Friday, March 20, 2009

Throw Out Fifty Things


Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life
by Gail Blanke
304 pages
Self Help, Cleaning
Springboard Press
Published 20th, March, 2009

Throw out fifty things? That sounds easy until you understand that your whole magazine collection counts as one, your dried up nail polish bottles that clutter up a whole shelf also count as one, your sock drawer filled with miss matched socks and single gloves, yep you guessed it, one. However room through room the articles add up as you go from bedroom, to bathroom, living room, dining room and finally to the horrors of your attic and garage.

This is a new approach in that it doesn't just stop there. Gail Blanke, a life coach and internationally known motivational speaker takes you through all four stages in which you release yourself from more and more stuff that really making you feel heavier. Her four parts are: Getting Rid of the Physical Stuff, Your office Pairing Down the Professional Clutter, Attacking Mental Mess, and Stepping into the Clearing. The first two are possessions, the second two stages are getting rid of unwanted mental mess or feelings, labels and poor self image.

Her main slogan throughout Throw Out Fifty Things is: if it doesn't make you feel good, get rid of it. I was a little shocked the first time that she mentioned that you don't need to go on value, worth or purpose, that even if you use it-and yet it makes you cringe, get rid of it! That is different than where I was thinking this all would go. I am very practical, and I have never thought that things that have no purpose should remain to collect dust while things that you use (even if you hate them) should be gotten rid of, but I see the logic in it after reading this book. That you should surround yourself with pleasing environments, places and rooms that you enjoy, that you want to be in, and clothes that you feel good when you wear.

After just looking at the title, I was nervous that she wanted people to actually 'throw out' all the stuff. But that is really not what Gail intends, she makes sure that you understand that you should only actually throw away things that are broken, useless, or something to which pieces or parts are missing. The rest of the stuff can go to someone else who will love it, to a secondhand store, or you could resell it to get some of your money back. I appreciated her practical take on that. And throughout the book Gail Blanke makes it a point to discuss green methods of discarding pait, batteries, an old AC, and other such toxic waste items.

What did I get out of it? Well, I got the crazy urge to clean my house and get rid of things that I had been holding on to for no reason other than that I didn't know what to do with them (or felt guilted into holding on to!!!). Gail mentions that if it is a very hard decision, that means you just need to get rid of it, and that most of the time we don't get rid of stuff, but we just move it around our homes and garages. That rang a bell with me, we have been shuffling junk for SO LONG! I am in the 'get it out of here' mode and now I know how to attack the problem thanks to Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke. It sure does make me feel a lot better inside when I get my junk out the door. This was a very helpful, and practical guide to getting rid of things. If you want to throw out your junk but can't seem to figure out the practical aspects of the process, or just aren't motivated to do it, read this!

If you want to jump on the bandwagon, it has its own website!:
Throw Out Fifty Things


What is the one thing that you would love to get rid of, but feel guilty about??? This may be horrible to say, but for me it is my wedding dress, it takes up so much room and I will never wear it again, I want to re purpose it, but it was my mother-in-laws wedding dress and I don't know if I should ask her first or just do it. All I want to do is make it shorter, and dye it so that I could wear it...is that horrible?

What is your one thing?


16 comments:

Peta said...

This sounds really interesting. I feel that my house has become so cluttered we almost need a bigger one but then feel guilty as it's only my husband and I who live here and we *should* be able to fit.

My one thing...? Paintings given by my in-laws... We have so many and I would not have chosen any of them. Oh - and on the wedding dress front. Mine is a total waste of space but I'd again feel guilty if I sold it or gave it away because it cost so much.

which is ridiculous and perhaps I should read this book!

ab13readchallenges said...

Great review, I find the idea scary! On wedding dresses, the MIL situation is tricky, depends a lot on your relationship with her in general. But for Peta and others in that situation, I know that in Ireland there are good quality second-hand shops which would take a wedding dress, and it might make all the difference to someone getting married who can't afford the shocking prices of new ones, especially in the present economic situation. My one thing: some old knitting wool that I'll probably never use, but it was given me by an old neighbour who was really kind to me at a hard time in my life...

Tricia said...

I love to toss stuff and I've recently made a trip to Goodwill and a trip to the dump. I've still got a ways to go, but I do feel lighter and more organized.

I only keep my wedding dress around because I want to use it to make my granddaughters blessing/christening gowns with it. That's what my MIL and mom did with theirs!

Ironically, my one thing is books. If I know I'm never going to read them again I really feel like I should donate them.

bermudaonion said...

I have a punch bowl that was my mother's. We've been moving it around for close to 30 years and have never once used it.

booklineandsinker said...

well, i guess i'd have to toss most of the stuff i got at my bridal shower (10 years ago). a waffle iron, ice cream maker, toaster oven that has never been out of the box...you know the stuff. i don't like to cook but my kitchen is outfitted like something out of williams-sonoma. hee hee.

Laura said...

I could DEFINITELY throw out at least 10 things! No better time than spring to clean and organize! :)

Ali said...

Ok, you've convinced me: I need this book.

Oh, and I'd ask your mother-in-law about the dress. If it's important to her, maybe she'd want to store it? Who knows, maybe she's even wished for it back.

Trish said...

I am a packrat to the extreme--it is embarrassing some of the things that I hold on to, so I won't even go there. :P I saw this about a week ago on Bookfool's blog and decided I'm going to take baby steps and get rid of 10 things. Then move on to some more. A lot of my things just need to be better organized instead of the icky stacks of stuff I have laying all over my office (luckily it is mostly confined to my office and not the rest of the house). Anyway, I think I might have to find this book--and thanks for giving me an extra little push.

holly said...

I'll have to check this out. I recently purged about a 20 white tees of various sizes and shapes that I bought to layer with things but none of them worked that way. It felt so good to dump them and then spend 60 bucks on 4 shirts that I wear everyday now.

and when I painted my room recently, I ransacked the bathroom and tosses tossed tossed.

woohoo! I have so much further to go though....

I like that about how it makes you feel. I have no guilt about my wedding dress because I'm keeping if for the sole purpose of being able to take it out and look at and show to my daughters whenever I want to. it makes me happy knowing it's tucked away in it's box (nothing "preserved" or fancy).

Jeane said...

Reading all this has really made me itchy to spring-clean! This may sound terrible, but I'd love to get rid of all the clothes my mother in law gives me. Her style and mine are totally different, and I never wear the stuff! But I'd feel guilty to even donate it.

Peta said...

An update (of sorts) - I've now sorted through my clothes and we're taking 3-4 bags to the charity shop tomorrow! We've also gone through the garden and cleared out plants we don't like, emptied pots and off-loaded several onto friends and family! Next on the list is the bookshelves... Erp!

violetcrush said...

I need this book. I keep so much unnecessary junk in my closets and i don't have enough motivation to throw stuff or even organize it.

Do consult your mother in law first before doing anything with the dress :)

I would love to throw out or donate the huge amount of dresses i have. Some of them i have't worn for more than 3 years...

Ramya said...

we just moved into our new house last october.. I cleared all the junk stuff we didnt need when I left my old apt and thought my new place would be this clutter free place.. But I am already watching with horror as stuff's piling up slowly..

this sounds like a good book to have. At least to motivate us to throw some of the junk away once in a while!

Dreamybee said...

Luckily, my dad and step-mom have agreed to store my wedding dress for me, although, come to think of it, I have no idea where since they moved into their current small-ish house...I just can't quite see getting rid of it even though I don't anticipate anyone else (in the family) ever wanting to wear it. Maybe I should read this book!

Maw Books said...

Well, I'm never getting rid of my wedding dress! My aunt hand made it just for me. But my sister-in-law wore it at her wedding, so it's gotten two uses out of it.

By far my favorite organizational guru is Peter Walsh. I love his book.

Shauna said...

I would l♥ve to read this book!