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  • School/college notes and texts (unless you just graduated they’re probably out of date)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

Michele | Get Organized Gal

Michele is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.

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

  1. cheryl says:

    Just finished my 30 minutes . Decided to do it at 10:30 in the evening after procrastinating too long. Feels great. tomorrow I am going to try it again.
    thanks for the great positive motivation from you Michele and everyone else who is participating. Good to know that I am not alone out there.

  2. Tammy says:

    I read the mission and then instead of just the trash bag, I also used a box for charity. I only had 30 min. with my work schedule, but I felt so good I’m going to tackle more. I feel “cleaner” after this first purge. I should be awesome after another.

  3. Michele Connolly says:

    Hi Flora,

    Keep doing the missions and you will get there!
    In coming weeks you’ll have plenty more chances to tackle the clutter.
    But for now, feel great that you’ve made a start.
    That can be the hardest thing for many people.

    See you at Mission #2!
    M 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    Tips & tricks that are working for me:

    * decided to hold an impromptu garage sale (with 2 days notice), which enabled me to throw items into a pile and keep adding to it, even the morning of the sale. we didn’t sell much, but once I’d disconnected from items enough to sell them, it was easy to get rid of them
    *hung a large purse in the boiler room, which I’ll fill but never open (no peeking means no changing my mind) until it’s ready to donate
    * since the chaos of clothes is in the laundry room, I put a bag to be filled there so that I’d constantly be reminded of needing to get rid of clothes. I’ve filled 2 already and have another bag waiting to be filled

    Thanks to Michele and good luck to you all.

  5. Fiona Mackenzie says:

    Yeah! Even though I have done a few recent cleanouts this one was different and I actually chucked out some things like wedding gifts and crockery that were chipped – and even some wooden flowers my mum gave me ages ago whichwere ok but were taking up a spot for something beautiful … which I ahve yet to find. Fiona

  6. Donna says:

    This is a good one to do. I try to do it often, but now with this mission, I’m going deeper and see that I still have more to do. That’s okay. This has reignited my ‘mission’ to declutter on an ongoing basis.

  7. John says:

    Ok, so I started, I walked and filled. Suddenly I noticed, the bag was dragging and was bursting at the seams. Huh, ok another bag. hey my 30 minutes is up, still I can’t stop now I’m just into the swing of things. So on and on and on. 4.5 hous later 6 bags….and I haven’t even went into my garage yet. Hey this was a wonderful task, not only did I feel I uncluttered my home, I feel more room in my brain too. I origanially decuded to sighn up for this for my wife…..ah hum….she said no way. So I decided to do them all myself. One of the best ideas I ahve had in a long time. Ah, I know she’ll catch on.

  8. Nisha says:

    Sigh, I should do this every month.

  9. Tracie D says:

    Done. I did it! 30 minutes of purging! I realized that purging isn’t my biggest issue… It’s organized the stuff that’s left behind. Well, that will be another mission for another 30 minute missions day! This feels pretty good.

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