Simple Saturday ~ Key mini mission

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  • Day 347 Staying ahead of the game There are three key elements to decluttering Purging your home of items that are unused Being selective with future purchases so you do not end up recluttering you home. Staying […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. When we moved to our present home we found a bunch of keys in the attached shed. The previous owners couldn’t remember what they were for. I took them all and tried every lock in the place to see what they might fit. They didn’t. Out they went. The previous owners also left a buncho of things they no longer wanted. There are two sheds and both had a number of items they left. We found homes for all of it too. There is just something about being able to rid yourself of things that is addictive. Grin.

    • Hi Deb J,
      becoming addicted to decluttering sure make the job easier to contend with. Once you get to that stage not shopping is easy too because you don’t want to make any backward steps. πŸ™‚

  2. When I find unknown keys, I put them with the other unknown keys and label the date I found them. When a year passes, out they go. Using this system, I don’t think I’ve actually retrieved any and started using them, but this seems like a good time when “better safe than sorry” comes into play.

    • Hi Cindy,
      good system. When we moved into this house we were so inundated with stuff, some of which hadn’t seen the light of day for near on eight years. All the keys quickly ended up in one place where they awaiting claiming if the occasion arose where we found what they belonged to. The keys in the photo never found a use in four years. As per your system one year would probably have been long enough at that point I think we had explored all the options.

  3. I like Cindy’s idea. Un-identified keys are one of those things that feels like “better safe than sorry” and they are so small, so what’s the harm.. But they are one more annoyance.

    • Hi Cat’sMeow,
      like you and Cindy say “better safe than sorry” I think after four years we are way past the sorry stage and way into the safe zone. If all else fails we’ll use the hacksaw.

  4. I like Cindy’s idea too. Putting the date on a label is the “key”, I think. Unintended pun!

    Colleen, that is a gorgeous carved trunk, and I wish I could find a multi-drawered unit like the middle one. Do you actually have something in every drawer? Beautiful!

    • Hi Jo,
      are you sure that pun was unintended, you just couldn’t help yourself could you, you funny little thing. πŸ˜† πŸ˜‰

      The carved trunk was the first piece of furniture I ever bought. I was fifteen years old when I bought it and I used it as a glory box. By the time I was married at 22 it was full of all sorts of useful stuff that saved me from a big one off expense when we moved into our own home. As for the box with all the little drawer, no it no longer has something in each drawer. I have to confess I have a bit of a drawer fetish, being the neat freak that I am i think drawer are the best way to maintain a space for everything and everything in it’s place.Drawers are so much more accessible than deep cupboards and if I had my way I would have a kitchen where all the lower storage was all drawers ~ one for saucepans, one for crockery, one for ingredients canisters, divided ones for cutlery and utensils, oh, and a tall pull out pantry and spice rack. I am going weak at the knees just thinking about it.

      • Now there, you’ve taught us another Australian term: glory box. From your comment, I figured it was what we call a “hope chest” and, by gad, I was right πŸ™‚

        I could swoon over that kitchen system too!

  5. I think you’ve found the key! πŸ™‚

    I’ve always recommended looking inside tidy looking containers for things you can get rid of. The things that are lying around are more likely to be things in use that you have no room to tidy because your drawers are full of junk.

    • Hi Jess and welcome to 365 Less Things. I read your comment then visited your blog then followed a link for there to One Less and here I am back here one hour later. I have added both blogs to my Google reader. I was intrigued when I saw MUM (not mom) in your blog title and things just developed from there. It’s nice to catch up with form folks close to my own neck of the woods.

      I am pleased to say that my open spaces and my drawers are both tidy but I can usually find something more to declutter if I take the time to look. The key declutter was inspired by the fact that all our screen door locks started to fail and had to be replaced therefore we ended up with a new set of keys so the old ones had to go. The other keys were kept when we moved house for fear that they belonged to something that had been in storage for seven years. One tends to forget things like that. When we moved in there was just so much stuff to fit in this much smaller home but now since we haven’t found the need for those keys in almost four years we figured we could safely let them go.

  6. Hi Colleen! Can I have your carved trunk? And I want that nice big box full of drawers… πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Do you deliver? πŸ˜‰ I love wood furniture and found your trunk and the box full of drawers very beautiful. Anytime tou want declutter those, I am here! πŸ˜€

    • Hi AndrΓ©ia,
      I do often wonder if those two boxes will still be around in a year or two or whether they will also succumb my minimalist tendencies. Only time will tell. I think Jo may have first dibs on them though. You can fight it our between you if the time comes. πŸ˜†

      • I don’t know where Jo lives, but I can only beat her to it if she lives in the US East Coast, or North Hemiphere, otherwise, I may just have let her have it “sigh”…. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        • Andreia, I live in Canada, so unfortunately you have me beat! Where do you live? (I’m thinking the postage might be a bit expensive for either of us!)

          • Hi Jo! I live in Brazil, so I think none of us two are getting the furniture, because the postage will be out of our budget, πŸ˜€ :-D. Well, that’s life!!

  7. We have been purging keys for a while now. They could be found everyewhere and where not for our current home or my huby’s office. So off they went. I usualy try them everywhere, but if they are in a drawer, or somewhere hidden, they are problably useless, so I don’t wait, or keep them safe, but throw them on the bin, or recycle, because it is metal. My husband wants to keep them (but I don’t listen, because it is hard to make him want to get rid of anything πŸ˜€ ).

    • Hi AndrΓ©ia,
      I think you are right not to listen. You have clearly worked out the root of your clutter problems and now that you don’t listen to him your clutter problems will be solved. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜† 😈

      • Most definitetly! He has been asking about that machete that I got rid of a few weeks ago… I just looked at the sky and whistled…;-)

  8. Oh those darn keys!!! Yes, they tend to multiply at our house, too, and we’ve moved too many times to count on one hand in the past 5 years. Many moons past there was a mini-mission related to the kitchen, and I during that experience I found a BUNCH of keys, that in the end related to NOTHING, so bye-bye they went!

    Hey, somehow my computer screen shows a green background on this web site, did my kids accidently hit a button that changed my world while they were playing a computer online game, or did this color really change from the blog master (aka: Colleen)?

    • Hi Annabelle,
      the screen probably did change to green. My husband is playing with changing the design of the site so you may see things changing back and forwards over the weekend.

  9. Ok, now I’m in the green…hee hee hee… I double clicked on the blog header and the rest of the screen turned white. I do say the new header is quite lovely!

    Oh, and Colleen, the furniture in the photo (the stacked trunks and drawer cabinet…) are SO GORGEOUS!!! It’s such fun to see photos, before, during, after, or whatever! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

    • hi Annabelle,
      I am not popular because I didn’t like the new header so much. Maybe we will go back to that and see what everyone else thinks.

  10. ok, now the header has returned to its original-ness. Hum, sorry folks in blog land, don’t know what happened on my end…oooppss, I’m horribly embarrassed. I’m sorry!

  11. OMGOODNESS, I’m so relieved! I really thought I’d lost my marbles (wait, I decluttered those ages ago!!!). πŸ™‚

    Please get rid of Adam S’s face. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! At least let me see a George Clooney or Denzel Washington! LOL!

    Enjoy the redesign process! πŸ™‚

  12. I have keys too! And I’ve never OWNED anything in my own right that the keys could be for! And they too are safely in drawers! I’ll add them to ‘decluttered’ pile.

    Also loved all the photos, like a story but more interesting with photos! Thanks

    • Hi Snosie,
      I am glad you enjoyed the photo layout of the post. It ended up that way out of sheer frustration because I am finding lately that placing photos in WordPress is just not behaving the way it used to and I am having to be somewhat more resourceful to end up with a result I am satisfied with.