Friday’s Favourites ~ 1Mar2013

On Fridays at 365 Less Things I share with you my favourite comments from my wonderful readers and my favourite web finds of the week. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Favourite Comments. Enjoy!

This comment from Wendy B has some great advice about getting a reluctant partner into the decluttering frame of mind.

Lois tells us about how her life changed and how she adapted to those changes in this comment. She is to be applauded for her positive outlook on life. Good for you Lois, fur

Lena C talks about the changes in her thinking about possessions in this comment and how that makes it easier to let go. Good for you Lena.

Jen gives us her thoughts on kitchen gadgets in this comment. I agree Jen, they aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

Wendy F has been busy surfing the web to find me three interesting finds this week. I hope you also found time to declutter Wendy ;-). I know you did because you brought a few things in for donation at the thrfit shop including a sandwich maker. Thank you for that. Here are those links

1. century of the self – a documentary – summary

2. This video from Vimeo.com is sad in many ways but there is at least one winner in the story and that is the environment. Desperate times call for desperate measures. http://vimeo.com/m/57976073

3. This article about a photo exposé of kitchen portraits by Erik Klein Wolterink  clearly shows the differences in the states of one kitchen to another. Which kitchen does yours mostly resemble.

Sent from my husband Steve ~ http://lifehacker.com/5985779/how-to-curb-your-clutter-and-reduce-stress-in-the-process

Both Sanna and my husband suggested this link. I may have linked to this one recently but I am not sure. So if you have read it before please forgive the repetition.

Today’s Mini Mission

Some gadgets are just not worth the effort. Declutter those you don’t use because they are too complicated to assemble, to difficult to clean or that you can’t use because some parts are missing.

Eco Tip For The Day

 Don’t over soap your hands when washing them, you will not only waste soap but also use more water rinsing them.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Friday’s Favourites ~ 25Jan2013 On Fridays at 365 Less Things I share with you my favourite comments from my wonderful readers and my favourite web finds of the week. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I […]
  • Friday’s Favourites ~ 22June2012 On Fridays at 365 Less Things I share with you my favourite comments from my wonderful readers and my favourite web finds of the week. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I […]
  • Friday’s Favourite Five ~ 19Aug2011 Comments aren't as plentiful as they used to be but there are still some great ones among them and here are five of those that we received this week. Wendy B has left two great comments […]
About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Oh wow, the kitchen photos! You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to open and photograph each kitchen cupboard. Then I can enlarge the pictures on my computer and take a hard look at each one. I think when I’m standing right there in front of the cupboard, it all looks logical and orderly, but if I can step back. . . . this may be a good tool to use.

    • They say a picture paints a thousand words Michelle and I can vouch for the fact that looking at your home through the lens of a camera will be and eye opener. Especially if you pretend you are taking the photo the share with others. You start to see things from the other’s eyes and think ~ I wouldn’t want people to see that ~ which is an indicator that perhaps there is more work to be done. I tweaked my kitchen just a little the other day when I took the photos I shared. The recycling cupboard was a bit messy and one of the cupboards with glasses needed rearranging a little and there were a couple of things I decluttered from the pantry. And that was before I even took the photos, just know I was taking them to share was enough to make me look twice at the state of things.

  2. I was talking to a friend this week who needs to move. He was talking about buying a house that needs a lot of work, and I suggested that a small apartment would be lower stress and better on his wallet. If he buys the house, various stressful family members will live with him, and he’ll have a whole second job fixing up the place to be habitable, so he would be putting off settling down and starting a family, which he wants to do, indefinitely. But he said an apartment was out of the question because he has too much stuff and dogs.

    I know I do things that keep me unhappy, and it can be easier to see the craziness in somebody else’s life than in your own, but it is really sad to see a friend keep himself in a path that doesn’t lead where he wants to go, and that part of the reason he is trapped is that he doesn’t want to part with stuff sitting in boxes.

    • Oh Rebecca J, that is sad. I guess being a supportive and encouraging friend is all a person can do.

    • Rebecca J – For the dogs, this is a good thing. But he doesn’t need to find a house that needs a lot of work, or a big house. Some people are trapped by their belongings, it possesses them. Maybe you could try to show him the different perspectives, like if he is willing to buy a house that needs a lot of work, he will be forced to have two jobs and he won’t be able to find the time to enjoy his family and dogs. On the other hand, he could buy a house that is already in fairly good condition, and that does not need a lot of work. But if he’s too much “stubborn” and follows the road he chose to be in, try to help him the way you can, like Michelle said.

      • Money is very tight, so a house in good condition isn’t an option for my friend. I’ve told him about my efforts to reduce my stuff, and he’s said “I wish I had the energy to tackle that”.

        My grandmother renounced consumerism in the 70s and has been living in extremely rural places or in communes since. She buys as little as possible by growing food, mending things, and doing without. With this lifestyle, she and others at her commune can mostly work part time jobs they like since they don’t spend much.

        I think it is easy for us to have aspects of our lives that we hate, but we don’t take the steps necessary to change or fix things. My friend has my grandmother’s attitude about jobs but not her extremely frugal lifestyle. He is always under so much stress because of the mismatch.

        • I understand not feeling good when there is a lack of coordination between two aspects, if I can put it that way.
          Do you have time to help him with his belongings? Does he have really a lot of stuff?
          Most of the time, we feel overwhelmed because we see all that we have to deal with, but as with everything else when you divide it in several parts, we do a lot without even realizing it.

    • That is sad Rebecca. Have you thought that he might be doing it deliberating to avoid taking the plunge. He may be afraid of failure or rejecting and is putting up a guard.

      • He lives in another state, so I can’t go over and help.

        Clutter isn’t the only challenge my friend faces, but it is intertwined with his other challenges. Maybe decluttering can become intertwined with good progress in other aspects of his life. I was focusing on the negative, but maybe dealing with stuff in a manageable way can be a burst of positive.

    • This is a tough one, truly. It is so hard for people to see how having too much stuff can hold them back in their overall goals in life and how it affects their everyday quality of life. We can explain forever and a day how living with less can make your life so much fuller, but until each person comes to that conclusion on their own, they may not really get it. I have a person very dear to me who lives in a modest home that also has a basement. The home depresses this person greatly because of the condition of the home, mainly the large amount of things that are sitting in the basement that need to be purged. If the items were purged, (the items just sit in boxes and bins and are not used at all), I believe this person could begin to breathe and feel so much better. I have offered my help on numerous occasions. I do believe that this person will tackle the job, but only when they are ready. I also know someone else who can only eat standing up because there is not a clear place to sit and enjoy a meal. I just wish everyone could understand how freeing letting go can be.

  3. I love the kitchen photos!
    I think it’s interesting that each kitchen has different stuff in abundance: one person stacks dishes, another person stacks food and the third person stacks cleaning supplies.

  4. “If something takes a minute or less to complete, do it now.” I think this is the best idea. It goes up there with, “Everything having a place and everything in its place.” Too many times we make it hard on ourselves when a few minutes can mean a lot. Loved the kitchen pictures. Ours looks pretty good except I don’t think we need all of those neatly stacked plastic food storage containers or a cabinet full of spices and herbs while also having them in 2 racks on the wall.

    • I know it’s silly, but here’s another game I play. I’ll set the kitchen timer for anywhere between 15 – 45 minutes and then I race around the house to see how much I can get done – dust the living room, vacuum, clean the counters, clean the litter box, start a load of laundry, take out the recycling or the trash. As I mentioned with the quilting, I’m real good with deadlines! LOL It really doesn’t take much time to do a bunch of these tasks. It can seem overwhelming, “Oh, there is so much to do!”, but one thing at a time gets the job done. Even if I don’t get everything done, that’s allright. Tomorrow’s another day.

      • Michelle – yet another game of yours that I like. I think we must have similar psyches. I have done this in the past but had forgotten the idea. I’m crazy enough to compete against myself.

      • I love this idea Michelle. I am just writing a chapter on messy clutter for my ebook at the moment and I have just written that most tasks take very little time to take care of in the moment but accumulated over time become a huge mess to deal with. Your fun little method of cleaning up, which sounds almost like a game but at the least an entertaining challenge could work for many people who have found themselves overwhelmed with the accumulated mess. So I think I will include it in the chapter. I will give you credit of course.

        • Thanks Colleen! What the timed game does is keep me focused. I don’t allow myself to get distracted by the tv or by the internet. I have a limited period of time to complete the tasks and afterwards I can reward myself with a tv- or computer break. If my plan is to spend an entire Saturday to clean house, you can bet I’ll plop down on the couch with a cup of coffee and watch a bit of tv because, hey!, don’t I have all day to clean house?? 😉

          • Well, darn. I just looked at the link your husband Steve sent do you and I see in the comments after the article someone else does the timer game and calls it the sprint method. Shoot, here I thought I was being so clever. 🙁

    • The one minute rule is a great one. I think people over estimate how long it takes to do things they don’t like doing. They think it takes longer because it is a chore. While the accumulation of those minutes not taken care of at the time really does become a chore ~ hours of cleaning up the accumulated mess that is.

      • I’m always amazed at how much cleaning I can do while water is boiling for tea or leftovers are microwaving. In my head those tasks take 20 min, not 2!

  5. Well, rats. I accidentally posted my comment before I was ready. Lots of good links as usual Colleen.

  6. Grace from Brazil :

    Thanks, the links are always an inspiration for me. Loved the kitchen photos. As they seemed to get progressively worse I felt stressed-out just looking at the clutter. That made me notice that I had some other “non-kitchen” areas that I needed to address right then so tackled a little corner in my room that I have been avoiding. I liked the maintenance monday idea as well.

    • Hi Grace from Brazil, I always love it when reading something here inspires them to get up and deal with a task they need to get done. Well done you.

    • I don’t like the idea of making a montage of my cabinet and drawer insides – it would not be lovely! As I’ve gotten rid of things, I’ve re-housed other things in my drawers. The overall look of the home is less cluttered, but my drawers definitely need more attention.

  7. I liked the article about “white space”. It makes me think of negative space in photographs or other visual art. I’m attracted to the simplicity of empty shleves, counters, floors, whatever. I did another (small) book purge last night. Also did a much harsher magazine purge. Books I tend to reread (as evidenced by the cracked spines and loveworn covers). Magazines not so much. Now I have new bits of “white” space, and it feels lovely. (Our local librarians were like OMG SO MANY BOOKS when I donated them. They will either donate them to nursing home/hospital patients or sell them in book drives. Both options please me because they are so much better than those books gathering dust in the house.)

    • Well done Rachel W. doesn’t it just feel good to hand things on to someone else who can appreciate them. This is one of the things that I enjoy most about my decluttering.

  8. I enjoyed the pictures of the kitchens – I have been meaning to do something similar to update my insurance records but sometimes the camera picks up things that our eyes dont.

    I know a lady and they have to move fairly regularly due to work and she gets photos ahead of time of each room but in particular the kitchen and any storage cupboards, and she works out in advance where she will put everything and packages it accordingly. If there isn’t room for everything she already owns, she decides that before it gets packed. Because she has to shift so often (every 3-6 months) she does live fairly light, even though her husband’s employers pay the relocation, but she feels this minimises the stress of shift. I’m sure the shifters appreciate it too.

    I also enjoyed the article on whtie space. I agree with one of the commenters on that article that white space can be restful on the eyes. Looking at the kitchen picture on the other link was busy viewing. While I was reviewing our kitchen this week, I pointed out to Adrian 3 identical serving dishes, that haven’t been used in a long long time. I’m not sure if they haven’t been used because they live in the corner of the corner cupboard ie hard to access or if it is because they are too big to go thru the dishwasher and don’t easily fit in the sink either or if we tend to use our lasagne dishes for lasagne, pasta, salad, baking, or in other words most serving situations because we had such a tiny kitchen in our last house, all we had room for was …… a lasagne dish and it is our habit. Anyway, Adrian felt they weren’t doing any harm there in the corner and were just taking up space that wasn’t very useful. Well, it is possible, and everything doesn’t have to go on first consideration. But at least now I can refute that argument with the white space article.

    • Moni, I’m nodding my head ‘yes’ on your serving dishes comments. The three I just got rid of were on the top shelf and could only be reached with a stool. They were not bothering anything there in their little corner of the kitchen, but I was very pleased to see the space when I removed them.

      • Michelle – I might remove them ….. just to see what it looks like without them. First degree of seperation.

    • The corner is a good enough place for a trial separation I would say. Perhaps an option would be to keep one and declutter the rest.

  9. Great collection of comments and links again Colleen but what really blew my mind (to use an expression from my youth) was the Century of the Self” article – it actually names all the people and their methods that have led to our present consumer and self-above-society world. With the promotion of the “strategy of desire” idea came so many of the current ills in our society and it breaks my heart to see so many people being encouraged into debt by its continued use.
    I was feeling quite upset after I read the article – thank goodness I have some “white spaces” in which to chill out 🙂

  10. Hi Collen! Great links as usual. I especially enjoyed the one talking about “white space”. I am trying to get some “white space” in my house, but my husband has been more difficult than forest guerrilla… 😀

    • Sorry your husband is causing road blocks in your decluttering Andréia but he does get to cast a vote on things as well. I do hope though that you have success getting your way. Just keep on trying my friend but ultimately you can’t force your ways on him.

  11. Those kitchens were shocking. I am amazed how much stuff can accumulate in a kitchen.

  12. Loved the comments and links today, Colleen. The Century of Self article made me sad. We are led to believe everyday through advertising that we are not complete or successful enough if we do not own item “x”. I really feel for young people who are led to believe that they have no self worth or value in this world if they do not wear certain brands or have certain things. Advertisements teach that more is always better and if they do not have everything that their heart’s desire by a young age, that they have failed. Some people have made a fortune by a very young age without working very hard and young people compare themselves to this and think that is how it is supposed to be, they think that status is everything. That everything is supposed to happen instantly (instant gratification) without having to work hard throughout a lifetime for it. We are not just a consumer driven society, but a greed (for material possessions) driven society. I am not trying to offend, as I know that not all young people are like this. Many parents work very hard to instill in their children principles about what really matters in this life.

    Loved the stress and clutter link. Clutter definitely brings stress and it certainly brings less joy into your life. I still have trouble locating things on occasion, but it is getting better. I grew up in a cluttered home. Not only was it cluttered, but my mom was not a good housekeeper, so I never had friends over. My children enjoy having friends over often, total opposite of what I grew up with. I liked the white space link too. I love that I have empty shelves and cabinets. Not only is there physical empty space but it creates empty space in my mind too. Less stress for me. I have a basement and use it as a place for my kids to hang out but it does not have a lot of stuff in it. Someone said to me after I got my home, that now I will have to get some things to fill up my basement. Why? I like having it mostly empty. Just because it is there, does not mean that I have to fill it up. All I have to do down there is vacuum and straighten up on occasion and that suits me just fine.

    • I can easily believe this Lois because kitchens are often the most cluttered areas of homes.

    • Hi Jen don’t blame the young people as it is our generation that has made them that way. We encourage them to over achieve, we have been able to give them more than ever before and our generation has been the one to perpetuate the throwaway habits of modern society. Sure we have been sold this buy those talked about in that article but ultimately we followed blindly. Hopefully it can be turned around though.

    • Jen, I completely agree. I am 44 now and I remember first going out on my own thinking that I “needed” all these particular items to show that I had “made it.” How silly and how untrue. Buy, buy, buy – that’s the culture for some and I am trying very hard to get away from that. Now my goal is a clean, comfortable living space. I don’t want to spend every weekend cleaning.

      I have privately talked with Colleen a lot about Christmas, but a funny side note on that is I used to spend so much time wrapping everything just perfectly, color-coordinating with bows or ornaments or whathaveyou. It got tiring and now I have a traditional color scheme and no longer spend time thinking/worrying about how it all looks.

      And in regard to your comments about advertising, that is the destruction of self-esteem if a person lets it. For about a two-second period, I’ll think I’m not pretty enough, slim enough, smart enough, stylish enough, not a good enough cook – UGH! Who needs that poo? 🙂

      • I know exactly what you are saying. I want less in my home so that there is less to deal with and I can spend my time doing something else more productive and fulfilling. As far as Christmas goes I just try to keep it simple. Staying with tradition makes it easier rather than changing every year with the new trends that are out or putting together a new tree color scheme every year. Sometimes we all put too much pressure on ourselves to have everything just right. You are right, we don’t need that poo :).

  13. I always enjoy your Friday Favorites Colleen! I especially enjoyed the article about “white space”, which is something I’ve been seeking to achieve. My clothes closet has lots of white space, which makes me very happy. I’ve done lots of decluttering in my kitchen and I enjoy opening a drawer or cabinet and not seeing a bunch of clutter. I have some built-in bookcases with cabinets in the lower section in the living room. I have actually decluttered them to the point that one large shelf was completely empty. Yay! Then I quickly realized my hubby would find it and would immediately fill it with many of the various things he collects. I had to get sneaky and find things to put in there just so he wouldn’t commandeer it. Crazy!

    • Hi Barbara, that white space really is nice. I have plenty of that now too. My closet doesn’t have much because it is a very small closet but it isn’t crammed full like it used to be.

      It may be best to allow your husband to commandeer your bookcase white space so that his stuff is out in the open and subject to decluttering. Not sure you will have much success with this but if I were you I would insist if he puts the stuff out then he need to be the one dusting it. That ought to make him think twice about his clutter. Not a fun job that.

  14. Loved the article about reducing stress by reducing clutter…so true…and not only physical clutter, we need to reduce mental clutter as well…the excessive and unwanted emotional baggage we carry weighs us down and obstructs living a stress-free life.

    • Good point Swalia. I have found that the more I declutter the more mental clutter I let go of as well. I fell that I am more open minded now which makes my reaction to certain things more tempered that I would once have found very irritating.

  15. Ideealistin :

    Re: “Redemption”
    It’s sad that people are so desperate that they have to dig other people’s trash for a few cents. But isn’t it almost equally sad how many people just don’t care what the consume and what/how they throw away because they can afford the waste? In Germany you can see bottle-pickers, too, though it doesn’t amount to the masses of bottles seen in the trailer (I assume because the refund is higher, 25 Euro Cent, 15 Euro Cent and 8 Euro Cent, depending on the kind of bottle). But there is also an initiative that tries to teach the wasters to at least place their refundable bottles nicely for the pickers so they don’t have to pick the trash (http://www.pfand-gehoert-daneben.de) or to donate the refund tickets right at the supermarket to a charitable cause. Just a tiny step but far better than nothing, for the environment as well as for the people.

  16. Jay!
    “My” thrift store reopens today. Decluttering speed may go up again!

  17. Ideealistin :

    The kitchens: super interesting. Thanks for the link. Makes me think how mine would look for others and definitely makes me want to declutter more! (Even if this is not taking place right away … though despite announcing otherwise I did declutter at least some kitchen stuff this week: two potentially useful but in reality un(der)used trays were freecycled.)

  18. I really loved the kitchen post. It is the hub of our home, therefore the most important place for us to be happy and decluttered. Thanks for all of the great comments; I have been enjoying these reads so much.

  19. Hello 365lessthings!

    I’m a new minimalist, however I think i’ve been a closet minimalist for a long time. I enjoy reading the blog as I’ve have minimalism and decluttering on my mind for a while.

    One thing I find difficult about getting rid of items is the “sentimental factor”. For example, I’ve got a pair of tennis shoes that I can’t seem to throwaway because they were the shoes that I traveled through Cuba with. Needless to say, I probably haven’t worn them since that trip years ago!

    My wife had an interesting idea which I am going to try. I am going to take a photo/post to instagram a picture and description of each of these items to capture/honor the sentiment. That way i’ll have a record and memory of these items that I can reflect back against. Sounds corny but it may help me rid of many non-essential items in my life.

    Jason

    • Hi Jason and welcome to 365 Less Things. Your wife’s idea doesn’t sound corny at all to me. What better than a record of your sentimental items rather than keeping the item itself. You would not be the first person to use this strategy. It is often mentioned here at 365 Less Things. Ultimately you could have a coffee table book printed with all the photos of your sentimental items. It would be a great talking point for guest should they pick it up to browse through. Maybe however a coffee table book would just be one more item of clutter when digital copies a just a good.