I uncomplicated this decluttering effort

One more empty box

Keeping in mind that I have been fitfully decluttering craft supplies for the last two years  today I did something a little outrageous. Well outrageous for me anyway. I threw some perfectly good mat board in the recycling bin. Yes you heard me I threw something perfectly usable in the recycling bin.

The thing is they were also perfectly recyclable but it was a case of faff around with them forever or make an instant decision to get them out of here. I chose the later. You see I have a hard time wasting anything that is even remotely creatively useful and the mat board has been shuffled around in the continuous craft room reshuffle for two years for just that reason and I was over it. In my defence they were small pieces that had limited use but use none the less.

Two entries on Facebook over the last couple of days lead to me make this decision. One was in relation to decluttering unfinished craft projects and the comment or rather question which almost sounded like a plea was this ~ “But what should I do with it?” The second was a status from Mr Green @ My Zero Waste ~ “Morning all; really trying to find energy / motivation to declutter (sans landfill of course!) any tips to ease the butt glue I’m experiencing?”

The former (although possibly about something far more valuable than my mat board) got me thinking that sometimes it just complicates the issue of letting go if you make the letting go too difficult in relation to the objects worth. And the latter says to me that you can’t keep paying for the sins of your past wastefulness by continuing to allow things to be closetfill in a vain attempt to save them from landfill.

Yes I could have put it up for grabs on Freecycle or even cut it into small mats, bundled them up and sold them on ebay. Maybe a craft group or the school up the street could have found a use for them but, chances are, making this effort would probably have resulted in cluttering up someone else space who also can’t let a useful bargain pass them by. After all that is how I acquired them in the first place.

So I did myself a favour for once and saved myself the bother. The time it would have taken to find a new home for them just wouldn’t have been worth the effort. And it’s not as thought they went to land fill. They will be recycled into some other useful paper based product.

Like I said before, I have a hard time parting with stuff that I find to be creatively useful and I probably would have keep passing over these for some time but I had a better use for both the box they were in and the space they were taking up. So I took the bandaid approach to decluttering and ripped those suckers off real fast and out to the recycling bin before I changed my mind. Don’t worry this isn’t something I am going to make a habit of.

Today’s Declutter Item and the subject of today’s post

Mat Board

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I was a little off colour on the weekend but am grateful I am feeling much better today. I am weary after a busy day but I feel well and that is good.

“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


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Day 93 Your views on decluttering Today I just wanted to point out that just below the photo for each days Post there is a tiny word "comments", if you click on that you have the opportunity to leave feedback,  share your […]
  • Day 203 Phone Books I am giving you a reprieve today and keeping my post short. I opened my front door the other day to find a pile of recycling sitting on my door step. One would think that in the 21st […]
  • Magazines ~ Aspirational Clutter My friend Wendy sent me a photo the other day of a box of magazines she was decluttering. Wendy is very practiced at decluttering, having been reading 365 Less Things for many years. It is […]
About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Wow, recycling mat boards! That’s kind of like throwing away still-edible food, isn’t it? Just joking…kinda. I’ve done a similar thing once or twice, and inevitably a need for the thing, usually paper or cardboard, comes up a year or so later. But it only comes up that one time, and I’m able to find another solution. Strangely enough, for a few hours or days after realizing that I recycled the thing, I am regretful. Then I forget it entirely. So it turns out it was better to recycle than to keep the thing.

    • Aside from wondering what my 365’ers are going to think of it I really haven’t given it another thought aside from “thank God they are out of here”. The mat boards were offcuts that I bought cheap at a store that did picture framing so theoretically I have already saved them once. Each of the pieces I threw away were offcuts from mats I had cut from the offcuts and were mostly quite small. I still have plenty of larger pieces which get used because my son is a fine arts student at university.

    • I have found a great way to dispose of that clutter and your mat boards should they still be around! there is a new website called AskShareGive or http://www.asksharegive.org.nz It is a nationwide not-for-profit website where you can list your unwanted gear to give away! you can also request stuff, although as you are decluttering you won’t want to do this!

      When you are having a clean out you might find goods that you consider are not worth selling on, or maybe you can’t be bothered to sell them – In this case using AskShareGive is a great alternative. People collect things from you so no need to clutter your house with paper and parcel tape (as if you were selling it on Trademe), nor to clutter the car by loading it all in there to take somewhere, just let the person know what day you are home, leave outside the front door, (if you don’t feel like meeting anyone) and its quickly and quietly removed from you before you get sentimental and change your mind. However if you are highly sentimental about something and are only just able to part with it; you can choose someone to give it to, could be someone that promises to love it like you did, a community organisation or something.

      I am currently decluttering my shed using this system and I can’t tell you the relief I am feeling. I am a horder from way back! My goods are going to hand picked individuals who are so grateful!

      • Hi Tanya – hi from a fellow Kiwi – thanks for that website, that is soooo cool. I love freecycle but what I like about asksharegive is that it is also about borrowing items and carpooling, I have thought for sometime that we need a neighbourgoods site like America has. Very cool thanks. And its awesome having someone on here who knows what trademe is!

  2. Rebecca B. A. R. :

    I find it interesting that there are people like you and me, who think that everything that is even a tiniest bit still useful should be used by someone, instead of going in the trash (or being recycled–which is also another huge thing for me)—and other people who have no problems with just chucking anything and everything away. I mentioned to a coworker once that I was looking for some used wooden tv-tray tables, and she told me that she had just put 3 perfectly good ones (with their wooden holder) out in the trash, b/c she was tired of them taking up room in her garage. I was shocked! All I could think was I sure hoped that someone had picked those up before the trash truck got there!

    • I am with you on this Rebecca. I am constantly horrified at the way some people waste perfectly good stuff without batting an eyelid. They are the same people who can easily convince themselves that climate change doesn’t exist because doing something about it would inconvenience them. I am not even sure climate change is a reality but I am sure we pollute our planet too much and that has to change, climate change or not.

      • Well I may be the lone dissinter here.
        I recycle everything that my local city allows to be recycled. Otherwise, I have a limit on what extra effort I’m willing to further invest in “finding a decluttered object a new home”.
        If the object can fetch me some decent cash back – then I’ll list it on Ebay or Craigslist. If it’s not worth the Ebay effort – then I have 2 options.
        Trash it or donate it. Deciding on those options depends squarely on my mood at that moment in time.
        I don’t necessarily want to be guilted in to donating an item just because it may have some vague usefulness to someone else. Yes I understand that by donating an item can decrease future production of said item which is all dandy for the planet. But…..sometimes I just want to pitch it out – literally.
        I try to be a good citizen to my local community & a good steward to my planet – right up to a point. I don’t have the time nor the stamina to hunt down a kindergarden teacher so I can unload some vague item onto her for “crafting”.
        I realize all that may sound very anti-green and lackadaisical – but at least I’m honest about it. I don’t want to pretend that I’m uber-green. I’m not. Again, I’m green up to the point that effort outweighs my giveadarn.

        • Hi Jane – first of all, thank you for being brave enough to speak up, I think you will find there are many of us who are in the same mindset as you. I have rationalised to myself that if 99% of my clutter ends up sold, passed onto someone else, recycled, donated and 1% ends up in the bin, that is still 100% out of my house.

          Secondly, we were talking about this last night and my older daughter reminded of the saying “you can’t make omlettes without cracking eggs” – namely to make something awesome, you’re probably going to have a negative in there somewhere. And then she summed it up with “get over it mum you threw out a manky old dented biscuit tin that nobody wanted and that you would have had to drive across town to the metal recyclers to recycle (as in, think of the wasted fuel), its not like you tortured puppies” – point taken.

          • Hi Jane good on you for your honesty. I understand where you are coming from. That was probably my thought process when I decided to toss that cardboard in the bin. I do the best I can but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Getting to the thrift store is no biggy for me because I go there to volunteer each Wednesday and that is where the bulk of my stuff ends up. So for the most part the effort is minimal yet effective. I am also within a stones throw of lots of other clutter rehousing opportunities so most stuff finds a new home easily enough. But every now and again it the bin is the best option and will be used.

  3. Good for you Colleen. I think it is hard for us to do that but there are times when we need to just bite the bullet and do it. I hope you get to feeling 100 percent soon. My story for this weekend. I was given the opportunity to go through 4 huge bundles of slightly used clothing and pick out what I would like. I picked out 8 pieces and brought them home. I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and these had been washed with perfumed detergant and dried with dryer sheets. Usually I can hang them out awhile , soak them in soda water, wash them with vinegar and then wash them again with non-perfumed detergant and hang them out again. Most of the time this makes them usable. Well, I have had them 8 pieces hanging out for several days and you can still smell them without even being next to them. I decided to give them back. I’m just not going to try this process 4-5 times to try to get the smell out. With one complete cycle through the process and they still smell the same I have decided it isn’t worth the hassle. Out they go. they can smell up someone else’s life.

    • That’s interesting. I bought a few things from a woman on Craigslist and I noticed that even after washing them, they still have her perfume smell. I have horrible sensitivities now after living with a severely asthmatic husband for 24 years, so I find that I’m not really wearing these pretty things I bought. I might try the vinegar thing.

      We wash with Tide Free and use Bounce unscented dryer sheets. I finally found an apple cider candle on sale that my husband could stand, but for the most part, my candles have all gone to the thrift store because neither of us can stand the smell.

      Why do people think it’s so attractive to bathe in perfume?

      • Chelle ~ My hubby and I am going out to a very expensive restaurant for our 25th wedding anniversary next week and I am tempted to wear no make-up or perfume as I have been having a lot of sinus issues lately. When I have sinus problems I can’t taste my food and that would be a shame considering what it is going to cost and the experience I would be missing.

    • I sympathise with you Deb, chemical sensitivity is a harsh thing to have to put up with in your life. And it is getting more and more common. It is time the world started noticing the signs that perhaps things need to change when it comes to what we are exposing ourselves to.
      What do you usually wash your clothes with to avoid this problem Deb. Normal washing that is not when you are trying to remove the chemicals.

      • We use a fragrance free, green product for our laundry by the company that makes All. I try to use green as much as possible. I like this one because it still works well but doesn’t have all those additives in it. Our clothes come out smelling like they have been out in the sun.

        I have always had real problems with chemicals but it has gotten worse as our world has gotten more carried away with adding chemicals and smells to everything. The problem with many smells is that they are made using chemicals with a little bit of the real things added in. A candle can say it is a cinnamon candle but instead of using cinnamon that has been steeped and then the liquid dehydrated they place a little bit of cinnamon in a chemical enhancer and there is where it gets to most of us.

        • Thanks for that info Deb J. There is so many chemicals involved in stuff that we just don’t need in the first place isn’t there?

          • Yes, take for instance Nutrasweet (aspartame). That stuff is NOT good for you but all sorts of things have it in them including diet drinks and many diet foods. It kills my stomach. It means I have to be really careful to keep an eye on things because you never know when something like that will be used in something. I’m having to stay away from meat because of the steroids they use in it. I can’t afford the non-drug fed, free range kind. So I am mostly vegan. It’s crazy what all they put in things that we have no idea are there.

          • Brewster County Texas, which is way, way out in the boonies, has a reputation in Texas as being a safe haven for people with chemical sensitivities. People started moving there to literally be away from all those things and now being chemically aware is a community expectation. I just hope they don’t mess it up for themselves like people in Arizona. It used to be that people with bad allergies and asthma moved to the dry desert climate, but so many people brought flowering grasses, trees, and plants with them from their home communities that it’s no longer allergen safe (and they use a hell of a lot of water keeping all those non-native plants and grasses alive.)

  4. Sometimes, though, after a long haul of cleaning or decluttering, you just have to Get It Out Of The House! I understand that one only too well.

    Janet, I can’t even remember what we’d disposed of that we needed a year later. But it was only one item and was in the category of “nice to have” rather than “can’t continue without it”. Which may be a lesson to anyone sitting on the fence with their clutter. (I realise what I wrote there, I’ll let the image sink in!)

    • Hi Lynda,
      I am usually very responsible about finding new homes for my stuff. Of the incredible amount of stuff I have let go of over the last two years very little of it has gone to landfill. Some stuff is just rubbish and there isn’t much you can do with it but in this case faffing around finding just the right owner was just not worth it when the object was recyclable. I have taken months to completely declutter some items just to save them from going to waste and usually I am OK with that but in this case I needed the space more than I needed the hassle.
      On the other hand I have some scrapbook paper offcuts that I will be offering to the craft store up the street or the school before resorting to throwing them in the bin.

  5. Good job Colleen!!! I’ve found myself in similar struggle very often!
    And I’ve understood that not only I was making things more complicated, but the more I waited, the less the possible value of those things became…eventually I disposed them 🙂
    Now that I know myself better, I decide immediately the “fate” of the things I want to declutter 😀

    • yliharma,
      I can understand for some people the decluttering would never get done unless they resorted to the bandaid effect but rather than just throwing things away I would offer it all, even the iffy stuff, to the thrift store and let them sort the wheat from the chaff. Or put it out on the street with a free sign or something to that effect. I abhor waste so am usually patient but that is OK for me. I can imagine this would however be paralysing for some.

      Keeping in mind that I know what is junk and what is not because I would never dump junk on my thrift store. But you would be surprised what people will buy there so not much, that is still clean and usable, isn’t attempted to be sold. Including things like unfinished craft projects. I even had an artist recently looking for cheap plastic doll parts for a project she was working on.

  6. I think I was the facebook comment. It was about the pillowcase I had started for my husband’s grandmother and I finished the first one, promising her the second one by her birthday. That was three years ago and I know I’m not going to finish it, but I just couldn’t give myself permission to get rid of it.

    I think I’m going to take it with me to my best friend’s house tomorrow. She is going through chemo and probably could use something to take her mind off of it when she is feeling well enough. If not, I will just put it in the pile that is going to the thrift store. And try not to feel guilty that I didn’t finish the project.

    I love cross stitch, but definitely not STAMPED cross stitch and there’s no way this was every going to be finished. It’s the last of my hanging on craft clutter.

    Chelle

    • Good for you Chelle. I am so glad you have convinced yourself to let it go. I am sure your husbands grandmother wouldn’t want you torturing yourself over it. Being kind to yourself sometimes takes precedence over other things.

  7. Grace from Brazil :

    You have helped me over a hump. I am getting ready to luxuriate in a decluttering spree this weekend when my family goes out of town for a few days. But already I was thinking, what will I do with all the minutia? Do I have enough energy to find homes for everything (we don’t have thrift stores here). You helped me realize that I don’t have to have homes for everything. Sometimes we can work so hard to get rid of something that was not worth the effort. We have received boxes and boxes of used literature here in Brazil for our work and have thrown most of it away because it was dated or unuseable. When I see how much it cost to send it just so someone could feel like they did a good service, it makes me cringe. So sometimes we can find non-landfill homes but sometimes we can’t.

    • Hi Grace,
      I hope that in Brazil any literature items could at least be recycled. At least then it would be reused and not end up in landfill. Not that I am trying to complicate things for you but it would be simple here. Perhaps not so where you are.

      • Grace from Brazil :

        Yes, recycling would be my first and easiest option. I have even found homes for my English books in the past at ESL schools. I will try to find homes for the stuff but like Cindy mentioned in the post for today (pill bottle tops) sometimes we just can’t find homes for things we have kept and have no earthyly use anymore. But sometimes it is just not worth the effort. I did get any idea, though. I plan to put up a “free table” at our Bible school and see if any students can use some of the odds and ends. : )

  8. You know what?

    You inspired me to trash all those erasers that linger around the house for too long already. They’re all used, so I can’t donate them to the thrift store anymore and it’s too little to bother and find them a home. I’ll just trash them. (we have about 20 rubbers in this house)

    • Sanna, I actually take used stationary to the thrift store. In fact last week I took some partially used school notebooks and the store manager pounced on them as scratch paper for the store. You would be surprised what people will buy. In a case like this I would bundle them up in an old used take-out container and sell them as a job lot. But I also think that our thrift store is a lot less selective than some abut what we would attempt to sell. Throwing them away wouldn’t be so bad.

      What you need to do in future though is to have a place for the ones you do have in the home so they are always accessible. Of course this will require making it a rule to put them back after use so loss doesn’t happen and they don’t begin to multiply again.

      By the way I changed the word rubber to eraser in your comment assuming that is would you meant. This could have been quite confusing and perhaps just a little gross for our readers otherwise.

      • Oh, I’m sorry I used a word some people might find offensive or gross. Don’t know why, but “rubber” was the first English word for that thing, I learnt at school (at the age of 10). Although I’m familiar with “eraser” as well, it seems that the first vocabulary you learnt tends to stick best and comes by most easily. Thank you for changing it!

        Actually, we already have a place for stationary, that was one of my first steps in organizing and decluttering (like with like). I found that these erasers were excess quite early, but never came around giving them to a school or else and didn’t meet anyone in need of an eraser either, so they just kept lingering around.

        • Colleen you mentioned half-used notebooks. One thing that I do is take paper and cut it up in 3-1/2 X 3-1/2 inch squares to fit the container for what used to be a cube of paper. We use it for notes and such when we are on the phone are creating a short list for the grocery. It works great and it means not buying sticky notes or note pads, etc. I have a friend who cuts up anything that is white or plain on one side for the same thing.

          • That is what I used to do in the past but it was taking literally years to use it all up. Every year the kids would need fresh notebooks for school and inevitably there were pages left in the ones from the year before. They have been out of high school for almost five and three years and the paper is still surfacing. With computers and smart phones the need of note paper has diminished greatly for me so I have opted for the get it out of here quick method.

          • Ooh, good idea, thanks Deb J: we are near the end of the life of such a cube we were given.

          • LOL, just seen colleens reply – I do agree in keeping stocks of scrap paper low: I have previously been overwelmed by keeping everyting ‘fpr scrap’ and as you say, it can last forever and just be amess.

        • There is no need to be sorry Sanna rubber is the word we use for eraser in Australia too but when we lived in the US we had to change our ways.

          Actually giving the erasers to a school is a good idea but I have a school 100m up the street so for me that would be easy.

        • I love the sweet movie Outsourced, and there’s a funny scene with rubbers and erasers. The Indian phone representative suggests to the American woman on the phone that she buy some rubbers to go with the pencils she just ordered; of course she is grossly offended. When the American trainer explains to the Indian phone team that “rubbers” are birth control in the US, the Indians all look at the erasers in amazement and ask, “And does this work?”

      • Hahahahahahahahahaha

    • Hi Sanna,
      Would you local primary school like them. Ours likes all that sort of thing (as spares for the child who misplaces theirs and needs one).

      • You are probably right (though all schools I know have a more than well filled lost-and-found-section that also lends stuff to children, who misplaced something). I thought about it – it’s just, I never came around to actually do it and I don’t want to have it bothering me any longer.
        After all, it’s just a few old erasers.

        • I agree Sanna,it is just a few old erasers, why complicate it.

        • isnt it strange that stationary is stuff that sticks forever. I still have a bunch of really fancy pencils that I got from my friend in FIRST year (we were six at that time) when she visited disney land in the US… I didnt use them when they were new, because they were more toys than usable things. I didnt use them during the rest of school because arielle sitting on top of your pen is – believe it or not – not cool and now I found them again. 20 years later I have arielle wiggling her tail when I write. makes me smile everytime.

          • The same here. I’m still using pencils dating from elementary school days. Somehow, the need for pencils, crayons and the like drops drastically when you turn 12… 🙂

          • My father gave my children a box of colored pencils that he had retained since he was in graduate school. I felt like such a wasteful idiot when the children lost, broke, and used up those colored pencils. I thought, “He’s had them for 20 years and we destroyed them in 2??” But you’re right, he kept them beause he NEVER used them. The girls used them, and getting used up is what happens.

          • I recently gave Liam a good fountain pen that my hubby gave me as a gift about twenty years ago. I wasn’t using it any more but Liam was stoked to have it. If it gets broken or lost so be it, at least it is being used.

  9. its like eating junk food. once in a while you have to do that and feel guilty and then you realize you are so not going to make it a habit and keep going and eat healthy or find homes for usable things.

    I had some accidental decluttering going on lately. a plate, two glasses and one shoe broke (mind you the shoe was 10 years old and already falling apart, but something must have given it the last kick). Everything went into the trash, its bag is full now and I calculated: its the first bag that I filled up in 2012. imagine. 3 months and it took several declutter items to fill it up. I am a bit proud. (well lets not talk about the other bin that contains the recyclable things)

    • Breakages happen Lena and I must say 10 years is a pretty good lifespan for those shoes. And you should be a bit proud of how little you have thrown away. Well done you.

      • I broke my favourite mug at the weekend and until recently I would have kept it for possible future mosaic projects. Having now decluttered several years of such broken crockery stores, I have just realised it’s aspirational clutter and just hanging on for sentimental reason. In to the bin it went straight away,woohoo.
        That’s a definite change since reading this blog I think; learning why I hang to to stuff has been crucial in learning how to let go.

        I won’t be replacing it – we have 5 mugs now between us and that’s enough.

        • I used to have a mug that said, “Did Anyone Tell You Today That You’re Fantastic?” and I broke it at work when I accidentally whacked it on the side of my desk. I still miss that mug. : (

        • I am dreading the near day when my favourite mug will break. it has already a little chip. it says “Queen” on it, I got it from friends and I use it every day. I might will cry a tiny little bit when this beautiful thing will break finally.
          fortunatly I have other mugs that have full potential of becoming the next favourite. 🙂

          Cindy maybe you should get yourself that mug again. as a statement. 😉

        • Good for you Katharine, I am sure you will claim a new favourite in no time. And you are so right, learning why you hang on to stuff is crucial in learning how to let go.

      • I am actually very proud. I really try to produce less waste (and I am getting rather good at it). But then again, what I call trash is actually going to the recycling (as far as I am informed), I think its really minimal what goes into the burning. BUT: I took your post as my excuse too and threw out the stupid sun screen. I mean it is old – I heard somewhere that the protection is actually fading with age – and I really really really didnt like the stickyness of it. so I couldnt use it for something else… and instead of asking and searching and trying to figure out what to do I trashed it.

        Now whats left is the feeling of slight guilt – naughty! naughty! but I can feel diabolical laughter coming up inside me – heeheeheee hahaha muharharhar

        • I think you are enjoying this a little too much Lena. 😉 😆 Any sunscreen is yuck to wear so ones that are yuckier than yuck belong in the bin. Especially if you neglect putting it on when you know you should because you hate the feel of it. I am sure that could well happen. Best that it is out of there.

  10. Sometimes the immediate gratification of getting it out quickly is worth it.

    • It is a bit like the tortoise and the hair decluttering around here sometimes. For the most part though, slow and steady wins the race or at lease the award for minimal landfill.

  11. Colleen,
    I think for the number of times that you would use “the easy way out”, you could excuse yourself quite readily. After all, it wasn’t landfill you released those matt pieces to!

    • Thanks Ann, I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t feel guilty about it because I only have to think back to some of the obscure stuff I have found homes for and feel vindicated for this one lazy gesture.

  12. “Faff around” – I love it! Haven’t heard that expression in a long time! It went to recycling, so its still in the great Circle of Usefulness – think of it as being reincarnated.
    I feel, sometimes we just need to eliminate somethng like that for the greater purpose. Maybe it is your brain’s way of saying “ok luv, I’m ready to take things up a gear, are you with me?”
    There will be some sort of physics or logarithm formular calculation to work out how much energy we put into making sure clutter goes to an ‘ideal’ home – and is there a personal-energy/effort equivalent of a carbon footprint? Could be an interesting line of discussion!

    • I agree Moni, I did feel like I was taking it up a gear and if I had too much time to think about the situation I may well have put them back in the box they came form. I feel stronger for having let go quickly and decisively.

      • I was helping my daughter Courtney last night tidy out her drawers and two huge baskets of stuff that came out of wardrobe as we have just put in a new wardrobe system in her wardrobe (previously was set at kiddie height), she didn’t want it cluttered up so asked me to help her sort out everything before it went back in. Anyway, we turned it into a game where she had 15 seconds to say yes or no or maybe, and then when we went back thru her maybe pile it was 10 seconds. (please note that the ‘yes’ was generally said within 2-5 seconds, no’s varied, maybe’s generally were said at the 15 second mark)
        Later on I was trying to find something on my desk – yes the one that has a note above it saying “don’t pile it, file it” – and she got a big grin and pulled it all into a big pile and held up one piece of paper at a time and said “10 seconds to decide…..”

  13. Good for you on recycling the mat board!

    I had a similar experience with a bunch of collage supplies a few months ago. I finally got to the point of wanting the free space, and dumped the all-paper collage supplies into the recycling. I had a twinge a day later when I thought I might regret having gotten rid of the supplies, but that was it. I really don’t miss them.

    I know we’re all concerned about not wasting things, but has anyone else ever thought about this: no matter what, EVENTUALLY ALL things will end up in the landfill at some point. It doesn’t matter if it’s US that throw something away, or the person we give the item to, or the person who buys it at the thrift store. Some day it’s ALL going to be trash. It just might take a little longer getting there for some things rather than others.

    This is something that nobody ever talks about, but if you think about it, it is what happens.

    • It is inevitable that all things end up in landfill in the end but I think the point is that if we release it out into the world it might just save someone from buying new and that will reduce the necessity to manufacture as many new products. That is where the saving is.

      • That’s a good point, Colleen. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

        • Becky – I struggled hard with exact that argument. example: I never really much thought about the arguments behind vegetarianism. I mean: the animal is dead – whether you eat it or not. So then you can easily just eat it.
          Somehow a year ago my mind switched to: I admit, I cant change the world, the society or the capitalistic system right now or alone, but no one forces me to participate. so kill your animals, produce them like plastic, but NOT FOR ME anymore. I am out.
          its basically the same with everything else. I know I wont change the capitalistic system on this planet, I cant change the dictation of ‘growth’ (!) but at least I can say, I tried to reduce my own growth, my needs, my byproducts of my lifestyle. I didnt chose to look away and pretend that everything is nice and comfortable and good for me. I make changes so my life is still comfortable more or less. it depends heavily from which point of view you take it. as long as I feel ok with it (and that depends heavily on my mood), I live my life like I want.

          • Point well made Lena. After all companies might trick us into buying stuff by talking it up but they will only supply what people are willing to buy. So ultimately we are the ones driving the market and the more of us individuals who opt out of rampant consumerism the lower the demand and the less pointless garbage will be produced. And that’s got to be good for the planet.

          • you optimistic person, you. I do have to say, I am rather pessimistic when I look at the growing scale. its not like we are reducing anything. its the opposite. we produce more, we consume more, we buy more, we trash more and it doesnt look like its going to stop dead and turn around anywhere soon.
            I can only say, I try with all my best belief NOT to make things worse, but reflect and think about my byproducts of my lifestyle. always of course to a certain degree.

  14. Insisting on finding the perfect home for everything can lead to paralysis. Sometimes you just have to recognize that what you have belongs in the landfill. What is important is that we TRY to do the right thing, and most of the time we do. The rest of the time, we’re human like everyone else.

    • I agree with this. I also know that I sometimes have to choose between quality of life and sending something to a landfill.

    • I agree Wendy B, and I think also that what is more important is that we reduce the amount of recreational shopping we do. Stopping the need for mass production of unnecessary stuff is even better for the environment. And I have certainly learned my lesson in that area.

      • Had a great moment last night, when my youngest asked me to put her Tamogotchi digital pets on trademe (she has outgrown and wants the money) – but then stopped and thought about it. As everything else is going digital in our house……maybe she should hang onto one in case I put the cat on trademe (ebay).

        • Hee hee! Now Moni, I think you are going a little too far now. 😉 Although the Tamogotchi doesn’t require a boarding facility when you want to take a vacation, or real food for that matter.

          Oh but how good of a job are you doing at teaching the kids to let go of their things when they outgrow them. Well done you!

          • Hi – never came back to you on the idea of keeping the Tamogotchi’s versus the cat. Sometimes the idea would have merit, but the cat is in no danger of being replaced. Yes it is cool that my hubby and daughters have come on board, although this morning I clicked that my older daughter thinks we must be shifting house soon.

            • Funny how kids interpret things. When my son was about two years old and we lived in the tropics he used to think we were going out when I told him to put his pants on. Funnily though I really don’t remember him getting around the house naked all that much but I suppose when he did he thought getting told to put his pants back on must have meant we were going somewhere and he had to look respectable. I do have a great photo of him jumping naked on the trampoline though. I would probably have got around the house naked too given half a chance in that heat and humidity but the place was like a fish bowl ounce the windows were open. Wouldn’t want to scare the neighbours.

      • I detest shopping (poor lighting, loud music, sensory overload) which is probably why I’m happy with my home in the bush, surrounded by birds (the first Canada Geese are back! Can Spring be far behind?) and critters. The only shopping I would consider ‘recreational’ would be at an open-air market in an exotic locale. That’s fun. Mall-crawling? YUK.

  15. Thanks for this article. I frequently emotionally deal with the time to find someone to take stuff vs using my time on something else and the ladfill vs closetfill issue.

    • It is hard work finding the right home for stuff sometimes but is usually worth the effort. But for me in this instance it just wasn’t. Finding new homes for stuff helps assuages the guilt as well with some things. Sometimes it is even a fun challenge from which I get a great deal of satisfaction when I come up with a solution.

  16. Good for you!

  17. I’m pleased as punch to save just one big ziplock baggie of e-waste from landfill (from our office move). It was a little annoying that they charge though! $6.60 for 4kg, which is OK, but I didn’t have enough… which was OK by them…

    Next onto unneeded provisional driver/rider plates (to my local scooter dealer, he has a big stack!)

    But both of the above have loitered longer than I’d liked.

    • I often wonder what those eWaste companies make the most profit from, the components and precious metals or the pick up fee. I wonder if anyone has done a study on this. I would like to think they aren’t ripping us off.

      • Oh, I had to DROP IT OFF! Last time, it was so minor they didn’t make my bro (who I sent on the errand once I broke the shoulder) pay. but not so luck y this time. It hardly encourages people to recycle if it’s going to cost them directly (rates for council pickups are more indirect…)

  18. Hi 365ers,

    I so got into this post, good on you Colleen, don’t feel bad at all, mat board is great for growing things on so it will enter the ‘circle of life’. I myself, not that long ago dumped, 4kgs of the most horible washing powder I have ever had the misfortune to buy. I ‘dumped’ it in the bin because I couldn’t give it away. I bought it cheap at the ‘Cheap Shop’ and I have learnt a valuable lesson ‘Use what I know and trust’. OMG it was horrible, flakes left on clothing, residue left in machine, sudsy from hell (was supposed to be suitable for a front loader, so the packet said). the cost wasn’t the problem I have given that foolishness to the universe but the smell left on everything after was diabolical (I fear the Devil himself may have wiped his butt on the washing!) Seriously it was revolting. We are not hyper sensitive but I do try to stay away from anything overly perfumed etc. I may be responsible for emptying our dams over here just trying to get the stink out of everything. I was overly wasteful and I can live with that, I seriously couldn’t even give it away, other people I found had the same experience. Colleen at least you re-cycled yours man I decided this damn stuff would go to landfill ASAP and hopefully may actually work as a rodent deterrent!! Sorry to land and animal activists but I fear if I perservered with the powder I may have actually murdered someone!

    Oh by the way Colleen, I have emptied (again) all undersink cupboards and I took before and after pics and I made sure I got rid of all the junk/useable stuff properly, but I soooo take my hat off to you for taking all the pictures that you take of everything. I really found it hard work remembering to start with a photo and end with it, I did it and I am glad I did, I even took a photo of what got chucked etc just so I can look through them and go “OMG! look at all the ‘WHAT THE’S!!!!! Hahahaha. Years in and I’m still finding things!!! WHAT THE!!!!!

    Love and Blessings to all for a beautiful day 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Another stellar Dizzy post!

    • hi Dizzy,
      I think I need to get me some of that wonderful washing powder. 😕 Kidding of course. Nothing is more annoying than a cleaner that just doesn’t work or worse in your case.

      Well done with the under sink cleaning. I love under my sinks because they are always clean and uncluttered these days. And you are right taking photos does add a certain degree of difficulty when it comes to decluttering. Especially when photographing every thing. Decluttering could be a whole lot easier that I make in on myself.

  19. It’s good to pass it on, but is also isn’t good to pass on stuff that is unwearable and unusable. I feel sorry for the people at the salvation army here that get tons of junk because people don’t want to recycle or just throw it away if it needs be. That doesn’t have anything to do with your mat boards so it isn’t too relative, but that is the thought that came to mind when I read your post and some of the comments. We all need to buy less, use less, take better care of what we have and think of ways to recycle it so it can be used again if possible so we can stop being so wasteful. If you had taken all the clothes in your closet and thrown them away, that would be another story. But, you chose to recycle and sometimes it is just best to have it done because you are ready to let go of it then. If you didn’t do that, maybe it would stay for a long time and be passed from room to room.

    • Hi Spendwisemom,
      I agree with all you said in your comment. Being one of the people who volunteer at a thrift store I know only too well how much junk comes in. I an in a unique circumstance where I can take things in as donations and then keep track of it from week to week (if it lasts that long). If the stuff doesn’t sell I can always take it back home and either try to find another home for it or dispose of it in my own trash. So far this has never had to happen.

      In the case of the mat boards I didn’t see much chance that they would sell so recycling them seemed like a good option. Thank you for approving.

  20. Good for you, Colleen. I think we have to be humble, and realize it is not up to us to save/pass on to the perfect person every useful thing that is in our lives.

  21. Colleen, I had to come back here and mention that I loved your word, “closetfill” in your post! That really sums it up sometimes, doesn’t it?

    • I can take full credit for that new word as I made it up as I was writing the post. It fitted so well with my point. Thank you for noticing and enjoying it.

  22. If I missed responding to anyone’s comment here I am sorry. I keep running out of hours in the day to respond.