Long Term Effective Decluttering

I have often included statements or advice in my post such as…

  • Decluttering will get you nowhere if you reclutter while you declutter.
  • Declutter excess __(insert item here)___.
  • Not desiring stuff is a wonderful freedom.
  • Reducing supply and demand of products is good for the environment.
  • Keeping items “just in case” is futile if the items were never really necessary in the first place.

…and the list goes on. I make these statements and give this advice because most people declutter by skimming the surface of their belongings only removing the obvious things that are no longer wanted. This creates enough space for them to continue on with the same habit of replacing that clutter with the next thing that takes their fancy in the stores or through clever advertising and the cycle begins again. Clutter, declutter, reclutter, declutter, reclutter… I know this because I have been there and done that.

I have always prided myself on the fact that my home has always been a clean and tidy environment. On a regular basis as the children grew and my husband and I ungraded items in our home or fell out of like with clothing, decor, hobbies etc I would do a declutter. I would either have a garage sale, a flea market stall or donate items to charity and feel good about myself because I redeemed a few dollars, helped a charity and lightened the load of belongings in our home. But this was a temporary status.

You will notice I mentioned the words “grew, upgraded and fell out of like” all of which suggest that the clutter removed was being or had already been replaced with something else. So essentially all we were doing was making room for the next round of clutter and decluttering was just a cycle not a realisation that we had too much, were always wanting more stuff and were constantly wasting our money on stuff. Polluting the environment along the way. Granted I bought a lot of stuff secondhand at flea markets and garage sales but stuff is stuff and acquiring it is like a drug no matter how little one pays for it.

This time around for us decluttering is a lifestyle choice. Wrapped up in that is a newfound higher respect for the environment, a newfound freedom from the desire to always want new stuff, a freeing up of finances that can be better used on more worthwhile pursuits and permanent way to reduce and simplify household chores.

I feel like a rebel at times and I love it. Take that companies who manufacture endless products of no real worth or necessity. Take that advertising agencies who get paid to convince people to buy crap they don’t need. Take that credit card interest rates. Take that high cost and high rental on houses bigger than I need. Take that plastic organising tubs I will never need again. Take that storage unit companies whose services I have never and will never need to store my excess stuff…

The message here is if you like decluttering over and over again, wasting your hard earned money, maintaining stuff you rarely use, need a larger home for your stuff not your family to fit in, enjoy paying credit card interest on stuff you never needed in the first place or don’t care about the state of the environment, then by all means stay on the hamster wheel that is consumerism and ignore everything I write about here at 365 Less Things.

However if you don’t like the sound of that then effective long term decluttering requires the following list of changes

  1. Get rid of your excesses. Not just the things you don’t use but things you have a greater variety of than you really need.
  2. Know the difference between need and want. This is important when confronting those “I might need it one day” items. Ask yourself did I ever really “need” them in the first place.
  3. Cut back on shopping for things you don’t need, won’t get good use out of and especially thing that are just novelty items.
  4. Upgrading only needs to happen when the item you are replacing no longer performs to your needs (not your wants) or when the item breaks down. When upgrading does happen don’t keep the old item “just in case”.
  5. Be thoughtful of the environment with every purchase you make.

So are you happy to stay on the hamster wheel or are you weaning yourself off it or are you like me and have left it behind some time ago?

Today’s Mini Mission

Round up your shoes ~ Do you have shoes in the car, shoes in your bedroom, shoes at both the front and back doors? Why not find a simple solution to keep the bulk of them in one area.

Today’s Declutter Item

Over the two and a half years of my decluttering mission my son has managed to do a little “natural progression decluttering” of some old motorbike gear that had been unused for many years. First he slid out in the rain one day and tore up one of my husbands old bike jackets from the 80’s. Luckily he didn’t injure himself or do much damage to the bike. He is now wearing one of his dad’s other 1980’s bike jackets. Then he had an accident at Christmas that wasn’t his fault in which he broke his arm and damaged his gloves. He then started wearing the old pair of gloves below but due to age and frequent use one of the fingers has worn through. So now he is wearing yet another old pair of gloves.

Motorbike Gloves

Something I Am Grateful For Today

An ebay parcel I posted cost $5 less than I expected.

“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:

  • Materialism = Clutter and worse Before I write anything here I would like you to watch the following video that I have linked to below. It is almost 40 minutes long so make yourself comfortable and please watch all the […]
  • Declutter your mind to declutter you home The hardest part of decluttering happen in you mind. The clutter itself isn't really the problem it is the preconceived ideas we have about what we should, could and must keep and what we […]
  • Repeating the same action will never yield a different result If you want to make changes in your life you are going to have to change the way you do things. Explore better options, be open minded, step out of your comfort zone and try doing things […]
About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. One thing that is also a benefit from having less is that it helps you to place your values on other things more important than material items. You shift your time and efforts to things that are more important than just laying up treasures on earth. When we die, we can’t take any of it with us, just the memories, love and experiences we have.

  2. A couple of the big things that seem to be helping Mom with decluttering is that she no longer wants to put out the energy to maintain it and she doesn’t want me stuck with it when she passes.

    • Hi Deb J – I know what you man about ‘energy to maintain’ it. It is tiresome because it is always there.

      • Moni, yes and no matter what you have it seems to take time and energy to clean it or care for it. We have been talking about it this past week because both of us are definitely getting worse as far as what we can do. I think it is making a big difference in what Mom wants to keep. One thing I hate though is that it is a struggle for her because she was a baker and a cooker and loved doing things for people like shut-ins, people after surgery or deaths, new mothers. Now it is hard for her to do that and makes me sad.

        • Hi Deb J – I find there are things which were classified as being very important early in the decluttering process, and each time I pass by them during a “cull” they seem to devalue in my eyes. Last time around I was saying “why are you STILL here?” – obviously they have a big bullseye on them for next time.

          It will be hard for your mum to be more restricted in what she can and can’t do.

          • I think this is happening with Mom. She’s finally seeing that if we haven’t used things in the 19 years since Dad passed then we probably aren’t going to ever use them.

    • Deb J, they are both great reasons to declutter.

  3. I think you are right that for most people, de-cluttering and organizing is just enough to keep their head above the water. But it’s really just skimming the surface – and they are just a few purchases away from being right back where they started. Even after you have bare necessities left and are completely happy with your empty cupboards, you still need to stay on top of it, but then it has become the natural way to live, refusing most stuff, and promptly getting rid of unwanted gifts and broken appliances etc. It no longer goes in great big waves where you always end up frustrated with the amount of clutter in your home. You learn to stay afloat 🙂

    • That’s it entirely, Cat’sMeow “promptly getting rid of” is the key! I came home with a name badge from an event (as did everyone, they weren’t collecting them as I was accustomed to do when i ran events), and I thought, everyone else took this home too – what have they done? Does it go in a junk drawer? In a pile of ‘stuff’? Or just throw it in the bin? (it annoys me to throw it in a bin, it’s usable, these items cost someone money, no matter how negligible and it annoys me to just ‘throw it away’). But keeping this, something small, is just clutter!

    • Well put Cat’s Meow. Who wants to be flailing in high surf being pounded by those big waves and your head constantly dragged underwater and in danger of drowning in it. Why not just enjoy a leisurely float in calm waters.

  4. Colleen, this is a brilliant post. You are a wise sage.
    When our homes and lives are filled with “quality”, it replaces the need for “quantity”. I have always felt that one of the underlying issues with clutter is that we never save to purchase what our heart desired in the first place. My daughter and I call this the “Settle for syndrome”. For example, we may purchase four lesser made cardigan sweaters rather than the one, more expensive, made to last for years cardigan that we really wanted. I bet if each of your readers looked through their homes
    they would find that the things that they didn’t “settle for” are the things that still delight their hearts when they use them, wear them, look at them, sit on them etc.

    • Oh how right you are. There are also all these things “bought because you wanted to buy SOMEthing”. I still have some of these clothes – bought just because I wanted to bring something home from that shopping trip even though I only thought they were “okay”, no more, in the store. Or some souvenir items. Or even presents that someone else got me just to get me something.
      The well loved items are still well loved.

    • Oh Yes Kimberley! To save for is a wonderful thing (even though sometimes the shop assistants look at me like I have two heads! I’m not spending $620 right here right now… I will THINK ABOUT IT!)

    • “Settle for syndrome” – exactly! Have introduced that to my teenage daughters and (fortunately for me) they like the concept. Only buy what you LOVE to wear, because if you buy something you think is OK you will bypass it in the wardrobe for something older that you LOVE.

      I have to admit though, I found it very frustrating when I took my youngest jersey shopping back in Autumn (this was the first time out shopping with her under this new regime) as we went all over the mall and nothing made the grade. In the end I went to the online stores of other stores in the area to save us driving/walking all over the city and one caught her attention in a store ironically about 3 mins from our home. So we went there and she found two that suit her really well and she was really happy and they get lots of use.

      • Moni, I’m finding that if we go online and look at the websites of local stores we can find many things without having to go all over town. I then call the store and see if they actually have the item. If they do we can then go try it on. Sure saves all that running around. What I really like is that I also know then what it will cost and can look for a better deal before actually buying. I really like being able to do that.

    • I agree with what you are saying here except for one small difference and that is that it isn’t always quality that is the difference between a well loved, well used item and one that soon becomes clutter. It is that one has settled for second best which for me it wasn’t always about quality. I used to often get sucked in by a good deal or by being impatient to wait for the right product to come along. I have many items that I have gotten endless use out of that aren’t particularly good quality but suited my needs the best. In fact they are the sort it items of love the most because I well and truly get my money’s worth out of them.

  5. We’re still in the progress of weaning us off the hamster wheel, I guess. I’d say we’re at a declutter-reclutter pace of 5:1. It’s obviously going in the right direction, but there is still clutter sneaking in more often than necessary…

    Thank you for this manifesto. It’s nice to read it all at once.

  6. Well this is timely. A neighbor lady noticed us loading a weight bench machine onto the truck of the friend that just bought it from us. Anyways, she asked if we were moving as she noticed that we are “constantly” hauling off & mailing lots of packages (stuff we sold on Ebay).

    I explained to her that we were simply downsizing & decluttering our lives/home as we realized we don’t need or use most of the stuff we have & when we do finally get the green light to relocate down to the Florida Keys we’ll be ready to go without the burdeon what to do with “all the stuff”.

    Anyways, short story long – my neighbor gleefully said she too has been decluttering by “moving stuff around” so she will have room to put all the neat “new” things she has been finding at the new flea market that recently opened across town. Oh. Ok.

    I’ve not been inside her house, but my husband had once a few years ago when the lady’s husband couldn’t figure out how to relight their natural gas pilot flame. Anyways, my husband said their house was “packed full”.

    Just goes to show that the word decluttering can mean very different things to very different folks.

    • Great story. It’s wonderful how we all put different meanings on things, lol

    • Hi Jane – I think you need to send your neighbour a link to 365. I love that you are preparing to move even though you don’t have the greenlight yet. When it all begins to happen with a shift, it is a crazy streesful time and I don’t know why people leave it until then to attempt to downsize their possessions. It takes time and thought and imagination to eliminate stuff. One of the first things people have to organise is transporting their furniture and stuff and so its too late to think about it then as the shifters have factored in all the excess.

    • Jane – are you the Jane that told me about RipIt? If so, when you ‘rip’ a dvd – where does the programme ‘put’ the uploaded version? ie into iTunes? Or where?

      • Moni, yes I’m the same Jane as I’ve ever been!
        RipIt puts the DVD in what ever folder you designate.
        My Mac already had a folder called “movies” & within that folder I put all the ripped DVD’s.
        I did go back & change the folder icons from the standard Mac plain blue folder to an icon of the actual movie DVD cover art.
        The movie then plays via the Mac DVD/quicktime player.
        I don’t store movies within iTunes unless it gives me no choice (like when you purchase directly from iTunes Store) – but now that I think about it, it dies seem that I have movies stored in 2 different locales on my computer. Not very organized sounding. Think I will need to fix that!

    • Jane, that was exactly the point of this post. If anyone was out there reading my blog looking for ways to make room for there next round of clutter then I wanted them to know that is not my definition of decluttering. There are no shortage of people like your neighbour out there. They may also not realise there is another way having only known this version. After all they are the ones living the norm aren’t they, the norm that advertisers and companies want us all to live to the detriment of our bank accounts, our wellbeing and the environment.

      • Colleen, you should start making web videos regarding decluttering. Some folks need that visual reference in order for them to gasp the point of decluttering.
        Have you thought about this at all?

        • Colleen & Jane – I am going on record that I’m not going to make a dvd of my bookcase decluttering mission LOL 🙂 Am in the early onset-chaos stage in one room and every cable that we have obviously ever owned is spread over the floor of the other room.

        • Jane 🙂
          I’m banking on it getting better but its basically been a “too hard pile” for a long time and it was classified “too hard” for a reason. All good, I’m certain I will get there…..eventually……..

  7. Well done Colleen. You are so right that decluttering is only half the task of living clutter-free. Reducing the amount you bring in is at least as important. I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love and I’d love it if you joined the Green and Tidy community at http://www.mygreenandtidylife.co.uk. You get a free masterclass in decluttering and staying clutter-free forever, and a weekly email from me with hints, tips and inspirational stories. Keep up the great work.

    • Hi Rachel and thank you for joining us here at 365 Less Things. I am keen to take a look at the web site and see what you are all about. I will make it my business to do so first thing tomorrow. For now it is getting late and time I pulled my head out of this computer and started winding down for the night after all it is 9:45pm. I am looking forward to reading about your green and tidy ideas, actually I think I will take a quick peak before shutting down. 😉

  8. Hi Colleen – I have such a stack of plastic storage bins and baskets in the garage. Would love to get rid of them but hubby wants his workplace decluttered so they’ll get a second round of use there. Maybe I should more them there.

  9. Great post. I hit my ‘downfall’ again this weekend cos I was at a festival where there were lots of beautiful crafts and handmade things- arrggghhh. I find it really hard not to buy something to support these wonderful creative people and also cos their stuff is gorgeous. I’m off to write some ‘lines’ – I must not look, I must not look, I must not buy, I must not…….
    Oh and also to find something to put out so at least it’s a case of one in, one out….

    • Something that just struck me Fruitcake, I buy raffle tickets or the like, but ask not to get the tickets or go in the draw. I know if I win it’ll be clutter, but at least I’m helping the fundraising cause a little. Bit different with items for sale, but the idea might work sometimes?

      • Calico ginger :

        Hey, I do that with Daffodil Day (Aus cancer council fundraiser) – I “buy” the bear or whatever, but I don’t take it!

        • I like these ideas Snosie and Calico Ginger – cheers. I cancelled a lot of my charity memberships over the years too cos I got fed up with the magazines etc – now I ask them not to send me anything – especially their magazines.

    • I know how you feel Fruitcake, I also am a crafter and can appreciate the wonderful items other crafters produce. But I just look at it and appreciate it for what it is and walk away because I know I have no need for it. And yet I would prefer to encourage people to continue with their creativity. I console myself by the fact that there are plenty of people out there who are happy to purchase these items. I have respect for handcrafted items that aren’t mass produced in a factory somewhere.

    • What has helped me -not- bring tons of beautiful handmade stuff home is to think of going to a craft fair or the like as going to a museum. I try to appriciate the workmanship and the art of these things. Buying them is it going to take time and energy to maintain, which I would rather use making handmade things of my own. Memories don’t have to be dusted, and there is always more stuff to see, when the memories fade.

      Occasionally something still comes home with me, but now it’s much more likely to be something I’ve been looking for to fill a need.

  10. Actually today’s decluttering task, re:shoes… Cause mine are almost always in the one place, I noticed one pair are missing… which leads me to wonder where on earth they could be. There’s a small chance they are in the water polo bag (as I go in ‘normal’ shoes and swap to thongs after) hrmmm

    I thought very similar thoughts to this post as I lugged everything from the car yesterday – I had some clothes (coat, scarves, jumper & Thursday’s uniform), none of which is ‘new’ clutter, but then I had a caulking gun, silicone, a tool for silicon and a fire blanket, along with my usual handbag – as I was juggling all this in one trip, I thought ‘agh, more stuff!!’ Admittedly all but the fire blanket have been used, and whilst the blanket is ‘just in case’, well for safety’s sake… (is it justified?)

    • Hi Snosie – I would say that a fire blanket for just in case is very justified! I have a cousin whose house burnt down and in less than 3 minutes it was such an inferno that she was very very lucky to get the kids and pets out. She was amazed at how quickly fire spread and how dark it is in a room on fire. The whole house was gone within about 10 minutes and everything was lost.

    • I also have a fire blanket Snosie which I would definitely call it justified. And I hope to God I never have a need for it.

  11. I’m agonising over purchasing luggage at the moment. Do we really NEED it? Can we make do with what we’ve got? Do we go for quality over what’s cheap?
    So far I’ve decided that between the kids and I we can buy 2 good quality rolling small new bags, and I’ll make do with my husband’s sports bag (not pretty, but life isn’t a fashion parade!). When i go away on my own I can borrow one of theirs, but it is ridiculous to have more for just 1 or 2 occasions a year. Plus, when we get to know more people here, I might be able to borrow one.
    Sometimes I wish I didn’t overthink purchases all the time, but in the end I save money and extra stuff from entering the house. I’m what Gretchen Rubin from “The Happiness Project” blog terms ‘an underbuyer’.

    • Loretta, I travelled internationally at least 5 times p/a from the age 10 – so a lot (boarding school)! Therefore, I attest to good luggage (even if costly) is better than cheap rubbish that might break and add stress. I can’t endorse United Colors of Benetton enough (but I can’t find it anymore), but I have abused their luggage!

      Having said that, I was at a thrift SUPER store (coincidentally beside Ikea!) and they had some suitable luggage second hand, so you could consider that if you can’t borrow some, and you don’t want to go new? And you can settle for ‘smaller’ over just in case huge (haha case!) (gathering if you’re on here, and a underbuyer… it will work best!)

    • Hi Loretta – I had to find go to Happiness Project and search to find ‘Underbuyer’.
      Are you going somewhere in particular?
      Or as an underbuyer concerned you don’t have enough provision for travel in place?
      How are your kids ie are they leaving home in the next X amount of years?

      I have realised recently that I have a lot of suitcases and they don’t get used very often. Fortunately they weren’t hugely expensive and we have the space to store them but if we were to move to a smaller house we might have to eliminate some.

      Is there a friend or relative who would lend you some luggage, if you have an upcoming trip, to tide you over until you have a better idea of what you actually need or what sizes suit?

      Is there a neighbourgoods site for your area? Or could you put out a list on freecycle to borrow/hire one? I saw such a listing on our local site recently where she offered a bottle of wine to use some luggage for an overseas trip.

      Colleen is the queen of light travel so I’m sure she’ll share her experiences with you.

      An article I really enjoyed recently on packing light:
      http://www.unclutter-organize-transform.com/a2012-how-i-learned-to-pack-light.html

      • Fantastic link!

      • Thanks ladies. My kids are 12 and 9. They’re just starting to go on yearly school camps, plus we visit relatives within our State 3-4 times a year, and my sister on the Gold Coast 1-2 times a year. We’ve been using over the shoulder sports/type bags which are really too unwieldy for the kids to carry. Rolling cabin-size bags would be much better on all our backs! When we lived in Melbourne I could borrow suitcases off family and friends, but as we’ve only been in our country town for 6 months I don’t feel comfortable asking any of my new friends/acquaintances just yet. My sister recommends “Antler” brand (SHE has no problems spending money!!) and there are a couple of websites that sell them much cheaper than retail, with free delivery.

        • Hi Loretta – ok you do a reasonable amount of traveling, up to 6 trips a year and your kids are going to be dependents for a number of years to come, so I think (and I am open for anyone to disagree…..) that purchasing luggage is justifiable.

          I have 3 teens and have learnt that they will always fill the suitcase whether you give them a small one or a large one. So in the interests of fuel economy and space in the car, I now only let them use the small suitcases.

      • this is an amazing link. honestly and funny. I like stories of learned lessons. makes me always feel as if I could learn my lesson by just reading – that usually doesnt happen and I need to learn it my own way, but hey – its fun reading 😉

    • Hi Loretta, there is also the fact that with every new purchase you don’t make you are doing something good for the environment. Better to over think purchases than to under think them, that is what gets people into a cluttered mess in the first place.

  12. Hi, great post. I had a basket full of ‘just in case’ that I just dropped off today at the Goodwill thrift store (live in USA). It felt good to NOT look in my rear view mirror and drive away knowing someone else can benefit from the stuff. It was all in good shape, but I am not willing to sit around and deal with a garage sale, so off it went! At least none of it had to be trashed!

    That ‘just in case’ is a great thing to get rid of…what a relief!!!

  13. I totally agree with the manifesto. Although the truth of it made me cry (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, I blame the pregnancy hormones). I’m back at my parents house again as they are on holiday and the cat needs some company. By now I believe my parents are bordering on the hoarders syndrome. My dad has been making some dents in his collections lately though, so I´ll give him credit for that.
    I´ve been here for approx 40 hours now and since then I´ve started to go through all the stages of grief : denial, anger, bargaining, and depression (and acceptance). Although not in that order. For some time I have been amazed and in denial of the problem. But of late it has really made me feel down. after visiting my childhood home I would go on and on about how they can have so much stuff. I got really angry about some things I stumbled onto yesterday. (realy stumbled) and Now I´m starting to think about bargaining (something like: I wont come to your place with the baby until you clean and clear up the place) I do seriously doubt if I will ever accept it. It might be better for my peace of mind, though, because it’s 9.15 am here and I´m already all worked up about it. I really wish I could make them understand and see that they have a problem. But even the slightest mention makes them angry.
    Sigh, whats a girl to do….eh?

    • you have my full empathy – I don’t think it’s the hormones – my dad is a borderline hoarder and I have spent years, saying ‘yes’ to stuff he’s offered me just so’s I can put it straight out the door. I recently put his camera collection on fleabay and made about tuppence and I took all his mother’s jewellery and the family silver (such as it was) to the auction house. It drives me bonkers. My sister refused to take her kids to visit – I think she has only taken them about twice – they are now 5 and 3. I’ve never taken my husband (and I’ve known him since ’95).
      An ex and I tidied up for him when he was in hospital about 10 years ago and it caused chaos – he accused me of throwing out all sorts of stuff (most of which I hadn’t – I’d just crammed into the cupboards or heaped up in the garden) – I told him it was me or social services and to take his pick.
      I go through phases of trying not to think about it and phases of desperation knowing that it will be me that has to sort it out someday. I generally just try to accept that it’s his life and his issues but I still struggle to say no when he offers me junk – usually cos it’s useful and I think if I chuck it out now, it will be less in the future – I used to ask if he had something I needed – like a casserole dish – the trouble was, he’d bring me 6 instead of just 1. I think in the future it will be less hassle to go to the charity shop and buy one rather than asking him. Sometimes I feel like i spend my life processing others people’s stuff…
      What amazes me is that he helps others clear out but can’t see his own…
      Don’t feel hopeless – you’re not on your own. xo

      • hunter_xs and fruitcake:
        I’m so impressed with how you are both working through these situations! Your own personal growth is amazing. I’m sure the other people involved are deeply proud of you (but can’t express it or live it for themselves because their need for ‘stuff’ runs decades deep and they are afraid of something deeper that they can’t face or let go of).

  14. Sorry about my rant, I´m just feeling hopeless…

    • no need to be sorry, I know those moments. I do not have hoarder parents, but a mother who is consuming like there is no tomorrow. and who is behaving weird in other aspects too. the most important thing for me to understand was that I am not my mother. and that she is the bizarre and crazy one. not me. and that whatever I will do, I wont understand, or even change her…
      maybe you can use their grandchild as a way for forcing them to clean up, but it wont for sure solve the problem. breathe, accept, live and let live. I know it sounds simpler than it is.

    • Hi hunter_xs, I am sorry you feel unhappy and I can understand how you feel. It is frustrating when you can’t do anything about something that isn’t good for those you love. I think you have every right not to take you baby to a home that could in fact be dangerous to be in. It isn’t just the junk you can see that hold hazards it is the areas behind the junk that can be harbouring unhealthy mould and bacteria. I suppose you just have to decide whether or not you are willing to take your chances on explaining this to your parents in the nicest possible way and hope for the best.

  15. this is a very timely post. Lately (the last 6 weeks or so) I have been bringing stuff in instead of out. I think it was due to the fact that I finished one layer of clutter and there wasnt stuff that was obvious to get rid of.
    Right now, I am stuck on the question of towels. Because I got a new haircut (short and black instead of long and blond) and I just dont need this extra hair towel anymore. But judging from experience I will for sure end up with long hair again, even though I love the new style (I get bored in a yearly frequency), so I think I keep the hair items (needles, bands, comb, brushes) although I dont need them right now. But the towels are just taking a lot of space and I have the feeling I can deal with one or two fewer ones…

    when I visited my mums place, I decluttered the first layer of my brothers room (I got his ok for that) and found a stockpile of stationary items… I loved it – I brought back a box full with pens, and ‘useful’ items, when I realized that – combined with my material at home – I actually have more than I will ever need. EVER. So this was the first time I had to swallow these little voices telling me ‘this is wasted money, you could use this one day, its in perfect shape’. and I placed it in my for free box. because there are currently landing those CDs that I will give away too.

    I will take this ‘manifesto’ into the favourites in order to prevent the ‘just in case’ coming up again. and to remind myself to watch which stuff comes in and what actually goes out again.

    • Hi Lena, I can understand your dilemma about getting rid of certain things. I have more towels than I need too but there are so many fewer than there were that I am OK with that. Let natural progression decluttering take over, choose the most worn ones and use them over and over again until they wear out leaving you with fewer. Hair ties and clips don’t take up much space. For now pick your battles over your stuff and focus on the things you really don’t and won’t need.

      Good choice putting the excess stationery in the free box. As you know I have done this myself because after five years of it sitting there and us hardly making a dent in it I knew that there was enough to last a lifetime and I didn’t need that much. As they say, it was a no brainer.

      If there is anything I still find hard to resist it is clever useful objects that appear to be time savers but I allow my desire for clear space to overtake my desire to give the item the chance to prove itself. After all more often than not these items, in the past, let me down by not living up to my expectations.

  16. We have bought Lands End and LLBean bags and I think they have been great. At different times we have had issues (broken zipper; metal poking through leather trim) and we have shipped them back and received new ones. I love them. We do travel a fair amount and we trade them around and use them. I think they are a great investment.

    • I love items with good warranties like this Sabrina but what I don’t like is having to act on those warranties. Good products have generous warranties because they are meant to be good products and it annoys me when they don’t live up to their reputation. For me anything that is replaced with new is putting strain on supply and demand whether I receive it free or not and the defective item ends up in landfill. I pay the extra to avoid that and feel saddened when my plan fails.

  17. I certainly see your point. We are extremely tough on our luggage and I have a strong sense that we would destroy any luggage no matter how expensive, so with a moderately priced piece that gets repaired or replaced, I feel better. It also helps immensely that my husband has no problem packing something up and shipping it out if necessary.

  18. Good post, keep reminding us. I finally began tackling the photographs–I come from a big family, 6 children. My father was from family of nine. We adopted 4, have 7 grandchildren. So though not a lot of photographs for any one person (except grands), there are a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and now grand nieces and nephews plus friends. Finally realized to not organize anything, but just look at photos one at a time after neatening a little. Then discard one if two similar, but child or person was smiling in one and not in other, or if action more interesting in one but not in other, discard if not sharp image, discard if person’s image too small, discard if very unbecoming pose of someone, discard if too many similar of same occasion, discard if brought back bad memories–hospital, illness, funeral, etc. A lot of this should have been done when photos first arrived, but when baby is new, it is harder to do than when “baby” is now teenager, or older. The first “pass thru” not much disappeared, sccond go thru much better. Plan to do more passes. Have a big pile of duplicates which will be sorted and offered back to originator (or possibly discarded–I’m not sure why we received so many duplicates–mostly grandchildren, photo often several different sizes.) Am aiming for 1 photo album for largest studio type photos, and 2 photo boxes and no more than that. However, husband took a jillion slides and that is another challenge.

  19. I finally “got it” when it comes to decluttering & found this blog not toooo long after. One thing I’ve been heavily decluttering is our DVDs. We had three 100 each cases and a bigger one that was about 300 I think. We have decluttered the 300 case and one of the 200 cases. We have space in one of the 200 ones for a handful of Disney movies we want to keep (mainly the classic animated ones) after I go through them. I sold a still-in-the clamshell DVD to a lady today via a local FB Buy/Sell page. I mentioned this weekend I need to go through the rest of the movies and create a document for them all….easier than a picture of 2 (so far) 6 inch stacks of DVDs (no clamshells). I related the story above. She was shocked! How on earth could I possibly get rid of so many movies. Most of them are ones hubby and I watched with no real desire to re-watch them. “It’s also a part of my massive de-cluttering mission to go more minimal with my life.” She just shook her head and said she could never get rid of her movies.
    Different wave length then I am I guess. 😕

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