2013 throw out 100 things challenge


In honor of Organization Week, I am following the makeunder process and exfoliating first.*

For this exfoliation, I decided to go big. Throw out 100 things challenge big.

Because let’s be honest: the simplest organization occurs when we have less “stuff” in the first place.

Over the last five years I’ve developed a pretty good rule of thumb for items: I need to need, use, or love them in order to keep them. Anything that doesn’t fit one of these rules is a candidate for exfoliation (which means I toss out, donate, pass on, or recycle the items – depending on their potential).

In addition, I’ve had an intention to have only really nice stuff for the last five years as well. So exfoliating has also allowed me to fulfill this intention little by little,  even when I was tight on cash.

By exfoliating the items that were not-so-nice, I managed to increase the percentage of my stuff that was nice.

So without further ado, let’s get to the items, shall we?













(Confession: totally forgot to add the 99th shirt – Mr. Lively is exfoliating another two that I didn’t include in the photo because I counted wrong. Doh.)

As with past challenges, I did my best to exfoliate things in batches, when possible. So you’ll notice that there are several pairs of earrings bunched together instead of counted separately.

This helps me to really make more substantial progress with clutter and allows me to be a better editor overall.

I gotta be honest, it feels great looking around the apartment now. Less clutter in drawers or in the closet really does feel like I have “more” nice stuff.

I have found that the more difficult things to let go of are often the things that I later appreciate exfoliating the most.

Exfoliating Tip: If anyone has trouble letting go of things, especially clothing, my suggestion is to put the items you are on the fence about in a box for three months. If you haven’t gone back to the box to retrieve any items, donate the box at the end of the three month period.

And of course, if you find yourself similarly inspired to go through your home and do your own challenge, please share your post link back here so we can all check it out!


* Unfamiliar with the makeunder process? You can check out the four steps here.


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  1. Ashley Laabs

    Ahhhh yes. I just moved in with my boyfriend, so it’s less “exfoliation” and more “total laser reconstruction.” So difficult.

    I’m also dealing with the guilt of just giving things away when I could sell them and make money back for our next year’s move to Seattle. But then, I just end up keeping all that junk around longer than I need to. Purging is hard.

    And I can’t even imagine for you! A lot of this stuff is adorable. If you and I were friends, I’d totally be requesting a clothing swap haha.

    1. Lol! I know, I love to share my things with friends and my old Jess LC girls (that was my fave). I like to think of things that I own as “stopping by” rather than “live with me until I die.” Giving things to people who love or need them is so beyond satisfying.

      1. Ashley Laabs

        I think that’s a really great attitude to have about it — “stopping by.” I also think that maybe my “guilt” is just a way to take selfishness and victimize it. It’s so acceptable to feel guilty and become a slave to that guilt. But the true challenge may be overcoming the selfishness of wanting to have everything, or the need to get money for things I paid for.

        Did you ever feel like that? Did something help you get over it?

        Right now I’m just trying to focus on the opportunity and the freedom that comes with letting go. If I let go of the things I have, I’m a little closer to creating the life I want to have.

        1. I can see what you mean and how you feel.

          I choose to look at it a different way: if I’m keeping things that I don’t need, use, or love, I’m being selfish for keeping it from the people that may truly need it.

          Very often, the life we want is underneath layers of unnecessary _________ (fill in the blank for your life). I realized this truth seven years ago and have been making under ever since: http://jesslively.com///makeunder-step-four-reflect-and-evolve/. Perhaps you might like to try the steps in your own life with your possessions to help you make the progress you’d like.

    1. I don’t know what that is… so maybe? No? I’m not sure – it’s a Michigan pottery piece that I was given at graduation which as sat in a box for a reallly long time.

  2. I’m throwing out 100 clothing items! I realized they are worth more to me OUTSIDE my closet than inside, so out they go!

  3. stef

    Inspiring, as always. It’s funny – when we moved from Detroit to Wyoming, we left easily 80% of our stuff behind. We pretty much brought kitchen supplies, our clothes, and computers. It was supposed to be a temporary situation…. We’ve now lived for a year on 20% of our stuff and I think I can STILL find 100 things to donate. I’ll start tonight.

    1. That’s so great to hear! It sounds like you could be closer to the line of people that aim for only having 100 items in their life… (Okay, maybe that won’t be you, but it’s pretty incredible that some people are able to get that intentional about their stuff, right?!).

      1. stef

        Totally incredible. I think if you just make the leap, it’s easier to adapt than we might think. I really *like* my throw pillows and tchotchkes that are still in Michigan, but do I need them to get through the day? No, I really don’t. Lest this sound impressive, I have about two dozen more purses than I need and probably can’t make myself get rid of them. I CAN ditch 100 things though and I’m sort of excited about it!

  4. Alicia

    Perfect timing! I was just thinking about how “cluttered” my bedroom/office is. When I first read that you were getting rid of 100 different things it sounded like so much. Scrolling through your photos actually made it look easy/manageable to get rid of 100 things. I am definitely going to do this next month. Closet comes first! Thanka for giving me a bit of the kick I needed :p

    1. Very nice! You might like the idea Maureen (below) shared. She’s doing 13 each month in honor of 2013. : )

  5. Tess B

    Luv exfoliation anytime of the year! Just did a run through of stuff memorial day weekend and had more than 100 items and I swear I do this same thing about every 3 months! The donation truck is already scheduled for a pick-up which makes this whole process 1 step easier when they come to my house!

    1. Very nice! I love that you have the pick up planned – we should get that to happen for us. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kates

    After reading your post I went through my makeup bag and realized I hadn’t thrown much out in the last few months (year?) Anyways I have decided to tackle my spring/summer closet next! Although I haven’t done 100 things any little big of exfoliation counts! Thanks for sparking my spring cleaning in to high gear!

    1. Very nice!! I love your exfoliation! I’m sure things feel a little bit lighter after that!

  7. Ffion

    Awesome, I love throwing stuff out, but I’ve never actually tried to keep count. Must keep that one in mind for a later time 🙂 I desperately need to get rid of some clothes… I’m not a big fashion person, but have a terrible time getting rid of clothes for some reason. And you’re right, I’m often most grateful for the things I got rid of that were hardest to part with.

    1. I’m glad you like the idea! Here’s a suggestion for those hard to deal with items: try putting them in a box for a week/month and see if you still miss them/want to take them out. Usually that will be enough “out of sight, out of mind” to make the transition to donation easier.

      1. Ffion

        Yeah, you’re right, that’s a good plan. I think the minimalists have one step in their path to minimalism of basically putting ALL your clothes in boxes and only taking out what you actually want to wear, when you want to wear it. Then, after a few weeks chuck the rest. Drastic, but probably very effective if you can pull it off.

        1. True. That would be pretty extreme. And perhaps, extremely effective. Personally, I like the more gentler approach. : )

          1. Ffion

            Yeah, they were more serious about the whole thing. I don’t think I could be that extreme either 🙂

  8. That is so great to hear! I feel like any practice that helps you unclutter and live with what you need/use/love is incredibly powerful. : )

  9. jeanblake80

    I need to go through my house and do some junk removal and take it to a dump or donation place in Toronto or something. this is a really great idea.

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