Simple Saturday ~ Another funny declutter story

A selection of Stephan brushes none of which are the same as my husband's. When his wears out he may have to try something different.

My husband had a hair brush when we were first married, he used no other. Around about the 12th year of our marriage the brush started to fall apart with age. I was searching for a brush to replace it that had the same characteristics without success. Somehow a friend and I got talking about hair and the story of this brush came up in the conversation. I described the brush to her and she said she thought she might have the exact same brush at her home that wasn’t being used. She checked and amazingly she was correct it was the exact same brush in almost new condition and she generously gave it to me for my husband. He is still using it to this day.

She was pleased to declutter the brush from her home because it wasn’t and had hardly ever been used and my husband was more than pleased to receive it.

It proves the old saying ~ One man’s trash is another mans treasure. So never underestimate how much something you don’t use could be useful and appreciated by someone else.

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit

    So true! My hubby and I have learned over the years that if we need something, ask around first. Over the past year alone we have been gifted an antique drop leaf table that fits our small cabin perfectly, a deep freezer for our garden’s abundant crops, and recently – a CAR that had been sitting on a friends property unused for five years; I have been using it as my daily driver for the past five weeks without an issue!
    Put out a plee to the universe and it will be answered in time 🙂

  2. So funny about the hairbrush!

    One man’s trash … another man’s treasure – very true. I love all the unique things I have found that have been sent to thrift stores by other people. I hope someone loves equally the things that I have let go.

    • Jo, I was going to take a photo of the brush but changed my mind because it was starting to look a little worse for wear. It won’t be that much longer before he will have to settle for something different.

  3. So true Sarah -Mae! We have mastered the various ways to de-clutter, giving away, eBay etc. We have yet to harness the “non consumer” or alternative methods of getting what we need. We have curb side collection every six months here. I am so glad that when I start putting my stuff out on Friday that by Monday when the garbage truck appears only the real rubbish is left. The “tin men” take the metals for recycling, and so many people just spend their time looking for treasures that they can use or sell at the markets.
    ” Put your plee to the universe and it will be answered in time ” is SO true, you just have to be open to what comes back to you.
    I love this blog and all who sail on her. Thank you Captain Colleen 🙂

    • Hi Wendy,
      firstly we have so many Wendy’s now I am having trouble keeping up. There’s Wendy B, Wendy W and just Wendy perhaps we can call you Wendy F if that is OK with you. You sound familiar to my blog but you showed up as a new commenter. If that is right let me say welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to make yourself known. If not welcome back.
      I like the title of Captain Colleen, that puts me in a position to outrank my hubby. As it should be. 😆

      I love curb side collection for the same reason as you. It is so convenient for getting rid of large items and because often someone takes them away to repurpose them rather than have them end up in landfill. Win Win!

      • Can someone tell me? Curbside donating sounds wonderful, but what about when it rains: does the armchair/tv/bag of clothing get soaked and ruined, to wait for the dustbin men?

        • Hi Ann,
          the curb side waste pick up that Wendy and I were talking about it a local council initiative to pick up larger rubbish from homes that won’t fit in the bin. I saves people having to go to the landfill to drop it off. Many people put out items such as chairs, mattresses, sofas, televisions, old furniture and the like. Mostly it is junk but sometimes these items are in good enough condition to take and use. Unfortunately if it rains many people don’t care and it just gets ruined. People also put out old timber, garden pots, scrap metal and things that a little weather won’t do any harm to. Some people drive the streets scrounging off the piles and lots of it is gone before the council truck turns up to collect it which is great. Personally I usually only put junk out there anything else I find a way to donate or sell so it won’t get ruined but not all people care they just want it out of their way. Sometimes I do put things out on the footpath at other times to give away. I just put a sign on it saying FREE Take me (I am careful how I hold that sign as I walk out there 😆 ). One these occasions I am vigilant about the weather and bring the item in if it threatens to rain or it gets late (I won’t leave it out overnight). These items usually disappear so fast I never rarely have to bring them in.

          • Thanks Colleen, that’s sort of what I thought it must be. Don’t you what to shout at those who don’t care!!? 🙁

            • Oh yes! And I also want to shout at the ones who put absolute garbage out there that is small enough to fit in their bins that ends up scattered all over the street if the wind blows. I really don’t get that. Do they put so much trash in their bins each week that they can’t fit a couple of little thing in. Or worse is their bin full because the don’t separate all their recyclables. 🙁

              • Do you have a limit for weekly pickup? The town closest to us has a 4 bag per household limit and people they scream and curse that it isn’t fair! God forbid that they should have to take their recyclables to the large, clean, well-organized recycling centre!! In our village we have bi-weekly recycling pickup and weekly garbage pickup. We help with that sometimes (imagine two old fogeys riding on the running boards of an old garbage truck, hanging onto the mirrors and breaking every safety rule in the book!) Very few houses have more than two bags, most have one. We have large item pickup once a year and a few of us volunteers take care of it in a morning. We do NOT have to be buried under trash. (end of rant!)

                • Good rant Wendy. We have a large wheelie bin for recycling that is picked up fortnightly and a bin about half that size for rubbish. The rubbish bin used to be the same size a the recycling bin but they changed that recently and gave us a green waste bin as well. It is the same size as the recycling bin. My garbage bin usually on has two medium bags in it at the end of the week and the recycling bin is about half full. I would like to be able to cut down on the recycling as well but that is proving difficult. it is nice to have the green waste bin now because what goes in it will be mulched and made into compost. When our garbage bins were reduced in size there was a little complaining from some people but not much and they didn’t get much sympathy from me. Perhaps it would be harder for a family of six or so but that should only double what I throw away and that still would only half fill the bin. I think back to when I was a kid, we only had one galvanised steal bin for a family of seven and granted it was stuffed to the gunwales ever week but it probably didn’t have anything in it that wasn’t biodegradable. We sure have traded the environment for convenience and landfill over the last 30 years haven’t we.

              • I’m probably not the one to ask – for each of the last two months, my entire household garbage has fitted inside a supermarket plastic throwaway bag without quite filling it – this month I’m going to see if I can’t fit everything until Christmas into one small bag! I don’t know that I can, but I think I might be able to …
                And yes, I want to shout at “your” garbagers, too.

                • Hi Ann,
                  share with me your secret on how you keep your trash so minimal. I admit I don’t compost any of our vegetable peelings etc because I don’t have a compost bin and my yard space is so small it really isn’t called for. I might just start tossing them in the corner of the garden and just let nature do its work.

                  • Okay Colleen,
                    Here goes:- I have been following your blog and Mrs Green and Bea Johnson regularly and looking in on other sites. Between you all, I have confirmed that I’m not JUST a nutter for caring about our planet and what we are leaving for our kids! I am, in fact, a nutter in very good company, who is on the right track.
                    So …… forget about “reduce, reuse, recycle”; it’s a start, but it is not enough. For me, it should read: “refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot”.
                    First, I have taken a leaf out of Bea’s book (
                    and I take my own containers and bags to the supermarket and buy from the bulk bins as far as possible (into my netting bags), go to the fish department with my own containers, get them to tare weight them before filling them, ditto for cheese. Bread comes from the bakery department and sliced by machine directly into my netting bags. Specialty breads go whole into a netting (washing) bag. Vegetables go directly into my netting bags, and sweets (from bulk bins) likewise.
                    Like Mrs Green (, I take my bags and jars to the local healthfood shop and get them refilled: peanuts, raisins, flour, sugar, pasta, rice, dishwashing detergent, sunflower oil, olive oil,.
                    There is a new farmers’ market just started nearby, and I went last week: eggs and jam sorted (hand in old containers, bring home new filled ones for a reduced price).
                    So, that’s the buying in: just about the only plastic that comes in is the cellophane round the biscuits!
                    All cardboard and paper is recycled, all metals (steel cans, aluminium foil, aluminium cans, staples, lids), glass bottles, unwanted glass jars. These are now all recycled in the kerbside recycling bins. In commercial recycling I also take any polystyrene that comes our way. Newspapers, envelopes (minus any windows) and most other paper is also recycled.
                    Stamps are saved for a local charity which collects them.
                    Broken china goes to my neighbour who makes mosaic mirror surrounds from them.
                    Any glass jars are reused in various ways.
                    You have inspired me to keep on decluttering, or downsizing, and anything I no longer want either goes to daughter or friend who does, or goes to the local hospice shop. I’m not game to try freecycle again, and I haven’t tried trademe or ebay(?). Books go to my local church for the annual book sale I run.
                    Bits and pieces, like Christmas cards and birthday card pictures, plastic blister packs and shapes, wool and material scraps, empty cotton reels, pictures, damaged magazines, etc. go to the local kindergarten for their art work. so do unrecyclable plastics.
                    I compost all vegetable waste, any private paper I don’t want recycled, any greasy paper (unrecyclable), any worn out clothing (cotton or wool).
                    And that basically leaves cellophane windows from envelopes, the occasional sticking plaster, cellophane inners from cardboard packets, sellotape bits, blister packs from medications (I take the containers in with me for refills of most but some come in packets of blister packs), and cellophane from biscuit packets!
                    I’ve probably forgotten something, but I expect that was more than enough to be going on with?

                    • I’ve just reread this – Sorry if it was way too much.

                    • Hi Ann, You do an amazing job with your waste. I am in awe. I do have a question: Do you have compost pickup or do you have your own compost heap? (I am wondering how you compost worn out cotton or wool clothing if you have a backyard compost heap.) – Jo

                    • Hi Jo,
                      No need to be in awe – it becomes automatic after a while.
                      No, I had never heard of compost pickup till I read some of the blogs around. I have two compost bins, plus a worm farm. I lay cotton or woollen clothing on the bottom layer of the worm farm trays, or a single thickness over the compost heap. It (almost) all goes. I remove buttons or zips (go to hospice shop unless I need them). We emptied the bottom of the older of the two compost bins this weekend – glorious new soil, just a few bits of eggshell, three or four bits of sellotape, and a seam (yes, synthetic cotton seam) from a vanished garment. I also have a bokashi bucket, but hardly use it now, except for citrus fruit skins and fish offcuts.

                    • Sorry, I forgot to state the obvious: I remove all zips, velcro, and buttons etc. before I compost clothing. They are either reused by me, or bagged and passed on to the hospice shop.
                      We pulled several tubs of compost out of the bottom of the older compost bin and spread it into the raised garden (that I can still reach to plant) and I put i9n some new parsley plants. I couldn’t believe the quality of the stuff – not really compost, truly soil. I had to remove about four pieces of sellotape, a cellophane window (all that was left of an envelope), a pen top (don’t know how that got there) and a seam(!) – the synthetic stitching around some underwear – the underwear (cotton) had all rotted away.
                      To think that all that soil was “rubbish” was really hard to believe. It helps keep me at it, though.

                    • how cool are you?? I am really impressed. we have a compost at home and it always has produced our soil for the garden, but I never heard of a “worm-farm”, hihi…

                      I am living in germany, and though we do have still some issues, I clearly see by comparison that we are good in recycling. It is normal to bring shopping bags/baskets yourself and of course you separate paper, glass, plastik and metal and the “green waste”. that means that in every household there are at least 3 places to collect that. I have 4 different bins and although I dont have a lot of “normal” garbage (we call it rest garbage), I am filling a bag a week in plastik, metal, milkpacks, cups and so on… so I can clearly state that wrapping is the biggest part of my garbage. (In Denmark they put everything together, paper with metal, foodwaste with glass… I had almost physical pain when I first saw that)
                      in this place I read often about bulk sells, but I really dont know if this would be possible here… And to be honest, I try to buy local and ecological, if I have to consider the wrapping and amount of garbage, I will go mental. Although I do not buy sweets that are single wrapped, but that has a different reason I guess 😉

                    • Hi Lena I think the key to getting better and better at cutting down on packaging is to get to a level on consciousness and habit and then add one more little thing you can do to help and continue to repeat that cycle. Because every little think you do makes a difference. I don’t buy sweets that are individually wrapped either.

                    • I hear you. As I went shopping yesterday, I really stood in front of the veggies thinking: “ok, guys, I will find you: ecological, local, and not wrapped in plastic…”
                      its not possible. really. not possible. I decided I will order my little green box from the local markets and get my organic food delivered at my doorstep, in a huge box (that I paid deposit for), without wrapping whatsoever. every week something different, and every week something I would never buy myself. I think that might be the best deal I can make.

                    • Hi Lena,
                      I must say it really isn’t as simple as it sounds. I think I will give Beanstalk a go like Esther suggested. I have their website up on my computer now to check out the details. Their mixed box only costs $21 and is full of all the things we eat at our house on a regular basis. Getting over to collect it might just be my stumbling block though.
                      I find it easy enough to avoid plastic as I never buy bulk lots and I don’t bag what I buy. I must admit I have never concerned myself with eating organic either but my mind is certainly heading in that direction now. Going green is for me much like my decluttering process, the more experience I have of it the deeper I get into it. I have noticed lately that my husband is following suit and refusing bags when we do buy something.

                    • Colleen,
                      Beanstalk tries to have “nodes” to minimise transport. You might find there is another member in your suburb you can alternate box pick ups with.

                    • Thanks Esther, I will definitely be checking it out. I will have the car this Tuesday so it will be the perfect opportunity.

                    • I started to refuse bags lately as well. I never thought of how many bags you actually carry home without even paying for them. horrible thing. So I usually bring the rucksack if I go shopping for groceries, or I carry a big handbag with me.
                      avoiding plastics is not easy at all. I do buy eggs from the eco-supermarket, where I can bring my empty box and fill it myself. I am buying glassbottles again instead of plastikbottles or tetrapacks… I started doing so because I found out that around my corner is a “drink-market” (sorry for that translation), where I can buy all sorts of beers, wines, ciders, soft drinks, juices and so on. they come all in glass bottles, that might reduce my amount of plastic and I can bring back the deposit and those bottles are washed and used again…

                    • Lena when we visited Europe last time at least one country (not sure which one, I thought it was germany though) had vending machines at the supermarket where you could return your plastic drink bottles and it dispensed a coupon for cash off your purchase at the store. I thought it was a great idea. Here is a link to just such a machine.

                      Good for you for improving your use of your own bag rather than accepting plastic ones. Every little bit helps.

                    • yes colleen, every supermarket that has more than 200 m² has to take back the deposit. And they usually have those machines… I usually collect the bottles at home until the end of the month (if money is running short) and then buy the food from the deposit.

                      It also results in poor people running around in the streets and parks collecting the bottles to return them. a beer glas bottle has 8 cents, a normal plastic bottle has 15 cents, and cans give you 25 cents. that adds up to a lot of cash. (you can get the money in cash back if you want) so if I go out and I drink beer somewhere, I usually put the empty bottle next to a bin, or somewhere where I am sure it gets collected quickly. 😉

                      Dont you have that deposit system in Australia? Its quite common for european countries. At least I know for sure for Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland…

                    • Well, I go away for the weekend, and look at the conversation I miss!
                      Colleen, thanks for the “plug” on your Friday posting, I just got a real “kick” to see it there, and know that others think the same way. Most of those I know here just think I’m either making a fuss about nothing, or else “too good” – neither reaction is what I want!
                      And Lena: sadly, in New Zealand we have no deposit scheme for bottles, cans or anything else. If you could see our public rubbish bins, especially at the weekend, you would wish we did! Many years ago, we did, for glass bottles. As a child one summer, my sister and I paid for a one-hour tourist flight each over Lake Taupo just by collecting bottles left lying on the beach in front of our beach house.

                    • oh lord what a mess. how horrible that those bottles are left on the beach (I so want to have a beach house!!).
                      maybe you should get engaged into some sort of initiative to promote that again! It does really help the environment if you collect deposit. I mean I am not really sure what happens with the bottles after I return them, but I guess they are either washed and reused or recycled for new plastic bottles. All of that is better than lying around on beaches and parks…

                    • I suppose Ann the just goes to prove that even with a deposit scheme people are still too lazy to pick up there rubbish after themselves. Although it does give incentive to someone who would like the cash to follow behind these messy people and pick up after them.
                      I think as a race we have learned to panic about things when it is too late. We give up smoking only when cancer, emphysema or heart disease has set in, we adjust our diet only once we are 20kg unhealthily overweight or have diabetes we quit sunning ourselves once they start cutting melanomas off our skin. We just keep ignoring the situation in the hope that the inevitable wont happen. We even ignore those around us that the inevitable has already happened to and only focus on the ones that snuck under the radar. Now we are doing the same thing to our planet, keeping on polluting it while deluding ourselves that we aren’t going to destroy it. Ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

                      Well I for one don’t smoke, I watch what I eat, I use sunscreen and I refuse, reuse, recycle and reduce. I prefer not to throw caution to the wind. Better to be safe than sorry I say. I am slowly finding more and more ways to do the right thing by the environment. I know I am a long way from perfect with this but at lease I am trying and improving all the time. I hope all my readers are doing the same.

                      And may I say, good for you Ann you are doing a mighty fine job.

                    • thank you again Colleen. I struck a snag today though: I bought a cornish pasty from the supermarket – new woman on the counter: no, no, no, she couldn’t possibly put it into my freshly washed container: Health and Safety laws! It wasn’t allowed!! They have to watch for thieves (!!!) as well. I pointed out I was a little old to want to do a sprint from the shop, and my crutch might slow me up a little. I then asked why, at the next counter over, I could pick up for myself a couple of bread rolls and bag them for myself (my bag/their bag/whatever) without a problem, but SHE couldn’t pick up a pastry in her vinyl gloved hand and put it into my closed container because it was somehow unsafe? (Likewise, I can put my hand into a sweety bin and pull out jellybeans, apparently hygienically!) Someone else came over and I got away with my pasty in my own container. I think I am going to have to talk with the manager and get him to make a ruling. I get the same nonsense at their fish counter, even though I have no problem at two other (further distant from home) supermarkets.
                      and I haven’t smoked in 24 years, I watch for sunburn, but …. sadly weigh rather more than I would choose.

                    • Hi Ann, I am surprised that you haven’t struck that problem before. I would have thought it would be a big stumbling block with all the bogus overcautious health rules these days. I have spoken to one of the butchers up the road from my house and she said the would be happy to use their bare hands, weigh the meat on the bare scales and then put it in my container. They wash their hands and scales all the time so I am happy with that. Next stop the deli at Woolworths.

                    • Colleen,
                      I went back to the supermarket this afternoon, got the same woman, who went and got the supervisor. No problem at all!! Very pleasant person, happy for me to get my food in my own containers – no worries about “theft”, the only hygiene worry was that “in their own containers, they took responsibility for the condition of the food” and in mine, they couldn’t. I said that if that was the only problem, there was NO problem, because I would happily take responsibility for it. She agreed that my containers were alway spotlessly clean, so we both ended up happy. I told her about my fish department hassles as well, and she is in charge of that as well as the delicatessen, and will take her staff on a lesson for tare weighting and on “obliging customers”(!) (she also said a couple of them had been being lazy). So, problem solved, (I think). 🙂 🙂 (how do you do those smiles that move?)

                    • great. good for you and the supermarket. maybe the staff itself will think about it too and change some of their habits. I am impressed… I just figured, I dont buy thinks on a counter. I get a HUGE piece of cheese once every 4 weeks, that is wrapped in small plastic and I can cut down slices myself, I dont eat meat and I get the fish (IF I feel like it) on the market. thats the only place where I could bring a tupperbox. maybe I will do that next week, and get also a good amount of salmon and shrimps, to freeze that. its on my list, thanks for the idea, Ann.

                    • I love what you are doing. I find that where I live there is very little access to goods that don’t come packaged. Even the local butcher insisted on putting the meat on a plastic bag to weigh it when I took my own container. I really must talk to him about that. I tried our local Sunday markets to get locally grown fruit and veg and found that even they bag things up to sell in bulk. And I know of nowhere in town where you can buy flour, cereal, beans and pulses and the like from bulk containers so you can use your own containers to take it home. I used to love that about the US when I was there but sadly it seems like Australia is behind the eight ball on this, at least where I live. It is very disappointing. All I can do is refuse to bag my veggies at the supermarket and take my own reusable bags everywhere I go. I was not aware that polystyrene could be recycled. I use any that comes my way to package up ebay sales so at least it doesn’t go to waste at my end. I am certainly doing my best to reduce buying new stuff so I can pat myself on the back for that.

                      All that being said, you are doing a marvellous job of refusing, reusing, recycling, reducing and rotting. Well done.

                    • Thank you Colleen.

                    • No, thank you for making the effort to do the right thing for future generations.

      • Arrrr, Cap’n Colleen. Must have been a lot of parents reading Peter Pan a while back. You have a veritable plague of Wendys now. As much as I detest the name, at least it’s (marginally) better than Tinkerbell! However, if it would simplify things for you I could switch to my middle name. Don’t like it either, but you don’t have any other Daphnes on your blog (so far…perhaps that will change as your fame spreads.)

  4. Yesterday my Mum passed on some shoe laces she found somewhere ar her place. The laces are only described in inches, we have been metric in Australia for all of my 42 years! They also have the store sticker on them which has been gone for maybe 30 years! It was a trip down memory lane to get these laces and I may just take a photo of them as a reminder for myself. : ) I did give her about 4 items in return also, some quite large!
    So I am winning the clutter war one day at a time!

  5. I love your story! Just the other week, I decided I’d read a book, and would unlikely read it again, but that I’m sure I’d know someone who’d love it. I put it in the out pile for a while, til I worked out the PERFECT person (someone heading overseas soon, who loves Contiki tours, having gone on her first one this time last year – the book was about the founder). So I bugged her for her address, parcelled it up with an early christmas card. She was delighted, and I was so happy known it went to someone who’ll love it (hopefully), rather than an unknown someone who might get it at a book sale… Yay!

    Speaking of book sales – I mentioned there’s one coming up to mum, and she immediately said ‘we should get some books ready’ – so much better than her response when I say ‘you should get rid of some books’ – although the same sentiment is behind each!! Little does she know, I squirrel books away when I know she won’t miss them – you know, the trashy chiclit, that she’s likely to forget, and never recommend… I already have a small stash prepared to add to whatever she decides on – WIN!

    • Hi Snosie,
      I think the difference in the two situations is that in the first one there was no suggestion on how to get rid of them but in the second the avenue of disposal was clear and there was the possibility of a little cash reward as well. Therefore the first went in the too hard basket for her.

  6. Hi Colleen, amazing that your friend had the exact same hairbrush. Women are good aren’t they!
    Good at listening and deciphering things.

    OK…..garage sale today………we have packed up and our stats (estimates) are as follows:

    Supposed to start at 9am – first customer 7.30am!

    Not much haggling – 99% of people paid the price on the item.
    We had great prices in my opinion – they were happy to pay it.

    We reckon about 60% of stuff went – some is still behind – but most will go to the op-shop.

    Majority of the wooden picture frames went….they were popular………we started with 40 individual ones of various sizes.

    The last hour or so really slowed down, so we packed up shop.

    Profit made: over $400 – which is quite good l think.

    So yes a success and while we are tired – we are satisfied with a job well done!

    • Well done Felicity that was a real success I would say. And the question is, did you have fun or was it as boring as you thought it would be? I always find it exciting when the cash is flowing in even if it is in dribs and drabs at the end so I enjoy putting on a good old garage sale. You must feel great about how much less stuff there is in your home.

      • hahaha Colleen l wouldn’t say l had fun……but it wasn’t as bad as l thought. Was able to have a chat and it was nice to know that people really liked the items they bought.

        I am happy that there is less stuff. It also great to know people appreciate the items and they are going to a “good home”.
        Tomorrow we pack up the rest and get rid of boxes etc….leftovers will go to that old standby – the op shop.

        • So it was satisfying rather than fan, well I think that is a pretty good trade off. i am glad you appreciated it for what it was and didn’t just find it to be a pain. Congratulations again on a job well done. I hope your sitting back now having a cold one and enjoying the spoils of the day.

  7. Our bulky trash goes to the curb this weekend. We have two tires (one almost completely shredded during a memorable trip back from visiting the cousins) and a ladder that – are you ready? – has a broken leg and has been repaired with a stick and duct tape!!! This is an 8′ A frame ladder. We’ve used it like this for a couple of years, bit someone’s going to get hurt one of these days. I made an executive decision to move it O-U-T.

    If it rains, your bulky items do get wet and possibly ruined. Sadly, we have many more dry days then rainy.

    • Good executive decision on the ladder. A much better one than repairing it in the first place. A rusty ladder collapsed under my father once, he broke both is arms and crushed his heal bones. Mum wasn’t home at the time so he had to drag himself into the house and phone for help. Mum came home soon after and found him in shock on the floor of the living room. Needless to say he had to have several operations particularly on his heal and has never walked the same since.

  8. In 2004 I was with a friend in Ireland, shopping –she lives in Donegal, I was just visiting. I selected a hairbrush I felt was perfect for me, but at the checkout was dismayed to find it cost about 18 euro. (it was a very nice brush) I had forgotten to pack one so I just put back someof the crappy items I was going to buy (candy and such) & bought the brush. There was MUCH discussion afterwards among friends over the price of that brush! But years & years later, I can say the brush was worth it. I use it every day, I clean it every day, it is still in great shape! This is just one aspect of minimalism that I enjoy. Instead of owning (and tossing into landfills) a series of cheap brushes, I have one good one that suits me perfectly. Live and learn.

    • Hi Nora,
      firstly, I would love to go the Donegal, one branch of my ancestors come from there. We plan on going to Ireland sometime in the next few years and I can hardly wait.
      You are so right about buying quality. And sometimes the quality item isn’t the most expensive it can just be a case of being patient in the search for just the right item. At times that can be expensive in time consumption but inexpensive in dollar cost. Settling for second best is a recipe for dissatisfaction and repurchase thas for sure.

  9. It always is good to tell as many people as possible when you are out looking for something. I scored the “perfect” bed for my son a while back from a casual acquaintance grandmother that was downsizing and didn’t need the grandkid’s guest suite anymore!

  10. And the lesson is … never throw anything away, because some day somebody might need it? 😉

    • Hi Rob,
      with a philosophy like that I would hate to see what kind of mess your place is in. 😉

      • I was actually joking. But, this is one way to understand the story: all these years your friend held onto this hairbrush, and guess what, eventually it came in really handy when your husband needed one.

        But, you’re right: my place could do with some decluttering, and that is why I am looking at minimalist blogs such as this one. Keep up the good work!

        • Hi Rob,
          I am glad you just have a quirky sense of humour I thought you might have just been some “funny” guy prowling the internet making a nuisance of yourself. Since that isn’t the case let me say welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to say hi. I sincerely hope that you will find my blog useful in your journey to declutter your home. Please feel free to contact me anytime for advice.

          Your were right, it is one way of interpreting that story, unfortunately it is the way that gets people into a cluttered mess in the first place. I look forward to more of your humour, I will be ready next time though. I hope! 😳

  11. Love this story! So true. Missing the time to spend reading and commenting each day…maybe soon things will slow down here (after the holidays?).

  12. Colleen
    It is hard to avoid packaging in Newcastle. is an organic coop that has weekly vege boxes. You take your own box/bag. You can also preorder bread and milk. Members bring in jars to recycle for honey. There are also various dry goods for sale from demeter I think. They buy in bulk and repackage into paper. It might be possible to package into your own containers if you volunteered to help with dry goods setup.
    I have managed to get sultanas directly into my jars from home at the “nutty sisters” at the farmers market and Natural Tucker in town tared and refilled jars several years ago for me.

  13. I, too, have started adding natural fibers to my compost. Clothing, knitting scraps, etc. I figured anything that was natural and would decompose was fair game.

    • That makes sense to me Delores. My yard is so small I don’t even know where I would put a compost bin. I must look into it though because I am sure they must have small ones.

  14. oh yeah, the overhealthy lifestyle.
    I think I am on the safe side here. I dont eat meat and I dont drive a car. I use public transportation, I try to buy local, I recycle a lot, I buy second hand, and I dont consume for consumes sake…
    considering that I dont drive a car, I feel safe smoking cigarettes 😉

    Ann, I was also thinking that this might be the biggest challenge. To make people touch something normal… I think I consider doing that for the next market.

    • Ah Lena, Lena Lena Lena, you are doing all the right things to try not to pollute then environment but not yourself. Oh well I suppose your drug of choice could be a whole lot worse than cigarettes.

      • haha, exactly. it has something to do with “value yourself” and so on, but thats a whole different story.
        I think I am actually not too bad, I am improving my habits slowly – last week I started kickboxing! maybe thats ending up in quitting soon.

  15. Hi Captn Colleen & Fellow Travellers! This post became fascinating, taking the link to learn of Ann’s awesome habits & Lena’s country’s evolved practices. While I now have a benchmark had not before considered, I too output very little rubbish. This process itself, debatable in the scheme of my decluttering challenge! Though how I deal with waste is the worthy of celebrating aspect of some need to deal with each item, even at disposal, purposefully.

    When I had a mortgage, was annoyed that something like half the rates bill was assigned to rubbish collection, when I was lucky to get the massive (partially filled) bin out every three months (six weeks if wanting to clear). So could have taken it twice yearly to the tip for a tiny fraction of the cost that props up high volume consumers. Then again I don’t do ‘normal’ as in ‘milk & bread’ (gluten free etc, as little processed as possible). At the time, having over an acre and a dog dealt with anything perishable. Don’t currently have a yard with dirt, only a small paved courtyard, but still dragged my self made compost ‘circle’ and got the landlord’s permission to put it on the ground just outside fenced area. From which a large prolifically bearing chilli bush sprung. If makes me squirm when visiting others, to put scraps of food into a plastic lined bin.

    Had never seen the use in those paper shredders (I’m not James Bond right), but got a cheap low capacity one (when I had a big yard) to turn paper into wonderful clouds of mulch – under grass clippings & the bleached whiteness isn’t so glaring. Clothes are great for a weed mat that will break down and yes, being a cotton snob, they do, as did a futon mattress. I keep the butchers paper from deli(catessen) wrappings and line the compost container that sits on the kitchen bench with it. Saves having to scrape out the goo (I’m a labour minimalist, so it could be days before getting outside, which is all good because it’s breaking down regardless), that even when soaked up, easily slides out making clean up easier & my hands stink free.

    I confess that I don’t use my recycle bin – because it was comandeered as overflow to the smallish watertank I finally got this year, in order to water plants. What I do put in the everyday rubbish bin is mostly what would go in the recycle bin (envelopes & junkmail which mostly go from mailbox to bin, another subject). However plastic bags aren’t to go there and I also confess that I have a back log of them I use to line household bins. If there’s anything sticky yucky, I’d prefer to prevent water/soap etc wastage in cleanup (have RSI/carpal tunnel & we did have water restrictions, which I self impose anyway). Besides even as pre early adopter of green bags, for as long as they’re giving it away, I’ll use, have never bought plastic bin liners… Obviously more to think through and fine tune. Btw, like the money back on bottles/cans (am not a consumer of) that somehow faded long ago, our council here in South East Queensland stopped the kerbside collections; go figure.

    • Wow Sara that was a comment and a half. I was almost tempted to cut it straight into a post and give myself a day off next week but it is certainly going straight the the Favourite Five for Friday.

      May I extend to you a warm and hearty welcome to 365 Less Things and of course thank you for such a great comment. I have certainly learned a few thing. Also thank you for doing everything you can to avoid destroying the environment in which we all have to live. You are certainly going above and beyond what the average citizen of the world that’s for certain.

      Just today I was at the hardware store checking out compost bins without much success. they all seemed a bit big for my tiny garden and the smaller ones seemed to require some sort of accelerator mix that came in a plastic bag which seemed to be very counter productive to me. I have decided since I have very little kitchen waste except veggie peelings I might just throw them in the garden in future. I haven’t ruled out the idea of a worm farm though. I did like your idea of using old fabrics as a weed mat in the garden and I think my paper shreddings might end up in there as well instead of the recycling bin.

      Anyway thanks again for such a good comment now I better go and add your comment to this weeks five. Oh and by the way how did you hear about my blog?

      • Tee hee hee & tsk tsk – I’m chronic! Thank you for the warm welcome Colleen. The recognition & encouragement over individual conscious action is really appreciated, especially when it’s never struck the average mainstream thinking person as noteworthy. In the face of so much wastage, something is better than nothing or token. I’ve admired people with more discipline who’ve had roaring worm farms (requires TLC & the cutting things small is more burden on my hands) and those bokashi systems are too expensive for me. A country raised friend for whom I’ve no longer got chooks to gobble his scraps, has lovely friable soil that he uses a hand trowel to dig them under (for any poor soil, soon won’t be). Mulch hides all manner of discordant looking soil builders, including motley collection of cloth (better for established not seasonal plants), paper, cardboard, dried out weeds, manure or vege scraps. (Not that I’m not guilty of eyesores.) With plants popping up amongst it all, verdant hues take over, the earth layers break down and the sight transforms accordingly. The best stuff is free.

        A counsellor I had earlier in the year referred me to it after hearing about what you do via radio on his way in to our session – along with a couple of minimalist contributors. I’m intrigued with and can appreciate the current context of the minimalist movement – however there has to be a happy medium & you’re a pragmatic and creative lady, wife, mother…. for which incorporating an antithetical to hoarding vision, made sense in conquering it. I really enjoy what you and others share here, a great community to be part of. THANK YOU!!! [Just had to get over a facebook addiction to come over to the light.]

        • Hi Sara,
          thank you for sharing your composting info and thank you also for letting me know how you heard about my blog. Usually in my past it is me visiting the counsellor not the counsellor recommending people to heed my advice. Seems like I have come full circle. If you put at least half as much dedication into your decluttering as you do into your environmentally friendly activities you will be on the right track. As you implied there is a happy balance between simple decluttering and extreme minimalism. My goal is to get down to what is right for me and my family and no more. Mind you I have no idea where that boundary is but I figure I will know when I get there. And I will get there in my own good time. If you do the same you can’t go far wrong.