“Regrets, I’ve have a few…

but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.” ~ Frank Sinatra*

People often ask me if I have any regrets about things I have decluttered. The answer is a few, but none that I would lose any sleep over.

There has been the odd thing that later I realised I could have saved for one of my children. But one can never predict at what point ones children will leave home and I was not about to hoard those things for ever. So I am glad I got rid of them. Besides, I have managed to acquire the things they need, either bought secondhand or acquired secondhand for free via Freecycle.

I also decluttered all the cheap reading glasses I had prior to my beginning to wear prescription glasses. I should have saved one pair for long haul flights, as the in-flight entertainment screens are hard to look at through progressive lenses. But since my eyesight gets poorer over time, the ones I owned would probably not be suitable anymore anyway.

So, as you can see from those two examples, my regrets are easily brushed aside. Right now I can’t think of anything else I have regretted decluttering, although I am sure there are a few I have long ago overcome and forgotten about.

However, what I do have more regrets over, and larger regret at that, is having acquired certain items in the first place. Sometimes this can’t be helped because the decision and choice seemed right at the time but in hindsight were not so good. Circumstances and options change and with that needs change and an item can become unsuitable.  At other times the decision was just wrong from go to woe. I have plenty of these regrets that I could rattle off here but I won’t for my own sanity.

When I decided to write this post I was trying to come up with a title when the song lyrics of “I did it my way” came to mind. “Regrets, I’ve have a few, but then again, too few to mention…” matched very nicely with what I had on my mind. But then I realised how appropriate the line “…I did it my way” also was to my decluttering journey. I did do it my way, I kept what was useful, beautiful and important to me. Often going against convention, but in my opinion convention can be quite flawed so I had few qualms about that. Anyhow, I like to be different. 😉

So just remember, declutter fearlessly and individually.

  • Don’t be overly concerned about the possibility of future regret.
  • Forgive yourself those unwise purchases of the past and just promise yourself to be more discerning in the future.
  • And declutter to suit yourself, not what other people think is the done thing.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter excess cushions and throw rugs. The ones you sit or drape on furniture as a decor item. They are a pain when you want to sit down and are just in your way. Perhaps a few of those six cushions/pillows on your bed that you pull off and put back on every night and morning.

Eco Tip for the Day

Rather than opting for the easy choice of wrapping cling film over food, utilise that overabundance of empty plastic containers in your kitchen cupboard.

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


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Transient Stuff Much of what comes into my home these days is transient. Aside from groceries much of what does come in is free, secondhand, or both. And I have to say it makes it a whole lot easier to […]
  • Freeing up space I talk a lot about freeing up space in cupboards, closets, shelves and floors. No one ever seems to have questioned me as to what all this space is being freed up for. What is the point in […]
  • Freeing up space I talk a lot about freeing up space in cupboards, closets, shelves and floors. No one ever seems to have questioned me as to what all this space is being freed up for. What is the point in […]
About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Becoming part of the “decluttering clan” has been an interesting experience. Before finding your blog, I got rid of some items without giving the process proper thinking first. After finding your blog and reading what others have to say has made the task more streamlined in thought and in execution of the process. I’m sure some of do it differently or have our own tricks to get it done and I like hearing how others are decluttering. Love before and after pictures! But I have to say that no, I haven’t had any regrets about things that I’ve decluttered. Yes, I have regrets about some things I’ve accumulated (FAMILY AFGHANS!!!!!!!) and, you are so gonna kick my backside. At work, we are doing a remodel of some of the offices. It’s a converted Victorian house with some vintage light fixtures. The owner wants them gone. I told the designer that those are coming to me and the owner is fine with that. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but I absolutely do not want them to end up in the garbage. I want to think on them for a little while and then I’ll either rewire and use them or donate them to a charity.

    By the way, last night my mom said that she is keeping the “one in, one out” as part of her decluttering journey. 🙂

    • Hi Michelle, I agree, listening to other peoples experience and ideas really does help with the process. And you aren’t in trouble about those lights, I would rescue them too. Know you, you will probably incorporate them into a DIY project in your home that you have so lovingly worked on for so long now.

      I am so glad to hear that your mother is really warming to the idea of decluttering. She will be like Deb J’s mom before you know it. Decluttering like a demon. 😉

      • Hi –
        Your blog got recommended to me, and I’m just so glad. I’m now in my sixties (OMG!!!) and both my husband and I are disabled. I have Parkinson’s Disease and my husband has cancer and is now on chemo. Our daughter is grown and married with 2 children of her own. The Parkinson’s has caused me much physical disability that I have been unable to care for our home like I used to. I am lucky enough to have been able to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. I loved making a home and being a mother. Guess I’m old-fashioned. My husband’s family would visit us, and would say that they could perform brain surgery on the toilets in our home, it was that clean. But, with the onslaught of age and physical disability, I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping up with everything. However, I’ve began getting your emails about decluttering and started there. Yesterday, for example, my husband and I spent about one hour working on the kitchen – we had to take a couple of breaks, but we were ruthless. We used a large garbage bag, and just swept through everything. I couldn’t believe how much pure junk I had bought! Decorative items that made no sense at all. Plus some kitchen appliances that I really had no need of. Some actually never even taken out of the box. I put them on the table in the foyer and will give them to our daughter on her next visit here. My husband hauled out the trash when we stopped. But, we aren’t done yet. There is more to declutter in the kitchen. Under the sink, Over the wall oven. I have put plastic containers in one cabinet, and they always fall out when I open the cabinet door. So, some of them are going bye-bye. We didn’t work today. Too tired. But we WILL work tomorrow. And having now seen at least one counterspace so nice and cleaned off, we are both ready to get back to it, and clean more off. We are using the rule of getting rid of anything that is a duplicate, or unused. The only things we keep must be useful, or beautiful or just too sentimental. And we are wavering on the “beautiful and sentimental” aspects. We have a small library and have stacks of magazines. Why? I’ve NEVER gone back to any of them. Never. Why do I keep them? So, after the kitchen, we are going to tackle the library. I read your email about books. But, we do like books. We will not ever purchase a kindle or whatever they are called. We prefer to read real books – we enjoy the feel of paper, the smell of a book, and the way it handles. That’ s just us. Both of us worked at our high school and college libraries. In fact, that is where we met. But, I really wanted to write you and just let you know how much I appreciate your helpful and encouraging emails. Decluttering helps me keep my home clean. I can dust better because I don’t have silly “knick-knacks” to work around. I have gotten rid of all the stupid silk flowers. Just live green plants are here now. Thank you.

        • Oh Annie, it sounds like you are making true progress! Good for you. I think you’ll find lots of us also love real books, but some love their eReaders too. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

          • Thank you Michelle! I am VERY excited to just keep on going. Both of us have seen a problem we have – which is this problem with horizontal surfaces. It seems like when we find one, we tend to put something on it.And once we do that, we will continue to pile on more things. The pile will get so high that at some point, it will all fall over. So, now we are trying to catch ourselves. We are working on keeping our flat surfaces cleaned off. Sometimes our grandchildren come over, and we must move everything off to be safe. Our grandson is 4 years old and our granddaughter is 18 months old. They get into EVERYTHING!! We are chasing our grandson all over the place. So, we definitely need to declutter a lot.
            Also, we have 7 dogs. Four of them are special needs dogs. So there are a lot of challenges. It is good to know that there are others who love real books. I’ve lived through this whole burst of technology. And when personal computers first came out, I really didn’t ever think I would have one. But, our town was the FIRST one in the country to be “wired”. And I was the FIRST one to get hooked up to the internet. In fact, I was interviewed by Internet magazine about it. Our town is home to a large university and the town and the university combined to wire the whole town for access to the Internet. We bought a computer, and someone came by and got me hooked me. I took a couple of lessons down at our public library, and got home, and was able to log onto the Internet. I found a quilt group to join. And was able to speak to a woman in Israel, who was also a member of the quilt group. That was just amazing to me. And that’s what I spoke about to this reporter from Internet magazine. I was also interviewed live on a local radio program. But, now I think much less of it all. When I see young people nowadays, they aren’t looking at anything. Their heads are bowed over their smartphones or iphones or whatever. Texting instead of speaking. They wear things in their ears, connected to a wire that runs down to a pocket and from I have been told, it is connected to something called an MP3. It is music. All the time. Whatever happened to just silence? Apparently kids nowadays cannot deal with silence. All this technology to connect us, but now nobody talks. I just don’t understand any more.

          • Hi Annie. I’m 45 years old and yep, I remember when the internet was becoming the big thing. I thought that it was crazy and why would anyone want to do that? Oh wow, did I have another thing coming on that! I understand what you are saying about all the electronics nowadays. I tried to teach my 74-year old mother (who lives in another state) how to respond to my texts. She’ll call and ask me to look up something for her. I CANNOT get her to reply to my texts even though I have explained the process to her. LOL It isn’t always convenient to take the time to call her so I’d just like a simply way to convey the information, but oh well.

            Horizontal space: I know exactly what you mean. I used to think that I should have decorative thingies all over the place and then I became aware of how I hate to dust! 😉

        • Hi Annie!

          For real-book-lovers as well there is the option of libraries, as you seem to know very well, so no real need to store books. I have an e-book-reader mainly for the purpose of reading books in foreign (and rather exotic) languages which are extremely difficult and expensive to come by in paper version, as I live on the other side of the globe from this country. I also find it useful for other purposes like travelling as well – it is by far lighter than five paper books! However, I still use the local library very much or buy used books and pass them on again as well. There is no need to give up paper books in order to declutter. 😉

        • Hi Annie, I wish life was easier on you and your family and I sincerely hope the chemo works for your husband.

          I have also been privileged to be a stay home mum and wife. So we have that in common.

          It sounds like you have started your decluttering mission with the right attitude. You are ready for it. Your kitchen sounds lighter and easier to manage already. Good for you. I found the same thing when it came to magazines. I eventually decluttered all of the scrapbook magazines I used to buy and hoard. I also understand you love of books. You certainly aren’t Robinson Crusoe when it comes to the preference of real books v digital.

          I am so happy that your decluttering efforts are making your home easier to take care of. Household chores don’t get any easier as we age and a disability only makes it even harder. So the easier we can make it on ourselves the better. I wish you better health and a simple, tidy, easy to care for home. And thank you for sharing your story with us.

  2. Great post. I have a friend whose house is in shambles because she cannot let go of anything – her main excuse is “but what if I need it one day”….she just can’t get over that. I finally got over that excuse myself not too long ago – I would rather have a more beautiful and uncluttered home than worry about that. Cute note on today’s daily challenge – I have two throw rugs that have pissed me off for months – the dogs constantly pee on them and the backing is completely falling apart because they have been washed so many times. Why in the world was I still hanging on to these two rugs!! So Saturday I picked them up off the floor and took them right out to the trash bin – YEAH!!!! And they will NOT be replaced!

    • Hi Raesha, my advice for your friend is to point out to her that most of what we have in our lives isn’t even needed in the first place. What we need more than anything is peace and tranquility in our homes. What could be more important than that. One of the first things I began to reassess when I started decluttering was the “need” for things. It turns out that lots of things I once thought I needed haven’t been missed and I am still functioning as a very capable and resourceful human being.

      I am glad you ditched those throw rugs. Isn’t it funny how sometime we just have an epiphany like that and then wonder “What the hell was I thinking to keep these things.”

  3. Colleen, this is really a fitting song! 😉

    For me, too, there have been a couple of things that I could have kept in hindsight, for example a couple of skirts which were too tight at the moment they were decluttered but would probably fit again now (my weight dropped by about 3kg since then and most of it at the waist apparently). However, I still own enough clothes to wear despite having decluttered these, so it’s not as if I really urgently needed them. There have been similar things in different areas – decluttered unused hand creams only to suffer from dry hands a few weeks after etc. But: I couldn’t have known in advance that I would come into position to use those items again, they were either easy to replace or I manage living without them. So I don’t regret decluttering them.
    Life is constantly changing and I’m actually happy I didn’t have ill-fitting skirts cluttering up my wardrobe for months.

    • Good for you Sanna. If we regretted these things we would end up back at square one. Since I buy many of my clothes etc secondhand at the thrift store for a pittance it is no big deal if I then find a need to replace something. It is a rare occasion that that happens anyway.

  4. The only thing I regret when I declutter is when I get home from donating items and see something else that I wish I had included in the donation bag! It feels really good to get rid of things, I must say. Correction: I did regret donating one thing in my life: A painting of a guardian angel watching over a child in a forest that I had when I was little. It was in our basement, and I wanted somebody to enjoy it in their home every day, not just stash it in their own basement. But now I do wish I had kept it for my own children (whom I didn’t have at the time I donated it) because it did give me some comfort and peace to study the painting as a child. But you know what? I took photographs of the painting (thankfully) before I donated it, and I’m going to make an enlarged print for my kids. So, I guess I’m not sorry I donated it after all! (Come to think of it, this post just inspired me to write a post about that painting–so thank you, Colleen!)

  5. I have reignited my decluttering activities. Late into the sunset, I become the declutter vampire, secretly selecting my victims and packing them up for their future homes. I eye my prey for several days first, watching their lack of usefulness in my home, staring at how they’re not doing any particular job anymore, they’ve become dead wood. They are downsizing candidates, with their offered severance package to be collected up with old friends, gently donated to a new space, then unpacked to be proudly displayed for another’s pleasure, no longer victims, but items for a new life.

    Who is on my list for tonight? The declutter vampire strikes again!

    • Well that was a comment in a league of its own. Thank you for the entertainment Robin. I really enjoyed your take on the decluttering process. Well written.

    • Here is where my stuff went afterward. I may have posted this already – my eyes are going a bit crazy with everything, haha.

      I am doing a little decluttering before I leave for cat care today. One item dredged up some sadness; I found a birthday card my mom gave to my oldest cat a month before he died in 2004. Randolph lived to be 18 years and one month. Randolph was ill the last few months of his life and I remember struggling so hard to get him to this particular birthdate so he would make it to 18.

      Randolph has been gone nearly 10 years now and my mom has been gone for 6 1/2.

      I put the card back in the drawer, I am not sure what I’m going to do with it just yet. I couldn’t look at it for very long; all I saw my mom’s pretty script inside. But I know it is there for when I am ready to figure out its place in my life now, whenever that actual ‘now’ comes to the surface.

      I was able to shift my mood a little bit when I took a look at how many reusable shopping tote bags I have acquired over the last year or so.

      I have one from Dominick’s; it is a weird one for me, the vegetarian, it is from a milk company and there are cows outlined in black, grazing in a soft emerald pasture, aqua blue sky, white puffy clouds all over this very large insulated bag.

      Last night I rinsed out a very heavy duty bright green bag from Walgreens. It is a nice bag and I think someone else will get good use out of it.

      I’ve packed up some kitchen items, some sturdy cat bowls that are in great shape, but I don’t need them, I am not using them, so off to the thrift store everything goes.

      Thrifty business.

      I just realized that I am doing all of this in time for Hanukkah and Christmas! Hopefully someone will find my things to be nice small gifts for somebody else.

      Every day is an adventure when it comes to decluttering. I’ve been through a lot of sadness with this process for the last two years with my dad dying 4 years after my mom, cleaning out their place, separating my self from stuff, reliving the times when certain items were a part of my everyday life growing up.

      I must get working and get out of here, I can tell the sun is already starting to set.

      • Robin, I’m sorry. It sounds like you have a lot of emotional things you are dealing with and it is painful, I know. My cat died in 2007, she was 18 and I got her when I moved into my first place. She really came to love my husband after we married and they were good pals. My husband wanted to keep every single bed she laid in and every toy she played with, her dishes, etc. I managed to get it to just one bed, most of the toys and the sympathy cards we received. Just one fairly small bin. He has never looked at the bin, but I am never to get rid of it. It’s okay.

        Colleen recently had a very difficult declutter decision. We all help each other here with the tough decisions. Some of the readers would think it is not good to keep my cat’s stuff, but when it comes down to it, we each make our own decisions based on our own life experiences and what we feel is right for us. I think it is lovely that you have kept a card that your mom wrote for Randolph. I’d keep it. But that’s just me. 🙂

  6. Oh Robin!! I loved reading your post!! Very enchanting .

  7. thank you for the nice post.
    unwise purchases do happen, and it is too easy to beat myself up about them.
    regrets are toxic.
    thanks

  8. One thing I regretted briefly: in the 1980’s I did a lot of knitting and crocheting but gave it up and went onto other hobbies. I decluttered all my knitting needles and crochet hooks after hanging onto them for 20 odd years! A few years ago I gradually took it up again and regretted giving them away. But then I had the fun of gradually buying what I needed, so no: “Je ne regrette rien” as Edith Piaf’s song goes!

    We have an old electric kettle which works fine but replaced with a newer model. I want to pass it on but my husband says hang onto it in case the new one breaks…..! Also I have a couple of expensive kitchen appliances that I never use now… but same story…. we might need them one day.

    However, apart from that I am very much happier with my mostly tidy clean home, life is SO MUCH EASIER without all the stuff and I can and do appreciate what I have so much more.

    Thank you Colleen for your inspiration – and Cindy and Deb J – you might be interested to know I am up to 879 items (or bags of items) decluttered for ever.

    • Hi Janetta, on the strength of your regret, here is my confession. I haven’t done any knitting or crochet for about 8 years. I did sort through my needles and hooks and got rid of some but I kept the rest. I took them out of the case they were in and put them in my, already decluttered sewing box. So technically they aren’t taking up any more space than my sewing supplies already were. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. 😉

      If you replaced the kettle already then you don’t really want it. I would declutter it with the other unused kitchen gadgets and in future only replace things when it’s necessary. I work on the idea that I don’t need an extra kettle on stand-by because should the other break down you can always use a saucepan until you can pick up a replacement. You could be holding on to that extra kettle for years. Perhaps your husband thinks this way because he thinks it is wasteful to have bought a new kettle when the other one worked perfectly fine. What loved ones say and what they mean can be two very different things. 😉

  9. My SIL faithfully kept scrapbooks of her children growing up, all the vacations, reunions, play-offs. Now that the oldest is married with children she wants to pass them on. But when she asked her daughter about taking them she got “Oh, Mom, those are your memories, I’m making new ones with my family.”

    Years and years of memories. Duplicate work so each kid would have vacation photos. Neither one of them want them.

    On the flip side, my Mom went on a “toss it quick” binge before surgery and asked me if I wanted my adoption papers! They bought me on an installment plan and I have the receipts to prove it.

    • That had got to be the best installment plan anyone could embark upon. I would definitely be inclined to keep the adoption papers. Too bad about your SILs scrapbooks. She must have been very disappointed.

  10. Aargh, I must be the wrong age… I now can’t get Sid vicious singing that song out of my head, lol! Had the album on vinyl – decluttered all my vinyl many years ago – absolutely no regrets 🙂 I had over played them all.

  11. Colleen what you say is so true and hopefully will help those who are struggling with the “what ifs” in their possessions. Once they have experienced the letting go of items that are not missed it will become easier to deal with future objects.
    Like you, any regrets I’ve had were more in the “Why did I acquire it?” category but I then think either “I once loved/enjoyed using that and now it’s someone else’s turn” or “I won’t make that mistake again but someone else may love it” 🙂

    • You and I are on the same page here Megan S. I even get the joy of seeing my once loved stuff go out the thrift shop door with the new owners. I drop it in when I go there to volunteer, price it and put it out and quite often I then ring up the sale and watch it go. An extra little joy of decluttering.

  12. I have one regret that happened long before I was into decluttering, back in high school. I wish I still had my mid-1960’s (vintage now) twist and turn Barbie! My mom had a friend of hers sew many of the doll’s clothes for me. My parent’s divorced when I was 14 and I think we needed the money so my Barbie and her handmade clothes went to my grandmother to sell at a flea market. Years ago I was at a doll show and I found my doll with only the orange bathing suit and white net cover up on. I had to have her, so this replacement has been with me many years now. She lives in my studio where I see her everyday. I still wish I had those handmade clothes, but I love having my favorite toy back.

    • Your story is similar to my MILs. She sold her dolls when moving house some years after she was married and had a few children. She is now in the doll club and has a vast collection of other vintage dolls. Bit of an overcompensation but she loves them so good for her.

  13. I regret all of the wasted time: The wasted time in collecting all of the stuff, the wasted time in cleaning, moving and organising all of the stuff, and the time getting rid of all the stuff.

    By simply buying less these days I have so much more time to do what I want.

    Thanks for your thoughts and insights Colleen 🙂

  14. Colleen, I’m glad you have no big regrets. I don’t either and I’m so glad.

    Tto update everyone on my Mom. She had the 2nd angiogram today including an internal stress test. Her heart is pumping full blood flow and she did not need the 2nd stent. Plus the doc told me that there is a new procedure that will be available in April that will help lower her blood pressure. We are praising God for all this good news. She is already home.

    • Deb J – so happy to hear the positive news for your mother! Keeping you both in my thoughts. 🙂

    • Yay Deb J, I hope she is back to better than her old self real soon.

      My dad is in hospital today having part of his bowl removed. So say a few prayers for him for me.

      I have decided to go interstate on Tuesday to be with my mum while he is recovering in hospital. I had better get a few blog posts set in place before I leave as I don’t know if I will have any internet connection for the first week or so.

      • I am definitely praying for him. For you and your Mom too. Have a good trip and don’t worry about the blog. If you want to use my posts I sent do so and I can always send some more.

        • Colleen – I’m sorry to hear this. The prayer- good wishes-chain is expanding. I’m hoping for a healthy, speedy recover for your dad.

      • Thanks Deb and Michelle.

        Deb I might just use those posts you sent if that is OK. It will take some pressure off me this week. I very much appreciate you offering.

  15. This is something I really struggle with…..regrets.
    It happens a lot with sentimental items, or those that cost a lot, or took a lot of decision-making time.
    Since reading your very helpful blog, with your very compassionate approach, and very supportive followers, I have been making some inroads to letting go.
    But sometimes I don’t always feel relief….I obsess if I made the right decision….have what my mother would have called a “post mortem.”
    If anyone has any comments or experience with this, I’d be very open to hearing your comments.
    PS: I do realize all the pluses of letting go….much easier if I can see the “home” the item goes to…although I have given a lot to Charity.

    • Hi Bea, the sentimental items are the hardest. My advice is to declutter the less sentimental things first. As you begin to enjoy the wonders of an uncluttered home it usually becomes easier to let go. That being said, some people get more sentimentally attached to stuff than others and there is usually a reason behind that. I have never been much of a sentimental acquirer. That is mainly because I am for the most part a practical and frugal person. I have found that decluttering the sentimental stuff hasn’t made me forget those that gave it to me, happy times spent or places I have been. The memories of people, places and joys is what matters. Not the stuff that was acquire through them. I hope that helps.

      • Hi Colleen,
        Thank you for your thoughtful response. Sorry for the delay in answering (I went to bed!) I am here in the U.S., living north of a city called Newcastle (!!) You are so correct about decluttering less sentimental first. The easiest for me to ever get rid of was stuff I purchased at garage sales. Perhaps, sometimes, I might have pushed myself to get rid of something before I was “ready.” Hence, the regrets.
        Thanks for maintaining this so-helpful blog!

        • Hi Bea, I never expect and instant response. Funny thing is that when I lived in the US I also lived near a place called Newcastle. I lived in Bellevue Washington. I always say Seattle because people can relate to that better but it actually was Bellevue (Greater Seattle Area).

          The order in which to declutter is very important. It always amazes me at how unimportant certain stuff becomes as time goes by. Glad to be of help.

    • Hi Bea,

      I wonder, whether you ever decluttered for a specific reason – for example in order to make room for hosting a guest, to welcome a new baby, to travel or to move to a location you always wanted to go?

      For me, it’s always been easier to let go when I knew specifically for what reason I let go. We just had a guest stay with us for 6 weeks and some shuffling and decluttering was necessary in order to free up a room for her. However, knowing that a fun time with a friend was ahead, I didn’t even blink an eye when doing so. Funnily, now that she’s left, I am looking at what I “saved” and packed away with a critical eye as well as I obviously didn’t need it in these 6 weeks and in some cases don’t even remember it although it hasn’t been such a long time…

      However, Colleen’s point is the most important. We often tend to focus on the hardest decisions. I was really having problems with my difficulties of letting go some of my pottery and vase collection. I KNEW I had too much, but it was all there because I couldn’t bear parting with it and I let that drive me mad. However one day I finally realized, I needn’t worry about them, if I didn’t feel ready to part with them. After all, if I had no other clutter at all, that collection could easily fit in my home. So I went about other things I didn’t feel as attached to and – believe it or not – in letting go of that thought that I “must” declutter some of the pottery, I also let go of my inner child’s reaction to stubbornly cling onto it and I realized that I wasn’t actually that attached to ALL of the collection. It’s always best to just go with what you really feel good about.

      • Hi Sanna,
        I appreciate your detailed and helpful response, and you have definitely triggered some ideas in my mind (such as the fact that I did declutter for specific reasons….such as a move, a child, etc.) You are right…I boxed things up, and it is much easier to let go that way. Perhaps I need to find such a “reason” or goal right now. I do think I probably “forced” myself sometimes…thereby not feeling good about something, or going with someone else’s opinion. It is really helpful to know others like yourself who struggle with similar issues, and how you dealt with them. Decisions are difficult for me, so thank you for sharing the “reason” and goal approach.

  16. After a hiatus of sorts, I’m hoping to be back in touch and back in declutter mode (having been in maintain mode). When I was reading what you wrote, I thought of ONE item I wish I hadn’t decluttered: a book which I would like to be using now but a replacement would cost more than $50! It was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police exercise regimen book (believe it or not!) I know, weird, huh?

  17. Great post Colleen! Deb J, glad your mother is doing so well, Colleen, hope all goes smoothly for your dad.

    I have no regrets about things I’ve decluttered, my only regret is that I haven’t been able to get back to decluttering lately. I took on a huge project making donation quilts and it seems to be consuming all my time. I keep looking at things I want to get rid of, the list keep getting longer.

    Robin, thanks for the post about the decluttering vampire, I love that and will begin looking at unwanted items as my victims!

    • Hi Barbara, I am glad you have no decluttering regrets. Doing something creative for charity sound like a pretty good use of your time. Well done you!

    • Thanks Barb. IT’s great you are making donation quilts. Just make a list of those things you see you want to declutter and when you have the time again you will be able to just go around and collect them. Quick and easy.

  18. I am doing a little decluttering before I leave for cat care today. One item dredged up some sadness; I found a birthday card my mom gave to my oldest cat a month before he died in 2004. Randolph lived to be 18 years and one month. Randolph was ill the last few months of his life and I remember struggling so hard to get him to this particular birthdate so he would make it to 18.

    Randolph has been gone nearly 10 years now and my mom has been gone for 6 1/2.

    I put the card back in the drawer, I am not sure what I’m going to do with it just yet. I couldn’t look at it for very long; all I saw my mom’s pretty script inside. But I know it is there for when I am ready to figure out its place in my life now, whenever that actual ‘now’ comes to the surface.

    I was able to shift my mood a little bit when I took a look at how many reusable shopping tote bags I have acquired over the last year or so.

    I have one from Dominick’s; it is a weird one for me, the vegetarian, it is from a milk company and there are black outline cows, grazing in a soft, green pasture, aqua blue sky, white puffy clouds all over this very large insulated bag.

    Last night I rinsed out a very heavy duty bright green bag from Walgreens. It is a nice bag and I think someone else will get good use out of it.

    I’ve packed up some kitchen items, some sturdy cat bowls that are in great shape, but I don’t need them, I am not using them, so off to the thrift store everything goes.

    I just realized that I am doing all of this in time for Hanukkah and Christmas! Hopefully someone will find my things to be nice small gifts for somebody else.

    Every day is an adventure when it comes to decluttering. I’ve been through a lot of sadness with this process for the last two years with my dad dying 4 years after my mom, cleaning out their place, separating my self from stuff, reliving the times when certain items were a part of my everyday life growing up.

    I must get working and get out of here, I can tell the sun is already starting to set!

    • Hi Robin, I am very sorry for your series of sad losses in your life. I have myself convinced, as my parents age, that life can’t last forever and when they go I just want to celebrate the wonderful lives they had and people they were. Easy for me to say that now. I am sure I don’t want any of their stuff though except maybe one of mums rings. Something small.

      The difficult decision are best left till last. Concentrate on easier stuff for now.

      You would be amazed at how many of those reusable bags come into the thrift shop where I work. It defeats the purpose of selling them if people are going to keep buying or accepting them for free. They are reusable but, to my knowledge not recyclable. I believe it takes avoiding about 100 throw away bags to make up for the manufacture of one of those reusable bags. So it best to manage with the least you can.

  19. Thank you, Colleen.

    I am glad I have 2 outlets, now maybe more, to talk about my losses, going through my parents’ home, not being able to ‘rid’ myself of their things, etc.

    Your site and Miss Minimalist have helped me realize I was keeping things just to keep them. I am slowly getting rid of this need and rid of their things, either via donation, or trash. I had to trash some things – those are whole stories too. The donations created stories of how I carefully chose where to donate what or who to give what to…

    But, the tote bags! Sheesh, I did not know I had so many, so now I just use the store’s paper or plastic, re-use or recycle.

    I was helping a friend declutter last month and she had bags of bags of bags!

    So, back to stories – I may post another one here or there – but less is more – MORE SPACE!

    The other day, I took a drawer of an old dresser and literally dumped the contents and took everything to the trash, including the drawer! It felt great. I hate to add to landfill – but some days I just have to do that – the trash dumpster. Guilt of adding to landfill is a whole other issue and story!

    Thanks again.

    R.

    • Hi Robin, sometimes landfill is the best way to get rid of things quickly and less painfully. You should certainly forgive yourself the odd transgression in that area.