Lingering Impulses

Continue reading with these posts:

  • One readers clutter nemesis I received an email from Christie this week asking for some advice. I'll launch right in with her email, followed by my advice, and then I would love you all to add your thoughts on the […]
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  • How much do you really love those nicknacks? Here are some questions to ask yourself if you have a lot of nicknacks adorning your home. Usually a home full of nicknacks also has additional furniture to house those nicknacks. […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, ironically, I was dealing with #2 yesterday and will continue to this week until it’s done. In my studio, I brought with me lots of vintage books, papers and photos that I used to make altered books. That was when I lived in a 200+ year old, antique-style home. Now that I live in a 15 year old modern one, my tastes, style and colors have lightened and brightened. Plus, in almost a year of living here, I haven’t used any of it. That was the most telling to me. Hence, I don’t need or want all those supplies so I am being ruthless about getting rid of and selling to an artist who’s work uses all those things mentioned. I just hope she is interested…I am still awaiting a reply…..

    • Hi Kim, the mind gets imprinted with these patterns and sometimes they just stick around. I am glad you have recognised that these ideas no longer work for you and have come up with a plan to declutter the remnants of what, for you, was once a very enjoyable craft. I wish you success with selling those supplies. Life style changes often make stuff we own redundant. I have discovered this myself over and over again.

  2. Colleen, this is good. I think I have stopped all my impulse buying (scrapbook supplies was my worst) except for when I go to the gorcery. I still have to really cub my impulse to buy foods I shouldn’t eat. Maybe it is because there is very little that interests me in the way of food.

    • It is interesting that you should choose food as your impulse item. The person who inspired this post also had the food impulse issue. She also has health related dietary restrictions.

      • I think having dietary restrictions makes it hard to come up with foods you can eat as well as recipes to use them. For me it also means that most of what I eat has to be made fresh and that can really cause an issue (having to buy more often, having to stand more, etc.). There are so many more things out there that I shouldn’t have that are much easier to fix, freeze, & pop into the microwave.

        • I imagine that would be so Deb. I guess in that kind of situation, not only do we need to let go of the physical remains of a lost era but we also have to let go of the wish that the situation would be otherwise and just totally adapt to the new normal.

  3. It is hard to shake off the idea that “I could do something with that”. But I buy very little any more with that idea in mind. I’ve been out of sync on the missions since I have been culling videos, DVDs, cassettes and CDs. I was sure using Deb’s comment “Why do we still have this?” on a regular basis. So though I wasn’t dealing with jewelry I kept thinking Why in the world do we still have this stuff. Some were of poor quality and were trashed, others were donated, and I kept the CDs in current use and some favorite cassettes that are still listened to. Yes, we are dinosaurs, and have not tried MP3 or whatever. When DVDs became the way to go, I bought a player which plays videos or DVDs which I sometimes watch while riding an exercise bicycle (for range of motion in bad knee). Saturday I was looking for some elastic and realized the sewing supplies had been cullled enough to probably fit into 2 chest of drawers so guess that is my next mission. This has been done as I had time–just checking out one video, etc. as i had time and deciding its fate. Since this was the first major media culling, I’m sure more will go on the next pass through. The thrift store does seem to be able to sell videos, etc. So even when I don’t follow the exact mission, it always gives me something to think about, and I may take Deb’s “Why do we still have this” for my mantra.

    • That is a good mantra to follow Nana. So long as you are decluttering something it doesn’t matter if you are following the missions or not. The idea is to do a steady declutter and you sure are doing that.

    • Nana, “Why do we still have this’ is my mantra now too. Works great.

  4. I don’t seem to be tempted to buy. My problem is when someone is getting rid of something that I see as useful, old lumber, old lightfixtures, when we remodeled the bathroom at work – the old tiles. The tiles came off so cleanly that I absolutely could not bear to see them all go in a dumptster. Plus, I had been pondering making mosaic tile stepping stones for my garden for several years, but never got around to buying tiles. I WILL get those stepping stones made before the garden is in full bloom!!

    • Hi Michelle, I thought this would likely be your weakness. It comes of years of renovating your home. Although, even I see stuff like this and think it is a shame to be wasted and feel the urge to at least find it a new home. I must confess I acquired a small bag of fabrics from my mother today. I have an immediate plan for it but never the less it was tempting to acquire a lot more. I was thinking how handy it would be to live near her so that I could come over and shop her house instead of the craft shop when I need fabric or haberdashery for a project. It wouldn’t cost me a cent because she has so much of it that she would be glad to share it with me. My sister encouraged me to take as much as I wanted so we didn’t need to sort through it when the inevitable happened. Mum just laughed of course.

      • Colleen – I like the idea of “shopping” your mom’s home. 🙂 That is great.

        When I grab onto building materials, etc., that people are getting rid of, eventually I either use it or there is a building salvage place that I can donate to. So that’s a plus!

        This past weekend, we assembled Mr. Scarecrow but didn’t get him installed so that is #1 on the list this weekend, but I’m thinking of having a stepping-stone party with my cousin-in-law who is always up for a crafting good time and Lord knows I have plenty of tiles!!

        • Hi Michelle, having a plan to hand the stuff on if you don’t use it within a reasonable length of time is a good set up. Just accepting it and letting it linger and go to waste would be a shame. I have the same set up for my craft stuff. If I don’t use it I can hand it on the a local men’s age care facility. They really enjoy doing a little craft occasionally and they really appreciate donations.

          I am looking forward to a photo of your scarecrow.

  5. Hi Colleen! As usual our minds seem connected 😀 ! I was thinking the other day how much stuff has outgrow their use in our house and I just let go. That was provoked by my oldest child was also asking me about the cradle we still have assembled in the spare room. I told him I was keeping that because I want to have another baby soon. Then he asked if we would keep the cradle for when HE had his children. I said no, as soon as the baby comes and grows out of the cradle, we sell it. And he said “so if we are not using something we can get rid of it, because we don’t need it anymore, is that right?” Both me and my husband agreed. And he did ask where he would put his children and we said when the time came he would decide that…hahahahaha 😀
    I do get the odd impulse of keeping stuff I will not need, or that “I might need one day” (i.e. a cradle for a grandchild…- just kidding!!! 😀 😀 😀 my oldest is 6 years old!). However, the cost of impulse (keeping/buying) is too high. Eventually I get back to that object and I just ask “why are you still here?” (thanks Deb J!) and realize I kept the darn thing on an impulse or a old habit long gone.

    • Hi Moni, it is good to share the decluttering process with your kids. Well done you! Once upon a time people used to keep a lot of stuff to hand down. But that was in the days when there wasn’t so much stuff, used and secondhand, available. There is still nothing wrong with keeping good quality useful items to hand on but that habit isn’t one I care to follow. Unless of course the kids specifically ask for the item and then I give it to them now since they have left home and have their own space to store it in.

  6. When comtemplating some items, and the above mantra didn’t quite work, I found myself saying a new one, “Get real. You know you are never really going to–listen to that again, wear that again, read that again, etc, etc.” This one works pretty good and ended up putting 3 more videos in the donation bag..

    • I like your mantra as well Nana. Yours is one I have used over and over again. I use a similar one when I consider buying something. “Will I use this enough to warrant buying it?” The answer is usually no.