Throw Away 50 Things!

It is time, yet again, to grab a drawer, closet, refrigerator or medicine cabinet and start chucking stuff.  You may think we just finished the most magical season of the year, but the truth is … it has just arrived.

It is THROW AWAY 50 THINGS season, which is only eclipsed in terms of excitement by the one day a year your hair, nails, outfit and skin look good, by some miracle, all at the same time.  Sadly this “time” is usually at 1 a.m. after coming home from a bar and is also mainly imaginary.

January is traditionally the clearing out, decluttering, cleaning up, paring down season. That’s why plastic totes, cutlery trays and storage towers are on sale this month.  But those things really just help your organize or hide your crap,  when what you really need to do is get RID of it.

As fond as you are of the operation manual for the 20 year old VCR you threw out 9 years ago, you can probably part with it without consequence.

I have an entire folder filled with useless manuals. It started out as a great way to keep track of all them and has ended with me housing manuals from products that have long been thrown out, given away or deemed hazardous by all countries but China.

So that is the first thing I tackled in my Throw Away 50 Things Challenge.  My collection of manuals.

 

manuals-before

 

Done.
manuals-after

 

I had a manual on how to operate my toaster.  A toaster.  How to operate it.

I’m pretty confident in my toasting skills so I took a risk and threw it out.

The second thing I tackled was the entire closet that the manual folder is in.  I lost count, but I threw out approximately 14,543,256 things.

This is what it looked like when I started.  I’ll allow you a moment now to snoop through all of my things as I know you will.  It’s human nature.

 

Closet-before

 

And after a few hours of  chucking and reorganizing …

 

closet-after

 

It still doesn’t look like something that would be in Martha Stewart’s or even Jon Stewart’s house but it’s better than it was.  The next time I go to Ikea to pick up a hotdog, I’ll check the As Is section for more shelves so there isn’t as much wasted space.

 

Now I just have to tackle the other side of the closet.

 

next-closet

 

Oh, you finally made it to this sentence did you?  Dirty gawker.

Now it’s your turn.  Throw Away 50 things and make your life easier, more organized, simpler and safer (no one should own 30 year old fireworks).  Once you do it, let everyone know what you got rid of in the comment section.

More organizing incentives coming up on Wednesday, this time … the freezer.  How I got twice as much into the same amount of space, which is not unlike what I’m currently doing with this year’s thighs in last year’s jeans.

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134 Comments

  1. Diana says:

    When you get totally organized .. Can you come over my house and help me in my sewing room ?

    Girl you got much more ambition than I do today .. Keep it up (just don’t throw out the kids or the animals !!).

    • Maria says:

      Over the years, people have said that to me. Once I actually fell for it and organized one cabinet of Tupperware and old butter and cool whip containers. Everything was neatly stacked and had a matching lid. One week later it looked about the same as before and she was made cause I threw out her old butter tubs. Never say that to me because I will throw your crap out

  2. Debison says:

    Is it wrong that I find great joy in throwing things away? I love the feeling after Christmas of a decluttered house (since the tree is now down and I have regained square footage). Every day this past week I have recycled or thrown LOTS of things away. It feels refreshing to me.

    • Kitten Caboodle says:

      Nope. Not weird at all. I live to throw things away – it is very satisfying. I guarantee you I threw 25 things away this past weekend without even thinking about it. Off the top of my head: a mostly dry bottle of Krazy Glue that I knew would be completely useless when I actually needed it, an olive jar when I realized I had two half-full jars in my fridge (no clue how that happened), two used gift cards, and, from under the sink: a 1/4 container of Swiffer Wet refill pads that had completely dried up, at least 3 sponges and two 7-year old ant traps from a box of 8. (Do ant traps expire? Don’t know, don’t care.)

  3. Laura says:

    I am currently selling my junk on Facebook neighbourhood swap groups. But what on earth should I do with my dvds and cds?

    • Karen says:

      I know. I chucked the majority of my DVDs a few years ago but I can’t bring myself to get rid of my CDs. I also can’t bring myself to transfer them to my computer and then to my iPhone. I choose to pretend they don’t exist. ~ karen!

      • Claudia says:

        We DID transfer the CDs to the computer (and to the mobile phones), as soon as it was possible. But we still keep the CDs… (in a big drawer that is so full of stacked CDs that noone ever dares open it lest the whole drawer might break off. Or the whole cabinet that contains the drawer might collapse…)

        • peg says:

          my thought exactly,have lots of cd’s but haven’t bought any new, I have 2 sons that download for me.Next project is to transfer 😀

    • Debbie says:

      If they are kid dvds and cds, you could donate them to a school or a hospital. You can also recycle them. I found this site for Canada: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2013/01/how-to-recycle-practically-everything/ and I know about this site for the US:http://www.cdrecyclingcenter.com/

      There are other sites for information, but I am too tired! Good night!

    • Pam'a says:

      Google “sell used CDs.” There are lots of online places. And depending on where you live, there’s probably someplace local. Or, you can go to dvdhunt.com, enter the UPC code of the CD, and see who’s offering the most for it.

  4. barbee says:

    Sorry- but that is nothing in my world of crap piles. But I am inspired.

  5. Sheryl says:

    I had a booth at a flea market yesterday and afterwards, I only brought home one box and took six to Goodwill. I’m sorry, I didn’t follow your advice and throw it away but now someone else can take it home and save it to throw away NEXT year.

  6. Marilyn Harrison says:

    I/we have started to tackle our filing cabinet and, wow, ,,lol, it’s amazing just how much paper work we had kept.
    We do this at least once a year and it keeps getting to look the same each time. ..lol .
    Feels like we go in circles.
    We do a lot of shredding papers ,well I do it.
    Ok….your turn people .

    • cheryl says:

      HELLO, fellow peeps with piles of crappola ! Karen just so you know Martha Stewart is overratted, she probably has someone do her organizing while us reg. folk have to do it ourselfs…This is how my organizing goes, while searching for something i got for my great nephew I ended up cleaning the bathroom cupboards out I tend to get distracted this way…And I was quite amazed at all the crappola that had managed to make it’s way in said cupboards, 2 bags later to take to the local food bank of hair products that were useless,,at least to me..And was quite suprized to find that I will not need to buy ;;; q-tips, cottonballs, toothpaste, deoderant, razors an the like for the next 4 yrs even after i put half of each of those things an other in the bags to the food bank !! Oh see what I meaN got side tracked again, did i ever find what i was looking for NOT in bathroom it was in a china hutch in dining room ! Can’t figure how it got there, so I cleaned that too….Thanks Karen for the inspiration…I exceeded the 50 I think yey..I love getting rid of stuff, i just have to do it…

  7. Jennifer (the 2ND one) says:

    I woke up one day last week feeling like I wanted to organize something. This is unusual, so I went with it. I organized my makeup drawer, realizing that I didn’t need to root through 10 purple eyeliners every single day, when I really only use one. Then, still amazed at my enthusiasm, I went for… the kitchen junk drawer. I literally found 54 batteries that have not expired and 3 that had. Now I’m encouraging everyone in the family to use battery-operated items. I got such a good feeling from organizing and purging that I haven’t felt the need to clean anything else since! Too bad my Christmas things aren’t put away yet…

  8. Cynthia says:

    I threw out daggy knickers. It’s the best way to force myself to buy new ones.

    Then I gradually went through every drawer and cupboard in my house. What a show-off. I threw out patty cake pans , boxes that I might use to post stuff to someone, daggy tea towels, worn shoes and ones that annoy me.

    I can’t bear to throw out one thing. A beautiful cream with coffee lace negligee set that is all permanent pleats and diaphamous. Just like something from the fifties. I have worn it once and often think of chopping it up to make a dress, but surely someone will need a negligee set one day.

    I even tried to give it to the crazy lady who dresses like Marilyn Monroe in our city, but got tired of waiting in the mall for her to turn up. Maybe she saw me first.

    Then I got on ebay and bid on five pairs of shoes, two Glomesh coin purses and a tapestry purse. So far, I have won three pairs of shoes and three purses.

    See? You have to create a void as nature abhors a vacuum and will fill it up with new shoes and purses.

    • Susan says:

      Daggy knickers. What a wonderful expression, love it! I go about it the other way – buy new ones with the intention of throwing out the daggy ones and all it does is gives me extra time before I have to do a laundry. You go through them in order: most comfortable, next best, ones that don’t fit quite as well, the new ones you’ve been saving for a doctor’s appointment, and then you’re down to the daggy ones that you were going to throw out. Next time. That’s the worst (or best) part about living alone – your laundry days are dependant on your supplies of underwear.

    • cheryl says:

      DAGGY KNICKERS what a hoot ! I took all my old ones an holey socks an dusted with them then threw them out…I reuse everything an i mean everything….I did get some goofy looks from my hubbie as i was dusting the buffet with his knickers…..hahaha Old brazziers by the way dont make good dusting rags…

  9. Grammy says:

    Forgive me, but your “before” looks better than most of my “afters”. No, I am not proud of that. It’s just that I have a million excuses (beginning with I’m old, I’ve lived in this house nearly forty years, I have a husband who always puts things where they don’t belong) blah blah blah. See how a really experienced slob can find an infinite number of reasons for why throwing 50 things away only makes it look better for about 5 minutes before all the other crap has expanded to fill the tiny spaces that were cleared?

    It so happens that I had already pledged to myself that this month I am going to throw a whole bunch of things away, and I devised a way to shame/motivate myself into actually doing it: take a picture first, then after. So now I’m feeling pretty good because you took a before/after picture so that means I’m doing it right. Right? I began yesterday. I threw away all my not-perfect undies, then stuffed all my not-perfect or mismatched socks in a bag to use for dusting and hand puppets and other useful things, which made my dresser drawer full of only nice things. I also cleared out all the outgrown clothes in my grandson’s room. Tomorrow I start on my bedroom closet. I would win a prize if it was a competition for how many things get thrown away simply because I have so much useless stuff to choose from.

  10. Cyndi P says:

    ONLY 50?
    Girl, I wanna chuck 50,000 pieces of crap. I’ve been on a purge binge for the last year and a half
    and have only scratched part of that itch. I was in the craft industry for a long time and did many crafts prior to that, you can’t even imagine how much I had crammed everywhere I could possibly shove something into!
    Now I have it pared down to just two rooms.
    I’m a purging Ninja…a slow Ninja, but a Ninja none the less!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I have the same (probably 2) folders filled with manuals for every single thing we have bought in the past 10 years. I think about those folders while I’m Googling how to fix one of the things we have bought in the past 10 years!! I’m chucking them all tomorrow! It will free up some space for all those hard copies of our tax returns! ( that we look at like, never!)

  12. Tasha says:

    My husband actually thinks the “Go through everything and get rid of stuff you don’t use” thing that we do in the first week of January is better than Christmas. Because we feel guilty about chucking stuff, he took pictures of them, made a pdf, and emailed it our neighbours. We “shared” about half the stuff and the rest went in the dumpster.

    One trick that we do, is if there is something we are not certain about, then we/he writes, “If not used by December 20XX, throw away.” That way, when we pull out the unused, but awesome thing (I am looking at you, great salad spinner), and I see that I did not use it in 12 months because it said that, there was no discussion about keeping it. If I had used it, I would have washed that notice off. Sigh. It was an awesome spinner, and I hope my neighbour uses it more than I did.

    • Debbie says:

      I use my salad spinner weekly. It saves me having to dry greens with towels or paper towels and does a better job. I have two sizes!

      Do you have a Freecyle network near you? It is an awesome thing. Sort of what you did with your neighbors, but organized. Check it out and see if there is a group near you. I love Freecycling!

  13. Alison says:

    I just kicked my sh*thead boyfriend and all of his stuff out; does this count towards my 50 things? I mean, there’s still more to organize, but I feel like a whole human being is a good start…

  14. judy says:

    Boy does this hit my shame-guilt nerve. I am definitely ADD although when I was a kid 70 years ago they called me “scatterbrain” and Hey! Stupid! Because what was in my peripheral vision was always more interesting than what I was supposed to be attending to. So for the last umpteen years I have vowed that when they cart me out of here the Damn house will be “lovely”. We have pretty things-enough to open a Junk Shop-but everything is always catty-wampus. I constantly tear things apart to organize and wind up with huge piles of stuff on the bedroom floor for days. After the 98 lb. Dog sleeps on it for a few nights and I wash and dry it all again I stuff it in big green trash bags and hide it in the back bedroom. I have done this now three times! I am going to take your advice-I am not going to even look at it I am not going to look at it muse about if I should save the not so nice for cleaning clothes or cleaning cloths I am going to Pitch it. I feel very happy right now and since its 2:24 in the morning I think I’ll go to bed. Whew! You may have fixed what’s left of my life. Thank You!

  15. janni says:

    Karen,
    Truly, thanks for sharing the pics of your less than perfect closets.
    Janni 🙂

  16. Mama Toto says:

    I’m inspired – I like the idea of taking before & after pictures. Most people have a junk drawer – we have a junk closet! I think I have to pretend that we’re putting the house up for sale, or doing a house exchange. I’m just amazed at all the CD’s you have! Have you ever counted them? Regarding manuals – I cut off the other languages!

  17. Debbie Bashford says:

    4 large green garbage bags full of clothes are now in the trunk of my car to be taken to the second hand store.

  18. Terri in Colorado says:

    I bought one of those roll-out cabinet shelves last summer. Finally installed it on New Years, and reorganized my pots and pans. I found several orphan lids that don’t fit any pan I own. I understand how socks can go missing in the wash, but pans? Really?

  19. Tigersmom says:

    This task is my current mission. We’ve only been in this house 3.5 years and the amount we have accumulated is nutty. Apparently there is a down side to having loads of storage in a home for a person who thinks they should keep everything because they may find a use for it eventually.

  20. Alice says:

    I hope people are donating usable things and recycling. Please, throwing away anything that can be used in some fashion is just moving your clutter on to the public. (Sorry to be so preachy.)

    • Tasha says:

      But the down side to that mentality is that people donate things that are “useable” but are actually junk. They feel good about not having thrown stuff away and the poor folks at the Sally Ann have to throw it away.
      But always recycle electronics.

      • Alice says:

        Your point is well taken. And you are right that electronics need extra concern. However, many people do donate usable items. Everything we donate should be clean. I always carefully check for rips, stains, and make sure all buttons are secure. If not, it becomes a rag. No chipped or cracked dishes, do-dads, etc go to donation, although, they could be a little less than currently stylish. Recycle paper, plastics, and metal cans even if you have to drop them off on your way to a function. All food scraps except meat and dairy can be composted. (Guess I preached again! I’d like to hear that I’m preaching to the choir!)

        • Pam B says:

          Hiya Alice!!! You are preaching to this choir. I occasionally have to have someone come with a truck to take my recyclables to the center, they pile up so much. I live alone, and usually only have one bag of trash a month to throw away. My ex worked at the landfill and I hated that place, so much that could have been recycled or repurposed in there. Keep on preaching, I will too. Blessed be, hugs!!! Pam

  21. Good morning Karen!
    I’m ahead of you (for probably the only time in my life!)…I started this last week. The things I found in my medicine cabinet! Mostly cos it’s so high up (safety!) that I need a ladder to reach it, so when stuff is put there, it’s never taken out by me!
    Started on freezer this morning..3 month old, dried-out naan bread, ugh!

  22. Denise says:

    Does it count if your DH gets your son (who moved into his own house in JUNE) cleared out a large trash bag will of clothes to donate (not to mention a big assed boom box) and took another basket of clothes to his place?;)

  23. Diane says:

    I save all my manuals electronically. You can get alm0st every manual online. I am also not sure how many lint rollers one person needs?!? But you have inspired me to take the plunge in a closet I have been ignoring. I am pretty sure the monsters are having a party in there and won’t be happy when I begin the exorcism, but I will do it anyway. I am brave and am ready to eliminate the load o’crap I have been composting for so long! Thanks Karen!

  24. Barb says:

    Timely topic! I “might” be having company this month so thought the purge should start now. And when I have the urge, I’d better go for it before it passes (usually all too quickly)! The guest room is presentable and I moved onto and completed the linen closet. Next is the kitchen, which I’ve avoided for years. It’s always seemed a herculean task to pull everything out and pitch…but I’m inspired! If I don’t reappear in two days…come and get me!

  25. Mary Werner says:

    I can’t do it – I would have never thrown out the toaster manual – I keep crap like that to make journals and stuff for my art. At least that is what the hoarders always say – they need it. But every time someone wants something they come and ask me and I can go directly to the pile that contains their item. I wish I could throw it out – but I have a personality disorder I’m sure that allows me to see potential in every stinking thing that comes to me free. Karen, why do you have what appears to be 4 lint rollers? I can see a trio of variegated sizes and a large beautifully colored one that I bet cleans up with water. What’s up with that collection?

  26. Heather says:

    18 months ago I moved from a 2400 sq foot house to a 750 sq ft apartment. Hubby retired & is now living his dream at the cottage (1000 sq ft) & since I am not ready to retire (I am MUCH younger 🙂 )I got an apartment for my daughter and myself. (Note: no, we are not separated…we just spend a lot of time apart. After 30 some odd years that is not necessarily a bad thing.) So when the house sold we had to purge which I have to say was a very difficult thing as we lived in the house my husband grew up in for 60 some odd years so you can imagine how much STUFF we had. (just to clarify- I didn’t live in the house for 60 some odd years) So we donated tons, sent tons to the cottage garage & then stuff to my apartment and the garbage. I would unpack boxes at the apartment & decide…nope…don’t need that…pack it back up again…donate it. We are still going through boxes at the cottage & every time we open another box we end up chucking most of it. In the summer we put a table at the road with a big FREE sign. In cottage country people are always looking for stuff.

    Last year I signed up for the January Cure on Apartment Therapy and again this year: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/collection/january-cure-2015-468
    I don’t follow it step by step but it’s an incentive. Despite only being in my apartment for about a year and a half I still end up purging.

    So this month’s purging? Expired food items!! On the list…my pile of papers…the stuff that just keeps getting thrown on THE PILE. I need mood music & wine to get through that.

    • Lez says:

      Heather, I absolutely love your idea of the FREE table! I live in South Africa where SO many of our population are so incredibly poor & have basically nothing. I am only on comment 26 & am feeling too disheartened to read any further. There is literally nothing that we could/may throw out, that someone wouldn’t use or need or want. Even my husbands holey socks get taken out of the bin by my domestic worker & taken home to the farm to be worn again. There is such a huge difference to living as most of you seem to, in the 1st world, to living in a 3rd world country. I love that everything gets re-used or re-cycled by less fortunate people than ourselves. Please guys, don’t throw everything away, there must be places that donate all the things you are chucking out there?

      • Karen says:

        Lez – I assumed it would go without saying that anything useable would be donated/sold or given away but since your the bazillionth person to comment on it I’ll address it. As I said in the linked post on redoing my whole house everything was given away, sold or repurposed. In the case of my manuals there isn’t a single person within this country that wants an old manual. Or broken CD cases. No one. I think it’s just common sense that if you’re getting rid of an old set of sheets or something you either donate them or turn them into cleaning rags. But, having said that, you hit the nail on the head. This is a first world country and if I had a bunch of socks filled with holes no one would want them. Used clothing stores and or donation stores won’t take anything that is in poor condition. And if we’re donating to the homeless we’re more likely to buy them new socks than give them old ones with holes. So you can’t completely, accurately compare the two places or the two lifestyles. ~ karen!

        • Lez says:

          I wasn’t trying to compare our 2 countries. Maybe the title of your blog should have been, “Get rid of 50 things”, not “Throw away” 50 things. I also purge now & then & know that old manuals & broken CD cases are of no use to anyone. I also throw away those things. I was just trying to get the point over that so many things people in 1st world countries throw away would be welcomed by so many of our population here. Another thought. All the people who replied having freed up shelves, cupboard space, floor space, that now sits empty, what are they going to do with all that empty space!? Probably fill it with more “stuff” as time goes on!Organisation is fabulous, but empty space is just that, empty space! THAT is a serious first world problem! And a problem that 80% of our population would love to have! The whole reason I replied to Heather was because I loved her idea of a “FREE” table. Much as you knew everyone would snoop inside your cupboards, human nature loves the word “FREE”! Put it all outside & watch it disappear. What is left, recycle or give to charity shops. I still love your blog & it always puts a smile on my face. I still think it is good that you inspire people to move forward & try to change their lives.

  27. Tracie says:

    I’m ready. I couldn’t bear to take my tree and decorations down until yesterday, but now that I have, boy am I ready! I will let you know how it goes…

  28. nancy says:

    Done and done. All last week I did closets, drawers, the dreaded spice/baking supplies lazy susan (scary)….have filled up the recycle can and have boxes and boxes of hazmat stuff (old lotions, shampoos, expired otc meds, scrips, ointments, electronics) that I don’t want to go to the landfill or water treatment plant…and that’s my tip to you: haz mat that kind of stuff if you can. Think about where that 1/2 bottle of lotion will end up.

  29. MelissaM says:

    Regarding the manuals, I keep them for major appliances. I actually have organized binders, one for “stays with house” with stuff like the furnace info, stove, fridge, etc. and the other for stuff we would take when we move (like a toaster, but I’ll admit I don’t keep those manuals. Like for the freezer.) When we moved, we left the “stays” binder. It was done for us when we bought our first house, and I appreciated knowing when the dishwasher was installed (and that there were colored panels stored in the door if we wanted to swap out the color) and having the a/c info, etc.

    The stuff in the “keep” binder can be helpful to know you bought the XYZ-123 widget machine and that part you need to replace is ASDF1.01 or whatever.

    I should mention, this is one of the few areas of my life that I am actually organized. But I like to think it helps.

  30. Carolyne says:

    Last year we took on the “Minimalism Game” for two months. Not so fun by the end of the month. http://www.theminimalists.com/game/

    the rules. on the first day of the month throw out 1 thing ( and yes, throw means donate, give, sell, etc.), just get it out or your house. On the 2nd two things, on the 3rd three things. Sounds easy. Not so much on the 31st when you have already tossed over 450 things.

    Hubby found it very stressful. but we did get rid of almost 1500 things over the two months.

  31. magali says:

    Done! It seems every time you give us this homework I am about to or have just moved. When it was time to pack the junk drawers I actually sorted and threw out/recycled everything I could instead of shoving everything in a box like I wanted to do. *proud face*
    Now we are in a sublet with all our stuff in storage until we find where we want to live. Should I do the owners a favour and sort one of their closets?!

  32. Kendall says:

    My children say, “If you stand still long enough, Mama will clean you out and organize you!” This may in fact be true! I really do love a purging/cleaning out/moving on/organizing project. I really do. I find it quite Zen. But, I recognize that not everyone feels the same.

    Cleaning out isn’t just a blip on the to do list of the mom. It can be the responsibility (Zen inducing pleasure) of the entire family!

    Uniting a family on the verge of a purge is a great way to start:
    http://blog.growingthewholechild.com/involve-your-whole-family-in-de-cluttering/

    I’m off to meditate- aka clean out the pantry.

    PS I find your blog quite enjoyable!

  33. Beth Howard says:

    But what’s on the very tippy-top of the whole shelf unit? Looks like some cassette tapes and a manual that you thought you’ d lost and have really needed. By the way, I transferred all my CDs to the computer, then immediately got a ransomware virus. I refuse to be manipulated by annonymus cyber thieves so I lost all my music and photos. The only cure for the virus is to have your computer totally wiped clean and then reinstall everything. Anything not backed up previrus is gone. :'(

  34. Dan says:

    If you’re going to encourage us to snoop through your cupboards, please make the images clicky to a bigger version so we can really dig in, mmmmkay? What we have now is the equivalent of looking into your neighbour’s kitchen with binoculars. And the last time my, ummm, *coworker* did that……well, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, can you?

  35. Kathy says:

    4 sticky lint rollers? tsk tsk 🙂

  36. Elen G says:

    I’ve started in the office, which is where I mostly try to work. I had no idea I had so many rotted rubberbands. Cheques from accounts that no longer exist. Non-working staplers. Somebody please check on me in about a week. 😀

  37. Andrea says:

    Karen – you have an impressive collection of lint rollers. Are you exceptionally linty?

  38. cbblue says:

    You did the lint roller thing just to see if we would notice; didn’t you? It’s always easier to see someone else’s issues rather than our own. I myself have way too many to count. For me it’s cleaning supplies. What the heck I don’t even clean unless company is coming. I think my hubby invites people over just so the house gets cleaned. Ok, way TMI. Great post Karen!

  39. Allison says:

    I started this over the weekend. I think I’ve already hit 50 items in my clothes and shoes that I’ve purged. Now to purge the kids’ and hubby’s closets. Please send a search party if I don’t emerge in 24 hours. I may need to bring snacks.

  40. Barbara says:

    Great work, but that doll head is creeping me out!

  41. Kelli says:

    yeah yeah new year, blah blah. Time to clear off my “horizontal file cabinet” aka my dining table. AGAIN.

    Then a week later it’ll be back to being a mess all over. 🙁 Can you say “lazy”? Sure, I knew you could.

    I got a kick out of the fact that you are definitely an animal person – not only do you have fur rollers, but you have them in multiple sizes and multiple types.

  42. Ev Wilcox says:

    Wow! Wish I could rent some of these eager throw-awayers! I can part with almost anything–it’s just the labor involved that stops me. Most of the “stuff” is either upstairs, or even higher (the attic) or in the basement, which involves more stairs! I know it seems like an excuse, but I yearn to get rid of stuff, really I do!
    sigh…. Oh well, maybe this year….

  43. Cathy says:

    This was going to be a weekend of purging for me. As an empty nester I have three guest rooms of crap that kids left behind. I was so excited to start purging. Yesterday, my husband asked me to look at a ‘few’ of his clothes with him. That was at 11am. I had to look at every piece of clothing in his closet to help him decide what to keep and what to toss. The Veteran’s shelter was very happy to see us arrive with 4 huge bags of suits. Then he decided that before he put his clothes away, his dusty closet needed cleaning. I think he thought I would do it. I filled a bucket with water and handed it to him with some of his rag box tee shirts.

    My stuff didn’t get accomplished at all and it looks like my husband has moved out. I’m sure we far surpassed the goal of 50 things.

  44. Jodi T. says:

    The first thing I re-organized this year was a cabinet in my kitchen that housed all of my cleaning stuff. I used to keep it there to keep it away from the little people in my house. Now that they are bigger, I’ve moved all of it to another larger cabinet in the hallway bathroom and put all of our coffee, tea, protein stuff in the kitchen cabinet. It is so much more functional and it’s probably the best thing I’ve done all year ;).

    The second thing I organized was the shoes in my closet. I went from not being able to walk into my walk in closet to actually having about a 4 x 4 space. 🙂 It’s wonderful.

  45. olequiltbat says:

    This morning I finally cleaned out my bottom kitchen cupboards. What a mess…seeing as everyone had pulled out all kinds of things out during the holidays. Took me an hour or so…but now I can locate what I need . Think I’ll try and do one room at a time to see if I can get things under control again. All our inside Christmas decorations were put away over a week ago. Last Feb. we had to change our computer room into a bedroom for my husband seeing as he had his right leg amputated below the knee…so he has a hospital bed and all kinds of equipment in there now. Problem is…because we had to change the room so quickly…I can’t find half the stuff I need again. I did purge a lot of things at that time…but …still haven’t found the paper shredder, & have no idea where it is.

  46. Stephanie says:

    F A B R I C !!

  47. Rondina says:

    After the massive downsize, I began downloading the manuals to my products to a folder called by the original name—Manuals. However, I did not take the time to download the ones that came with the house. That will get rid of about ten things. Last week I cleaned the garage. I had divided the garage apartment into two sides. One side is a completely enclosed, dust-free, storage room. The other side was turned back into a garage. I can now park my car in there again. Enough trash that I filled the trash cart and then after it was emptied, filled it again.

    Are you going to get us ready for spring? I’m always running behind on the gardens.

  48. Patti says:

    It Feels SOOOO Good !!!
    I totally took out everything from my Christmas Storage area and boxed up everything I use and put it back…I was surprised to find that 3/4’s or more was still in the basement and NOT in the storage area. So I had a Christmas Yard Sale this past November and made over $600.00 from things that were in storage and I wasn’t using…(some I had forgotten that I had !!!) So decorating for Christmas this year was a Snap !!!
    Yep…Oh the Sewing Room !!!???? That’s Next !

  49. Lynn says:

    Have to agree Karen it feels amazing to purge. I do it as often as the whim hits, usually once a week joking … At least once a month for real . There are some areas I have to sneak into to do as they are off limits … (Hubby’s room and storage area). I feel almost like a thief when I go in there , but geez he puts things in there never to be seen again an turns around an buys it again cause he forgets he has it !!! Drives me crazy it truly does. His tools are nuts . He only uses 3 screw drivers so they get worn out , I understand that . Instead of replacing those he gets full new sets which usually have 10 to 15 of which only the same 3 keep get worn. Now if you add up 35 years of tool buying sets you might understand why he can not find his favorite worn 3 , an that is just in screw drivers.
    An I know tools an love them an use them . That is ahole different story

  50. Rita D says:

    Isn’t it amazing how much “STUFF” we all have when so much of the world has “not a pot to P*ss in” literally? Truly something to think about.
    I was on a binge, purge theme that I could really relate to all these posts and more! So much stuff, where to start, needing to get rid of 50,000, things and MORE!
    Then one day after a long night at the drive in with the kids we woke up to smoke and by noon our entire house was gone! Well the first thing I felt was FREEEEEEE I really was laughing how much FREEDOM I had from all that STUFF.
    I don’t recommend that kind of therapy to anyone heehee…it’s been 18 months before we got back into a house after living homeless because of that fire, but I really hope I have a handle on my STUFF now.
    And well thankful to be alive too! 🙂

  51. Shauna says:

    Does it count that I did this on the eve of New Year’s Eve? I cleaned out an entire room including a closet, so I think it counts. At one point I was standing in a giant pile of trash about half the size of the room wondering how it had all fit. The majority of extra crap that I threw out was bags and wrapping paper. It was hard to do being that I felt a bit wasteful, but considering how much I was still keeping, I told myself it was more wasteful to waste valuable space than to throw out wrapping paper I’ll probably never use.

  52. Karol says:

    I purged after Christmas for the second year in a row. I had over 20 crates of Christmas Crap that I had accumulated over 30 years. It really wasn’t crap, but the older I get, the less I need “stuff” around me. I had an extensive collection of Santas mostly. I now have about 6 crates with only the special things in it. I also made a pledge to myself last year not to purchase another singe seasonal item because I simply don’t need it.
    One of the things that stood in my way of purging was the thought of having a garage sale instead of donating. To be honest, I’d rather have a root canal than organize crap and host strangers in my yard and end up negotiating treasures down to a quarter. So, I bit the bullet and hauled it all to a non-profit thrift store. From my house to someone else’s. Done, done, done.

  53. Susan Warder says:

    It is a good time to consider this book: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.. I’ve found it has made more impact on my process of clearing away than all other articles, websites, books, etc.
    An essay in NY Times describes that writer’s experience with the process
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/garden/home-organization-advice-from-marie-kondo.html?smid=pin-share&_r=1

    It’s different approach. I like it!

    • Heather says:

      Susan, this looks interesting. I need to check it out.

    • judy says:

      I got this book on your recommendation but it is rather small and as I have 10 6 foot by 3 foot bookcases filled with books and since my 78 year old Husband has Alzheimer’s-he does fine at this point but he helps me by “putting things away” that means unfindable. AnyHoo what I read was really helpful and I’m sure I’ll come across it again so thanks for the great recommendation.

  54. Krista says:

    I am obsessed with decluttering and organizing this month. I have a dresser in my closet that I finally went through, and I can finally close my drawers. Not having to hide the crazyness behind my closet curtain is such a relief. I have two closets in my hallway, and my next project is to reverse the functions of my coat closet and my pantry (1/2 the size of my coat closet). I am beyond excited. You know it’s bad when you ask for a gift card to The Container Store for Valentine’s Day.

  55. Jake says:

    I am so obsessed with decluttering and have been for the last 5 years, I am in the 6th year of a 3 week organizing plan. I am getting there, I have closet space and empty cupboards and space in my storage room. I have got rid of so much stuff (that’s what most of it was, stuff). I don’t cook so what am I doing with 6 saucepans?????,now I have two, big one and small one. One winter coat, three sets of sheets, I still managed to decorate seven christmas trees, oh well maybe that’s the next project. I feels good, very good.

  56. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I have done my underwear drawer..my old Hoosier cabinet and the fridge..I really need to do my freezer plus the freezer attached to the fridge..Since you will be discussing that on Wednesday I will wait for your suggestions..in the mean time I will do more drawers..

  57. Jcorn says:

    Until recently my clothes closet was crammed full. . Every time I went out, I had to change from my usual outfit (a beloved baggy t- shirt, flannel pajama pants, etc) to something fit to be seen by others. I’d search through my clothes, desperately try to pull something together- which would take way too long- and rush out the door.

    My bedroom often looked like my closet had spent a few days on a drinking binge, got sick, and vomited all over the room.

    I finally took a hard look at my wardrobe and faced the fact that I generally wore the same favorite pieces, week in, week out. In the last few days, I got rid of at least 80% of my clothing. Some was donated. Some went to consignment shops ( now I’m a whole $300 richer, woo- hoo). Some were made into cleaning cloths.

    I saved a few pieces with sentimental value. How could I part with the sweater my mother had repaired when she was 98 years old- an hour before she went in for emergency gallbladder surgery? It had a loose button. She noticed and insisted on fixing it ( she always carried a mini sewing kit in her purse). I also saved a goofy hippy jacket, leather with fringes. It evokes memories, mostly good ones.

    I kept 5 pairs of jeans, 7 basic t-shirts, 2 dress pants, several skirts, 3 dresses, 2 sweaters, and 5 blouses. I still have too many shoes. I’m not counting accessories like scarves, hats, purses, etc. Or my underwear and socks.

    But you get the idea. When I open my closet doors, I feel happy.

  58. LazySusan says:

    We cleaned out the freezers and the refrigerator when we got a new refrigerator this past fall. We cleaned out the garage last summer when we got a new laundry pair. Next on the list are two storage rooms, each of which are half organized at the moment. I’m currently looking for a truck to beg, borrow or rent whose bed I don’t have to worry about keeping pristine, to haul away the huge pile that has been building in one corner of the driveway. I’m sure the neighbors will be delighted once it’s gone. We’ll be happy, also, but for some reason people always think what others do or don’t do is worse than what they do or don’t do. We always sell or give away anything that is in good shape, and only toss things that are broken, irreparably torn, permanently stained, etc., though I do have a bag for rags that is now fairly large. I bought some shelving units to help with the storage rooms, to keep them in better order in the future. When I was younger it was much easier to part with things than it is now that I’m older. I’m not too sure if that’s because of entropy or because letting go just gets more difficult as time goes by. It could also have a little something to do with my name. 🙂

    • Desiree says:

      Try contacting the place you will be donating the stuff to. Sometimes they will come pick it up.

      • LazySusan says:

        Thank you, Desiree. It’s not the things we’re giving away that need transport. That’s already been taken care of. It’s the things going to the dump. There’s a full pickup truck load of broken things, including an old 1950s era lumpy full mattress and box spring, that need to go to the dump. Thanks for the suggestion though!

  59. KiwiKat says:

    My brother prefers “practical” presents, so this year, Mum gave him 2 days of cleaning for his present. He is a messy bachelor, so it was an interesting time, but they worked through his place together, and she took away a car load of junk/rubbish to the dump for him.

    He’s also worked through what furniture he’s going to keep and what he’ll pass on when Mum’s place sells (we swap furniture as a family, so things move around a bit, and Mum will be downsizing again), which makes life easier too…

    For me, I went back into my home office/sewing room, which had become the junk room. I have a lovely lady that comes in once a fortnight and vacuums and does general cleaning for me, so the rest of the house is tidied before she comes around, but pieces I don’t know what to do with in the interim tended to be biffed in there until I got a chance to deal with them…it’s the 80/20 principal – 80% of the work/sorting/tidying takes 20% of the time…I’m aiming to have a major session this weekend, as the boxes I took out of the office that were on the floor are currently roosting in my bedroom, which is not ideal….

  60. Bonnie says:

    Wow! I am impressed with everyone’s dedication and diligence. I have been going through files on my computers and throwing out old or redundant files. Does that count? It has taken some time because I use three computers.

    I have to do this with my office at work.

  61. jainegayer says:

    I sold my house last spring and really got rid of lots of stuff. I put it on my front lawn with a big “FREE” sign. It’s amazing how fast it went and I actually had people stop and thank me for the dishes, the hairdryer, the clothes, pots and pans, towels etc. I felt good and they felt good…win/win.

  62. Janet says:

    My daughter and fiancé just moved out last week…woo hoo..can you say “run around the house naked after 28 years”…yah, me neaither. However, I have given them kitchen pots, pans, cutting boards, dishes, glasses, furniture, hangers, a rug, dining table, desk, blah, blah, blah. Our house is finally feeling great and all those things I didn’t want..she did. But I miss her. It feels like a half of my soul has just left…and a tear or several just rolled down my cheek as I lay here thinking about it. I miss her but love that her life will really begin…and now, so may ours once again.

  63. Barbie says:

    NO! I’m keeping everything until I can literally build another house out of all the crap I own….then I will write a book about it!

  64. Dana says:

    Toothbrushes. There were about a dozen in the drawer, and none of them were mine. I called a family meeting in the bathroom to get everyone to throw out their old ones. It was a little strange that one went unclaimed.

  65. Sandra says:

    I finally have all my booze in one place!

  66. Sandra says:

    Oh, yeah, and this Xmas, I bought animals for poor people – ($600 worth), and gave stuff from the house to everyone that I thought they’d like, just so they’d have something to open.

    • martina says:

      What do you mean you bought animals for poor people?

    • Karen says:

      LOL!! I’m with Sandra, I was confused at first. I thought you meant you went out and forced kittens and puppies on unsuspecting poor people who wondered how they were going to pay for the upcoming vet bills. Now I understand. In that case, in the past, I’ve bought animals for poor people too. 🙂 ~ karen!

  67. martina says:

    You are preaching to the choir! My dining room is currently heaving with junk that I purged today. You know when you get in a mood and just lose it on your closets and drawers? Garage sale here I come!

  68. Sandra says:

    I thought everyone in Canada gets those catalogues from ?PlanCanada where you can buy different things for individuals/families in ?Africa. I bought chicks (each were $17), 3 hens and a rooster, educational material for individual children to go to school, good water for a family, harvest seeds for several families, quinoa seeds, a goat and a pair of pigs. Some were matched in price by corporations. My nephew thanked me! He said he has everything he needs.

    • martina says:

      That’s great! In my imagination you had gone to some seedy pet store and gotten pit bulls for all your local squeegee kids.

    • Jaylah says:

      Sandra, my parents do that for everyone in the family each year. They say it’s to remind us all that Christmas is about giving, too, and not just about getting.

      I loved the year they gave me a goat. And I told all my friends my parents gave me a goat for Christmas, and they all wanted to know where I kept it since I lived in town. 🙂

      Their “giving-gift” has always been my favorite ever since they started the tradition.

  69. Sandra says:

    LOL – you’ve both given me ideas for next year. I WAS going to fill up the over abundance of back packs we have with socks and sh**, but maybe a kitten or a pup from the countryside outside the city limits would be better. How about some free love, buddy?

    • Karen says:

      Well, the time I’ve taken to read all the inspirational comments – it’s now my bedtime and alas not a single thing was piffed today!!

  70. Jaylah says:

    I never realized there was an actual month for doing this. I started doing this (for real started instead of just thinking about it) last spring. When you are single, have no kids, and reach a birthday that ends in 0 you tend to start thinking about stuff like this. Because….

    When I’m gone, who is the unlucky person that gets to go through all this crap?

    So three friends and I had a garage sale last June where I got rid of all of the big stuff (a lot that got transferred over here when my parents abruptly sold their huge house and moved to an apartment in a retirement home) and a whole lot of the small stuff. Anything that didn’t sell at the garage sale got immediately taken to Goodwill right after we closed the garage-sale down. (One of the friends had a pick-up truck.)

    My garbage service has a limit as to how much they’ll take on any given pick up day without additional charges, so I’m slowly but surely putting stuff at the curb.

    I’ve recently been researching the “tiny home” movement. Although not as small as a true “tiny home” my house is quite small. I’d love to have it, by the time I croak, down to the point where it would take one person one afternoon to get everything cleared out of here and the house ready for a professional cleaning company to come in and give it the once-over before putting it on the market.

    One of the ones that’s causing me to stumble is my wedding photograph album. We were divorced in 1978, so why am I keeping that??? Any why would anybody else want it after I’m gone? It’s on a shelf in the attic, in the white box it came in from the photographer, so it’s not like I look at it. And who would want it after I die? Maybe it’s because the photographer charged so much money to make it? I honestly have no idea why I still have it. But I do.

    But what I want to know is: Is every defunct user’s manual one item in to 50? Or is throwing out all defunct user’s manuals one out of the 50?

    • Sandra says:

      Jaylah, maybe somebody in the wedding party would want it? Or, somebody who likes “old” photo’s for art’s sake might. Or, somebody in your family who was there?

      Or, maybe the ex? Does he have kids?

      Seems a shame to dump it. There’s history in those pics.

      • Jaylah says:

        I know, Sandra.

        Thing is, the marriage only lasted a bit over a year. My sister and one of his sisters were my attendants. I don’t think anybody in either family really wants to be reminded of what a fiasco both that wedding and marriage were.

        The ex is on his third (at least) marriage (I was his second) and I doubt his current wife would be very thrilled about having a wedding album of one of his previous marriages arriving in the post, even if I knew where he lived (which I don’t, and don’t want to know.)

        About the only thing I can really think of doing with this is to take the photos out and donate the album to Goodwill. If a bride couldn’t afford a professional photographer, she could have a friend take pictures, have them blown up to 5 X 7 prints, and have a lovely, white, padded album.

  71. Laura Bee says:

    Ohh, just purged & moved November 3rd. How could I already have 50 things? bahahaha! I am painting this week- will get on it asap. Thanks Karen.

  72. Patricia says:

    I just cleaned out my spice cupboard! Threw out old and expired spices (cloves dated 1985)….old extract flavorings…salt and pepper combos……consolidated three shelves in a cupboard so that now I actually have an EMPTY shelf!

  73. Maria says:

    I did the bathroom cabinets. Old stuff gone forever

  74. I want to make a magical gleaming fish-scale wall with my old cds one day. I can’t imagine where it would go in my house, but couldn’t it look beautiful?

  75. Desiree says:

    Any tips on purging boxes of old photos (lots of crappy ones included)? I have done really well throwing stuff away in the rest of my house but when I get to the craft room where I have piles of photos and scrapbook junk I intended to put into scrapbooks I get stuck. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Hi Desiree. For me, personally, I’ve found with old photos you have to just bite the shoebox so to speak and go through them. I sent an entire winter, every night on the ground of the living room just going through photos while watching television. I separated them by date and then just filled albums. I still have all the photos (all of which I watned) but now they’re completely organized by year and not such a frenzied mess. Shockingly people even look at the photos when they come over now, lol. Because they’re in albums they’re easy to whip out and go through. Not an easy job, in fact I still remember how much I hated it near the end of album …. 7 or so. But I’m glad I did it. ~ karen!

    • Kate says:

      Karen,
      Your readers are as funny as you are! Desiree, Blacks has this amazing service where you can send them shoeboxes of photos and negatives and slides and Super 8 film and they digitize them all. Amazing. Then you can recycle (are they recyclable?) your photos and take your time to delete any crappy photos from your new digitized collection. Amazing. http://hardware.blacks.ca/blacks/static.jsp?contentID=Shoebox

  76. Martha says:

    Looks like you have a pretty impressive music collection and you’re intent on being lint-free. Cool.

  77. Peggy says:

    Two words to change your life– manuals online! I am liberated from paper, but I do have a plump Evernote account now.

  78. calliek says:

    I stumbled onto this pledge last winter and it was the best thing ever. http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/
    I made a list of things I needed to de-crappify and every day I picked one project to complete. On a high energy day I tackled one of the bigger projects and on days when I was less enthusiastic I did something simple like delete old emails. Breaking it down like that really worked for me and my ADD issues- I could make myself spend an entire day cleaning out the spice rack and feel like I accomplished something without getting distracted on other projects. I made one cupboard the recipient of all of the things that I wanted to give away. By the end of the 40 days I had cleared up things that had bothered me for years, gotten rid of a ton of things (7 garbage bags worth went to Goodwill, 3 shopping bags to a consignment store, 3 bags of books went to various places and so on.) It actually made a huge difference in our seriously storage deprived apt- so noticeable that my friend (who spent the winter in Mexico and missed the process) couldn’t get over the change. I’m already lining up my list for this year and you have given me some ideas!

  79. Karen says:

    On to it.
    374kgs of paper/cardboard, boxes to the dump dating from 1988.
    Lots of junk thrown out or given away e.g. chairs that were going to be fixed, tables, art paper, pens, books clothes. On a roll and going room by room. Very therapeutic.

  80. Dianne says:

    My name is Dianne and I am a hoarder. (Isn’t that the opening line for a twelve step program?) I came by it naturally as the child of a hoarder, and some really hard times in my past lead to fears of being without – again. But I am attempting to mend my ways. So as not to throw myself into total psychotic shock, I have adopted my own 1 out of 4 rule. I must rid myself of one out of four of any item which I have too many of. I put them out by the street in a large box plainly marked “Free Stuff” and let the scavengers do the rest. Every Sunday I empty the box and take it to a local mission. So far I have reduced my plastic container stash (don’t we all have one?) from a cabinet shelf and four (yes, four) big boxes to the shelf and two boxes, a closet and six garbage bags of clothes to the closet and three bags, three sets of pots and pans to one (now that one was stressful) and other smaller heaps of stuff. I am still working on it but when I realize that 5 big boxes of ‘stuff’ are no longer here, I feel there is hope for me yet.

  81. Nan says:

    I have a candle drawer. Sadly I couldn’t fit anything else in it, not even a feather. Reorganized and threw away my first candle purchased and all old and partially used and never intend to use ones. I feel like a huge weight was lifted off of me. I think the drawer thinks that too.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! I’m sure it does. So now you just have to remember to actually burn the odd candle. Not at both ends of course. ~ karen!

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