Friday’s Favourites ~ 22 Nov 2012

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!

  • Sanna shares some views and experiences of aspirational clutter in this comment.
  • Apparently there is such a thing as good clutter or at least Lena has me convinced there is with this comment. We always had a calendar in the toilet room when I was a kid but Lena’s mothers tradition would have made it much more interesting to relieve one’s self.
  • Clutter is different for everyone and for Debra F Christmas decorations are never clutter. I love her enthusiasm even though I don’t share her passion. Read what she had to say about decorating for Christmas here.
  • I like Judy’s attitude of enjoys utilising something she already has instead of buy something new. Read about it here.

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

  • Both Clare and Snosie sent me this article by Jane E Brody for the New York Times to share with you this week.
  • Here is one little eco tip from Daily Lime that is easily achieved. In fact it takes less effort for you than the alternative.
  • This link has some more minimising/simplifying tips from the guys at The Minimalists.
  • Here is another great article that my husband drew my attention to. One guilt trip that is touched on in this article is the equation that high retail sales = healthy economy. There must be a better way to have the best of both worlds, less waste and a healthy economy.
  • Here is a little more on the Christmas Cindy began earlier on in the week. Sanna was kind enough to send me this link.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you keep for security reasons. That is simply because you fear you might need it or wish it back someday. Letting go is also about letting go of the falsehood that you ever needed them in the first place.

Today’s Declutter Item

Mini Souvenir Baseball Bats

Eco Tip of The Day

Small incremental ways in which you can help the environment by reducing waste each day.

Return hangers to the dry cleaners. Every little thing helps!

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


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About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Oh well, I own two of these “pointless purchases” mentioned in the Evening Standard article. One of them I bought myself (obviously before I started decluttering). It’s a spoon rest. 😉 We do use it all the time, but any plate would do the same job, so it’s not really a sensible thing to have around. It’s cute though, so we keep it for the moment, I guess. (I know – “it’s cute” isn’t a very good argument for keeping stuff… )

    • Me too! I have a strawberry huller. No hope for us then 🙂

      • Haha! 🙂
        I wonder whether us 365ers would have all of them, if we joined our belongings. 🙂
        The other one I own would be a tea bag press. (has been a present)

        Though I want to add that a cherry pitter is no clutter but a must to anyone who owns a cherry tree. Pitting cherries with a knife is hard work and a glorious mess. I did that with 4kgs this summer and had my fair share. (I think even though I don’t own a cherry tree I might get a pitter if I ever venture to make cherry jam myself again – even if it goes straight to the thrift store once I’m finished.) 🙂

        • P.S. I just googled and stumbled upon this: http://www.thekitchn.com/no-cherry-pitter-use-a-pastry-88418

          The comments are interesting as well. Maybe, I’ll just go for a bobby pin next time (at least give it a try before I get that pitter 😉 )

        • Hi Sanna, if you have a cherry tree and are likely to be pitting 4kg of cherries a year then it makes sense to own a cherry pitter. Unitaskers are only a waste of space if you don’t perform a task often or in bulk enough to warrant owning one. Many of the unitaskers I scoff at would be invaluable tools in the kitchen of a restaurant just not in the average household.

    • Hi Sanna! I have a spoon rest too…and it is still in my kitchen after a big decluttering! 😀 😀 😀

      • lol – you girls are crazy, I had to google spoon rest/holder, to find out that such a thing exists. impressive. I either put the spoon straight on top of the pot, or I put it on the counter/cutting board next to the stove. it does involve sometimes a bit of scrubbing, but in the end of the day, the counter gets wiped anyway…

        we made baked apples 2 days ago (with hot wine – yummy) and my friend was going on about how useful an apple corer would be… In the end the little knife did the job just as good, and there is no need for me to own the uni tasker.

        • I have a spoon rest.
          It’s either in the dishwasher or I don’t want to dirty it up so I rest my spoon next to the spoon rest.
          Up until today, it never occurred to me that the spoon rest was a useless kitchen gadget & that it’s intended purpose is to offer up a pop of color (cranberry red) on my otherwise stark white stove.

          • I used to have a spoon rest to. It sat beside the store top. I discovered that even if I used it the bench still required wiping down because of all the other spits and spatters that land on it during the cooking process. Needless to say I got rid of it some time ago.

          • I have a spoon rest and I love it! It is one of the most useful items in my kitchen, and I use it every time I cook. Now, the shrimp deveiner is a whole other subject. I’ve probably used it 4 times in 20 years and not at all in 15 years. I guess it’s time for it to go.

  2. As usual some great links and comments. It’s Thanksgiving day here in the US and Mom is busy with her meal prep. I’m trying to keep my coughing to a minimum after keeping us up most of the night with it. My friend here from Indiana who has a cold. It’s not been a good vacation for her. A real bummer.

  3. Now I’ve seen everything! Our free local paper came stuffed with Black Friday ads. Why is this noteworthy? Because I live in CANADA!!! I suppose that now American stores have taken their Black Friday sales online, Canadians are shopping online and our stores have to compete. Gaaahhhhhh!

    • Hi Wendy, Just stay holdup in your winter wonderland and be grateful you aren’t part of the madness.

    • I apologize on behalf of all Americans. Personally I’m appalled that stores are opening on Thanksgiving this year and I refuse to participate in the shopping madness.

      • No need to apologize Deanna but I can imagine why you feel inclined to do so. Mind you Americans are not the only guilty party. I like to think that slowly but surely people like you, me, my readers, other similar bloggers and their readers will continue to recruit more and more people to the new way of thinking that less is more and the world will become a better place for it.

      • Deanna – wow, I thought Thanksgiving was….well, almost sacred to Americans, am very surprised that they’re opening stores. I personally believe all statutory holidays should be strictly shops-shut (with the exception of a few duty stores), I know its a great time for great trade for retailers ie when everyone is off work and feeling restless by 11am, but its ok to spend a day doing nothing.

        When I was a kid, shops only just started opening on Sat mornings but closed by midday – and that was to accommodate as more mothers returned to work. I don’t recall anyone suffering any great calamity by not being able to shop 24/7

        • Apparently stuff, especially stuff on SALE, is becoming more sacred than holidays of any kind. Or just spending a nice day with family and friends, being appreciative for what you have. At least, here in the States.

          I ventured out into the pre-Black Friday madness. OMG! Nonononono. Never again as long as I can help it. I only went because my daughter’s best friend needed shoes (legit need…she had none, zero, zip). We thought she was staying til at least Saturday but nope, plans were changed. So last minute shoe shopping. Sigh. But now she has school shoes. And socks. So yay! Only satisfying her need for appropriate shoes (that fit and weren’t falling apart) made that venture into hell worthwhile for me.

          • That does sound like an horrendous way to spend what is meant to be a day of giving thanks with family and friends. But like you say at least there was a real need here and the mission was a success.

      • Deanna, I am with you there. I’m appalled at the stores opening on Thanksgiving day and having sales. Black Friday was bad enough. I feel sorry for the employees of these stores because they get no say in it.

    • Wendy, Canadians are (North) Americans too. 😉
      Welcome to our Black Friday hell.
      Today Canada……..tomorrow……The World!
      Mwhahahahaha

  4. Some great links and a huge thank you for including my Xmas X-cess post. As a UK blogger thanks to all those reading overseas and Happy Thanksgiving to those in America and Canada xo

  5. Another great Friday Favourites post Colleen – and how wonderful to see that large circulation papers like NY Times and London Evening Standard are featuring articles about “stuffitis”!!! Thanks also to you and Sanna for the link to Just a Little Less – I’ve added it to my favourites.

  6. I especially enjoyed the article from the London Evening Standard. It appears that “stuffitis” has infected the whole world. I’m very grateful for all of the material possessions and creature comforts that I have, but a gross over-abundance is obscene and vulgar. I plead guilty. But, thankfully, I’m not as guilty as I once was.

  7. “as Dr. Zasio says and I have found, the anticipated anxiety is usually worse than what actually ensues” – this is so true.

  8. Hi Colleen! I just loved the links. Especially the one from NYTimes. It got me thinking about holding on to stuff you never really use. I never thought about my books because no one thinks lots of books are clutter. It is deemed beautiful to have lots and lots of books. I used to think like that. But today I did something I would not have done a few days ago: I decluttered some books. I took some books from my shelf, put them in a box and I am going to donate them. I used a very simple system: What is this book? Have I ever opened this book? Will I ever read all of it or part of it? Am I keeping it because I “aspire” to read it and never will? Actually it was this last question that really struck me, because it really shows I don’t like so and so book, just “aspire” to like, want to be a person that likes that book and in the end…doesn’t. So out they went. Of course, with the extra china gone, my favourite books, the ones I look for always, are in a special place. It was not hard to decide the favourites. Now I have to decide which ones I am keeping “just in case” I will read it someday. That day might never come and if it does, I will go to the library.

    • Hi Andréia,
      congratulations on letting go of the books that you have realised you can live without. I am very proud of you for seeing the futility of keeping things that don’t fit with your goal of having a tranquil and decluttering home for you and your family.

      I have to say I still do not understand the need to hold onto books that one has no intention of rereading. I especially don’t understand acquiring books and not even reading them at all. But as I have said before I have never been a avid reader so what would I understand of this obsession.

      Donating the ones you may still harbour ideas of reading some day to your local library is a good way of keeping them available to you. That definitely does make sense to me.

      • Hi Colleen! I thought about you a lot today. I remember when you wrote once thet you were getting more and more ruthless in your decluttering, that you were decluttering things that you had kept previously. I guess that is what is happening to me. I open cabinets and drawers and really look at all the stuff, seeing what works and what doesn’t. About books, it is difficult to explain. They are not just objects, they give you something. Sometimes a good book can make you rethink your life, your goals. Or just enjoy yourself. And I like my books. I take care of them, they aren’t thrown about, they are carefully kept in shelves. But I don’t want to keep books because they are books. I want to enjoy the books I have. And books, like craft materials, are aspirational clutter, if you don’t read them. Some books I read cover to cover. I really like Shakespeare, I read it in English, and read some of it whenever I miss it (I miss some books, what can I say… 😀 ), but some books that I bought, because they were cheap, because I would read them, because I would learn about something from them, did not cut it for me. And I was having a very hard time rejecting these books. It was like “how can you say you like reading and not read everything?”. Well, I once read (the irony…;) ) and I think it was here, but I am not sure, that if you start to read a book for enjoyment (as I do most of my books) and don’t like it, you persist, and you still don’t like it, you should not suffer through the other 300 pages of that book just because you started. Go away, read something you enjoy, and let the poor book go. Someone out there will certanly enjoy it, or not. It took me a lot of time to learn this lesson, but here I am. Thanks for your encouragement.

        • Hi Andréia,
          I guess, from all the big advances you have made lately with your decluttering, that you are certainly becoming more ruthless. If one persists long enough and begins to see the progress it is inevitable that the desire to continue making improvement will give you the kick you need to let go of stuff you didn’t consider before. I wish you all the ruthlessness you can muster.

          What you wrote about books above I do understand. I understand the love of the written word, I understand keeping books that you will read over and over again. I can even understand keeping your very favourite books you really loved and perhaps even changed your life.

          My husband and I were just having a conversation this afternoon about trying to persist with a book that you get so far through and just can’t abide by. My husband had this experience with On The Road and I had the same experience this week with another book. Not that I got very far before it started doing my head in. I donated mine to the library yesterday. I pity the pour soul who encounters it. Although perhaps they will be more in tune with the authors style of writing and actually enjoy it.

        • “How can you say you like reading and not read everything?”

          This (in a broader sense) has been my decluttering hold-back with quite a few things. I got thoughtful gifts or got myself stuff on sale that I like “in general”, but thinking about it, it turns out I don’t like that particular item or at least not enough to actually use it.
          I’m a little bit inconsistent with my hobbies – or, maybe, inconsistent is the wrong word, but I have a couple of hobbies I enjoy but none I could or would do every day. I like to paint, for example, but I paint only about 3 paintings a year. I like to craft with paper (cards and the like), but that also only about once a month (at most!). I like to sew (again, about once a month). I like to read (okay, I do that every month, but not necessarily every week). Sometimes I even knit (but even more rarely). I play a musical instrument (but also not very regularly at the moment).
          I have been through times where I felt some kind of obligation to pursue these hobbies more often, to decide to either really do it and get the proper equipment, a course, a book about it or quit it altogether. The thing is, just the way I’m doing it suits me best – at least for the moment. I found keeping the supplies low for all these things is working rather well. If I want to craft with paper, I just do it (and don’t think: Girl, you should sew instead, you have a whole box of fabrics waiting!)
          If I don’t feel like reading a classic novel, I feel better about going out and borrowing a huge stack of crime stories, if I don’t have an unread copy of Joyce or Proust around.
          It’s much easier to actually enjoy those things (which I should enjoy, after all, there’s no sense in doing them if I don’t enjoy them), if I don’t declare myself “a reader”, “a sewer” or “a painter” and build up a picture of myself to which I don’t come true (and deep in my heart don’t even want to).

        • Andréia, I know how you are feeling. I am also a book lover, and there will always be at least one book around me. But within 2 years of decluttering – with help from this blog – I learned to let go, and not feel bad about it.
          just because I love the content of something, doesnt mean I need to keep the form it comes in. this goes for books, CDs and DVDs. I sold around half of my scientific books, because I needed to buy new ones (one in-one out rule), and I will continue to do that. I earned quite an amount of money, I know that those books are in good use and someone will learn from them – again. I totally changed my perspective: hanging onto a book you dont read anymore, is wasting it…

          I have a couple of aspirational books standing around. mostly classic german literature, but also shakespeare (Hamlet makes me sleep like no other piece) that I keep, because I know that one day I will be ready for it. sometimes you need 3 attempts to “get it” (maybe its got something with maturity, or current interest, or state of mind) but when you do, its so worth the wait. once a book lover, always a book lover.

        • Andreia – I’m fascinated by the idea of Shakespeare translated in other languages, its hard enough to read in English!

  9. Short thought from my vacation: strolling through a Foreign city Today I felt no urge to go into any shops at all. What a difference! Not that Ihad been Big on Shopping at home lately but still this was a revelation how much really has changed over the course of the months …