Toss Out 25 Things

by Darlene on February 4, 2011 in Cleaning, Organizing, Uncategorized

junk collected - one child - ten minutes

Not a pretty picture is it? But this is the stuff we have hanging around behind closed doors, inside our drawers, under our beds, on our shelves, in our cupboards, on our counters, in our freezers, on top of our fridges, and stuffed into our jam-packed closets–junk.

I’m reminded of those times when I’ve seen doctors holding 20 pounds of body fat in their hands while the audience looks on in disgust. This is the equivalent to ugly fat, the only difference being that it’s “lifestyle fat.” There is so much attention given to eating lean and shedding body fat, but little attention is made to living lean and climbing out that that pit of lifestyle obesity.

A few years back I went to Jamaica with my husband. The trip was a life-changing experience. I had never witnessed miles upon miles of poverty stricken homes before, but that week I did. My heart went out to those people when I saw that they were living in shacks no bigger, and less accommodating than my garage.

But during my stay there I witnessed something else. These people were dressed well. I didn’t notice one person whose clothes weren’t clean and well pressed, nor did I witness a beaten down culture. They were happy and content people who took much care with the little they had.

All I could think of on the way home was how much I wanted to purge my junk.

I was recently inspired by a book called, “Throw out Fifty Things,” by Gail Blanke. Gail encourages us to go into every room of our house and get rid of things that have been hanging around for years. It might be an old tooth paste lid or the wrong shade of nail polish; it might be a jacket from 1997 or a pair of shoes from last summer. All of these unnecessary items are cluttering our closets, our drawers, and our life.

Hold onto things if you must for sentimental reasons, but if you’re not using the clutter, either throw stuff out or give things away. A lighter load will bring a sense of peace to your home.

This is one lesson I need to teach my daughter. We can clean the house daily so things appear tidy, but if we keep shoving more junk into our drawers and our closets, there has to come a time when we say “Enough—it’s time to lessen the load!”

What you see on the table in that photo is just ten minutes spent in my daughter’s room. That’s it—10 minutes. Now times that by six and you’ll see just how much of a difference tossing out 25 things can make to one family.

She definitely has a lot of garbage there, but I also noticed that she was more than ready to part with two Build-a-bears that we brought over to her little cousins last night.

Once the kids started tossing out 25 things it turned into more like 50 for some, which was their choice, not mine. All I asked my family is simply this: “Toss out 25 things.” That’s good for now, we’ll tackle the rest later!

Darlene Schacht
Time-Warp Wife


Darlene Schacht is an ordinary mom, living an extraordinary life, because of who she is through Jesus Christ. As help-meet to her husband Michael, she guides and nurtures their four children, leading them toward a deeper walk of faith. Her work has been published in anthologies by Thomas Nelson, Tyndale Publishing and Adams Media. As well she has co-authored a book with actress Candace Cameron Bure called, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. You can find her blogging at Time-Warp Wife where she empowers wives to joyfully serve.

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Jami February 4, 2011

I’m am going to do this over the weekend. I love to purge but it’s been awhile, thanks for the great reminder! We all have way more than we need and I notice when I clean things out I’m left with only my most favorite things.

I Live in an Antbed February 4, 2011

It is so healthy. Our kids need to understand how little value most possessions truly have. You are wise to instill this in them.

Angela @ Homegrown Mom February 4, 2011

I tossed out hundreds of things before we moved recently, but I am pretty sure we could do 25 more! Thanks for the challenge 🙂

Anne Belley February 4, 2011

Very good! Don Aslett reminds us that the more things we have, the more time we have to spend taking care of them, and the less time we have to spend with the ones we love, investing in their lives.

Rebecca February 4, 2011

Very true! We have become a society of people holding onto things….and we have lost our focus…partly becuase of this! Love your post….we do this quite often, selling, giving….clearing out and working hard to bring less in!

sara February 4, 2011

I love this post. Thanks for the encouragement, and really 10 minutes is so do-able!

Christin February 4, 2011

Oh it’s sooo freeing to toss things out. I accept the challenge! We are not pack rats by any stretch, but it seems there is always room to purge more. 🙂

This is especially important for my 8 year old to see. Unfortunately, she likes to hold on to everything, from broken toys, to old papers. I have been trying to teach her to get rid of things she doesn’t absolutely love. But most of the time she looks at me as if she really loves all the stuff cluttering up her room. Letting go of things [I think] is harder for children than for adults [at times].

Darcy February 4, 2011

I just got rid of 25 things from my kitchen two days ago and will be tackling boxes stored in closets next. Thanks for the challenge!

Stephanie H. February 4, 2011

Love this idea! We have four *junk* drawers that could use a clean out! Thank you for the reminder!

Tiana Krenz February 4, 2011

This is great!

I am not naturally good at throwing things away, but I’m getting better. My almost-5-year-old daughter, however, finds it very easy to do this. Her room is small, and she likes her space. She regularly will hand me a few things she’d like to give away. What a blessing!

Mrs. V February 4, 2011

Great idea to make it quick and simple. Sometimes it can seem to daunting, especially if you haven’t gotten to the junk drawers in awhile. We cleaned out our closets before our most recent move and gave away 7 trash bags of gently used clothing. That just seemed nuts to me. Why was I keeping them? (Out of sight- out of mind…) Needless to say I weed out our closets every few months now for things that no longer fit right or haven’t been worn in 6+ months. I also like the “put one in, take one out” idea.

Darlene Schacht February 4, 2011

Another thing that I didn’t talk about that I read in the book is tossing out things like bad habits. And when I went to her website I saw that one lady tossed out an old car and another a boyfriend. Too funny. Didn’t think there would be a lot of women in the Christian community that had an old boyfriend to toss out, but we never know, right? Our junk, our habits, our bad thoughts… all of those things need to be kept lean so that we can manage them and be ready to let go of this world at any given second.

I love of your comments and inspiring thoughts. It’s a great way to start my morning!!

butterfly wishes and wonderland dreams February 4, 2011

sounds like fun and kinda like a game too. We might do that weekly this spring. thanks for the inspiration

Darlene Schacht February 4, 2011

Christin, keep doing it every once in a while and you’ll notice that as she grows she loses her grasp on the most surprising things. I didn’t expect my daughter to be so eager about getting rid of her Build-a-Bears. And see the pink box in the background? It’s a box of stationery that’s she’s had in her room for a few years. I was surprised that she didn’t like it. It was me that loved it. LOL! I took that one.

Darlene Schacht February 4, 2011

Mrs. V. You’re right “quick and simple.” It really little things like this that can make a big difference. I’m all about “10 minute” challenges! If we know we have 10 minutes to get in there and get the job done we are more focused than we would be spending an afternoon humming and hawing about the things that we love.

Monica February 4, 2011

Terrific advise! I think I will share this with my kids this weekend!

Julie Anne February 4, 2011

a little convicting here!! 🙂 I think my kids would die, I might have to start with 10 items each! 🙂 They are still young enough that I still do the clean-out when they aren’t looking. but it is good for them to do the choosing!! thanks

Crystal February 4, 2011

I’ve been in a purging modd lately but I still have a ways to go! Actually on my to-do list today is a cabinet in our den that is packed with old movies, games and other random items. So, this post was perfect motivation to get it done TODAY! (um, since it was also on my to-do list yesterday!) Thanks!

Courtney (WomenLivingWell) February 4, 2011

This is what I love about March almost being upon us! The urge to spring clean is coming and my house NEEDS it! We just cleaned through the children’s old toys after Christmas and it felt SO good to eliminate toys and find space for the new ones! I wish I consitently did this! I need to!
Great post Darlene!

Darlene February 4, 2011

Thanks for your thoughts ladies. I cherish your comments and feedback.

Julie, start with 10 and you might be surprised how quickly it turns into 20! Maddy had about 30 CD covers in that pile, but I counted them as about 3 things.

Courtney, my boys won’t let go of stuffed animals. It’s ridiculous how many they have and they always save to buy more. They call them pets, and they are very sentimental to them. It’s quite funny, but the clutter drives me nuts! I packed a bunch in a green garbage bag and told them I would put them away for a few months. Then one day I found the bag torn open and they were all back in the room. Ugh! I wasn’t thrilled!

Nikola Belley February 4, 2011

One thing I have trouble with “stashing” is fabric! I have trouble NOT buying more material when I run into the fabric store for one or two specific items. Recently I went through all my bins and snipped off a small square of each one, stapled it to a list, and recorded the quantity, the cost, and a possible project. Instead of buying anything else, I am determined to USE up what I have. It has been satisfying to “get rid” of fabric this way. It’s all new, and just hasn’t been used, so now I have a new inspiration for the little girls’ dresses I design. The “25 item” challenge could very well apply to me, and speed me up in my endeavor to use up the material that is taking up room in our small abode! Good tips!

Jenny Baker February 5, 2011

Wait a minute— that CD player is junk? Does it work? Does it have a tape player? I want one for my boys’ room!

the other option is to wait for your husband to finally build shelves in the cubby rooom. He went through all the stuff that was piled there so that he could move the shelves in, and was astounded at how much fabric I have…I don’t think I’m going to be allowed to visit Joann’s again for awhile!

Stephanie February 5, 2011

Its nice to see this article. We purged my daughter’s rooms before Christmas, and even though I didn’t go crazy, everyone else did with so much stuff. As I am stepping over their things, I am reminded we definately need to purge again!!!!! We take the good stuff to a local charity store, I let my girls have most of the say on what goes, but sometimes mom invokes the veto:) It gives them a sense of helping others less fortunate, and that is something our country desperately needs.

Kasey February 5, 2011

I’m sharing this post over at things have gotten a little out of control at my house lately………

Lisa Maria February 5, 2011

Thank you for this great post.. just worked on our closets and finally admitted to myself that I’d never wear some of those clothes again! My husband and I are real pack-rats. He keeps stuff that he thinks he could re-use (e.g. old parts from appliances etc.) and I am thrifty to the point of being obsessive. It’s really a liberating feeling to just pack it up. We now have several bags to donate to the needy. Now if I could just get hubby to work on the junk in our storage room I might actually get it converted back into a bedroom! We’ll get there…. eventually 🙂

Jennifer Maassen February 5, 2011

Great post! When we purge our junk, we find that so much of it is useful and shouldn’t really be thrown away. If we don’t know anyone who can use something we want to leave our premises, we have had great success with our local Freecycle group. Visit to find a group in your area. It feels like much better stewardship to pass along our unwanted items to someone who can use them.

Darlene February 6, 2011

Nikola, I used to have a fabric obsession too. I has so much excess it was incredible. The new thing for me is books. I have a ton of them.

Jenny, the cord is missing so we were using batteries (expensive) and the case on the battery compartment is lost so they were taped in with duct tape. LOL! It was too expensive and annoying to keep using. Digital is so much easier.

Stephanie, I hear what you say on invoking the veto! I have done some purging too when my kids aren’t around. I get rid of some junk they’ve never even noticed is gone.

Kasey, I’ll check it out.

Lisa, I have that problem too. A lot of the junk in storage is his and so it’s tough to go through unless he’s there alongside me to yay or nay the junk.

Emma February 6, 2011

I’ve become much better than this as I’ve gotten older. We have two young children and live in a small cottage-like house so there is not much room for extra things. I’m embarrassed to admit that about 1 year ago I went on a cleaning rampage and threw out over 20 garbage bags of pure junk!! I’ve started to make it a habit and regularily look through my childrens’ toys and other areas of the home that accumulate clutter and throw out or donate things.

Stacie February 7, 2011

I love to purge, I seriously get a high from it! LOL! Great post!

Rachel February 8, 2011

What a great concept! and something great to teach our little ones. Our church just bought a building (have been meeting at a school for over a year) and requesting toys. My kids & I can work together to get rid of some and GIVE to them! Thank for inspiring me to do so!

Darlene Schacht February 8, 2011

Stacie, LOL! 🙂

Emma, 20 bags would feel great! We’ve had some years like that too!!!

Darlene February 8, 2011

Rachel, that works out perfect!

Lisa February 18, 2011

Thank you for this post! I LOVE this idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I blogged about it today w/a link back to this post 🙂

Lisa February 18, 2011

OOPS – here’s the link….

Too bad I can’t empty my brain of 25 things 😉

Angela February 28, 2011

I am continually motivated & inspired from the Raising Homemakers blog.
God bless all of you as you pour into the lives of others.

I am sharing with you the Versatile Blogger Award!

You can visit me @


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