Throw Out Fifty Things!

Updated ~ I just found out that I have five copies of Gail’s book to giveaway.  So that means FIVE participants will win at the end of the month, yay!!!

Before we get into this months challenge I want to thank everyone who participated in April.  What a great turnout! All that organizing going on just gets me all fired up, I love it!  From the list of those that participated I picked a winner, via random generator, to win a copy of Lea Schneider’s fantastic book, Growing Up Organized:  A Mom to Mom Guide.  That person is:

Kayren from Everything’s Coming Up Daisies!

Kayren did an amazing job on her master bedroom closet.  My goodness, was she ever on a roll!   Definitely an inspiration as were all the entries.  If you are ever in need of some motivation try scrolling through the links and see what happens 🙂

This month your monthly challenge is to tackle one surface or shelf in your home.  Well that doesn’t sound too hard does it.   Pick any kind of surface (even the floor counts) or any kind of shelf, take your before pictures and then clear the area.  You knew I was going to say that didn’t you?  Didn’t you?  Remove, sort and purge!

I recently had the opportunity to read another organizing book sent to me called Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Lifeby Gail Blanke.


I was intrigued with this book right from the beginning because I LOVE throwing things out.  My goodness if I’m having a bad day you should see how fast my pile grows.  Toss, toss, toss.  It is so freeing and rewarding and addictive.   Over time and with all the practice I’ve had this process has gotten to be like second nature for me.  However I recognize that this is not the case for everyone which is where this book is so helpful.  Gail encourages us to throw fifty things away right now.  Why?  This is what Gail has to say about that:

You’re really going to be surprised by how easy it is to throw out fifty things.  And I have to say here and now that the reason for fifty is not arbitrary.  Once you make it to fifty, a kind of wonderful momentum takes over; before you know it, the throwing out thing becomes a habit, an ongoing mind-set.  And then something really, really good happens:  You take control of your life.  You start living it, it stops living you.  “If you want to grow, you gotta let go” and that means eliminating all the clutter-physical and emotional-that holds you back, weighs you down, or just makes you feel bad about yourself.

I challenge you to try it this weekend.  As you go about your task of organizing a surface in your home, think about throwing out fifty things.  Well actually don’t just think about it, do it!  Come back and tell me how you did.  I’m excited because I know it’s possible for you.  For all of us.  Starting is the hardest part but once you get on roll, watch out world!

Here are Gail’s four rules of disengagement to guide you:

1.  If it-the thing, the belief or conviction, the memory, the job, even the person-weighs you down, clogs you up, or just plain makes you feel bad about yourself, throw it out, give it away, sell it, let it go, move on.

2.  If it (see above!) just sits there, taking up room and contributing nothing positive to your life, throw it out, give it away, sell it, let it go, move on.  If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.  Thowing out what’s negative helps you rediscover what’s positive.

3.  Don’t make the decision-whether to toss it or keep it-a hard one.  If you have to weigh the pros and cons for too long or agonize about the right thing to do, throw it out.

4.  Don’t be afraid.  This is your life we’re talking about.  The only one you’ve got for sure.  You don’t have the time, energy, or room for physical or psychic waste.

You can find more information on Gail’s book on her website.  And here’s the thing.  Those participating in this month’s challenge will be eligible to win their own copy of Gail’s book!  All you have to do is come back here at the end of the month and link up your post sharing your before and after pictures of this month’s challenge.

Who’s joining me?

Filed under: Monthly Round-up


49 Responses to Throw Out Fifty Things!

  1. 1
    Tanna says

    I can’t wait to read that one! I have it but I’m reading two others right now and can’t fit it in. 🙂

  2. 2
    Jenean says

    So completely awesome! While I was reading this post I was thinking to myself, “where do I start?” I think if you came to my house and had an organizing budget you would lose your mind! I am terrible – terrible, I tell you! – at getting rid of clutter! Paper is the worst.

    Anyway, I’ve decided today to get rid of the books that are piling up around me that I’ve been meaning to get rid of for the longest time. I already have a used book store in mind to donate to. Thanks for the challenge!!

  3. 3
    Amy says

    This is fantastic!! My parents are coming in town next week, so we are having a great weekend of cleaning, organizing, and sorting. I can’t wait to toss it all!

  4. 4
    corinne says

    2009 is the year we SIMPLIFY around my house, and I am so glad I found your blog! I am in… wondering which space is getting attacked today!

  5. 5
    Anna says

    I’m in. 🙂 I will come back to tell you my progress.

  6. 6
    ter says

    I read about that book in another blog… thanks for reminding me about it!!

    I wish I could have participated in the closet challenge but my new closet organizer didn’t work out and I gave up for the time being. Gotta get back to it, I hate having my clothes all out of the closet.

  7. 7
    Tasha says

    I really need to do this. We are currently working in our computer/craft room. Since we have to move everything anyways to make way for new baseboards it seems logical to go ahead and combined it with this challenge.

  8. 8
    Allison says

    Ok, so I cleaned three surfaces yesterday, so I can be in on this challenge! I have several more to go! I’m so excited to see my sewing table in my bedroom when I’m done….

    I’m in!

  9. 9
    Rhonda Burkhalter says

    I’m in! We recently moved and sorting through boxes that are stacked up EVERYWHERE has been a pain. My bedroom is not a peaceful place to sleep. I dread going in there! Looking forward to the challenge and seeing what everyone else clears out. Have fun!

  10. 10
    Buffie says

    I’m in. I’m in the midst of Spring Cleaning and should be able to clean up and get rid of some clutter this weekend.

  11. 11
    Charlene says

    I’m in the middle of a major purge–I’ve shredded bushels of old documents–some of which I wonder why I kept in the first place. I gave a box of misc. “goodies” to a friend, who let her grandbabies “shop” through it to find presents for their moms for mother’s day. Recycle/reuse at it’s best! It blessed my heart to hear how tickled those babies were to find “pretties” for their mommas!

    I’m ready to keep right on purging. Thanks for the encouragement.

  12. 12
    Terri says

    I’m all for organizing and purging, and I agree that it’s freeing to get rid of extra stuff. I just wanted to encourage everyone to consider utilizing, rather than just tossing all of the 50 things. Your trash might be really useful to someone else. 🙂

  13. 13
    se7en says

    Oh I have so got to do this – I love this idea … after a great week off school and lots of fun… everyday ended grumpily with packing up we need another massive purge… We should probably do this everyday for about a month… But I will try a once off first thing in the morning before everyone is alert enough to know what’s hit them!!!

  14. 14
    Alison says

    I like how passionate you are about organizing!! I posted something today about organizing. As someone who is very detail-oriented organization is something that gets me excited! 🙂

  15. 15
    Laura says

    Thanks Terri, I should have mentioned that since Gail’s book does promote “green” tossing where possible. Freecycle and Craigslist are definitely both excellent options to consider.


  16. 16
    Elizabeth says

    I think I might just have to do this!

  17. 17
    Jenny says

    I highly recommend this book. I just checked it out at the library earlier this week and finished it and have passed it on to my mom. I just had a yard sale last weekend and in my opinion, I did a really good job of clearing away any clutter. However, after reading this book, I have already filled one big box and have started on another of items I am able to part with. Just walking in to my home now is a great feeling.

  18. 18
    Grateful Grama says

    I probably really need this book because it’s VERY hard for me to throw things away.

  19. 19
    Tauna says

    I have been cleaning out a spare room, craft room and I’ve had a blast throwing things away. I love the way an uncluttered room looks. My hubby leaves town next week, so I’ll be able to get rid of even MORE STUFF!!!!

  20. 20
    Christy says

    We’re getting new bedroom furniture tomorrow so I think my 50 things need to come out of that room. I could probably do this several times over in the master bedroom and closets (especially my husband’s closet – LOL). I know that’s probably against the rules.

  21. 21
    Wendy Sice says

    Ha! I managed fifty things just cleaning out my fridge and pantry last night! Sad.

  22. 22
    Allison says

    I’m in… and I totally want to win one of the books, but not sure how that works. Help!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this site.

  23. 23
    Stacy says

    I’m definitely wanting to participate! We are moving at the end of August to a smaller place and I need to purge 15 years of stuff!

  24. 24
    Rochelle says

    Wow, this sounds so great! I’m in!!! 🙂

  25. 25
    Laurie says

    I am in for the challenge!!!!

    We just recently moved out of a “borrowed” house and into our own house. All our things were in storage……so as I unpack I realize I don’t want or need some of these things, and I don’t want my new house to be clutterd! So I am totally in!!! 🙂

  26. 26
    Jena OrganizingMommy says

    I’m sure she recommends this, but don’t throw things into the trash can. Donate your items to a good cause. If you have freecycle, you should try it. It is so rewarding seeing the faces of people who truly appreciate your items. I am on a roll. I’ve given away three items in one week through it. Normally, I make a monthly run to the Salvation Army donation center, but this is fun, AND they come to your house. The book looks good. Laura is right. Taking control of your life and your stuff is SO important! Stop living for stuff! It’s so freeing!

  27. 27
    Kimberly says

    I am in!!!! Thanks Laura for your constant encouragement and valuable resources to help us live our best life. I just tackled paying off my debt and now I am tackling my clutter in my house! I already have several bags of clothes to donate. Thank you helping me stay motivated!

  28. 28
    Tiffany says

    Any surface huh? Well, my craft table, the cutting table in my sewing room, my sewing desk, a bookshelf, and the floor in my sewing room all need tackled. Guess I’ll pick one (or if I’m lucky – all)!

  29. 29
    Sharyl says

    I actually ordered this book last time you spoke about it. LOVE IT and yes I was baking cookies tonight and ta da…cleaned out the baking shelves in my kitchen. Took about 20 minutes and it is awesome! Thanks for the motivation.

  30. 30
    Emily says

    After reading your post, I got started (at 9:30pm no less) and threw away more than 50 things from my craft table and two junk drawers. Took 30 minutes and I feel so liberated!! Tomorrow I am going to conquer my son’s room, with his help of course!

  31. 31
    Shannon says

    I am up for the challenge! Thanks for the good advice!

  32. 32
    Thea @ I'm a Drama Mama says

    Congrats to Kayren!

    I’ll have to look around the house to see what surface I’m going to attack!

  33. 33
    Dolli-mama says

    I am moving the end of August, and am so excited about getting rid of all my JUNK. I moved 2 years ago and brought all my clutter with me and regretted it. I promised myself I won’t do it again. This time, if it’s old, out dated, I won’t use it, I don’t love it, or I plan on replacing it soon, it’s not coming with me! Let the purging begin (or continue, really as I have been tossing things for a few months). Yeah

  34. 34
    Aurora says

    I need this too. I have trouble throwing away ANYTHING.

    Got rid of 50 just in old newspapers and junk mail leaflets.

  35. 35
    Amy says

    Oh, mercy. I NEED to do this one. The top of my beautiful cedar chest in my bedroom… well, I haven’t seen it in months. That’s my surface, and I’m stickin’ to it!

  36. 36
    Lisa says

    I missed out on the giveaway, but I’ll definitely try throwing out fifty things, and I’ll look for the book – it sounds like one my family could benefit from!

  37. 37
    Hollie says

    I will be joining you on this, have a closet to clean out.

  38. 38
    Peggy says

    I love this idea. Books, we are swamped with books. I love this idea of getting rid of 50 things. I already have 6 things in the truck for Goodwill. I’ll keep working!

  39. 39
    Becki says

    I can’t wait to do this! What a rush it is to “purge”. Now if only your next giveaway could be a do-it yourself hypnosis guide for husbands I could purge even more….mine is a pack-rat and putting him under hypnosis is the only way I could possible get rid of some of his “treasures”. :o) Count me in!

  40. 40
    Diann says

    I am sooo ready for this challenge! I started last week by finally listing 105 books that I have already read. Whatever does not sell gets immedialty donated to the Library! I am going to do another massive listing later this week. My goal is to have all these boxes of read books out of my house by the end of the month!

  41. 41
    Diann says

    I wote a post about this challenge and linked back to you!

  42. 42
    anonymous prep says

    Paper is my major downfall – five year old bills organized in folders by month. I have so many folders filled with old unnecessary papers that it’s appalling! I can clean out my cabinets and closet with no problem, but I have such trouble with the paper. I may have to try the 50 things.

  43. 43
    Lizzie97202 says

    I love this idea! I was first introduced to it by Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. Similarly, she suggests that things that weigh us down emotionally need to be cleared from our environment. I have really benefited from this advice, personally and it gives me fresh eyes when I am de-cluttering!

    Two things I would say for de-clutterers out there:

    1) Most items I’ve gotten rid of are good enough to use again – give them to charity, a neighbor or use to move them along to someone who ISN’T negatively attached to them. In this economy, maybe someone can use it!

    2) Don’t forget your storage unit or garage! I kept a punch bowl for a long time thinking I should be the kind of hostess who uses a punch bowl. Well, what on earth did I mean by that? I never did use it, and I gave it away to someone who did!


  44. 44
    Buffie says

    I did this over the weekend. I cleaned off my desk and managed to throw away (or pass on) way over 50 things. It feels so good to get that clutter out of my life.

    You can see my post on this here.

  45. 45
    Becky says

    I just read about this challenge today. It’s rather interesting how things come to us to inspire. I was looking at the stuff I have on the table in the kitchen. It’s more to use as a second table and possibly eat a small meal at for one. But it’s full of stuff that’s not used, also a cd player/radio, a few vases, and some tea bags in a decorative jar. Me thinks it’s time to purge alot of it. I can do this.


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