From the archives ~ Key #4 to simple decluttering in 100 words or less

Key #4 Don’t reclutter while you declutter

Decluttering is a complete waste of time if there is as much stuff entering your house as there is going out. Limit your purchases to the things you really have put a lot of thought into whether you will get good use out of them or if they really suits your needs. Don’t wonder aimlessly through the stores looking for stuff you didn’t know you wanted. And try to convince your friends and family not to buy you gifts unless they are consumable in some way.- Fresh flowers, chocolates, beauty treatments and the like.

Today’s Mini Mission

Recycle something. Perhaps some old greeting cards, maybe some magazines or even plastic take-out containers you thought might find useful one day.

Today’s Declutter Item

I actually declutter four of these bowls not just the two pictured here. I just forget to take a new photo of the four once I decided that I had more than enough small bowls to do the job these are usually used for.

Small Ingredient Bowls

Eco Tip For The Day

If you have a garden purely for aesthetic reasons why not grow plants that require little or no watering. Purifying water uses a lot of energy and chemicals so the less we waste the better.

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“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

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.


  1. Great post! I am getting serious about sending gift cards and consumable items for gifts. Most people have too much stuff as it is. I enjoy going out to lunch with friends for birthdays instead of just giving something. Time together is more rewarding than material gifts in my mind. The reclutter idea is really something to consider. You really aren’t making much progress if you go buy more than you got rid of. Depending on how much stuff I need to get rid of, I decide on the one in, one out rule. If there is a lot or if I really don’t want to buy anything new, I do a one in 10 out rule. It is amazing how much time you have to devote to the people and things you want to do when you don’t have stuff to buy, stuff to take care of, stuff to go through and stuff to get rid of. I enjoy the more peaceful life without all the churning.

  2. Another good rule. It’s been ages since we bought anything that wasn’t a need. Mostly we by groceries and that’s it. We just don’t have a need for things and if we don’t need it we don’t buy it. It’s so freeing.

  3. Last week, I purchased wire strainers for my kitchen. I only needed one but they came in a set of three, so am giving the medium sized one to my son and just keeping the smallest one (will use for gravies and soups) and the largest one (which I wanted for my tomato sauce I am making next weekend). Rather than parboil and peel, I will just core the tomatoes, then drop in a big pot and after it cooks for a while, will strain the seeds and peels. Then, I’ll season and continue to cook until thick and ready for the freezer. I have been wanting a strainer for a long time and finally, just took the plunge. Also, upgraded my clothes baskets and bought foldable ones so they will take up little space in the closet. The big plastic ones alway just sit somewhere in the bedroom and never have a home. So, two in and two out (baskets). May send out a colander to make up for getting the strainers. Just don’t want to bring in stuff and not get rid of something. Also, tossed junk from one bag I found in the trunk of the car this weekend and began going through lots of medical files from 2009 and older.

    • Hi Maggie – I like the idea of foldable clothes baskets. Will definitely be looking into that one ! You are right about the plastic clothes baskets – mine don’t have a home either – just too big!

  4. Jez, I got mine at the Container Store. They are rectangular and come in a variety of colors. You can get quite a bit of clothing in them and they are not too heavy, either. Check this link
    I think you will like them.

    • Oh yes please! They are reasonable priced too! Even after the clothes are folded and put away there is still the large plastic basket left sitting around waiting to be filled up again. Thank you Maggie I love this idea!

    • You are right Maggie – I do like them ! I may see if we have something similar in Australia though .From past experience post from Canada is very slow but I will look into it – one way or another though I will be getting rid of those big plastic baskets- thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Oh no, this post makes me feel bad for picking up a wine rack from freecycle – although I do intend to get rid of the ‘placeholder’ one a friend handed down to me… Must get on that!

  6. I actually did the mini-mission (kind of)! I took out the recycling, since it had been building up, and I then moved the recycle bin back to it’s normal position. (We used to have it next to the porch, to make it easy to recycle, but it got moved).

    This slow-paced decluttering is contagious 😛 I can’t seem to give it up, even if I’m still tired and sore from the big bout of the weekend.

  7. This post could’ve been written for me – I’ve been decluttering all my life which means the stuff is coming in from somewhere, lol. I just got rid of a pile of files, scanned loads of documents and got rid of the hard copies only to go to a meeting today to be given a new file with new paperwork – yay (not). Hope my face did not look too crestfallen.
    My recycling for the days task was to cull the bottles I used as candle holders and spare empty jam jars.

  8. Jez & Wendy, You might check with camping stores, like REI or LL Bean which we have stateside but you probably have something similar in Australia with all the camping done there. The advertisements here show people using these on a camping trip because they are so portable. Wish you success!

  9. This was a great post! I love the comments too and I will be looking for one of those collapsible bags for laundry also. I love that idea. Right now I am trying only to buy items that I need to replace something, instead of buying new stuff just “because”. I really am trying to make sure what I am purchasing will be put to use and not just sitting around without a specific purpose.