Love it or heave it (Revisited)

As you may have guessed, due to the lack of them, I struggle to come up with new posts these days, mostly because I declutter much less now, therefore the inspiration for posts isn’t constantly forthcoming. Today it occurred to me that I have been blogging about this subject for over six years now, so why not repost some of my old articles. They are still as relevant as they ever were, not everyone has read through all the archives and we could all do with a refresher of information previously disseminated. So without further adieu here is todays revisited post.

Take a look around your home to find items that you have been using constantly for many years. Items that you would never part with although maybe are outdated, getting a little shabby or just aren’t particularly aesthetically pleasing in any way. These items will likely have to reach natural attrition before they leave your home. Of course they don’t have to be shabby, they may be standing the test of time amazingly well. And thank goodness for that if they are items that are useful and/or beautiful to you. Think about what is unique about this item that causes you to appreciate it so much.

Think about what led you to acquire these items in the first place. Perhaps it was that you had a need for the items. Perhaps the beauty of the object was what attracted you to it. Perhaps you searched and bided your time until just the right items came along to suit your need or desire. Perhaps it was a combination of all three. Maybe someone you knew had one similar and you decided it was so useful or beautiful that you wanted one for yourself. Or maybe it was sheer fluke that brought you and the object together.

I know I certainly have objects in my home that fit my needs so well that I have owned them for many many years. Among them are items that fit all of the reasons for acquiring them that I stated above. But one thing that is similar in each case is my appreciation for these objects. Every time I see them or use them I feel pleased not only with the objects but for my “clever’ choice of them in the first place.

Now take a look around your home and identify other objects that you neither use nor find aesthetically pleasing. Ask yourself why do you keep each items. Was it an unwanted gift? Can you not afford to replace it? Do you feel guilty for wasting your hard earned cash on it, so are determined to get some use out of it? It is a family heirloom that you don’t really wish to be the caretaker of? Perhaps these items cause too much upkeep. Or worse still you have given up maintaining them and they are sitting idle and dusty. Whatever the reason, if an item brings forth negative feelings when you encounter it then this a something you should consider decluttering.

Your home is your fortress, your place of tranquility, or at least it should be. There are many thing that lower the level of tranquility in a person’s home. One of them is being surrounded by objects that evoke negativity. Another is the feeling of obligation to keep stuff the causes you work. There are only so many hours in the day, house that are better spent doing things you enjoy with people that you love. It is a shame to waste that time taking care of stuff.

So as you encounter these items that cause negativity ask yourself what is more important to you..

  • The compulsion to keep them regardless or..
  • To heighten the level of tranquility in your home.

Share a story about such an item you encounter in the comments below. Tell us what your decision is for keeping it or letting it go.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • Mini Mission ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more. With the holiday season here you will likely need every inch of spare space.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I found a pair of eyeglasses in the attic box… didn’t even know I had them… they were one of those things that look good until you have the prescription in, then you say to yourself “whatever made me think these look good???” …but then you are stuck with them because they are so expensive 🙁 They are going to be donated at eye doc 🙂

    • I have a different problem with my current glasses. No matter how many times they adjust them to sit straight, on my uneven ears, they slowly return to how they first were. This is the only pair that have behaved in this way and it is annoying. And the first lenses didn’t work for me either. So far I have had two frames and two sets of lenses and they still aren’t right. It is not only annoying the live with but also a waste of my time and gas going across town to have them fixed or adjusted every month or so.

      I am glad you are donating yours because there are no shortage of people in third world countries whose vision are being improved, if not restored, with the kind donations of people like us.

  2. Great idea to revisit older posts Colleen!
    After years of decluttering I can honestly say that I love most of the items that remain. Now my garage is a different story. Lol
    I still have a dozen items that I consider obligation clutter, but they are not a bother at this point. And it’s a daily battle for me not to bring clutter in or take free items. I also like the different philosophies on what remains in our lives, & have applied the ideas to question different items. The blogs reminds me to look in places that I’ve overlooked or haven’t looked for a long time. Thanks for your & the 365 Community to reach this place!

    • Hi Calla, I think the habit of acquiring unnecessary stuff, or just stuff in general, has similar addictive qualities to alcoholism and the like. We are better than we once were but some temptation will always remain. We just have to be strong, remember the drawbacks of weakening and use logic to stop us from falling off the wagon.

  3. I have decluttered. Now my “struggle” is to make my decor look spare like an Armini suit rather than bare. Stuff can make one’s home look either warm/cozy or cluttered/visually busy. Maybe your long term decluttered readers need a post on how to keep the visceral & visual warmth without all the stuff

    • Hi Gail, I have found that a lot of mid century modern has a very clean uncluttered look without looking bare. You might want to see there are some ideas that you might be able to use with other design styles that might fit your style & possessions. My 2¢worth

    • Hi Gail, I would be happy for one of my readers to attempt to write such a post but I personally am not a interior decorator so I wouldn’t even try to go there. Except to say that when it comes to the décor of my home I just have what I like. What makes a home a home is doing things your way. My experience with going for a certain look is that you often end up with a trend rather than things you enjoy personally.

      • Colleen and Gail – I am facing this conundrum myself right now. My brain is kinda figuring it out but I don’t have all the answers, Colleen would you like me to give it a go? But if you do have an interior designer someone out there with their hand up, then by all means pass it on.

        • Colleen Madsen

          Hi Moni, thanks for the offer but it is probably best if someone with expertise took it on. There may not be anyone like that reading the blog.

    • Hi, Gail. I hope you find something useful in these posts and the accompanying comments: (1) Minimalist Home: Adding warmth without adding stuff
      (2) Slow your home: The ultimate guide to creating a beautiful, clutter-free home
      (3) Can a tchotchke-free home be warm and inviting?

    • Gail – another quick fix is a plant. Ironically I have none myself. However, I read an article about the top 10 indoors plants for removing toxins from the air inside your house. Im not a greenie per se (but I do my bit) but it was an impressive list. We’re getting new carpet soon and there will be some out-gas-ing (my MIL is very sensitive to such things) and that was one of the recommendations.
      Anyhow later read an article on my news feed from a House & Home type magazine and it was showing how house plants can be used to soften or enchance the decor.

  4. Good post. This is the subject my mom and I don’t agree on. I will go ages with the bare minimum until I find exactly what I want rather than just get something to fill a purpose. Mom is the opposite. She will get something to decorate with or make a room look more filled out.

    • Colleen Madsen

      Yep, I am not one for settling either Deb. In fact I would rather go without altogether if the right thing to fill a purpose doesn’t come along.

  5. (Excellent idea reposting older articles)
    I’m less vocal about my decluttering nowadays. I’m happy to say the items coming into my home are less than the ones leaving (finally) and my criteria for accepting items is much more strict than ever.
    I am struggling with the ULTIMATE obligation clutter these days… my SON. He is a young adult, working full time and barely ever home between working and visiting his girlfriend. When he is home, he eats the food, uses lots of hot water and leaves a mess where ever he goes. I want him to move OUT and take his stuff with him before he becomes used to this cushy arrangement of access to all our grown up life supplies and no chores. My stepdad has a spectacular suite that he has offered him for a great rate, and the boy is still dragging his heels because he knows he’s got it good here (he is a smart lad). Obligation clutter with many emotional strings attached.

    • Make him pay the water bill and half the grocery bill 🙂 Our daughter is in school (and has 2 kids) so they live with us. She pays $200 for school loans, $300 rent, and $150 car insurance to us every month (total $650). If she is low on funds, she makes it up to us at tax return time (I track everything).

    • This will work: turn off the wi-fi whenever he is home. Friends of mine had a delay hooking up their wi-fi when they moved house. One son was gone within two days. The other in a week.

      • LOL! Fantastic idea! A lot of people feel lost when they can’t readily connect to the internet.

    • Hi creative me, I sympathise with you on this issue. Unfortunately the only way to handle it is to put your foot down. It isn’t easy because you don’t want to alienate your son but at the same time he probably knows he is taking advantage. Time he stepped up to the plate.

  6. Colleen, I heaved a few more things to the yard sale site today! 2 antique sewing rockers, a footstool, a very large and heavy wall mirror, 1 large lamp and a small lamp, a bag of misc, and a baby gate used for dogs. Moving right along with this declutter thing!!!

    • Colleen Madsen

      Well done Brenda, you home must be looking quite different by now. I hope you took photos of all your rooms prior to your decluttering and then a series of them as you went along. I would love to see them if you did. And I am sure the other readers would too.

      • Colleen, I’m sorry to say there are no pictures. I Still have an old flip phone that doesn’t take decent pics, and I don’t even know how to use the camera that was a gift years ago. 🙁

  7. Colleen,
    Your posts are timeless and classic.
    Even your re-visited posts initiate comments and conversation.
    Well done 🙂

  8. Creativeme, I’m late with this reply and probably should not be voicing my opinion since I don’t have kids. But, I wanted to say I agree with the other gals. Adult children should definitely be helping with expenses, ESPECIALLY if they are taking advantage of the parent(s). Here is a funny article from Clark Howard today about a Moms letter to her 13 yr old. Enjoy!