Throw Away 50 Things.You did it!

I went on a bit of an attack last week.

January gets me like that. Starts me cleaning and moving and organizing. It’s kind of imperative when you live in a small house. If you don’t clean and move and organize you end up starring as the lady with the liquified cats under her couch/bed/kitchen table on Hoarders.

It started with cleaning out my junk drawer. It ended in death.

The death of a million pairs of p’jamas, stained tee shirts and ugly, ugly footwear.

Those deaths made me feel more alive than I have ever felt. It’s like I gained strength and power from every single piece of flannel I flung into the garbage.  Screw eating broccoli. Throw out all of your ugly p’jamas. You’ll live longer.

And you folks did the same. I’m not sure about the ugly p’jamas part … I don’t even know if you wear p’jamas or if you’re one of those sleep in the nude weirdos. But you did throw stuff out.

In fact a ton of you threw stuff out.  Oddly, I inspired you SO much to throw stuff out that you didn’t take pictures for me.  You were too absorbed with chucking.  Which is fine.  That was the goal.

And I’m sure you feel better for it. If you *didn’t* throw stuff out you will still feel better, because at this moment you are now going to be able to look at everyone elses’s junk.

I did get a few pictures.

It’s fun to look at everyone else’s junk. Always puts me in a better mood.

Behold … your junk.



I suggest if you recognize any of this junk, you take cover immediately. The owners of it now have the power of a thousand fields of broccoli. And I can’t guarantee they’ll use their powers for good.


  1. WilmaJean says:

    This post is very timely for me. I just accumulated two bags full of clothes from family over New Years. Now I am on a mission to rotate some of my older clothes out. Donate some, consign others. If I can get it done over the next week or two, I may do a blog post of my own. These pictures really got me motivated now!

  2. Kelli says:

    I do this every January. Usually I get something for Christmas that I can’t find a home for so te whole house ends up getting organized! My husband told me there was no way I could live without the dresser in my closet. Oh yeah? Those are fighting words! Not only did I get rid of the dresser (and yes, many pairs of ugly pjs) I got rid of at least half of the stuff in my closet! I can’t seem to part w it all year, but come January… Watch out! Now I just have to keep it this way for a yr. yeah, right!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. That’s exactly what happens to me every Christmas. The whole house gets ripped apart looking for somewhere to put the one coffee mug I got. ~ karen

  3. Julie H says:

    We are downsizing from a too big house to a much smaller house so we’ve been purging like mad for a few months.

    Our biggest sources of clutter are books and clothes …specifically my husband’s 100 pairs of khaki pants. He is kind of a hoarder and has an office, garage and shed packed with his crap. I knew he was serious about the move when he packed up and gave away a literal truckload of bike junk.

    I am sure more will have to go but it’s been almost, kinda, fun!

  4. Julie says:

    Wow Karen

    Ive been doing this all winter and didnt think to take a before shot :(

    I love looking at other peoples efforts though – saves me re-doing mine :)

    How did you get on with the side of the Road old suitcase? Did it look ok painted? Keep up with the great work – I always recommend your site to friends – especially liked the Bikram Yoga blog/text :)


    • Karen says:

      Julie – I’m working on the case this week. What I’m doing with it is a surprise! I know. Took me long enough. :) ~ karen

  5. melanie j watts says:

    I purge all the time but after I read your post I went down to the basement and came up with more than fifty things I don’t want, most of them will be donated, the rest is only fit for the garbage.

  6. Mel says:

    I do the same purge every January, late spring, and fall. Clutter makes me anxious. I didn’t take pictures, but I freecycled, donated and threw out WAY more than 50 things. The only rooms left are the basement but that was done really well in the fall, so it’s still spic and span (did I really just say spic and span?!), the office/craft room (with a ‘c’ not a ‘k’, gah), and the garage (which I need warmer weather to tackle). Feels good don’t it.

  7. Carolyn Malphrus says:

    You got me going today, cleaned out kitchen cabinets, way too many plastic containers!! Now gone,counters are organized and stuff, gone…bag of clothes to take to Goodwill tomorrow!! Sure feels good,,,,Thanks!!!

  8. I’m not sure that “liquified cats” is a phrase I ever needed to read. Thanks for the mental image. Ugh.

  9. Jane says:

    Did you not cut those pyjamas up for rags???

    • Karen says:

      Um. No. ‘Cause then instead of having 20 pounds of p’jamas I don’t wear, I’d have 20 lbs of rags I don’t use.

  10. Gail Eaton says:

    I tackled my yarn ‘stash’ in the attic. Sorted, bagged, and boxed it all into one of the dormers! Then I made the mistake of pulling out a bunch of old artwork I hadn’t looked at for 20 years! My daughter went art ‘shopping’ to use in her own house. That counts, right???

  11. sera says:

    I admit, I had already slated my linen closet for deconstruction. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to take pictures. I didn’t count how many things I threw out, but I did manage to toss a some old sheets, random pillow cases, a ton of old toiletries (my linen closet includes “bathroom drawers” and a box of crap I had in there since we moved in nearly two years ago. It does feel satisfying, but the next round is my walk in closet. I actually think it may take me two days to get through it. I’ll take pictures though!!

  12. allyson says:

    You’re right, in fact I haven’t stopped! Started on December 26th, and still last night people were picking up my junk at the curb. Yes, indeed, it didn’t even have to count against my 3 bag garbage limit. Now that’s the way to purge. Small house owners unite!

  13. Laura says:

    So, when I am clearing out junk, I decide I need to listen to music. I go pick out cds and then notice something in that part of the house that needs done, many times I get involved in a completely different project and will wander back to the original started project and wonder who pulled all that stuff out of the drawer.

  14. Our garage workbench was a disaster so I got it all organized with lots of pegboard and hangers for the tools, those little metal box organizers for all the nails, screws, etc we use for a working farm and an older house. Within a month, my hubbie had tools laying all over the workbench, screws scattered everywhere, etc. How do I get him to put things back where he got them?I need lessons in Husband training even after 30 years of marriage. By the way, I thought if I came up with a cute name, I might have a better chance at winning. :-)

  15. Sherri says:

    I’m one of those who is guilty of not taking photos of the before and after. I had to strike when the iron was hot and that happened after I got home from work last night. Hubby was preparing supper (he’s newly retired and starting to take on more of the housekeeping duties!) so I tackled our armoire, which was stuffed to the gills with candles, sewing supplies, little gifts I’ve purchased over the years for various occasions and people, vases, stationery, etc. Everything came out, a big box was filled to take to the “gently used store”, and the remaining goodies were organized and placed back in the armoire. I can now actually see everything that’s stored in there and the act of organizing it helps me to remember what I actually have. Who would have guessed that I could provide enough candles to get us through 3 weeks of night time power outages. I feel a few pounds lighter already. Now…on to my clothes closet!

  16. Larita says:

    You subconsciously inspired me. I read your post last week and went, “I throw stuff out all the time, I’m so organized, I don’t need to do this.” A couple days later, I went on an inexplicable rampage and organized every closet, drawer, and storage cupboard in my house… plus threw out/gave away a ton of stuff. I feel so awesome.

  17. Lisa says:

    That is so true DebJ – I have a normal sized house, but it’s just me so people assume that I have room for stuff like a wine refrigerator, spare bookcases, side tables, etc. It’s ridiculous, and my family is the worst offender.

    I have been known to shriek “Stop giving me stuff” at certain family members in the past, but now it’s becoming easier to just be the Goodwill halfway house. They won’t donate something themselves, but they’ll give it to me.

  18. Lisa says:

    I will confess that the last set of pics are mine. Whoo hoo – I’m gonna be famous. ha ha

    I’m not the best photographer so the top shelf actually holds wine glasses in what appears to be a blank, empty, white space. The 2nd shelf is also full of shot glasses but most are clear and hard to see.

    We aren’t major boozers (according to our standards!) but have bar, will drink / party / entertain!

    Thanks for the motivation, Karen!

  19. Deb J. says:

    Consider yourself lucky that you live in a small house. When you live in a big house (especially with a big basement) you collect a whole LOT more stuff. People even give you stuff they don’t want because they know you have a big basement. Then when you look like the hoarder lady the job is a whole LOT bigger. Working on the basement this winter. Hope to reduce by a bunch. May not succeed. Have helpers in the hoarding department.

    • Deb you and I are in the same canoe with one paddle up the same you-know-what creek! :-) Our big basement and the garage – I would not be shocked if Hoarders TV showed up at our house any day! And to top it off, we are moving in 4 weeks….just pray for me! We both will succeed and defeat the basement hoard! Good Luck! Iris

  20. Mary Werner says:

    Why do my after pictures look like these before?

  21. Jamiek says:

    I’m diggin’ the last photo!!! Is that an ‘adult beverage IV’????

  22. Wendy says:

    My goals is to take the same number of days in a month of stuff out to places like Good Will or Habitat Store. Yesterday we carried 30 things to Goodwill . I had 31 but daughter pulled something out so I still have time to gather more. There was a lot tosses as well. The things you will fix but never do. That was the thing with the parasol she pulled out. Alas, she said she would repurpose.

  23. Ruth says:

    *clears throat* I’m probably wrong…. but with the exception of the third set, it seems to me that I am looking at some very creative reorganisation. Of course, creative reorganisation is an extremely good thing… why throw out when you can reorganise. ;)

    I’m off before you decide to throw stones….

  24. White says:

    I’m still working on it. My goal is somewhat different. I am going by weight. I am aiming for:

    • 50lbs to garbage (that’s a really tough one)
    • multiple times 50lbs to recycle/sell/donate/etc.

    That second item includes electronics, so not for land-fill. I need more time!

  25. Diane says:

    As I expected…you got no pictures from me, I get too involved in my project to remember a camera. My intention was to start in my kitchen cause I always avoid cleaning out that area. Well, evidently I still avoided it because instead, I simplified my holiday decorations before packing them away. I sent my boyfriend off to the thrift store with 3 grocery bags full of tree ornaments, beads and garland that I haven’t used in years. Then I went through my closets…again…And filled another garbage bag from there. No idea how it happened, or how it was even possible, but I caught the boyfriend filling a garbage bag with his own crap from his closet. The cleaning bug must have really caught on cause he never throws away anything. Ha! Thanks Karen! :)

  26. Valerie says:

    Thank you for this challenge! I plan to do this once a week until the clutter is gone! Although I didn’t do the before and after pics… was very liberating to just get rid of junk!

    happy organizing!

  27. ev says:

    My house was built in 1806 and is large (prob added to) and we are definitely not alone here! We all co-exist peaceably, though it can be a little unnerving. Being accompanied on the stairs, being watched, seeing movement–stuff like that. My kids grew up here and all is well. Our new doggie doesn’t mind, though our beloved Reilly did notice at times. As far as the clutter; not too bad but we could do better. “They” are no help at all!

  28. Natika33 says:

    I took your challenge sort of. Several months ago, I actually cleaned my desk and got rid of WAY more than 50 things…

    But somehow, they all ended up in bags hidden under my kitchen table for months.

    So, you’re challenge inspired me to actually get them out of the house.


  29. cred says:

    I like the last before and after- I noticed that the shelf that once held several bottles of liquor, now has little more than a framed picture. I wonder if that booze was required to get through the job or if it was consumed in a wild decluttering celebration.

  30. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for this challenge! Pic #1 looks vaguely familiar… Pic #3 has inspired me for my next purge, our bar. We entertain frequently and our friends drink quite a variety of stuff. Any suggestions for a bar essentials list?

  31. TorontoBoy says:

    Karenagain, boy are you creeping me out!

    Please excuse me while I duck underneath the covers!

    ლ(ಠ益ಠ ლ

    *Mommy!* ⊙▂⊙

  32. karenagain says:

    Every day I have to take a full bag of garbage out of my house. Old food, kitty litter, whatever…I must fill a bag. My house is also old and very small. And haunted. Just my dining room is haunted. Well, just the weird closet in my dining room. Brian stares at it and barks. Tommy has hissed at it. One time my daughter and I heard a woman clear her throat over there. It’s just creepy in that room over by the closet.

  33. maryanne fields says:

    I also have a very small house. It’s going to sound kind of silly, but I play a game to make myself throw things out. Every day, I ring a bell. That gets me up and I have to take 10 things out of the house (giveaway, to sell or to trash). I do this until I’ve done enough. When I was moving, my (ex)husband and I both did this and it was amazing how much stuff we cleared out with very little pain. He even participated! If my grandson is visiting, he participates as well.

    Great effort on getting organized!

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