Monday, 30 January 2012

Decluttering - The Throw Out Fifty Things Challenge!

have been on a bit of a de-cluttering binge for about a year now. We have made umpteen donations to our local charity shops, had a garage sale with the neighbours, been to five local church car boot sales (as sellers not buyers!), sold stuff on e-bay and Gumtree and sold a lot of the heavier stuff (beds, BBQ's)  from the front of the house to passers by!

I reckon I have put an extra $600 on the mortgage selling all this junk!

I'm sure I still have a lot of junk and recently at my local library (I love my library!!! All those free books!!!) I found this book called "Throw out Fifty Things". (Link to book) I grabbed it and took it home to see what this authors angle was. Its pretty simple. And I'm thinking its working for me!!

Here's what I did...

First I read the whole book! I find it helps to see what the overall angle is. Gail Blanke turns out to be a motivator in the good ol' U.S. of A and even though the first forty or so items she wants you to throw out are physical items from around the house, what she is really helping you to throw out is bad feelings, inadequacies and insecurities. I was game. If getting rid of a pile of paper work relating to a job I left five years ago was going to free up some space AND make me feel better - I was in!

With Throw Out 50 Things - Gail asks you to WRITE down each item as you throw it out. For me, this became quite addictive. I loved watching that list grow and started eyeing up all sorts of things in the house with the view to growing my list!

It also created interest with other people who saw my list and asked about it - Having other people wanting updates was also motivating to help move towards that 50 item mark. My first fifty list was on a piece of paper on my desk. The second was on the notice board in the kitchen for all to see, admire and hopefully emulate!

There are a couple of "rules" with this technique. If you have ten magazines lying around in the lounge and you throw them out, donate them or even shred them - that only counts as one item. If you chuck out 23 plastic flowerpots, its just one item. All that old make up you gave to the neighbours ten year old - again, one item.
If the items are related and in the same place - its one item. Not that that made much difference in the end. It got quite easy to find things to get rid of!

Gail has a website that allows you to list the things you threw out and tell the stories around the items as well for those who like to share!

My husband also got quite interested in this and started his own list... I'm hoping the kids will hook into this one as well... Ok I'm dreaming there, but you never know! I'm also hoping that all that cleared out space doesn't attract any new stuff!

Score card:
Green-ness:  5/5 Getting rid of unwanted item responsibly is a excellent green thing to do!
Frugal-ness:  5/5 Making money out of junk??? Excellently frugal!
Time cost: A minute an item - If you really get into it, you can throw out 50 things in an hour... Go on, I dare you!
Skill level: Anyone can can operate a rubbish bin!!
Fun -ness: More than you think!!

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