Other People’s Stuff

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Day 167 Take your time, learn as you go. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that my take on decluttering is " slow and steady wins the race". One of the advantages to this approach is that you can start […]
  • Day 65 Nike Skate Shoes Today, three pair of holey Nike Skate shoes that languished in the shoe cupboard for nearly three years head to the garbage bin. We can sometimes make personal attachments to the strangest […]
  • Stuff x Emotions ~ A guest post by Andréia It seems funny to talk about emotions and feelings when talking about inanimate objects that can be replaced, but we place emotion and feelings on stuff all the time. It can be good or it […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. It is hard to find a good balance sometimes between what you would like done by them and what they are willing to do, but the fact that you set up proper expectations and communicate makes it much easier.

  2. Absolutely right, Colleen. Substitute the word “husband” for “daughter” and this is almost exactly what happened in our house. From being ‘dig-in-the-heels’ uncooperative when we officially started (about Day 59 of your blog), he’s now looking up prices on the internet of things he might sell, he tells folks we’re downsizing, and admits the the loud squawking he makes about my getting rid of his toys is just in fun. I think he’s actually ENJOYING the process now!

  3. It’s great that you have figured out how to work with your daughter so that she will declutter with you. I think it is wonderful that Wendy B’s husband is into decluttering now and having fun with it.

  4. Hi Colleen,
    I hope your daughter is not only playing along but that she is (secretly) glad you teach her these skills of letting go and being reasonable about what to keep early in life. Not only will you make her next and all the following house moves easier (and cheaper) she’ll also save a lot of her time and energy and maybe money for the rest of her life. I am coming to terms with my parents not teaching me these skills well. I am getting somewhere in my decluttering. But I feel that every year that lies behind me literally weighs me down with its accumulated stuff.
    I am happy for everyone who starts this journey of reasonability early. And double thumbs up for everyone who starts late and has a load to deal with but keeps chipping away.

    • Hi Ideealistin,
      I am not sure she is learning the lesson too well. She can still be very materialistic. She will tell you that we have two words for her whenever she wants to buy something. They are need and want. We have said it to her over and over again since she was in her early teens “Need want need want.” I am sure she hears those words every time she is considering buying something she doesn’t need but them ignores them.

  5. That’s great Colleen. My 11 yo daughter’s problem (or *I* see it as her problem!) is that though she doesn’t have a great deal of stuff, she doesn’t look after the things she DOES have. The “precious things” that she couldn’t bear to get rid of (eg mainly stuffed toys) are just thrown on the floor or shoved under her bed. I’ve warned her many times that if she doesn’t arrange them on her bed, or find a home for them on her wardrobe shelves that I’m going to confiscate them for a month. Well, this morning I finally did it. I wonder if she’ll even notice when she gets home from school!

    • Hi Loretta,
      I think following through on your threat is a good step. She will either learn to conform or realise she doesn’t want these things after all. Make sure you do keep them from her for the whole month as going back on your threat teaches them the you will weaken under pressure. Not a lesson you want her to learn.

      • You bet! I’ve just written a reminder in my diary to give the stuff to her next month. You know, she noticed her stuff was gone but didn’t even care! Sigh. We did spend some time sorting her room after school yesterday and it is pristine now:-) We’ll see how long it lasts.

        • Good for you Loretta. Perhaps at the end of this exercise she won’t want the things at all. That will be a big pile of dust collectors and untidiness gone from her room.

  6. I regularly ask my kids to go find one or two or three things in their rooms they can get rid of. They never complain about it, and never have difficulty finding items to shed. I’m hoping they’ll learn to let go of stuff and not have to struggle with piles of clutter as adults… probably just wishful thinking.

    • Hi Julia,
      one thing you can be sure of though is if it doesn’t turn out that way it isn’t because you didn’t try to teach them that possessions don’t matter. You can only do your best to teach them good habits. After that it is up to them.

  7. Don’t be too hard on your daughter, Colleen. She might be ready to go more minimalistic and less consumerist in five or ten years and at least then she won’t have to deal with loads and loads of stuff from her teen years, boxes of school papers, former favourite clothes that don’t fit anymore, stuffed animals, unsorted fotos, papers you actually need mixed with other papers, souvenirs … I find paperstuff the hardest to sort through and decide about and the older the things are the more emotionally attached I am. If you can teach her good paperwork mantainance and not to get too attached to objects (and that out of sight doesn’t equal done ;-)) she’s a lucky girl – and has good chances to figure out the rest without greater problems in her own time.

    • Hi Ideealistin,
      my girl has been doing a great job of decluttering this week. One day I am sure she will learn to be more selective about what she brings in in the first place. But when I was her age I loved to shop too.


  1. […] Less Things shares her opinions on Other People’s Stuff. How I would love my daughter to declutter her stuff, but she has resisted all attempts so far. […]