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By May 22, 2015 4 Comments

A few years ago, I read a book called Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find your Life by Gail Blanke, an author, columnist, motivator, and life coach.  I was quite intrigued by the title, and challenged by what I read.  Her mantra throughout the book is “if you want to grow, you gotta let go,” and that means eliminating physical, mental, and emotional clutter. She acknowledges that it takes courage to let go of the past. She compares this to the work of a sculptor; she encourages you to chisel your way through all the junk and clutter that prevents you from moving forward in your life—blast away the past! She considers one thing to be one category, so 25 old magazines would be just 1 thing. I really like that she includes things like letting go of unhappy memories. Each chapter is about a different area in your house and life to purge. It took several weeks to complete my list, but I enjoyed the process!

When I started Organized by Olive, I created a “Take Out Ten” list as a simple weekly reminder to take ten items out of my house every week. I liked actually writing down what the items were so that I would be reminded not to bring them into my home again when shopping or stopping by a garage sale!  I encouraged clients to keep a bag or box in a convenient place, fill it up all week long, and then deliver it to a donation site, recycle it, or trash it—whatever is appropriate to get it out. I liked the sense of accomplishment in a short amount of time.

Just yesterday, I came across a blog called 365 Less Things written by Colleen Madsen. The name comes from her resolution to challenge herself to get rid of one thing a day for an entire year. She accomplished that goal and continued decluttering at a steady pace, about 5 items a week, for an additional two years, removing over a thousand things from her home! She offers 10 simple tips in her blog “10 Decluttering Principles to Help Anyone Clear the Clutter”. This strategy reminds me of my earlier blog, “The Power of One.” Don’t underestimate even your smallest actions!

So now it is time to decide—do you really want to get rid of the clutter in your life? Only you can make that decision. It doesn’t matter which strategy your choose—50 things, 10 things, or 1 thing. However, be assured of this: your world and your life will be changed for the better!


I would enjoy hearing from you—please comment and let me know what strategy you think would work best for you!


Photo credit: planningqueen / Foter / CC BY-NC

Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

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