A Fresh Mind on the Minimalist Path

I received an email from a new minimalist blogger on the weekend. His name is Marco Laberge and his blog is Toward Minimalism. He asked me to check out his blog and give him some feedback. I am a busy lady these days with my blog, my craft making and selling, my other volunteer work, friends and family, so reading is just one things I don’t have a lot of time for. Most of the posts, from blogs I subscribe to, that appear in my in-box are deleted without receiving any of my attention due to these other commitments. However I was intrigued enough to take the time out to read some of Marco’s posts.

I have to say I was suitably impressed. Marco, like myself, focuses on the mind rather than the clutter itself. As I have said many a time, clutter is all about mind set and not the items. The items are just the material manifestation of a skewed attachment and want for stuff. His post ~ Are you too attached to your possessions ~ sums up one aspect of this thinking beautifully. I urge you to read it.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a sentimental item that habit says keep but your mind says is just wasting space.

Eco Tip for the Day

Use a microfibre mop to clean your floors. All you need is a little water, no harmful chemicals. Even green cleaners have to be manufactured so why use them if you don’t need to.

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

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Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Fight or Flight Once clutter has built up in ones home there is no doubt that it is going to take some effort to expel it all. This task can appear  monstrous, frighteningly so,  which is likely to set […]
  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, that was a good post by Marco on his blog. I like his concept vs object premise.

    I have not been doing any decluttering the last few days. Instead we have been dealing with the unfortunate fact that our entire plumbing system under the house needs to be replaced. The plumbing pipes are galvanized metal and we are told that they have long passed their life span. That is nice but now they are springing leaks here and there and we have a couple places that are just short of exploding into a major leak. Friday the plumber spent most of the day creating a new system. Today he is out buying a hot water heater and some bathroom valves then will come and continue to work on the new system. Tomorrow or Wednesday he hopes to connect the new system and replace the hot water heater and valves. It’s costing a fortune but we are so glad it was the small leaks that caught our attention so this could be done.

    • Hi Deb, did you read the rest of Marco’s posts. I also enjoyed the one of being happy now. Although if I had to replace my entire plumbing system I don’t think I’d be feeling very happy. I can only imagine how expensive that is being for you.

      • No I didn’t read the rest of Marco’s posts. I might go back when I have more time. Yes, the plumbing is expensive. It’s taking 1/3 of my income for a year. I’m just trusting God to help us pay it off quickly.

    • Oh, Deb J.,
      This takes me back to 1978. We had just purchased our first home. Within one year, we too, had to replace all of our galvanized plumbing for both our home and outside sprinkler system. Our house was not a fixer upper, nor were home warranties popular back then. Good luck. I just kept my Dad’s words in my head, “This too shall pass”. All the more reason to “get out of Dodge” and move to that retirement complex when the units become available 🙂

      • Getting out of Dodge is just what I want to do for more reasons than this. I’m just ready plus moving will naturally help with the decluttering.

  2. Oh wow, Deb J. I am so sorry you are having to deal with plumbing issues! ARGH!

    Colleen, I enjoyed Marco’s blog. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This question has nothing to do with the blog today but I was wondering….what happened to Cindy? She has blogs up to November then nothing….????

    • Connie – I have been wondering the same thing.

      • This is a doodoodoodoo moment for me, Connie and Moni. The past two days, I have had Cindy pop into my head at random times as well. We must all be on the same wave length so to speak.

    • Hi Connie, Cindy is quite a busy lady and was struggling to up posting here. So she decided to give it away. I think that was the end of last year. She drops in every now and again to leave a comment though. I was very grateful for all the help she gave me here at 365 Less Things and she is missed. It is always nice to hear from her.

  4. I have felt over the last year or so that my garage and my attic storage area (above the garage) has been tamed and rather happy with the result. I had noticed last weekend that the attic area is looking a bit untidy, obviously Adrian has shifted stuff around (he has a dump and run approach to returning things to this area) and there are some boxes of clothing which ideally should go to Goodwill but they don’t want summer stuff as we’re in Winter so it went up in the ceiling too.

    I’ve been putting off going thru the cupboard in the garage floor area as the doors close and out of sight, out of mind, right? I’m not in the right frame of mind for tackling photo albums and editing family videos, so left it there.

    Suddenly we’re in a big hurry to do some improvements to our garage – my younger daughter uses it for her music, a practise area for dance and she needs to set up a permanent spot for an upcoming art project that will take several months. When my son moved out she’d planned to shift her electric piano and a table into his room, but he came back and so she has to stay put in the garage which unfortunately is rather cold out there in Winter. We’ve decided that while we’re still undecided as to whether we will sell or stay in our house, we’ll do some improvements anyway but try do things in a way that adds value but doesn’t over-capitalise, as we need to push on with creating her a work space she can use thru Winter.

    When I say we’re in a big hurry, my husband decided to insulate the garage door last night and went out and bought pink batts for the ceiling today. He’s not really into planning meetings and progress charts, so I just try to keep up.

    Sounds good right? Well, some of the flooring up in the ceiling storage area needs to be lifted to allow some electrical wiring to be done at the same time and to put the pink batts insulation in, so suddenly there is an electrician booked too. So everything up in the storage area needs to come down onto ground zero. Ok. Probably a good opportunity to have another sort out, silver linings and all that. But Adrian has decided that we should dig in and get the walls of the garage painted while we’re at it and eliminate the big cupboard from the garage area and probably the spare fridge and freezer too. Ok. Probably a bit more than I was planning to do this week but looks like its going to happen, ready or not.

    Next he realised that the ranch slider and the full length windows in the garage will let out the warmth, so lets add curtain making to the ‘to-do’ list. I’m looking into whether I could re-utilise a large retired set of curtains (currently stored in the attic) but I’m not 100% sure on whether I am clever enough to do it myself. I have just e-mailed a lady who makes curtains, upholstery etc to see if she’s available and outline the plan. My husband thinks I should give it a bash myself ie turning them into Roman blinds. I’m not sure whether to be flattered by his confidence in me or running a mile from the idea.

    Anyway, it sounds like a complete make over is on the way, wish me luck.

    • And did I mention, my son has dumped a heap of stuff including car parts on the garage floor that he’d retrieved from the flat he just moved out from? Plus his bike and assorted sports gear? Not sure where it all lived before but it doesn’t seem obvious where it used to reside.

    • Oh my Moni!! I hate to hear what your week(s) are going to be like until this is all over. Quite an undertaking. Good luck.

      • Deb J – as I suspected we didn’t make as much progress as my husband thought we would, yes everything came down from the ceiling (I got that job) and my husband was pleasantly surprised when he saw it all in a heap on the garage floor, whereas I thought it looked like Everest. Anyway, we were able to make some quick decisions with both of us there and there is a number of items going on Freecycle today, another box being donated. I’m sure there will be more to go but I knew I was running out of energy and switched my focus to organising everything so it wasn’t such a heap.

        In my husband’s mind he was going to have the floor boards in the attic lifted and the insulation laid last night. But that will be tonight’s project for him. I’ve got plenty to get on with down on ground.

        • Moni, it never goes like most men think it will. We just have to hang in there for the time it takes and know that when it is all over things will be better. We will be SO GLAD when the plumber is finished. It’s supposed to be done today. We will see.

          • Deb J – so true, he has a bit of a tendancy to get bored with a project if it drags out (or more than likely, takes as long as it realistically should have) and moves onto something else. He is already talking about re-tiling the bathroom, so I need to stay on top of this project. I’m really quite sore this morning from going up and down the ladder a hundred times my arms feel like lead, on that principle alone a lot of stuff needs to go!

            One funny discussion was whether or not to keep the camping chairs – I don’t know if you remember the story but last Xmas my son borrowed the family tent to go camping and forgot to bring it home! So I’m not sure what use camping chairs will be to us. Anyway, they’re in the “needs further discussion” pile. Once I’ve got thru all the ‘out pile’ – I might write an inventory of the ‘needs further discussion’ so it can be discussed over a coffee, away from it all.

          • Moni, your hubby sounds like my friend. She has no hobbies because they take too long. I hope you are able to keep your hubby on task so that you can get rid of all the stuff you want to get rid of and get the garage fixed up like you want.

            Have to report that the plumber is finally done. I’m so glad. I don’t like mess and for a while this place had piles everywhere. Now we can get everything put back where it belongs.

  5. Mahalo (thank you) for sharing Marco’s blog, Colleen.
    I just read the one post via your link and plan on reading the rest of his posts (and commenting) over the next few days. It is wonderful to support new bloggers into this arena.

  6. Very interesting blog. I will be following his journey.

  7. Thanks for the info on Cindy…always enjoyed her blogs as well as yours Colleen….this site has been a constant source of inspiration to me…

  8. Thanks, Colleen, I, too, enjoyed Marco’s posts. The one on meditation and art made me think beyond the posts themselves.

    I’ve struggled a bit with my decluttering, mostly because I keep thinking I’ve finished with it but then find a bit more to do. I am trying to shift over to the one thing a day idea but keep thinking that may not be enough. (Note to self.. it’s enough.)

    I finally got through the archives and managed to not comment on too many.
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Ron, don’t you just love posts that have you thinking further.
      Now you just need to stop thinking of decluttering as a struggle. Some decluttering you can rush while other decluttering is a matter of evolving and can’t be rushed. Just take it steady and don’t be in a hurry to reach the finish line. I still find things to declutter and I have been at it for over four years now. I have made that downsizing move though that you are aiming for so I can sit back and fine tune things here. However when it comes to downsizing my husband and I found that actually getting out there a begin viewing properties really helped us come to terms with what volume we would need to reduce to in order to accomplish our goal. I took probably about two year to find the property we liked. Which I might add was very much removed from what we first thought we wanted. By that stage life had come to the point where we were really ready for that next step. Now we are a happy as pigs in mud with out choice and the assortment of possessions we own.

      Just remember it is an evolution and they always take time to get right.

    • Ron B – I’ve been enjoying your comments as some of what you say and the process you are going thru is very reminescent of myself and a number of 365ers a few years ago. Although it might seem like you are waging a war on clutter at this point, I sometimes wish I could have those great break-throughs and great sudden improvements that those early on in the journey have. Once upon a time, getting rid of 10% of my books (it was a goal) meant 200 books had to go. Big project, big results. Now if I set the same it would mean only a couple of books would go and that really wouldn’t be news worthy or even noticeable on the shelf. Once upon a time friends would rave at the improvements, now they’ve forgotten I used to be cluttered.

      It might sound weird, but those of us closer to the end of the journey really do enjoy hearing from newer commenters.

      • Yes, Colleen, it really does feel like I’m evolving a bit and I don’t feel quite so possessed by my possessions. I am trying to figure out things a little better for me. I’ve never been that up to the latest fashions or technology so have lived a fairly simple life but now I’m cleaning my place up too which makes me feel happier.

        Yes, Moni, my friends can’t believe what I’m doing but will no doubt soon forget how infrequently I allowed anyone to come over because I was too lazy/depressed/cluttered to let anyone in the door. I was not a hoarder by any means just kind of messy and now… not so much. Still need to learn to throw the broom around a bit more though… sigh. I’ve followed your comments too and you’ve come a ways yourself which is very good. Two hundred books at one go? Argh. I was pretty happy when I got down to one bookshelf from three but that took a bit of time.

        • Ron B – yup thousands of books left in the end, I would never have believed I would part with books but it just goes to show how people evolve. Mind you my e-reader now has the ‘most prized possession status.

          Colleen set a challenge a year or so ago about resetting a room as we leave it ie returning it to its clean and tidy state. It was inspired by a reader named Mark. If you can find it in the archives it is worth a read.

          I’ve started reading Fly Lady in recent months to get into better household routines. My house was looking great but it depended on me being the Energizer Bunny and I got plum worn out, especially when the kids were in-doing all my work as quickly as I was doing it. Then I had to put more time into someone else and things started to slide downhill on the domestic front. Fortunately my house was decluttered enough that it was still mostly presentable but it wasn’t running smoothly either. I’d heard about Fly Lady so thought I’d give it a whirl. I’ll be honest, the merchandise marketing got a bit annoying so I had to switch to a ‘lite’ version on daily emails and so far I haven’t embraced the whole routine but it is starting to seep in. It’s a bit like having a kindly aunt giving you a gentle nudge each day.

          You’ll appreciate this, she calls it CHAOS can’t have anyone over syndrome. LOL anyway she is an advocate of decluttering and is really big on establishing routines to stay on top of house work but not in a heavy duty way, so I’d recommend signing up for her blog if house work is challenging.

          • Moni, I’ve been following Flylady for a number of years. I love her and she really does help you learn to love yourself. I don’t follow her whole routine, but even if you just follow loosely, you still keep on track. You make the system work for you. I’ve learned so much.