A late updare from Sanna and her 20 thing a day challenge

Sorry Sanna and Readers I should have published this post last Friday. Better late than never I suppose. I will be publishing this week’s update tomorrow.

Sanna’s Update

So, I’m in for almost 3 weeks and actually, I’m meanwhile 200 items ahead of my challenge.

This week, lots of incense, recipes, more pens and pencils, a few books, notepads and more left the house. Fine weather made it possible to put a cardboard box with a “for free” sign on the sidewalk which made getting rid of these little items as easy as can be.

I also went through my “memorabilia box” (which includes photos) and though I just got rid of a couple of things there, I put all the photo CDs and DVDs that are in there in cd sleeves and got rid of the original cases, so that I gained a little space in there. (in the long run, I should probably combine all those on a little USB stick or so, but I haven’t yet done so. Baby steps. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

As before I counted every little thing seperately and for me that is a good thing. First, it makes it easy to reach my goal. 20 recipes or similar a day isn’t hard to do, so even on stressy days I can be done in a couple of minutes. However there’s another benefit and that is that I get a better idea how many things exactly I own of some things. A stack of recipes is just that: a stack. However, when I counted so many 20 pieces out of it, I get an idea that there are actually hundreds of recipes still and that it would take months to use them all! Because, let’s face it: even when you’re in use-it-up-mode, you don’t cook 20 times a day! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This makes it easier for me to declutter to a more realistic number and don’t get biased because things aren’t taking up much space.

Although I’m still not running out of stuff to declutter, the effort meanwhile really begins to pay off. Our stuff fits better in its designated place and there are fewer items lying around somewhere. I feel great to have got rid of so many things that sat in drawers forever waiting for their time to get used. They’re now off to someone else who is hopefully using them a little sooner than I would have!

I hope your decluttering missions are going strong as well and that this week’s mini missions helped you all get going!

We’ll make the clutterfree home happen! ๐Ÿ˜€

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter an inherited item that you never really wanted.

Eco Tip for the Day

When dining with friends at a cafe that dishes up large servings share a meal. It saves on wasted food and inexpensive to boot. Not to mention easy on your waistline.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm slow

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Sanna, that is simply fantastic! I am completely impressed.

    I am happy to report that I have found a local charity that wants my yard sale leftovers as well as those 22 brooches I set aside for a fundraiser yard sale they are going to hold in Sept. I can’t wait to do another pass through the house and see if there is anything else to give to the charity. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Michelle, great that you found a taker for your things! I’m sure you will find a couple more things to let go… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Well done, Sanna; this is very inspiring!

    I wanted to just mention that USB sticks are not very reliable, so you should probably have another copy of your photos elsewhere. This knowledge is from my son who is a computer guru ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for that information. We’ll see how I will store those photos. Maybe that will be my task for autumn/winter. At the moment I don’t feel like sorting through digital stuff.
      Well, there’s still enough physical stuff to get rid of!

    • Jo H – I agree, I had one that must have fallen on the floor and got run over by the wheel of an office chair and kaput! Next I became a fan of external hard drives, but I’ve had two go kaput after being dropped or knocked off the desk by a cat. So now I use the Cloud more and more and are super careful with hard drives.

      • A friend also warned me to continue to change back ups on cds as they deteriorate. Every year or two, check the contents of the cds and recopy them (update).

  3. You are doing so good Sanna. I think it is great all the things you are realizing too.

  4. Wow, you are motoring! I have been steadily going through things and decluttering over the past three months. Bigger things(shoes, clothes, bags, books, magazines) and smaller stuff too(make up, freebies from hotels, stuff from long haul flights, paperwork! ) etc etc. Sold a few things on eBay and yesterday took 5 things I didn’t sell to the Charity Shop. Another item going tomorrow, a wash bag my husband had as a present, not his style so out it goes. But is there no end to the stuff? I still have lots of places to excavate but not at the moment as we are in the middle of a heat wave and I would rather be outside enjoying the gorgeous weather!

    • Linda, go enjoy the weather, but maybe grab a few random things from the junk drawer on the way out! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I just recently read again that the average American owns 30,000 things! So, yes, indeed there seems to be no end to it once you start paring down. Now, I’m not the average American and only live in a 65 square metres apartment, not in a huge house, but this challenge made me realize that I own several thousand things, too. Even if it’s little things like way too many rubber bands!
      I can’t imagine I really need that much, so I’m plugging away at high speed at the moment.

      • Sanna’s – I have heard the 30,000 items figure too. I’m interested in finding out if that was across a household of a whole family or individually – even a whole household sounds a lot. At the moment when I get a few minutes here and there – and especially if there is a receipt that can be shredded – I have been working on our inventory. I am focusing on bigger items first. I would be interested in doing a full count at some point out of interest.

        On YouTube there is a 3 part series of a study done by UCLA on middle income clutter that touches on the topic. It’s called: a cluttered life: Middle income abundance if you’re interested

  5. I have yet to finalise the box of CDs and DVDs leaving the house and there is still a box to drop off at Goodwill. I have a trial separation of some cereal holder containers – a friend of my daughter’s has put her hand up for anything along those lines – plus a box of random items that I have grabbed from the house along the way.

    I haven’t been able to do much this week as I had two wisdom teeth taken out and it knocked me around a lot more than I was expecting. I don’t suppose teeth count? Anyway at work over the last two weeks I have sorted thru papers, scanned what’s necessary and over 1500 papers have found their way to the document destruction wheelie bin! I’d been putting off for ages, isn’t it amazing what a challenge will set in motion? Plus 200 from home! Papers are easy for big numbers (even though each one needs to be looked at) so I freecycled out two empty filing cabinets and have some other stuff waiting for requests. Stuff left on Trademe too, which reminds me I must re-list stuff that didn’t sell.

    What I have learned from this challenge is that just because a house or work place looks decluttered and organised, there is still more that can be squeezed out.

    • Moni, that’s really impressive, especially with tooth pain!

      I like what you learnt from this challenge. My guess would be that squeezing this stuff out that has been lingering for ages, whether it be paperwork or random little stuff, makes as big a life impact as that first huge declutter that lets you fit everything into cupboards properly for the first time.
      I realize that I feel way better about my home when it holds only stuff I know I use NOW (or really soon).

  6. I’ve been working maybe every other day (have commitments in the community) but I’m continuing to weed out as many items as possible. Earlier this week my hubby recycled 80+ old maps–I’m totally counting those ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Good for you, Willow!
      I just got rid of old maps, too (only two however, but we wouldn’t own 80!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Doesn’t it feel great when progress is made?

  7. I’m still with you on this challenge Sanna! You are doing great so thanks for the inspiration. Like others have said, I’m amazed that in my somewhat decluttered house I have no problem coming up with 5 items per day. Some have been small items like scraps of fabric I was saving, some have been bigger things like a plastic yard chair that was grungy and unused. Finding a home for things that still have life in them is the biggest challenge, I take things to the thrift store, recycle, and repurpose as much as possible. I hope you’ll keep us going with this challenge!

    • Brenda, great that you are making such progress as well!

      It’s really astonishing how easy it is to find clutter! It’s not as if we lived in a two-storey house here… we don’t even have an attic or similar, yet there seems to be stuff everywhere!

      • Oops, Barbara, I’m so sorry I got your name wrong!! I really should wear glasses in front of my computer. ๐Ÿ™

  8. Sanna, Thank you for starting up the idea so that we can follow you.

    I have been decluttering for years and years. As soon as I get rid of a pile of stuff, I start to find things to make another pile. Never ending. Where has it all been hiding?

    If all those things that went out of my house over the years, came back in, we would have to move to a bigger house :-).

  9. Sanna,
    You go girl! Whether it’s decluttering or working on a long term project, I am always reminded of my Dad’s words, “slow and steady wins the race”. This I know for sure.

  10. wow sanna, this is impressive. I am not sure, I could come up with 20 items per day… although if I count every little thing, I could make it.
    but instead of going through small pieces I am tackling the big things at the moment. I gave away my TV and I love it. its very interesting how much this influences my own mood when I come home. I am somehow more relaxed, because this magnet doesnt threaten to pull me to the couch and waste my time watching crap. its a relief to a certain extent and I love my place with a whole new feeling. I think, its the best decluttering decision I ever made.
    I am now eying my desk, as I just dont sit there anymore and it turns more and more into this black hole of a dumping ground. it would require to decide on each and every piece of paper immediately and I think this would open up a new depth of “deal with it”.
    My printer, which is rarely in use these days could move into the shelf, which is now nicely decluttered, because I got rid of most of my university stuff. I think I will try a period of time with my desk turned upside down and see how this could go.

    Sanna, keep going! and let us know. Its so motivating, if someone is reporting about their personal challenge. cheers to you!

    • Lena, good for you!

      I never owned a TV, but my boyfriend is somewhat addicted to his computer (well, partly due to his work) and we also watch movies that way… sometimes too many. Oh well.
      I have been mostly working on that “medium size stuff” like books, clothes and so on over the last years and sometimes got rid of a bigger piece of furniture when it became obsolete, but most of the small stuff I just stopped adding to and intended to use up. However there’s still way too much of it and that is what made me take up this challenge. Also, my boyfriend is now much more on board than he was before. He’s almost turned into a minimalist himself, I think! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I have very little paperwork these days compared to the last years and don’t own a desk anymore, however, I still don’t really process my paperwork straight away. It goes into a little box and sometimes I go through that box and handle things. I’d like to get into a weekly rhythm with that, but I’m not yet there. Good luck with your “big stuff” project, Lena! As you say, it’s always inspiring to read about what others are decluttering at the moment.

  11. Sanna, I did it. writing about it was the last push. Just before I went to work I turned my desk and rearranged everything I could. on my bedroom floor is now a stack of papers that needs to be filed as soon as I get home (I had no more time to do that). I decided to try to live without any “inbox” now, which hopefully will force me to deal with paperwork straight away. I will keep you updated on how that works for me.

    I am also watching series and movies on my laptop, I also use it for reading news, blogs and I get errands done. My TV gets turned on, when I am too lazy (read: sad or upset) to bother and I end up watching stuff I dont want to see. its a very strange mechanism, but I am glad I figured it out eventually. Now I force myself to actually do something that brings me joy, if I dont feel well.
    like sitting down at the table with a cup of tea or coffe, music in the background and working on my puzzle. I know some people will never understand this hobby – but I like it and it makes me feel focused and calm, satisfied and happy. And due to my decluttering efforts I have now space for a 3000 pieces puzzle. it even became a permanent installation. the last one took me almost 9 months and surprisingly I did not lose one single piece…

    I am also good with medium sized clutter. clothes, books, kitchen items are sort of under control or get a frequent round of decluttering. I often catch myself decluttering little pieces almost absentmindedly. therefore I dont feel the need to deal with small stuff. it does however add up quickly if you forget about it… good luck with the rest of your challenge! and yay to your boyfriend. its always encouraging when people report that family members are on board. its so much easier then, right??

    • Let me know how your life without desk works out!

      My boyfriend surprised me yesterday by saying he’d like to get rid of all we owned and just get new the few things we need! :-O That’s a far cry from a year back!! The idea is appealing, but not feasible money-wise at the moment, however maybe we’re really ready for a packing party รƒย  la the minimalists! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Wow Sanna!! That’s a huge change in your boyfriend’s thinking. Here’s one for you. I heard my mother tell my aunt on the phone that she has decided she is going to start decluttering like she is moving into a smaller place right away. When she got off the phone she told me the same thing and was listing things she needed to go through and get rid of. WOW!! So we are both going to enjoy seeing how this goes.

        • Deb J – that is awesome news! Definitely a step forward!
          I’ve been thinking a bit about your mum, I have been assisting a friend whose mum is on the waiting list for an assisted living apartment. Her mum obviously still wants to be the mum in the situation. So I’ve suggested she say to her mum “what area do you want to focus on?” or she got hold of a floor plan of the new apartment and references it ie “how do you want to arrange your furniture in this area?.

          • Moni, your idea is good. I need to see if I can find floor plans for the place she will be moving to.

        • Deb J – I’ve heard from several people that many people moving to assisted care hit a bump in the road literally on the front door step when their stuff literally doesn’t fit inside their new home. Maybe see if there is any pamphlets at the facility with handy hints to a smooth transition into assisted living.
          Will you both shift at the same time? Or is it a case of who gets a spot first?

          • Moni, since I can’t even apply until after my birthday the last day of August I figure Mom will get a place first. I am praying though that mine won’t be far behind. Her first choice was to have a 1 bedroom and mine was a studio but they give you what ever opens up at the time your name comes first on the list. I’m praying we get our 1st choices. I found floor plans on their web site so we will use those to help us plan.

        • Deb J, I am so happy for you! Great how decluttering finally seeps through to everyone… ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hope you both have a good time decluttering and a smooth move!

          We finally have no paperwork etc. stored away in our storage room. Each of us still has a stack of old documents to go through, but both are a doable size and to know that there is nothing more anywhere else in the house is a great thing. Boyfriend even got rid of his old computers today, which is a huge thing, both for him and for me (as they were horrible dustcatchers, even stored in boxes!).

          • Sanna, it is great that your boyfriend got rid of his old computers and such. And papers! I swear they breed. We get all of these papers from Medicare for my mom to do with her doctor appoinments and meds. Everything else I pretty much have come digitally but these don’t and I need to get to digitizing them.

          • Sanna – wow I can remember mention of those computers from an earlier time. That’s great news.

      • Sanna,
        Great news about your man! Take the time and pack everything you own. if you have a basement, great. if you dont, spare a wall with your boxes and then you will see what you need. I bet you will be surprised…

        I always joked about getting rid of everything and live in a camping van. I always loved camping holidays, as you live at a minimum and it works out just fine. I am optimistic that there will be a point and a time in my life where it could happen. I just have to bring up a certain courage and then just DO it.
        for me a packing party is completely besides the point. my goal was always to live like I only have one arm. you know – no holding things with one, while pulling out the item you want from the back with the other hand… grabbing everything with just one movement. I can proudly say: I am there. Just today I rearranged my little curtain closet and the IKEA shelf (for the 4th time in almost 3 years) Now I am finished… obviously I still need two hands to get the big boxes from the shelf, but I rarely need them anyway.

        • We’re not going to do a packing party at this point, however we did spend this morning emptying out some storage (all the cluttery stuff, like paperwork, electrical items, memorabilia, candles etc. ) and putting things back in, decluttering on the way. I’m not aspiring to live with the bare minimum, so even when doing some kind of “packing party” I wouldn’t get rid of everything I didn’t touch in a week or two… I want to keep some art and other things that have no real “use”. However, I find packing things quite a good method, as you get a new view of both the available space and the amount of things usually stored in it…