with this.

handmade antler bottle opener available here.

Just look at all that negative space!

O.K.  I’ll meet you  back here in exactly one year when it’ll be overflowing and making me itch again.

It was so cathartic I’m going to do my 2 medicine cabinets and my office desk drawers as well.  I contemplated doing the cupboards in my office but realized that was just my “organized me” showing off for my “messy me” and I’d probably never get it done.  No need to set ourselves up for failure folks.

What about you?  Do you think you can throw away 50 things this year?  And what are they going to be???**

**Husbands and children are not allowed to be thrown out.  Locking them in a closet for a predetermined amount of time is acceptable.

→My name’s Karen. I do stuff on Instagram. Follow me there.←


Throw Away 50 Things


  1. SH says:

    I kept waiting all week for an update post about how we all did with your throw-away challenge because…I had started remembering it as “throw away 31 things in January” challenge :D Anyway, I was successful with that 31 version–apparently it was telepathic.

  2. Sam C says:

    You are aware of the Murphy’s Law of Tools right? If you throw or give away that tool you’ve had for 20 years and never used, as soon as you get rid of it you will need that tool the very next day! In the 31 years I’ve been in business, it never fails to prove it’s self true every time. Man I hate that when that happens! Dang that Murphy!

  3. KimS says:

    I told my husband we were doing this! He was so negative about it—I finally had to say ok, we’re doing 15 minutes…just go do what you can…we’ve got a HUGE pile, and have decided to do this every Sunday after church. (I’ve been going at it most of the day—the more I move out, the more energized I get!). Last night we watched the first 2 episodes of Marie Kondo….now that’s a trip!

  4. zoe says:

    I love this every year! Just did my 50 things :)

    I also have this slightly crazy idea that I’m going to put post its on every drawer and cupboard that I know needs stuff thrown out /reorganized etc and as I do them I’ll take the sticky off. I’m planning on moving house this year so need all the decluttering I can get. I think the visual of a bright yellow sticky will be harder to ignore than a closed drawer (she says optimistically)

  5. Marion says:

    Cucumbers belong in the crisper, not the junk drawer

  6. Idaho Girl says:

    There is definitely a driving need to declutter our home space circling in the Universe in January! I was putting away Christmas decorations this morning and decided to repair an ornament, remembered I had a few others that needed tiny repairs from previous years, headed to the large storage room in the garage to find that small bag of ornaments, and didn’t make it out of the storage room until 6 hours later because I couldn’t resist doing some major cleaning and sorting… I just came into the house to warm up and grab a snack and found your post – perfect timing! Now I’m going to fix those ornaments and finish putting them away before I realize how tired I am!

  7. Kim says:

    Just. Hell. Yes.

    I will throw out more than fifty things (recycle, donate, give away). I feel this every January too. ORGANIZING IS MY FAVOURITE. & by organizing I mean periodically getting rid of 20 percent of my belongings. I always think of it in percents. No idea if my guess is even close though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *