Review: Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke

throwout50thingsI borrowed this audiobook from Hoopla, which I had never known even existed, and is pretty cool now that I do know about it. Read by the author herself, Throw Out Fifty Things challenges the reader to do just that. However, the 50 things don’t necessarily have to be those old, moth-eaten sweaters you’re hanging on to for god knows what reason (note: “sweaters” would only count as ONE thing, even if you threw out fifty of them!). Some of the things can be mental things, such as, the feeling of needing to be right all the time.

Chapter by chapter, Blanke invites us to look at the rooms in our house, our office, our innermost fears. She asks us to keep a running inventory of what we throw out. And she shares some of her own personal anecdotes and life lessons as she creates her own throw-away list.

I found this book to be very motivating. At first, 50 things seems like a daunting list. But, as Blanke coaches the reader through each chapter, one can see how easy it would be to amass a list of fifty. I didn’t personally do the list as she was talking, but it gave me ideas on what needs to go. I am also more motivated than ever to have a garage sale. I’m going to start going through all the baby clothes I have tucked away upstairs (why??? I’m done having kids – DONE!). Then I’m going to take a hard look at the books I’ve accumulated over the years, ones I couldn’t imagine parting with. They’re books, and with all the ones I still want to read, I doubt I’ll come back to most of them.

There are scrapbooks and old letters that I’m sure have sentimental value, but maybe I’ll scan them and keep them on Google Drive. Maybe it’s time to let go of some of those things.

And the mental throwaways are important, too. But perhaps even more difficult than the physical items. I’m not sure I’m there yet, and this isn’t something that happens overnight.

If you have a great deal of clutter in your life, both physical and mental, then I think you would enjoy Throw Out Fifty Things. She coaches with humor and storytelling so you feel like you’re just listening to a friend give you some friendly advice over a cup of coffee. (Or tea, or wine, or whatever.) And, because she is doing this list along with you (or so she says), it doesn’t feel preachy.

In addition, there’s a website,, where you can download a workbook and start tallying your throwaway list. Neat!



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