Get Organized Mission #1: Fill a Hu-u-uge Trash Bag

Get Organized Mission #1Welcome to the first of our 52 Organizing Missions.

In some ways this is a challenging one – but you’ll feel so wonderful, liberated and light when it’s done I think it’s worth diving in the deep end right away.

And remember – it is only 30 minutes.


Get Organized Mission #1: Fill a Hu-u-uge Trash Bag

Step 1

Get a giant trash bag. (If you don’t have one find 20 small ones, or ask a neighbor, or go to the shops, or use boxes, or pile things up on a rug until you get to the shops tomorrow. There are no excuses!)

Step 2

Set a kitchen timer (or your clock radio or iPhone alarm, etc) for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Start filling the bag and continue doing so as you move through your house, until either the timer goes off or your bag is full.

Throw into the bag anything you don’t use, don’t like, that has negative associations, is broken or tatty, or is no longer your style. See below for room-by-room examples.

Step 4

Take it straight out to the trash or even the tip if you’re so motivated. Just be sure to remove the temptation to look in the bag or to rescue released items.

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t try to organize rooms, cupboards or drawers at this stage.
    This mission is about getting rid of stuff so do keep an out-it-goes mindset.
  • We’ll have another organizing mission for charity items, so don’t get bogged down with that now. I don’t suggest giving lame stuff to charity – decent, usable stuff: yes; crapola: no.
    So do feel fine about ditching all the dross.
  • I want you to move fast – so don’t overthink it.
    If your gut feel is to release something from your life, then do toss it into the bag.

Examples of Items For Your Bag:

Living Room

  • Old magazines
  • Tatty rugs and cushions
  • Old/no-longer-used videotapes, DVDs, CDs
  • Unloved ornaments, gifts, vases, etc
  • Dead plants


  • School/college notes and texts (unless you just graduated they’re probably out of date)
  • Old paperwork, bills, mail (keep if needed for taxes or reference; shred if sensitive or confidential)
  • Excess stationery you won’t use this decade
  • Knickknacks that provide no meaning, beauty or inspiration
  • Reading piles you know you’ll never get to


  • Tatty dressing gowns, slippers, and anything you’d be embarrassed to answer the door in
  • Tatty bed linen
  • Ancient pillows harboring various non-human life forms
  • Anything on bedside tables that detract from a comforting bedtime sanctuary
  • Anything in your closet you hate (we’ll tackle closets in detail in another organizing mission)


  • Chipped or stained crockery
  • Rusty or mismatched cutlery
  • Expired food and condiments in the pantry or fridge
  • Cookware, plungers, teapots, gadgets, utensils or sundry infomercial purchases not used in the past 12 months
  • Cookbooks and recipes not used in the past 12 months


  • Tatty towels, bathmats, etc
  • Expired or old toiletries, hairbrushes, combs, etc
  • Empty or mildewed bottles
  • Yucky bathroom accessories – eg rusty shower caddies
  • Unloved bathroom ornaments

Kids’ Stuff

  • Tatty, no-longer-used toys
  • Outgrown clothes
  • Torn posters
  • Outgrown CDs, DVDs etc
  • Outgrown back-packs, drink bottles, etc

Extended Organizing Mission Options

  • If you run out of time or your bag fills up and you want to keep going, then do. Put on some music and have fun with it. But your basic mission is only to fill one large bag or keep going for 30 minutes.
  • If other household members want to participate give them their own bag and encourage them to let go of stuff.
  • If you want to tackle extra, unneeded items that are in good condition, do a second run with a charity bag. (I guarantee you’ll still have plenty to do when we get to our charity-bag organizing mission.)

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Before You Go – Check In

Have you completed this week’s Get Organized Mission?

You’re now accountable to your organizing mission-mates – so please add a comment to let us know you’ve completed your assignment and you’re keeping your commitment.
(Click ‘Comment’ at the very top of this post or scroll down to the bottom. Depending on how you’re viewing this post, one of those options will be available for you.)

And see you back here next week. 🙂


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Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

Image by Material Boy

438 thoughts on “Get Organized Mission #1: Fill a Hu-u-uge Trash Bag

  1. Michelle says:

    This was a great start! I started in my bathroom under my sink. I love knowing that there are ONLY essentials in there. I didn’t fill the bag. So now we have the brotherhood of the traveling bag as I pass it along to each of my boys. 🙂

  2. Vesna says:

    This 30 min mission has me really hooked!!! Whenever I have a spare 30min I keep filling rubbish bags or boxes! De-cluttered my bookshelves in the office as well as in the family room. Three boxes full of books went to the Salvos store yesterday! Yay!

  3. Stefanie says:

    Done! I went beyond the 30 minutes when cleaning out my office, I filled a huge black trash bag and then some. It felt so good to get rid of all the trash and broken/unusable items. Can’t wait to continue to mission 2.

  4. Vesna says:

    It’s week three for me in the Get Organized Missions project. I keep coming back to this task as there are so many areas to keep de-cluttering. Has made a significant impact in the house so far. The bathroom looks so tidy, the laundry clean, my wardrobe is finally clear and accessible, and I organised a council rubbish pick up (Sydney local council) to pick up a pile of old tatty furniture and unused household items. i am on a roll!!!

  5. Vesna says:

    Ok, did another 30min today, managed to fill a bag with stuff from my closet! Amazing how much can be achieved in 30min! And I feel so motivated! will do another 30min tomorrow again I think.

  6. Vesna says:

    Started in the kitchen and didn’t even get to any other room. Filled a bag full with just rubbish and then threw out a 80cm high pile of old magazines and recipes that I was going to get to one day… they have been sitting there for years. Out it goes and tomorrow I will continue with the second half of the kitchen. Feels excellent!

  7. jane maclean says:

    wow I couldn’t believe how good I felt after I completed Mission 1. have been so disorganised before this. looking forward to next one

  8. Meredith says:

    Two big bags plus as pile into the recycler….I have a tendency to keep packaging from computer equipment and household appliances so that all went too!

    Also got rid of a pile of old business stationery which was out of date. My home office is a work in progress as far as getting organised goes. Feeling motivated though 🙂

  9. Annmarie says:

    Well…done! I managed a FULL 171litre contractor bag…..2 of my daughters worked together and they filled another contractor bag full from their rooms. Bags are out with the trash!

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