The hurricane method of decluttering. Part 1

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, hurricane method is definitely a good description. I wish others would at least do that as they pack if they can’t do anything else. I know people I have helped who have even packed the trash. It sounds like your friend was definitely open to getting rid of as much as possible when having time for only a quick decision. I hope she will feel like decluttering more as she gets settled into her new place.

    • Hi Deb J, I as sure she will carry on with the decluttering now that she is on a roll. I will be sending her a mission each week. Because I have been along side her for the pack I am very familiar with her problem areas so know what missions to give her.

      • That’s a great way to do it, Colleen. Having missions sent to her will be a big help for her.

  2. Wow Colleen! You are a good friend to help her out with decluttering and moving all at once. This could only be better if there were some pictures of the volume of stuff donated. I’ll just have to use my imagination 🙂

    • Hi Kayla, I thought of taking photos but I figured to write the post was a big enough invasion of privacy without revealing too much. The before and after shots would have been amazing though I am sure. Perhaps I should have asked her.

  3. If one has to shift in a hurry, who better to call on, than the Queen of Decluttering!

    • Thanks Moni. Actually on the first day I wondered what I had got myself into. We both felt quite despondent. But day two dawned and the progress became quite obvious and the day progressed and our spirits rose. Now I would consider doing this for others.

      • Colleen, I’m sure that you could do this for a lot more people especially since you’re already looking forward to going back to help. It’s like what you do with this blog except it’ll keep you fit! Not quite one thing a day! But both methods work. You are a good friend.

      • Colleen – generally I would only recommend the Hurricane Method for one area at a time, so I salute you for doing an entire house at a time. Mind you with an entire house to pack and shift it in one weekend it probably was the most expedient approach.

        I have heard of buying boxes but its not really common in my area. I think most people grab boxes from the supermarket and I often notice house lots of banana boxes offered on freecycle which I think is awesome. I’m assuming that because this was a sudden house shift that there wasn’t time to collect and request boxes, so that was smart thinking to re-use them multiple times during the same shift.

    • Round of applause, Moni!

      • ……for calling Colleen, the Queen of Decluttering. Priceless!

        • Yes! The Queen of Decluttering! Colleen is absolutely that and more! What a great friend you are to provide such great help. You are an inspiration!

  4. You are a good friend. Looking forward to the next instalment.

  5. That was a great thing you did for your friend Colleen. I did the hurricane method of decluttering last September when I first started my decluttering journey. It was quite overwhelming for me at first but fortunately my husband was there to help and support me all the way. So yeah, to have someone to lead and encourage is amazing.

  6. This is a great decluttering story. I feel as if we sometimes have too many choices, which can then lead to indecision. When there is a very limited time period, you have to think quickly.

    • Hi Michelle, yes I agree. She didn’t hesitate on my decision but felt she need to explain herself and that was OK. I figured she would have more time to think about it between then and when I arrive next week. I am also going to help her arrange her furniture to take advantage of the space. I am really looking forward to going back and continue the work we have started.

  7. Sometimes people need a bit of a nudge or someone to hold their hand when a house move comes along. What is a chore for some is a enjoyable for others. I enjoy assisting people to declutter , if they are in need of help.
    I have an aversion to storage containers , except some in the kitchen. I refer to book shelves , filing cabinets, chests, hampers and the countless bits in Howard’s Storage World Shops. Sorry end of rant.
    I have been involved in a type of hurricane, a kitchen renovation and preparing the house for rent while my friends went overseas. Everything got done , but the stress was overwhelming .
    Some people feel they only work well under pressure , I think they are duding themselves . A bit of planning is essential.cheers

  8. One of my friends is about to move and he’s already started on a go/donate list but I see a hurricane on the horizon. Maybe I’ll try the same one day. 🙂

  9. This hurricane reminds me of when I first started decluttering in 2002!!! I read “Clear your clutter with feng shui” by Karen Kingston and she talks about the “white tornado” method. Well I swept through like a tornado all right and it made a huge difference…

    Here we are 12 years later and I am still decluttering, I should have nothing left! (However, obviously more stuff has come in 🙁 ) Anyway now I am being very careful about what I buy, doing the one in one out thing and begging people not to give me stuff, and I am slowly getting more minimal. People do say I’m very “neat and tidy” but I see plenty more which could go!

    Once again thanks Colleen for your continuous inspiration. I am now on 1,343 items or bags of items gone since I started reading your blog and keeping count. Can hardly think of any one of those things!