Quick purge or lifestyle change

More than one person commented last week that they can’t believe they are still finding things to declutter after years at the task. And what I say to that is ~ rejoice and be glad. Usually after most people do the usual kind of quick declutter they find they are back at square one a couple of years later. With a slow and deliberate declutter one gives a lot of thought to their habits of acquiring and holding on to stuff. Being aware of these habits makes it much easier not to make the same mistakes in the future.

The reason why years later they are still finding things to declutter is because they grow more and more willing to part with more and more stuff. It isn’t  because they have recluttered their homes, instead their homes are getting less and less cluttered all the time. Usually less cluttered than they ever thought they would. And having well entrenched systems to offload the clutter makes the task simple.

For example ~One reader (Peggy) last week commented on how she decluttered some extra hand lotion by putting it in the bathroom at her favourite coffee shop. On later inspection she found that it was indeed getting well used. That is just one example of some clever thinking on how to dispose of stuff. But I digress.

I am glad to be still finding things to let go of in my home. I am also happy to be vigilant about decluttering something in place of any new thing coming in. I don’t waste my energy worrying about the clutter I simply stay ahead of it by loosely following that one in-one out rule we talked of last week. When I say loosely, I don’t rigidly remove something immediately that something else comes in, but I am intuitively aware of any small build up and rectify the situation fairly speedily.

So don’t be concerned if you are still finding clutter after a long time. Also don’t have any expectation of an end date to your decluttering journey. This isn’t really a finite task anyway it is a change of lifestyle. And positive change in something worth sticking with.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something hiding, and rarely if ever used, in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

Eco Tip for the Day

It takes but a second to flip off a switch, so don’t leave lights on when you leave the room.

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

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


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  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Well this is a comfort. I find myself thinking from time to time, “why do I still have more stuff?” Yeah we still buy some stuff (90 0ut of 100 times it’s something the kids need, always outgrowing clothes etc). But the things being de cluttered have been around for a while. Something that once passed the clutter test is now reassessed and now found to have become obsolete or unloved and I wonder why I kept them around for so long in the first place.

    • And now you know why Jean, because you are ready to let them go. And with kids in the house there is always going to be a flow through of stuff. I am past that phase however I do have an eight year old granddaughter. And yet there is not a toy in my house. Instead we cook, or go to the museum or the beach, explore the neighbourhood… That may change when a new grandchild come but we shall see.

  2. After about two years of really getting rid of stuff and working my way through everything, just last week I realized I was ready to do it all again. I am finding I can make do with far fewer things, so items I would not have removed last time around are off to the charity store! Thanks for your ideas each day 🙂

    • Hi Amanda, it is a good feeling to be freeing oneself of more stuff and particularly our attachment to said stuff. I love letting things go it is so liberating. Good luck with your second round of decluttering.

  3. Good post Colleen. I think one thing that discourages people is this very thing. They think they should be done. Just like other things in life we are always in process. And just like we can’t change ourselves overnight and it “stick”, we can’t expect to have our home perfect overnight and it stay that way. It’s called growth.

    • That is right Deb, just like we can’t go on a crash diet, lose weight and then expect to go back to our hold habits and maintain that healthier weight. What you need in that case is permanent healthier eating habits and for a decluttered home you need smarter acquiring and purging habits.

      • Brilliant analogy.
        What if our Doctor told us we had to declutter or we would have a heart attack? What if our health was related directly to our stuff? Six years ago I ‘gave up smoking’ actually I got my life back. Instead of always making sure I had enough cigarettes to smoke , I’m free of those thoughts . Decluttering is not as instant. It takes time and many decision have to be made. Cheers

      • ” … it is a change of lifestyle.” Exactly, Colleen! I began to exercise to get fit. Once I attain the fitness level I desire, there is no way that I can just stop. I’ll have to continue my healthy habits to maintain my fitness level. But it’ll be easier as I’ll be fitter than when I first started. Ditto for the decluttering journey.

        • Exactly Nicole V. Maintenance fitness doesn’t cause all the sore muscles that happen when one first gets on the fitness wagon. The same as the maintenance period of decluttering is easier than getting rid of all the stuff in the first place.

  4. It seems like I am developing a better sense of Clutter Vision – things that didn’t previously register in my brain as clutter are now Declutter Targets. One example is small pieces of furniture – a stool or small side table. I thought they were pretty but have watched over time that I may only use them once a year. Now I am better at deciding that clear space is more desirable than a marginally useful table.

    • That is a very good example of what I am talking about in this post Vicki. I must consider this for my spare bedroom. One side table holds our printer and DVDs while the other holds only DVDs. I would be glad to see the back of those tables and the DVDs for that matter. I must run this past my husband, although I think he is already quietly working on it. We don’t need to keep the tables just for the rare guests the drops in. Much better to set that room up to suit ourselves. Especially since we have limited space to begin with.

  5. I laughed out loud at the coincidence when I read your post. Before coming to the computer, I had removed two mugs from the back of a kitchen cupboard. The mugs are getting repurposed as art bins for my new hobby of sketching. As an added bonus, hubby will be able to access his favorite drinking glasses easily, though I’m amazed he never mentioned this before. 🙂

    • Hi Mary, I love funny little coincidences. I also repurposed a oversized coffee mug husband received for christmas. It is now a plant pot. And isn’t it funny how we live with the status quo and then suddenly make a change and we wonder why we didn’t do it a long time ago.

  6. I agree, changes in lifestyle definitely mean that certain things can be eliminated from our homes. I like to consider it as a natural progression in our lives – after all we don’t want to stagnate and be bound by the same activities and interests forever – and that somehow makes it easier to let things go to someone else who may use them right now. This is an area where I have a lot of work to do: I had no trouble getting rid of the clothes that I used to wear for work, but I’m thinking about all the ties that my husband still has when he wears one maybe once or twice a year, the tennis racquets that we used to use three or four times a week but that was almost twenty years ago, the four bikes in the garage, unused for many years. Yikes.

    • Hi Christine, the only things to think about when it comes to the items you mention is…
      1. Do I use them
      2. What is the quickest way to move them on to people who might use them.
      Don’t think about will I ever use them again, they cost a lot of money, what happened to that time of our lives… These things aren’t worth considering for items that haven’t been used for a long time.
      But if you are still blocked to move on to something else that you are happy to part with now. Those other things will be the easy things soon enough.

  7. You’re absolutely right Colleen: we need to be in it for the long haul & shouldn’t feel guilty about any minor hiccups 🙂
    Vicki K, my ‘Clutter Vision’ has also improved vastly over the years (there are times when I’ve found something at the back of a cupboard & reeled in horror, asking myself, ‘why on earth did I keep THAT?’)
    I’m slowly working through a lifetime’s worth of acquisitions (gasp!) & still need to do fairly regular purges alongside the weekly clutter maintenance. It’s taken some time to reach a happy balance between being super strict about letting new/more items into the home whilst trying to be super generous about letting things go (I’m rubbish at selling things, so most items are given away/recycled). One thing I found really useful was openly declaring to friends & family several years ago that I was an aspiring Minimalist & therefore didn’t want to receive any birthday/Xmas gifts (except edibles) – sharing experiences/eating/cooking together was far more valuable to me. It certainly helped to reduce a lot of the incoming traffic & I don’t think anyone was offended. How have you all handled this aspect of simplifying your life?
    Nikki.

    • Nikki – my friends know that I am culling and paring things down so I have gotten more consumable gifts like candles, soap, lotion. You are brave to make your declaration!

      • Thanks Vicky K. It was tricky at first (I had to keep reminding people), but everyone now knows this one thing about me & others have also started doing the same – see, the magic is spreading 🙂
        Colleen – how wonderful to reach a big birthday soon! Me too…but I am keeping it very, very low key.

    • Hi Nikki, I did what you did and insisted on people either forgoing gifts for me or buying me items I specifically asked for or are consumable. It has worked pretty well so far. Some struggle with it more than others. In fact I am turning the big 50 soon and I have already said to my friends not to buy gifts. We’ll see how that turns out.

  8. One easy way I have found to purge extra, unused but perfectly good things such as lotions, fragrances, spray air fresheners, cleaners, etc., is to first, place them all together in the same spot in the house. Once u have everything condensed down to a particular place, u can actually see how much of of a certain genre of product u have. I have a surplus of lotions and perfumes because I try many and only really like a few or I have an allergic reaction to them. This habit has stopped, by the way. I stick with the tried and true.
    I take my excess to work, mostly women, and place them in the ladies room. Amazing how fast it disappears and what doesn’t, eventually goes in the trash(sorry, but there is a limit to usability). It has worked out very well, and I’m glad someone else can find a use for my experiments.

    • Well done NF on both sharing the wealth and for learning to stick to the tried and true. Those two actions together will take care of the glut and avert any future issues.

  9. Good post – I like how Vicki K explained it. My friends are surprised I’m still decluttering, so I am sometimes. I think at the outset, the goal is actually only to fit everything into the house without an avalanche or overflow situation. The next step is to have ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. Then you start wondering do you need all those bookcases especially as there are gaps starting to appear on the shelves. Then you eliminate furniture pieces and have to deal with the residual stuff that wasn’t earmarked as clutter but isn’t really part of the new arrangement. And so on and so on. In the meantime lifestyle changes occur, kids grow out of a phase, a sport or recreation goes out of fashion in the household and there is new stuff to declutter. Expiry dates pass on ‘just in case’ items and households shift, down size or renovations occur and a whole new arrangement arrives. Things you swore you couldn’t live without become ho-hum, things you would have fought tooth and nail to keep end up getting casual consideration.

    I think that we put things away because we haven’t dealt with whatever the emotional attachment is, whatever the little barb that keeps it in the household ie a sense of value or sentimental reasons. The more we declutter stuff the more the remaining items become exposed on the shelf and the more we see it, the more our subconscious is dealing with the issue attached to it. The more we see other things leave our household via Trademe or Ebay, the more we realise that items don’t hold their value we used to believe they did. The more we declutter the more we strengthen that muscle and the easier it is to believe that the world won’t come to an end if we don’t have all our stuff. Realisations come along the way why do I have this basketball, when we gave away the basketball hoop last year? (True story)

    • “The more we declutter the more we strengthen that muscle …” – hear, hear, Moni! I’ve decluttered in layers and waves … and it’s really been about the journey as much as the destination.

    • Moni – we are living parallel lives! The only step (now) that I would add is experiencing the downsizing and moving of my parents’ household and thinking that I should get started soon.

    • Moni, at least a basketball without a hoop makes more sense than the other way round! 😉

      I love your description – it’s very accurate!

      • Sanna – the funny thing was that I’d been in the attic area earlier in the evening, didn’t even specifically look at the volley balls and basketball. Then two in the morning my eyes snapped open and I said “why do we still have a basketball?”- obviously my subconscious was processing data while I slept, but to wake me up over a basketball?

    • Hi Moni, think that was a very accurate timeline of the evolution of decluttering ones home gradually and deliberately. Thanks for that.

      • Colleen – it was a brief description of my journey, now I am helping others I see a pattern emerging.
        I’m reminded of when I was a young girl and had to help with the vegetable garden, mum said if a weed was difficult to pull out, leave it alone and pull out the weeds around it and then pull out the difficult weed. Every time it worked. I imagine this loosened the dirt or the roots of the weed.

        Its the same principal with decluttering, if something is too hard, do the easy stuff around it, eventually you will be left with a random item sitting on the shelf and you’ll be wondering why you keep a clown doll in a house with three clown phobics even if it isn’t scarey/creepy and was made by a dear friend. True story. Suddenly it was visible and subject to much dialogue (which was why it was packed away in the first place) and I found I couldn’t be bothered with the drama and gave it away to a fellow-non-clown-phobe who has it on display with the ones she’s made. At least now it is on display and being enjoyed.

        • This is great. Last time I went to my parents’ house (only every three years maybe), I sorted through toys, ornaments and books I’d left there from when I was a kid. Including a clown doll stuffed in the very top of the wardrobe, as I am a clown phobic too.
          Mum called a few weeks ago, said she gave the clown to a friend of hers, who loves it to bits and has it on display in the front of her house. I was amazed. Happy I didn’t have a clown doll haunting me and even more happy that it is now being cherished!

      • Colleen – it was a brief description of my journey, now I am helping others I see a pattern emerging.
        I’m reminded of when I was a young girl and had to help with the vegetable garden, mum said if a weed was difficult to pull out, leave it alone and pull out the weeds around it and then pull out the difficult weed. Every time it worked. I imagine this loosened the dirt or the roots of the weed.

        Its the same principal with decluttering, if something is too hard, do the easy stuff around it, eventually you will be left with a random item sitting on the shelf and you’ll be wondering why you keep a clown doll in a house with three clown phobics even if it isn’t scarey/creepy and was made by a dear friend. True story. Suddenly it was visible and subject to much dialogue (which was why it was packed away in the first place) and I found I couldn’t be bothered with the drama and gave it away to a fellow-non-clown-phobe who has it on display with the ones she’s made. At least now it is on display and being enjoyed.

        • Moni, this is a good analogy. I think we all have those hard to pick weeds that eventually are so tenacious.

    • Hi Moni,

      Everything you said spoke to me… especially “things don’t hold their value”… So glad Colleen is leading us all on this journey of less! 🙂

      • Peggy – I can’t remember who but someone here at 365 Less Things said that money isn’t lost when you declutter an item, it was a sunk cost when we bought it (if it was a silly purchase) or when it ceased to be useful. That made an impact on me. I can keep a jacket that I don’t like or don’t fit, for $150, but however long I keep it in the cupboard isn’t going to re-coup that money.

        At the moment I trying to convince my husband that the surfboard that he doesn’t used has okayed to sell, isn’t worth ‘almost’ what he paid for it, just because he only used it a few times.

        • Hi, Moni. That’s so true. And apart from the money, it continues to rob us of time and space as long as it freeloads and stays in the home. A bad investment that keeps on draining physically and emotionally.

    • Moni, your comment reminded me that I’ve been intending to declutter a huge stack of small Guidepost magazines (approximately 100). I used to subscribe to them and I love them. Then I noticed (after a long time) that I was no longer reading them, but I kept subscribing for several years. My idea was that I would read them when I’m elderly and didn’t have much to do. Now I realize that I AM elderly and I read almost everything on my iPad, and I never have time to read everything I want to anyway. It’s still hard to declutter them, but I just pulled them out of the bookcase. Next step is to tear out the cover that has my name/address. Then I will take them to the thrift shop…or drop some by a laundromat. It’s also hard because they’re a connection to a long time friend who is no longer living. We subscribed at the same time, and we would often talk about certain stories. But…I will always have other connections with her in my heart. Moni, the connection here with your comments is that sports or hobbies change and now I read about decluttering, minimalizing, nutrition, style, etc.

  10. Hello Colleen – For some reason, even though I’ve been reading your marvellous blog forever, I did not remember you had a grandchild! (8yrs old!) We have entered that phase with a two year old granddaughter and another grandbaby expected in July. Our house is filling with interesting and creative toys, cots, seasonal bedding, change table, creams, etc etc. When the weather permits we endeavour to do activities – beach, parks, playgrounds, walks, play in our yard, library, housework ‘games’, natural, outdoorsy type play but we like to have toys as well. Smaller the better… We seem to be re-gathering items we found educational and fun when our children were young. We have always been ‘minimalists’ and I love nothing better than to declutter and am continually inspired by your blog. THANK YOU!!! And all the commenters! All that to say – I wonder how you have/plan to manage with your home downsizing with grandchild/(children to come)? (Staying overnight/long day visits.) And paraphernalia that often accompanies their involvement in your life…?

    • Hi Linda, don’t worry you haven’t gone crazy, my granddaughter is a recent addition to the family through my son marrying her mother. I don’t refer to her as step because I never want to differentiate between her and any future grandchildren. Luckily, for now, both my children live in the same city I do so staying overnight will work well enough with the room we have now. I have no expectation of things staying that way but we will jump that hurdle when we come to it. As my husband says, there is a motel right across the street. I idea is to visit them instead of the other way around and they can cook for and accommodate us. But all jokes aside. I am just going to make it up as we go along while staying as minimalist as possible. Like most things I do I won’t be dictated to by what society has set as the norm. We’ll do it our way.

      • Hi, Colleen. Not using “step” says a lot about you. And, oh yes, I can see you doing it your way … and having fun while doing it … and then writing all about it on your blog for us to enjoy … win-win-win all around 😀

  11. I think it’s a testament to this blog that yesterday, I bought a much-desired DVD at bargain prices, only to get home and realise I already own it (whooooopsie) – and just shrugged, put it down as a mistake, and instantly dropped the surplus into a donation bag. 😀

    I’d estimate I’m 90-95% done with decluttering, thanks in large part to this blog. For me, I needed to see progress fast, but once I got the heaps of junk cleared, I needed a lifestyle change to keep it clear. I still feel like my space is too cluttered, but I’m working on it.

    • Hi Níriel, I can understand you wanting to get rid of the bulk of the clutter quickly. So long as you are devoted to the idea of continuing on and learning from the experience then I am sure your new lifestyle will stick. The key is paying attention along the way and learning from your previous mistakes.
      As for the DVD, perhaps you need to take a sweep through them so you are aware of what you have and what you don’t. Perhaps keep a list in your phone. That being said, you might also what to give some thought to impulse purchases, that is one of the main lessons to be learned in the journey to decluttering and remaining that way. Well done you for following the one in one out rule though.

      • Regarding impulse purchases…I’ve done so much better on that for a long time, probably mostly by not shopping, or only thrift shopping…but I’m all for whatever works. Anyway, recently we had to go to our nearest city…so I wanted to go to Old Navy. I WANTED boyfriend jeans! Well, I found a pair that fit…almost. Everything from mid hip down looked GOOD (in my opinion). The only problem was that I wear classic jeans (rise to the waist) and these were cut quite high in the back and VERY low in the front…my underwear showed…BIGTIME! Of course that would be covered up by my top, I reasoned…I’m very conservative. But I can’t stand low rise jeans!!! Well…I GOT THEM ANYWAY)!!!! DH (Dear Hubby) didn’t say a word. I guess I’ll return them next time we go back, even though I still WANT them. It didn’t help me that they were 2 sizes smaller than I expected to get…even though numbers don’t mean anything, right?

  12. I love receiving your reminders as they make me feel guilty and then I go off and declutter something!

    • I have that effect of many people Sandra and am glad to be of service. 😉 . Which reminds me I must check up on my friend Sandra and see how she is doing with her maintenance decluttering.

  13. Yesterday I complimented a coworker on her sweater… She said, “Oh, they’re $6 right now at Target, 70% off! You should go there and see what they have!” Oh my… I am sorely tempted, because I really like her sweater. However, I keep reminding myself of all the (unworn) sweaters I have, which have been slowly downsized since I began decluttering… Stay strong self! I also have too many jackets and coats and I know this… But each time (so far) I consider which to let go, I think of times I would wear this or that particular one… Meanwhile, I wear the same old ratty one because it has the most pockets LOL. I won’t wear a nice one to work because it would get smeared with massage lotion or oil (where they hang in our break room)…

    I finally realized why I had so many sweaters, jackets, and coats. I get cold easily and every time I saw a sweater, jacket, or coat in a catalog, I would think oh that looks warm… but really none are warmer than what I already have and how many of each can I wear at the same time? Since I had this realization, I have been able to stop myself from buying more at least 🙂

  14. Clutter Calamity!
    Colleen, I have a decluttering story I don’t know where to post but knew someone here would appreciate! It goes along with a recent comment where we were discussing how many vases we all have in a different post. I remarked that we have five vases that I could think of and could probably get rid of one or two of those.
    Well, last night at 11 pm my cats decided to chase each other onto the dining room table which they have done several times since I have been letting them play together (one is 2 years old and one is 6 months). I have two matching vases on the dining room table – I used to have three but the 2 year old knocked one off when he was 6 months old…..and then there were two.
    Well, as you can guess the cats knocked over both vases last night and I spun around from the kitchen sink to see this and ran into the dining room, about a distance of only 10 ft. The vases were rolling across the dining table – when I bit the dust and slipped on our polished concrete floors. I landed on my leg, rear and bad arm. Thankfully my husband was running in from the other room and caught both vases before they hit the concrete. I sat on the floor another 5 minutes laughing and crying. It was pretty comical – if it hadn’t hurt so much! I’m lucky to be just a bit sore today but I cringe at how close I came to hitting my head on the stone countertop or corner of the glass dining table.
    Here’s the decluttering part – I KNEW this would happen! I knew someday the cats would knock over one or more of those vases again and just assumed that at most I would lose another vase and would have to clean up 1,000 pieces of pottery from the concrete floor. That would have been bad enough. But I didn’t calculate that one or two of us would be risking our neck to run to catch them. Something told me when the first one broke that the others were an accident waiting to happen, I should have gotten rid of them then. So last night, when I finally got up off the floor, I put both of those vases in a box in the give away pile! Bummer is I still think they are pretty and really like them! They are just too unstable for a house with cats. Lesson is, I guess, what you think might happen probably will, and might even come with a consequence or two that you didn’t imagine! Stuff isn’t worth a broken bone or worse……

    • Claire – the Gravity Gods have spoken!
      LOL – I have three cats and have seen similar scenarios.
      Hope you weren’t too badly hurt.

    • Hi Claire, I am glad you weren’t seriously hurt. I have heard of stories where the outcome wasn’t so harmless. One man comes to mind who damaged his back and greatly reduces the quality of his life by trying to save his boat from falling off its trailer. Granted it was of higher dollar value than your vases but so wasn’t worth it.

  15. I guess my comment is late for this post, but I wanted to chime in anyway. I have been a declutter-er my entire life. I used to clean out my closet and the kitchen pantry as a child. LOL. It really is a lifestyle thing. It never ends, because life changes as we get older, move from place to place, etc.

    I’ve let too many things accumulate in the past year, but I am SO on the 365 wagon now. I started on December 1, and you would not believe how much I’ve gotten rid of so far (mostly donated). My lanai is completely empty (it’s my new happy place), and my garage is almost completely empty (need to sell the kayaks and a dinghy). I text Colleen’s daily missions to my non-minimalist sister, who is now on her way to becoming a declutter-er.

    My inner self wants to be one of those minimalists who has less than 100 possessions and/or can put it all in one suitcase. But my reality self is also a prepper. I have a lot of emergency food and supplies, which I feel is part of being self-reliant and responsible. So my basic plan is to 365 (yes, that is a verb!) as much as possible this year, and make sure my “preps” are ultra-organized to satisfy my minimalist self. Does anyone else deal with this dichotomy? It’s hard to find articles on being a minimalist prepper. 🙂

    • Hi, Melanie. 365 as a verb … you heard it here first, folks :-).

      I found your dichotomy interesting. Minimalism, to me, is a spectrum and I’m trying to find the balance that’s right for me. You could set limits for the amount of emergency food and supplies you need. And I’m sure there must be other minimalist preppers out there :-).

    • Yes….I deal with this same issue with my husband being the “prepper” and I am the “minimalist”!!! It is so great to hear that this dilemma affects someone else’s life as well as mine. You know, misery loves company! 🙂 Luckily, what things my husband chooses to keep in our crawl space storage (under the great room) are not seen on a day to day basis. It is well organized and stored on one wall. Thanks for sharing and addressing an issue I thought was mine alone!!!!

    • Melanie – hi, while I was growing up my dad’s job was Civil Defence coordinator for the District, so I had a tendency to not think in terms of an emergency kit to last three days for my household but rather to be resourced well enough to look after everyone on my street in the advent of a natural disaster.
      May I ask what situation you are prepping for?

      • Nicole V, Kim, and Moni,

        Thank you for your comments. Kim, in my case I am the minimalist AND the prepper! You do not want to be in my head for very long. LOL. I think Nicole V has the right idea….like anything else, set limits and make sure it isn’t cluttered.

        Moni, my husband and I move a lot, and we’ve seen everything from blizzards to hurricanes to tsunami warnings to tornados to earthquakes to brownouts. Where we live now, we have tsunami warnings and hurricanes and frequent power outages. As much as I love minimalism, I like to be prepared as well. And I do prepare with my community in mind. I reconcile the two ideas (minimalism vs. prepping) by knowing that being prepared minimizes my chances of hardship in case of emergency. I’m de-cluttering that space (spare bedroom) as my current 365 project, making sure that I set limits and keep it super organized.

        Thanks for letting me share my comments.

    • Hi Melanie, we all have out comfort zones. If it gives you peace of mind to have stuff on hand in case of an emergency they have at it. Although I agree with Nicole that you should have limits. Like you, all my life, I have lived in all sorts for danger zones from bush fires, floods, cyclones, volcanoes, earthquakes and have experienced all but one of those (bush fires). Not once have I ever found myself lacking even though I do no prepare for a catastrophic event. I can guarantee you the even with my minimalist supplies I could easily get by for at least three days which is what is usually suggested. And I dare say all my neighbours would have even more than me. So long as you have clean water you would survive for quite some time.
      That being said, I would like to bet that your emergency supplies don’t take up any more space, if as much, as my craft supplies. so I wouldn’t let it get you down. If you want to be really resourceful learn about bush tucker and real survival skills because if real trouble hits that will keep you out of trouble more then a cupboard full of canned food.

      • Hi Colleen, Thank you for your reply! I certainly was not trying to change the tone of your blog from minimalism to “prepping,” but I appreciated everyone’s replies to my comment on the subject. I laughed at your comment about your craft room. We all have our thing, LOL. Anyway, I worked on my prep area this weekend, and it is now ultra organized, only taking up one wall (one set of shelves and some containers) of my back spare room. Frankly, most of it is regular camping stuff, which is something my husband and I like to do for fun when we have time.

        I also laughed when I looked up bush tucker……I thought that was going to be a person, like Bear Grillis. LOL. I hadn’t heard that phrase before. However, the concept is something I definitely believe in. Skills matter! Thanks again…..

        • Hi Melanie, I did wonder if you would have to google Bush Tucker. Mind you, in Australia, mangrove worms are one of the bush foods I’m sure we are all aware of. Frankly I would rather die.

  16. Here is some suggestions on how to move your decluttered stuff on to someone who may need them. The ideas were sent by Tanja via email.
    Hello; these are my ideas…
    De-cluttering – give jewellery / nice clothes / handbags to the ladies at the psychiatric hospital
    Give cards to Kindergarten teachers for crafts.
    Give stationery to teachers in primary schools.
    Give toys to children’s homes.
    Give bedding to YMCA.
    Give plants to churches.
    Keep well
    Tanja

  17. I admit this was a relief to read. I keep getting rid of clothes with my monthly edits and the occasional home decor but seem to never end… this makes me feel that, as you mention, I am just accepting that I don’t have to hold on to so many things.

    • I am glad to provide you with a little relief Lorena. I am sure it is as you say, you are just realising that you don’t have to hold on to so many things. Good for you.