Throw Away 50 Things
Right Now.

Before I get to today’s post, I have a favour to ask of you.  The chicken debacle continues.  It’s a long story which I plan to get into later.  But for now … if you live in Hamilton or any of its surrounding communities that make up the amalgamated Hamilton, please sign this petition.  It was started by a woman who, like me, feels backyard chickens should be allowed in urban settings.  Signing it will not guarantee backyard chickens will be allowed in Hamilton, but it will start the ball rolling.

Click here to sign the petition 




I got an email a few days ago from a friend.   She wanted to share something she’d found on the Internet with me.  She isn’t the kind of friend that would normally send me random stuff  from the Internet, but she explained when she read this piece of information she immediately thought of me.

Normally I politely thank the person who forwards me stuff from the Internet then promptly ignore it.  I can really only read so many Maxine cartoons.

But I took a chance and gave the post she forwarded a look.  It was a post on a theory, a challenge, started by motivational speaker Gail Blanke.  You might be familiar with her.  Since I have never been one for motivational speakers, self help or any help for that matter … I was not familiar with her.  In a nutshell, Gail has a book and a website that revolve around one sentiment.  Throw out 50 things.  Right now.  Immediately.  It can be anything.  And it will change your life.

I scoffed.  As I often do.  I’m a scoffer, I can’t really help it.  Just this morning I scoffed at a kitchen chair.  I didn’t have anything to throw out.  Just a few years ago I sold/threw out pretty much everything I owned and replaced it with more streamlined stuff.  I just plain didn’t have 50 things to throw away.  Yes.  I am *that* good.

Then I looked directly under my wrists.  My wrists were resting on the edge of the antique pine desk I keep my laptop on.  That desk is in my kitchen.  And in that desk is a drawer.  It is “that” drawer.  The dreaded junk drawer was a mere 2 inches from the fingers that were currently replying to my friend’s email with a great, big, “Thanks, but I DON’T HAVE 50 THINGS TO THROW AWAY!  I’m better than everyone else.”.

This is “that” drawer.

drawer before


This is what was in that drawer.

drawer floor before


This is what was left after I threw out and otherwise relocated the stuff in it.

drawer floor after


This is “that” drawer now.

drawer after


And yes.  I feel better.  Lighter.  Healthier.   It was actually harder than I  thought it was going to be.  Safety pins?  But I might need those.  What if I need those?  They’re great for … pinning things.  Then I got over it and started chucking.   Next I’ll move onto the BOXES of 15 year old makeup in my bathroom, and then like my friend, my refrigerator door.

And I’m very, very excited about it.  Which I suppose is what my friend figured I’d be.  And she was right.  When I cleared out my house a few years ago I felt GREAT.  And that feeling has lasted for years.  I just got rid of crap that I thought I needed, but truly didn’t.  You really do feel lighter and better and for some strange reason, incredibly accomplished when you chuck things.  You feel in control and organized and superior to all other beings.  I don’t know about you, but I like that feeling.


So that is why I’m telling you about this challenge to Throw Away 50 Things.  Because I think you will like it too.  In one week we’re all going to meet back here again and I am going to post some of your pictures.  Yes.  You are going to be famous.  And so is your junk and crap.

Each item equals one thing.  One scrap of paper … 1 thing.  One safety pin … 1 thing.  See?  It’ll be easy.

Pick an area to focus on  … take a before picture, and then an after picture.  They don’t have to be magazine worthy shots.  Just a picture.  And then send the 2 pictures to me at [email protected] with a little information on what you did and how it went.  I’ll post some of the pictures and stories next Monday and report on how it all went.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have a powder blue, sparkle infused, thick tip, eyeliner somewhere that I’m pretty sure I’m ready to let go of.


  1. รับซื้อ Patek Philippe says:

    What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable
    experience regarding unexpected feelings.

  2. Shannon V. says:

    What a great idea Karen. I am going to challenge my teenagers to do this in their rooms (maybe more than once!) as well as do it myself!

  3. Marlene says:

    I need help when I was younger every boy band I fell in love with I collected posters and a lot of memorabilia and now I can’t find myself to throw them away so I’m putting everything into one box and I’m giving it to my boyfriend to throw I’m just gonna close my eyes and tell him to do it quick!

  4. Rori says:

    I just came across your blog and fell in love (with your chickens first). Then read your this post and thought I could do this. So since the weather here dictates mainly staying in doors I take the challenge on. The only difference I’m going to make it throw 50 things in every room. My daughter doesn’t know it yet but she will playing too!

  5. Allison says:

    Am I the only person that said “Why does Karen have my car keys??” and then realized that there is more than one Volvo owner in the world?

    Also, I’m a chuck-aholic. I get in trouble for throwing things away :( I mean, I’m kinda crunchy and love to repurpose, but it’s like getting a runner’s high without having to do an real form of exercise. Swish!

  6. Terrific idea. First I’ll tackle a drawer… then a bookcase… then the “storage” area in our basement! And of course the Big challenge is not to throw useful stuff out — but to find new homes for it (e.g. Freecycle).

  7. Christina says:

    I just came across this via Pinterest and I’m SO glad I clicked on that curious comment about throwing 50 things away! I am getting married in May, and We bought a house, so will shortly be moving over there. There is NO better time to get that junk I’ve been “saving” JUST IN CASE out into the trash bins/to the good will. Thanks for the encouragement, I’ll definitely be sharing my pictures with you! (And probably linking back to this idea on my blog too!)

  8. Mompy says:

    I’ve been planning to hold a GROJ sale – Get Rid of Junk – but will probably not get around to it. I suppose I should give up that idea and just drop it all at a thrift store – and try NOT to go in . . .

  9. Paula says:

    I’m inspired! And it will get me to learn how to attach a picture, something I’ve been needing to figure out.

  10. Diana @ frontyardfoodie says:

    I flipping love throwing stuff away. I’m sure this week I’ve thrown away 50 things (I’m pregnant and nesting, so, yeah).

    On my next nest fest I am SO going to photo my before and afters.

  11. Phyllis says:

    Goodness me!….I’m exhausted just reading what you all have done! Badness me!…haven’t started yet…to exhausted!

  12. Linda Testerman says:

    This is a wonderful idea and I could throw out 50 things every day for the next 50 years and still have ‘stuff” left over. I am on the Near side of hoarding too. I hate to throw anything out. I take that after my dad and his Mom. I get it honestly. but my husband is a neat freak, so he doesn’t understand my hoarding. I will start today.

  13. PoopsieRenee says:

    Just tossed 50 things from my desk drawers… at work. And you are right! I feel so much skinnier :)
    Love from TX

  14. Hanna says:

    AAAARGH!!! After two years of procrastination after our last move, I finally got around to organize the basement starage unit. Unpacking the last boxes and ending up throwing away most os the contents (selling some also). I have the after pics but no bfore. I feel fantastic! But why o why did you post this post today??? I wanted to show off!

  15. joanne says:

    Does anyone (other than me) still use the phrase “unmentionables” for undies? Discuss please.

  16. Gayla T says:

    How much junk can a woman chuck if a woman could chuck junk? Now that damn thing is going to be going around in my head for hours. I feel like a woodchuck. I just moved here last April and I chucked a lot of junk but as usual, I can throw away something I’ve not needed in years and the next month I need it for some project I’ve embarked on. Really! It happens everytime. I was just trying to borrow a folding dog pen back from a friend I gave it to. I took in two Maltese dogs that were going to be put to sleep the next day that are from a puppy mill shut down. She said that she was sorry because she thought I GAVE it to her which I did so she passed it on to someone else who needed it. She said then that I should know by the time we are this old that everytime you get rid of something you need it again. She would have been happy to give it back to me but the person she gave it to needed them because she was moving to another city and couldn’t get her new fence up in time so they are gone beyond my ability to get them back. This is just one example. I’ll admit that I have a lot of stuff and a lot is in boxes that I haven’t unpacked yet and what really bugs me is needing something I know I have but just don’t know where it is. So, I go out and buy it again. I still haven’t found the gift I bought my DIL for Christmas so I had to buy her another one. It was a book and DVD for a craft that I know she will enjoy and I had ocme across it twice since the move and thought, now I’ll need to remember what box this is in for Meredith at Christmas. Christmas came and went and I had to go out and buy her another gift. It’s not just because I’m getting old and senile, because, sadly I’ve always been a bit dinggy. So, I think I’ll sit this adventure out. Instead I’ll spend my time putting away stuff that’s still in a box that needs to be in my junk drawer. LOL Is Dinggy how you spell something that is like a ding dong bell? Dingy is like needing to be spruced up, right? Well, I could use a good sprucing up but what I am admitting to is being a goof ball.

  17. Virginia says:

    Oh Dang!! I just got done completely (and I mean completely) redoing my bedroom closet. Hubby repainted, made new shelving, & put in new flooring. So before everything went back in it I weeded out stuff. Got rid of & donated several bags of clothes. And being I was on a roll I cleaned out my bathroom cupboards too. Wish I had taken before and after pictures!! Oh well I know I have more that I can get rid of so I better get at it. :)

  18. Krystal says:

    I bought Throw Out 50 Things a little more than a year ago. And then went through my house tossing stuff before I was three chapters in. One other thing that Gail talks about is letting go of the emotional junk we all carry around with us as well. Good book, good challenge, great results!

  19. kelliblue says:

    Wow. You’ve inspired me. My own mother’s neatnick, OCD, eat-off-the-floor gene (the gene that helped her ‘clean’ the porcelain right off the bathroom tub) completely skipped me. No…my grandmother’s depression era hold-onto-everything-because-it-just-might-come-in-handy-someday gene skipped a generation and landed *plop* into my DNA. I’m not-quite-a-hoarder-but-on-the-slippery-slope-to-hoarderdom girl. I keep lots of stuff…but neatly. Boxed. Put away. Out of sight. But still. It’s always there.

    I knew I had a problem when, the last time I moved, the MOVERS said, “Lady, you got too much stuff.” O_o

  20. Shauna says:

    This is awesome. I am actually taking next week off of work to do my annual winter cleaning. The office/spare bedroom/junk room is getting my full attention. I’ve already moved out one of the desks, but I’ll take a before & after anyway. Although, I won’t be done in time for your challenge, I’ll still take on the challenge (because I really want more friends and shinier hair).

  21. Deborah says:

    Oh yeah I also found a container filled with pennies and 2 dimes.

  22. Great Idea, it took only 15 minutes and over 50 things gone. Plus, I made 23 cents (american! so not sure of exchange rate today) and found 10 euros. Maybe if I keep going I will find the pot of gold. Will send photos.

  23. Louise says:

    A bit too late for before and after pictures. I bought a house and I’m moving at the end of march and I’ve been throwing out, recycling and giving away a lot of stuff for the last few months and I had started before I knew I was buying a house lol Way more than 50 things ;)

  24. Deborah says:

    Ok I read this today and I really agree with Caroline…how could you post this today when I threw stuff out yesterday but since I threw out 3 yard size trash bags of stuff out of what is supposed to be a linen closet that just ended up collecting anything from holiday decorations to dog food I’m counting yesterday! lol. I don’t know how I collect so much junk but wow I have ut oh…room to put more stuff? noooo!

  25. RazMaTaz says:

    After I read your article I threw away over 50 things that were no longer needed. I also put away quite a few things that needed to be kept. And I feel great.

    Thanks for the article. I also plan to do this everyday and get my family to do it.

  26. Claire says:

    I cleaned out the fridge yesterday. You know it’s bad when the saurkraut has gone bad. I think it came with us when we moved. 2 years ago. Yeah. Maybe I’ll tackle the attic for this challenge. So exciting!!

  27. joanne says:

    No, no pictures. First project was the freezer. My mother refuses to throw out any uneaten food item, and they all get stored in my freezer… (because until she moved in, all I had in there was ice and frozen pizza). One trash bag was filled with popsicles, cheeseburgers and hot dogs left from a summer BBQ, frozen dinners that have outlived their expiry date by 2+ years, etc. Felt so good! The second project was (ahem) my “unmentionables” drawer. Out with the old, ratty, torn, unused, misfitting… mismatched/holey socks and other “undergarments” that should not see the light of day. And the third project was (finally) the junk drawer. Oh my…. Oh, and I also went through the stash of tote bags and work purses that I no longer use…

    4 large trash bags later, and I feel so much better about my space. I can’t wait for my next day off to keep going….

  28. gabriela says:

    Is that a Cartier tank watch in your junk drawer?!?!

    LOVE your blog. I stumbled upon it over the holidays and spend the last part of December ready every post you ever wrote.
    Thanks for the daily chuckle and motivation!

    • Karen says:

      Thank Gabriela! I’m happy you found my site. You have a sharp eye. It is a Cartier watch in the junk drawer. However … it was purchased on the streets of NYC. :) So … ~ karen

  29. Cindy says:

    Perhaps there should be a clause that “the 50 things being thrown out shall be owned by YOU, personally”. After all, we are all subject to the George Carlin truth-ism that “My stuff is STUFF and everybody else’s stuff is CRAP.”

  30. Laura Bee says:

    Timely… He thinks we need a 40 yard bin. I think we just need a bigger house.

  31. Chelsea says:

    Oh two weeks ago I would have had a doosy to show you guys (Downsized from an apartment to my room in my parents house). I’m sure I have thrown away about a thousand things since I have a slight hoarding problem when it comes to art supplies…or things I think I can make into art. I’m still going to take on this challenge on the rest of the riff-raff that has stuck around…but not for much longer. Seriously, I think I should have made a reality show out of this; The Last Junk Standing. Woking title of course.

  32. Jessica says:

    I’m in!

    This is great timing actually – I’ve been on a cleaning-up rampage since New Year’s, but there’s a particularly bad closet I’ve been procrastinating on. May as well take a stab at it.

    And then maybe I’ll be famous.

  33. Gig says:

    I keep a box in the closet, for goodwill, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t add something to it. Also, am diligent to not store any container that can be recycled. Even so, I bet I could find 50things. I will have a look. I live to purdge

  34. Jules says:

    I borrowed Gail’s book from the library. And I did toss out a bunch of stuff but when you throw out 6 pairs of socks, Gail counts those 6 pairs as ONE item. No fair…LOL. But it’s great to clear out some space.

  35. Caroline says:

    I must have ESP because I just cleaned out and organized my junk drawer in the kitchen as well as my utentil drawer, my dresser drawers and my closet just a few days ago! No pics though!
    Next up is my front hall closet and scrapbooking/craft room! I love purging – it makes me feel 10 lbs lighter without the hassle of dieting!!

  36. Judy Murray says:

    Love it. Too bad, I just donated 2 garbage bags of my 7 year old clothes and excess xmas stuff including a Baking Santa that someone gave to me who was decluttering and offered it to me and I didn’t have the heart to say No. Please don’t give other people your crap. We Canadians are too polite to say NO, it’s crap. We just smile and say Thank you and think where can I bury this!

  37. pendy says:

    I’ve taken three or four huge bags to Goodwill this week, but I’m guessing I can find at least fifty more items to release into the wild!

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