Throw Away 50 Things.
You Did It!

Last week I issued a bit of a command.  A challenge really.  I mildly suggested you might benefit mentally from chucking a few things.

50 things to be precise.  And chuck you did.  Chuck, chuck, chuck.   All around the world people were chucking stuff in a mad frenzy to regain control of their lives.  Also a lot of people found keys they though they’d lost.

So as promised I have a few before and after photos from Art of Doing Stuff readers who took part in the challenge.  I wasn’t able to include all the pictures that were sent to me and I’m sorry about that.

A lot of people seemed to tackle the dreaded junk drawer but some of you got really wild and headed out of doors to clean up garages and sheds and porches.  To the woman in North Carolina who got rid of all the garden gnomes on her neighbour’s front lawn … that’s not really allowed.

O.K.  Here we go!  A photographic ode to the chuckers … (by the way, for some unknown reason, looking at other people’s junk is fascinatingly entertaining.  Who knew!?  Other than the producers of Hoarders.  I guess they knew.)



marti's junk

Marti wandered around her entire apartment gathering things to be chucked.  Yes the bowl is Limoge, yes she is chucking it.  Or Goodwilling it to be more precise.


Among other things, Michelle found some Betta fish food (her Betta fish died around a decade ago), a notepad in the shape of testicles and some Red Hots.  She ate those.  The Red Hots.  Michelle claims her legs grew 4 inches overnight and she can now speak Russian.  Plus she feels quite smug about her neat drawers.


This is Sue’s desk at work. Sue had all that stuff on her desk because her drawers were so full she couldn’t put anything in them. So she threw out the liquor bottles and decorating magazines and was able to put the stuff from the top of the desk into the drawers of the desk. Now Sue just goes to the bar for a drink.  Don’t be fooled by those two bottles of water on the desk in the first picture … totally filled with Vodka.  I mean I’m just guessing, but it makes for a way better picture if I pretend they’re Vodka. Which they probably are.


It’s a bit of a long and convoluted story, but for a while I thought Jan was a boy named Michael. It’s kind of a boring story so I’m not going to tell you about it. Jan had a choice. Clean up her crafts boxes or clean up the side porch. Since she loves to craft and wasn’t willing to part with crafty stuff, she tackled the porch. Which if I’m seeing things correctly, housed a chicken waterer. As you can see in the second picture, Jan’s chickens now get their drinks out of a chilled cooler by the door. Far more civilized.


I don’t know what it is about Karin’s drawers that I love so much but I do. She has German junk, and German junk is clearly a lot nicer than Canadian junk. She has cool little fish and nice tea lights and pretty stuff. Her junk looks great. German’s have the best junk.


Hunter’s drawer looked like Animal from the Muppets threw up on it. Then she cleaned it out and it’s a thing of beauty. Plus Hunter won the Nobel Peace Prize the very minute she finished cleaning out her drawer.
Now we all know our junk drawers are going to be filled with junk again in anywhere from 3 months to 3 days. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that you tackled it. That for now, you are smarter, with longer legs, speaking Russian on your way to pick up your Nobel prize. And that in itself … is pretty darn good. Большое спасибо.


  1. Kay says:

    After sorting through my deceased mother-in-law’s apartment last year, I went on a purge-it binge in my own house. She was a hoarder and cleaning up after her was horrendous. I don’t want to put my family through that some day. I don’t want to live like that either….so out went the stuff. I’ve still got more to do, but my mindset is different now, healthier, simpler, richer!

  2. Beth says:

    I am laughing like crazy!!! I missed the whole challenge because I didn’t find you in time! But I have been so there!!! We have been trying to declutter for a while – hubby and I are both packrats! He is just sure he’s going to need “it”, and I am too sentimental!!! (and am sure I will need “it” later!) I did just clean out the 4y/o’s bedroom because she wouldn’t pick the stuff up off the floor (some went in the trash, some is going to the resale shop and some is being held until she misses it or deserves it back – the newer stuff/more expensive stuff) Next is the 11 y/o’s room! Needless to say putting off the craft/office room until last – might need to call in reinforcements for that one! Thanks again for your blog – lovin’ it like crazy!!! Be Blessed! Beth (and yes I love looking at other people’s stuff for some reason too!)

  3. It’s so nice to see I’m not alone out there. I have junk that other people want, have a house and garden that people comment on, and run a home based business doing custom embroidery. I once sold a broken down Martin bird house someone gave me, it didn’t survive the ride home, but had a garage sale and a woman (like ourselves) bought it from me for $25.00…..What a Hoot!
    Love this Blog…..

  4. Terry says:

    Tell Marti to never throw out the Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons. Even though they have an expiration date on them, they will still take them. And you can use one for each item you buy. Buy 50 items in one trip…. use 50 coupons.

  5. Theresa says:

    Is it me…or is the pic of the 2nd drawer of Michelle (from Washington State) has something, uh, inappropriate…?

    Or it just looks like that, and it’s a different thing entirely haahaha~

  6. Jane says:

    My daughter is going to live with her dad, does that count?

  7. Teri says:

    oh now if I could only get rid of the 50 extra pounds of junk in my trunk…if you get my drift…

  8. Teri says:

    Well I tackled my magazines. I actually got through 65 plus mags (making sure no really cool recipes or articles slipped past with out ripping them out). I probably have 2-300 more mags to go through. I finally quit subscribing to so damn many mags. But I did get through them! yeah me…

  9. Trish says:

    I always keep the “junk” to a bare minimum, but I still have so much stuff. We’ve been in perpetual remodeling mode for over ten years and because of that, I’ve had to box up most of my decor items and put them in storage. Some of it hasn’t seen the light of day for years! Now, the remodeling is done, the house has been on and off the market a couple times, but in this market it’s not selling and I need to downsize the storage. So, I’ve decided some of it’s gotta go! I’ve already donated a bunch, but still had so much that’s just too nice to give away. I put together a FB page and it’ll eventually go to a good home. Thanks, Karen, sometimes you just have to have a challenge issued before you can jump into it with both feet!

  10. Maddie Davis says:

    I just found your site and love it. I was following your advise before I even read your site. Before Christmas my family decided to get rid of everything that did not fit anymore including toys, books, and educational stuff my kids out grew. The benefits, less crap in my house and I was the best aunt at Christmas to my hubby’s nephew.

  11. Joanne says:

    You don’t know junk until you have a pre-teen. Lordly, the crapola that seems to reproduce overnight. I took a big junk box, filled it up and stuck it into the attic which I think will be there for about 3 – 4 months before it gets “recycled” and then another box will take its place. this is insurance just in case she can’t find the fuzzy worm with the string on it and freaks out on me. But, cleaning out junk drawers and closets – – it makes me inexplicably very happy.

  12. Jane says:

    I did this challenge! I was just too lazy to photograph it. I cleared out 4 bags of junk,could have been 300 pieces for all I know.Thanks for the inspiration,Future me is grateful too

  13. Jen says:

    This was mildy fascinating….which in itself is fascinating. I love your posts…..but the comments are like a bonus. Some good ones in here. :)

  14. inki says:

    Hi Karin.

    Very proud of you. You really have the best junk!!!

    Love Inki

  15. Sarah says:

    Can you please post more? They’re so fun to look at!

  16. marilyn says:

    karen i’m back!! you prob didnt even miss me but i missed you! my computer was being fixed and wow im soo behind. and i missed the fellas happy bday fella..i know it was happy and hey karen glad to be back..

    • Karen says:

      Marilyn – I was just thinking about you as I was driving home from Toronto today as a matter of fact! I *did* wonder where you were! Welcome back!! I’ll give the fella your birthday wishes. ~ karen

  17. Nancy says:

    Late reading today..I have at least 50 things packed up..including clothes..tomorrow I will be working on another area of the house so hopefully lots more to go..all will be donated to a church thrift shop..Hope your tummy is feeling better

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – Thanks! I’m good! I’ve been pretty careful not to overeat since then though. I’m such a pigface. ~ karen

  18. Laura Bee says:

    ok, I found 11 things to get rid of today and finished stuffing one grocery bag with baby clothes to donate. (that is a regular thing, so I counted it as one) I’ll get to 50 by the weekend – thanks for the inspiration everyone.

  19. Amy says:

    No photos but . . . Husband and son made the mistake of leaving me home alone on Sat. They have no clue what I put in the Goodwill box and unless they ask in the next few days, it’s gone. My husband also has a terrible habit of putting all his papers on the kitchen table until you can’t even find the surface anymore. So I got 2 really nice baskets, sorted the papers into them and then put the baskets into the pie safe in the hall. When he got home Sat. night, I told him I would let him know where his papers are when he wanted to know. He said okay and walked away. Let’s see how long before I chuck those too!

  20. Karin says:

    Hi there,
    I’m the owner of the german junk and i really
    love your comments!
    The two plastic fishs seem to be a real eyecatcher.
    You also should have an eye on these little garden
    scissors, they fit in every pocket and are very strong
    in cutting branches!
    I’m so proud to be a part of your blog, Karen!
    Greetings from Stuttgart / Germany

  21. hunter says:

    Heh, yes indeed I did…I’m working on my acceptance speech now. My cats also immediately stopped shedding and my husband began to express a love for doing laundry.

    You don’t even want to know what he started doing after I cleaned out my closet.

  22. Alana says:

    Drat. Now I wish I had done it. I folloed the link above–unfortunately some of the pictures aren’t showing up. It could just be me and my computer, but I thought you should know.

  23. Melissa Tuli says:

    I was just cleaning out my children’s toy box when I sat down to take a break. But this isn’t new for me, I’ve always been a chucker. If there isn’t room or it looks too cluttered, I start chucking.

  24. Nicole2 says:

    Karen, let’s throw a challenge for the fellas. I’d like to see guys’ junk on here…

  25. roxana says:


    The issue of raising chicken came up in Chicago’s suburbs as well.

  26. Tricia Rose says:

    This isn’t just a post, it’s the beginning of a series, seriously! This stuff is mesmerising!
    You did inspire me to chuck too, but I lost count…

  27. Tina says:

    Well I took your challenge to heart! I chose my cupboard in my bathroom. Took before and after photos. Counted the items I threw out -38 items – 35 after I dug three things back out. So I moved to my fridge. After holidays, after kids went back to school. Good choice. However. .. I hate to waste food. So I ate the last 4 pickle slices, and I ate the left over potatoes and gravy and stuffing, and ate the last hard boiled egg. I could not just throw out the last two pancakes, so I used up the last cup of syrup and ate those too. Two cheese wedges eaten. Then of course my two half bottles of wine. Now properly disposed of. Clean fridge, 52 items out of the fridge. But the price I paid – Weight gain 2 pounds. Sick to my stomach, bit of a hangover. I think your challenge can suck it!

  28. Paulina J! says:

    I laughed so hard when I read “German’s have the best junk” (that’s what she said!!!). Sorry, couldn’t help it and Пожалуйста.

  29. Barbie says:

    I want “Jans” red chairs” by the door….
    they would look lovely on my front porch! And this would make two more things she would be able to get rid of!

    Just helping out like I always do! No thanks needed!

  30. Nan Tovar says:

    Yup, I failed at this, but I haven’t counted my things as I chuck them….need to get started in earnest! Great post of others’ junk, Karen, especially the German junk…too cool.

  31. Tracie says:

    I don’t have pics but I did clean and organize my kitchen cupboards, and while my 4 year old grandson was over spending the weekend! I also put my spices in cute dollar store containers. I can’t stop staring in my cupboards now…making some orange chicken for dinner tonight, yum! Thanks!!

  32. Pat says:

    The best thing to do when you are upset/angry/frustrated is to clean a drawer, closet, whatever. When you are in that mood you are more likely to throw away sentimental junk cuz you are probably saying to yourself or yelling to anyone in the vicinity, “Why am I keeping this crap!?”. It is the best time to purge. Try it! My friend swears by this method.

  33. Danielle M. says:

    JAN!! Get it, girl! You made that porch your B(@%#~!!! :)

  34. Diana @ frontyardfoodie says:

    haha German junk is cooler than US junk too….darn them, even when they’re messy they’re still a step a head of the rest of the world.

  35. Laura Bee says:

    First thing I saw, after the hammer…the *ahem” notepad. Thanks for mentioning it, it was going to drive me nuts all day wondering.

    • Michelle says:

      In my defense, the notepad was a party favor from my friend’s bachelorette party. I don’t really collect things in the shape of… well. Thanks for having this challenge, Karen. I got to see my junk on the internet! Now I have to tackle my craft room- massive amounts of random crap in there!

  36. blake says:

    I had no idea I would enjoy looking at other’s junk this much…what is wrong with me? I’m studying these peoples junk!
    On a side note I have no junk and live in a dream world where all of my drawers are camera ready at all times…

  37. Deb says:

    Jan…want to offer my assistance by taking the doormat, the galvanized bucket and a few of those flowerpots off your hands…anything I can do to help prevent a relapse. Oh…and Sue’s vodka…and Marti’s coupons (just slip them inside the sex book)…and those little German fishies of Karin’s are pretty cool. I am here for you ladies!

  38. LOVE IT! I did my closet yesterday!
    Moving on to the kitchen!

  39. Okay, not going to tackle drawers. Going to take back old booze and beer bottles. IT is great doing it at this time of year, they assume you had a Christmas bash and never think “Oh yay, another drunk”.
    Does taking a dehumidifier to the hazardous waste place help? Do I get extra points if my junk’s safe disposal requires paying a fee?

  40. magali says:

    I didn’t throw out 50 things BUT I cleaned and organized my spice drawer! I felt lighter after! I thought of you as I labeled the top of the spice containers. I am so happy I no longer have to lift every bottle to find the spice I want.

    • Bridget says:

      This post was too close to home. I cleaned out medicine cabinets and was amazed at the 1997 exasperation dates I found. : <

    • Mandy says:

      I was recently at my parents house for a weekend. I braved the medicine/spice/whatever my dad throws in there cabinet looking for some Aleve. I found garlic salt with a manufacturing date from before I was born. Not good. What’s worse? I just left it there.’s not my cabinet! I have my own scary medicine/spice/whatever my dad would throw in there cabinet to deal with! A month later when I came back home again….I threw it out. And five others that were made before I was even born. Yikes….

  41. I failed! I didn’t do it. But I’m inspired by the pictures now so I’m off to throw stuff out. Beware.

  42. pve says:

    Seriously, you could be a great leader for some sort of club.
    Hoarder’s Anonymous
    Stuff it
    Stuff that finds me
    Stuffing myself silly
    The art of doing stuff and getting rid of that stuff
    ha ha
    love that German stuff in that drawer….gut!

  43. Gayla T says:

    Is there some place all the junk can go so that the hunter/gatherers like me can go through it and see what we might need? When I and my chums have a garage sale it turns into a big swap and I know we could put on the swap to beat all swaps. I’ve been salivating ever since you mentioned the Lemoge bowl. I will trade her 6 tupperware bowls for it. We will need a moderator to make sure all this goes smoothly……Karen, do we have a volunteer? Karen??

  44. Laura says:

    I frequently throw out/cleanse my home of unwanted items…now if only I could get my partner to throw out 1/10 of his grandma’s stuff (she died over a decade ago and he has ALL her things, yup right down to the old bills, leases and FURNITURE). That stuff is filling our garage, our basement AND livingroom. Somethings gotta give!


  45. Toni Harvey says:

    Just found this blog but I have been in a “get rid of it” mode for some time now. I had too many knick knacks and my eyes could not rest so I have been purging and organizing but just a little at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. This is a great blog.

  46. Marti says:

    Getting rid of chicken waterers somehow motivates cool front porch rockers to multiply? COOL!

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