A post from the archives ~ Ten questions

Last week I received a response from deanna ar USA to the following archived post. Deanna is relatively new to my blog and is busy reading through the archives. Quite a feat given I have been writing for over five years now.

I was glad she drew my attention to this old post because there would be quite a lot of my current readers who have never had the opportunity to answer the questions involved. There would also still be some readers around who answered it the first time who could give us some interesting updates on their continued progress. Either way it will be fun to read all your responses.

So without further adieu here is the post.

Today’s post is short and straight to the point. I have laid out ten questions, five about you and five about me. I would like you to read, think about then answer them either privately to ponder on or in the form of a comment so we can discuss them between us. Maybe we can learn a thing or two not only from the answers but from the discussion they generate. There are no correct answers to these questions and some may even be irrelevant to you so just  answer them honestly. Here are the questions.

For you

  1. What do you think has been the main cause of clutter build up for you in the past? (This could be more than one thing)
  2. Have you changed your purchasing habits since you have begun your latest decluttering mission?
  3. Do you think you have learned enough about your clutter habits not to end up back at square one sometime in the future?
  4. What is something that you have realised recently that had never occurred to you before about your clutter?
  5. Is your clutter problem more about having too much or not being organised?

For me

  1. Has my blog helped you with your clutter mission and if yes, in what way?
  2. My style of decluttering is “Slow & Steady” do you think that is a style that works for you and makes my blog unique?
  3. Do you need more advice about organising the stuff you are keeping or getting rid of the stuff you aren’t?
  4. Do you think you need practical advice about decluttering or do you feel you benefit more by being awakened to what the problem might be in the first place?
  5. Is there something you would like included here at 365 less things that you feel is missing and would make my blog a better help to you?

* * * * * * * * * * *

And to save Deanna the hassle of having to retype all of her responses here the are…

  1. What do you think has been the main cause of clutter build up for you in the past? I was not taught to get rid of things, so I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I could/should get rid of any excess. Also, impulse buying and buying in multiples.
  2. Have you changed your purchasing habits since you have begun your latest decluttering mission? Yes, almost all of my clothes have come from thrifting for the last few years. And the last 2 years I haven’t even done much of that.
  3. Do you think you have learned enough about your clutter habits not to end up back at square one sometime in the future? Yes, but I have found that when money is a little looser, I tend to want to buy more. I don’t like shopping though.
  4. What is something that you have realised recently that had never occurred to you before about your clutter? When I have fewer things, I enjoy using them more. The more I have, the more decisions I have to make.
  5. Is your clutter problem more about having too much or not being organised? Having too much.

* * * * *

  1. Has my blog helped you with your clutter mission and if yes, in what way? Yes, I love it. I like your practical approach, your consistency, your caring attitude. And I enjoy the interaction among those who follow your blog. I read all the comments as I’m reading through your archives.
  2. My style of decluttering is “Slow & Steady” do you think that is a style that works for you and makes my blog unique? Probably. However, I tend to go in spurts. I declutter as I find things or think of things. Also, I read the blogs I follow and get really motivated…I usually declutter more quantity then. However, most days I read for motivation more than I declutter and, since it’s slow and steady, I don’t feel pressed.
  3. Do you need more advice about organising the stuff you are keeping or getting rid of the stuff you aren’t? Getting rid of stuff…I’m a pretty good organizer. I’m one that people often remark at how organized I am. Yet I don’t feel organized.
  4. Do you think you need practical advice about decluttering or do you feel you benefit more by being awakened to what the problem might be in the first place? Both, but mostly practical advice.
  5. Is there something you would like included here at 365 less things that you feel is missing and would make my blog a better help to you? No, I like it as is.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something that you wouldn’t keep if you didn’t feel obliged to.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

It is better to refuse and reduce than to have to recycle. So if you can avoid packaging and bags please do.

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

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. 1.cause
    I think I had every thing organized & out of sight, I didn’t realize how much I actually had until I moved 10 years ago.
    2. purchase change
    I more thoughtful when I purchase anything, and now I’m more likely to purchase needed items or replacements.
    3. Habits
    I think I have learned enough not to end up at square one. Becoming debt free during this process has helped in the decluttering process.
    4. Come to the realization
    Like debt I realized you had to quit adding to the clutter or debt to make any head way.
    5. Clutter problem
    Mine is having too much stuff

    1. Blog
    Has been helpful with great advice, great mini missions that have me look in places that I haven’t thought about, comments from others that help me realize I’m not alone on this journey.
    2. Slow &steady style
    Works for me with sporadic bursts of intense decluttering several times a year.
    3. Advice
    I need advice on how to get rid of things
    4. Advice
    I need practical advice on how to declutter
    5. Missing from blog
    Can’t think of anything missing.
    Everyone is so nice and judgemental while offering practical advice, it’s great

  2. Judgemental = nonjudgemental
    Darn autocorrect

    • Hi Calla,

      I was laughing about your comment before I saw the correction (I knew you didn’t mean “nice and judgemental”!)

  3. 1. Main cause: I think for me that my two closest friends were extremely well resourced and “be prepared” sorts. If you needed to something, they probably had several options. Both love garage-sales (yard sales) and Op Shopping. I met both soon after we moved into our first house, we all had pre-schoolers, our houses were do-uppers and as I am 10+ years younger I sort of followed their example. I was the first to move away and into a much bigger house and I didn’t see them very regularly and was lonely in our new area so I filled the missing gap with stuff, I filled my spare time (that I used to spend with them) with online auctions and finding new ways to be ‘resourced and prepared’. I also think I was worried that my house wasn’t ‘full’ enough compared to others in the area.

    2. Purchasing habits – yes, I am very fussy about what I buy as I don’t want to have to turn around and declutter the item later. I try to live by the quote “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”

    3. Return to square one – I highly doubt it. That would be mental torture.

    4. Any recent realisations with clutter – geez I’m always having realisations! My most recent realisation was that my husband has more stuff than me.

    5. Is it too much or not being organised – for me it was too much stuff but I can understand that if someone lives in a tiny home with no storage facilities, being organised would be a higher priority. But it never occured to me that if you had less stuff, you had less to organise.

    1. Has blog helped? Yes, you are what you read. Regular posts and comments amongst readers certainly kept me motivated.

    2. Slow and steady? I find I have to mix it up to fool my brain.

    3. Need more advice? Any new ideas are always interesting. I used to enjoy Friday’s links to other articles.

    4. Practical advice or problem source? I think its a chicken and egg scenario, one will lead to the other.

    5. Anything missing? I don’t think so.

  4. Cause:
    1. Cause: Family stuff + the Depression Mentality of “might need it” + merging two households in mid-life + eco-guilt about having to find the best place to dispose of things.
    2. Haven’t changed purchasing much because I was never a great shopper. My biggest change is refusing “FREE”. Just ’cause it’s ‘free’ doesn’t mean I need or want it.
    3. No way we’d ever go back. We are disposing of all the family stuff that was dumped on us and that’s a clutter source that is finished. We are freeing ourselves of ‘might need it’ and coming to terms with the fact that junk is junk and we can dispose of it without guilt.
    4. Ian is coming to accept that letting go of past lives is OK. If you no longer climb mountains, you can let go of the mountain climbing gear. Onward!
    5. Too much stuff.

    Blog: I came here as part of a search for a solution to the chaos that drove me crazy. Tried Simplicity, which led to Minimalism and Feng Shui. Decluttering was it, and 365-ing was the right fit. I’ve been along for the ride since near the beginning so I have worked through most of my issues but, like weight loss or life change, constant motivation is what keeps me on track. Getting my husband to buy in has improved life immensely and that would not have happened except for the gradual and non-threatening approach of simply assessing and slowly removing those things that don’t add to our lifes.
    I don’t aspire to minimalism but I want my life to be full of ‘good stuff’ and ‘the right stuff’ not just ‘stuff’.

  5. 1.What do you think has been the main cause of clutter build up for you in the past? I used to think that is was good to have plenty of choices (of shampoo, body wash, sheets, shams, kitchen gadgets…)
    2.Have you changed your purchasing habits since you have begun your latest decluttering mission? I think it took me awhile to realize that I needed to stop bringing things in if I ever wanted to be “organized” (decluttered). But I hate shopping now and am slow to bring in anything. There is no “willpower” involved, I have changed my thought process regarding stuff.
    3.Do you think you have learned enough about your clutter habits not to end up back at square one sometime in the future? I can’t imagine going back to more cluttered because clutter makes me feel anxious now and I don’t want to face all that work again!
    4.What is something that you have realised recently that had never occurred to you before about your clutter? Clutter causes a lot of extra decision making, hunting for things, organizing gadgets & time to organize them, extra cleaning, wasted money, disheartening sense of obligation, guilt about money spent… clutter happens even if we don’t buy anything, so it’s something we always have to keep after 🙂
    5.Is your clutter problem more about having too much or not being organised? I was organized. We just had too much stuff!

    1.Has my blog helped you with your clutter mission and if yes, in what way? The posts are fun and interesting. And the community of commenters is fun and interesting, too 🙂
    2.My style of decluttering is “Slow & Steady” do you think that is a style that works for you and makes my blog unique? Yes, I like slow and steady, with ocassional bursts of bigger decluttering frenzy.
    3.Do you need more advice about organising the stuff you are keeping or getting rid of the stuff you aren’t? I like the focus on getting rid of stuff or just keeping what we are willing to pack & move & use & love.
    4.Do you think you need practical advice about decluttering or do you feel you benefit more by being awakened to what the problem might be in the first place? I like all aspects of decluttering! Sometimes a different “angle” is what someone needs to hear that day.
    5.Is there something you would like included here at 365 less things that you feel is missing and would make my blog a better help to you? There is nothing missing!

  6. In the “for Colleen” section, I want to add that (1.) I find the posts and comments very motivating because they are practical and funny and interesting. I like a lot of minimalist blogs but this one is my absolute favorite because of the community support, the humor, and of course our leader <3 Colleen 🙂

    • Peggy – I agree 100% about the community. It is very rare but delightful to find such a chatty blog.

    • Peggy, you have an “ditto” from me in what you say here about Colleen, her blog and the community.

  7. Great questions.
    Clutter build up = it was free, it was a gift, I might need it, the kids might need it, it cost money, don’t be wasteful.
    Purchasing habits= don’t go looking for free stuff. Buy less when I go shopping as supermarkets are open all the time . Giving myself a huge pat on the back when walking out of a shop without making a purchase.
    Learnt = Habits changed. Lessons learned. I’m more conscious of the consequences of being attached to clutter.
    Recent realisation = some people embrace decluttering and the benefits and some people don’t. Some People are possessed by their possessions.
    Too much/ not organised? To begin with I had too much stuff. Once it was reduced I had to get into the habit of better planning eg regular cleaning.

    The Blog= is like therapy , when others are having issues and someone offers a solutions it’s great. I have a new friend , my very own personal trainer 😉
    Slow and steady= works for me now. In the beginning I had help from the family to move lots of stuff out of the yard very quickly.
    More advice on organising= I don’t think so but I’m always open to suggestions.
    Practical/awakening advice=I have benefited more from being awakened to Why I clutter than how to declutter. Like they say ‘knowledge is power’ . This applies to what companies do to get you to buy stuff.
    Blog appraisal. Five years in the blogosphere ! That’s an achievement ! Congratulations !

  8. 1. Main cause: needing that spurt of pleasure/victory when purchasing a new (or used) item. Really I was trying to fill an emotional hole. In terms of the house I live in, the main causes of clutter were parents who had a degree of “Depression Era Mentality” and niether one is good about purging or organizing.

    2. Purchasing habits: I have changed them. I am more discerning about what I buy. Plus with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS kicking my butt on a regular basis I don’t have the energy or desire to bring in more things that I’ll have to take care of.

    3. Learned about clutter habits: I think so. I know I’ve learned I enjoy the light feeling inside I get when I look around and see more open and empty surfaces/spaces. It feels better than buying stuff ever did.

    4. Realization: I can’t think of any recent realizations regarding my clutter. Maybe that the more I get rid of, the more I want to get rid of? Or that having fewer things to take care of really does mean having more time for the things/people I really care about.

    5. Clutter problem: Absolutely having too much. Organization is one of my favorite things. However, my energy levels aren’t what they used to be so maintaining organization of a bunch of crap just got harder and harder to do.

    1. Yes your blog has helped me with my clutter mission by continuing to offer motivation and new ways to look at old, familiar objects.

    2. I’m a combination declutterer so your style of slow and steady does work for me as long as I also spice it up with a huge declutter push once in a while. I don’t know if your declutter style makes your blog unique but your humor, compassion, and interaction with your readers certainly does, in my opinion.

    3. At this point, I just need the continued motiovation this blog offers me. I’m pretty set with organizing and getting rid of stuff. I’m not opposed to reading posts about both things though since I never know what I might learn.

    4. I prefer practical advice about decluttering.

    5. I think your blog is great the way it is. I wish I had constructive criticism to offer but I like this blog because of how it is. Don’t let that stop you from shaking things up a bit when you feel like it. ;]

    • Hi Rachel W, I love how you answered #3: “I know I’ve learned I enjoy the light feeling inside I get when I look around and see more open and empty surfaces/spaces. It feels better than buying stuff ever did.” I feel the same (open space is better than buying stuff), but didn’t think to put it into words as you did. 🙂

  9. for me:
    1. thinking that things (stuff, clothes,toys, collections, books) could fill the holes of self -esteem and self -loathing, and using any and all money/credit cards to get that thing that would fix/fill me. i didn’t see it that way, because i came from a family of packrats, so i just needed things! and why would i get rid of anything? i also had bad shopping habits, impulse purchase (still do!) and buying it in every color because i never know when i’ll find something that fits again!
    2. yes. i try hard to think about what the item really does, if i’ve thrown away/donated/sold something similar, will this have the same fate? and do i have money for it? and does it really matter? i’ve made it this far without x, so why not a bit longer? so i bring less home, am more likely to return things that don’t instantly spark joy. also, my husband is onboard, and that really helps.
    3. yes. i don’t want to move boxes of shoes i never wear ever again. I’m tired of realizing i didn’t really like the way something fit, and i never wear it. i also don’t want to keep being in debt, worrying about money for stuff i’m going to chuck later.
    4. that besides not “filling ” me up, i actually like our home better emptier. i love that it takes so little time to clean. i don’t want to be a packrat any more, and i find it stressful, but i could never see that before we got rid of so much stuff. i also realized how i really prefer fewer options and to just have things that are great instead of so-so.
    5. too much stuff.

    For you
    1. yes, yes, a thousand times yes! your blog was where my decluttering started, back in 2011. I decided i could get rid of 1 thing a day, starting right before Xmas that year. I think i ended up getting rid of around 2000 things, including papers, trash, toys, clothing, furniture, that first year. you set me on the path of minimalism, and i never looked back. it took about a year to get my husband on board, but you helped me with that too. thank you for setting me free, i can’t tell you how much that really opened up for me, mentally, emotionally and obviously physically. I am getting my priorities straight, slowly, but honestly. decluttering one thing a day let me see how i was deluding myself. i’m not 100% but i’m moving in the right direction.
    2. yes, it worked/works for me! it was a great way to start for 2 packrats coming from 2 packrat homes. it’s hard to let go, and going slow and steady is the right way when you need to work through the “what ifs” and the emotional parts of why you keep everything forever. it’s how i’m encouraging my parents and my in-laws to begin, they all come from deep poverty, and now that they are financially well off, still can’t let anything go. i do think your blog is unique, you are conscientious and never judgment or callous. i have always felt comfortable reading your blog, and never felt forced or anxious about what you might say/think. i think you being older than my late 20s when i started helped me see that you had thought through it and lived it.
    3.i am a recovering shopaholic, and as i’ve said, i have issues with self esteem. i need help not buying more, making due or doing without. and continuously re-evaluating what i have and need to have. i feel like the less you have the more naturally organizing comes, as everything has a home, and you don’t have to remember where it was, it just has a natural place. or you can see where it ends up, and make that it’s home. so for me, organizing is less important than decluttering and not buying.
    4. i think both are important. being walked through the decluttering is so helpful, especially in the beginning and with hard stuff, but i also like the “wake ups” to things i’m overlooking. both make for a well rounded blog, in my opinion.
    5. i want to say, don’t change a thing! it’s hard, but i like your blog the way it is, because it was so effective for me. also, i feel like you are poised to help so many people who are afraid to start in a way that is easy and calm and not overwhelming. it’s not for everyone, but not being radical and quick let you work through things in a non-frightening way for those of us who may not know what we want, but know we have too much stuff. i sometimes don’t read my other minimalist blogs because i’m not emotionally ready for the heavy lifting that comes with mental and emotional declutter. but i’m always safe here, i can always improve my physical life, slowly and gently, until i’m ready for the hard stuff. but things change, and need to change. i think i’m ready. 🙂

    i want to thank you again, for giving me a safe place to try something very new and strange. to allow me to come slowly and start with the easy, because i wasn’t ready for anything else. i didn’t know what doors would open, and how i would come to know myself, and see myself differently because i decided to get rid of one thing a day.

  10. Oh goody, a quiz.

    1. Main cause of clutter build-up in the past?
    I’ve kept clutter at bay in the past (for the most part), but my recent clutter build-up was due to several moves in a row where I just didn’t keep on top of it. When we moved into this house, the clutter creep really began. I realized that the bigger the place, the more I am tempted to decorate, garden, whatever.

    2. Have you changed purchasing habits since latest de-cluttering?
    Definitely. I realized that I was impulse-buying a little more than I thought I was, which is something I used to never do. So I have changed that drastically.

    3. Learned enough about clutter habits to not repeat?
    Oh yes. We are moving again in four months, and I am being ruthless about getting rid of stuff. I am also being meticulous about organizing the things I am taking with us or storing.

    4. Something realized about your clutter?
    I mentioned two realizations in #1 and #2. I guess I mostly realized that I shouldn’t start something new (i.e., a gardening project) before I complete something else.

    5. Clutter because of too much or not organized?
    A little of both. Our last move was very disorganized due to a family emergency, and it was overwhelming. Then the clutter creep started once we moved into the house. Other than that, I’ve always been very organized, so any clutter has been a result of too much stuff.

    1. Has this blog helped?
    Yes! I started my current de-cluttering project on December 1, 2014. I was very busy with other things to do, so I decided to just get rid of one item per day so that it would make it easier. I was curious if anyone else had ever done it that way, so I searched the internet until I found this blog. I always knew how to de-clutter, but this blog gave me some company.

    2. Slow and steady?
    It definitely works for me, and it definitely makes this blog unique. I started with my back sun room, and it was full of junk. I didn’t have the time or energy to do it all at once. So I got rid of one item that first day, and just continued every day. Some days I got rid of more than one thing, but only if I wanted to. When I saw the space start to open up after just a week, I was hooked. That room has been completely empty for months now.

    3. Need more advice about organizing or getting rid of stuff?
    I don’t think I need advice exactly, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love reading about both! I’m good at getting rid of stuff and also good at organizing stuff, but I enjoy reading about it too, I can always learn more and get inspired from others.

    4. Practical advice vs. being awakened to the problem?
    I’m a practical, no-nonsense, kind of person. I like to just get things done. However, I know that many people have clutter due to emotional issues, shopping addictions, and other life stresses. And a lot of people simply don’t know where to begin. I think a mixture of practical + get-to-the-root-of-the-problem is a good formula.

    5. Anything missing?
    Honestly, no. I came here looking for like-minded people, and that’s what I found. I like the blog posts, the mini-missions, and of course all of the comments! Thank you for sharing your blog with us!

    • LOL. I love your “oh goody! a quiz!” It made me giggle. Plus I kinda felt the same way when I saw the questions. I even tended to answer in complete sentences like my grade school teachers taught me. XD

  11. The Other Christine

    1. I come from a very frugal family, and a lot of my clutter is hand-me-downs (from them, from past roommates). I also keep things until they fall apart.

    2. I’ve never been someone who shopped a lot, but now when I think I need something I try even harder to find a way to use something I already have.

    3. I think I’ve learned a lot about my clutter, but the biggest thing for me about avoiding future clutter is that I’ve formed the habit of regularly getting rid of things I no longer need/use. I’ve slowed the flow of stuff in slightly, but it was never very fast. Things just stayed too long.

    4. I realized that many of the things going out the door were hand-me-downs. They weren’t as good a fit for me as the things I chose for myself (which were sometimes bought second hand, but I still picked out). Just because something could be useful doesn’t mean I will actually use it. And I don’t use my “just in case” items very often either.

    5. My problem is not letting go of things, which is more in line with having too much.

    * * * * *

    1. I really like your blog because of your approach to decluttering and the community of commenters. I get lots of ideas for things to declutter and it encourages me to stick with it.

    2. I declutter once a week in slightly bigger batches, but I still think of that as fairly slow and steady. I think parting with things takes time and that “slow and steady” is very sustainable. Most of the other blogs I come across are a lot more extreme, and while they are very inspirational they aren’t as relatable.

    3. I think 2/3 getting rid of stuff and 1/3 organizing. I think getting rid of stuff is harder than organizing and so I need more help with it.

    4. I think I want 2/3 practical advice and 1/3 ideas about the sources of clutter. I think that doing the practical work also brings out the patterns in the clutter.

    5. Your blog is lovely as is.

  12. 1. Main cause: Growing up in an environment where you were made to feel guilty if you didn’t keep everything just in case or because someone gave it to you.
    2. Changed habits: Oh my, yes! If I no longer like it or use it I declutter it. I don’t take it in unless I have a use for it. I don’t have much in the way of knick knacks.
    3. Go back: NO!! I no longer let what others think about what I have mean anything. I may listen to what they have to say to see if there are any nuggets of truth but will not change/take in/buy just because “they” say so.
    4. Never realised: the weight that clutter and having too much can cause–physically because you have to take care or it and mentally/emotionally because it is one more thing to think about.
    5. Too much/too disorganized: Too much. I am a VERY organized person with the motto or “everything in its place and a place for everything.” Everything I had in my office/craft room will now fit on two shelves in the closet of the new place I will be moving to eventually. If I need a craft supply I will go buy it when I need it and only what I need. I’m so excited about this.

    1. Has blog helped: YES!! Even though I have been decluttering for a long time I have been helped by the encouragement and the different ways of seeing things. It is just like the mini-missions. Many times you are just suggesting the same mission area in a different way. We need to change our viewpoint because we are stuck in a rut. You help me do that. I also like to hear what the take of the different people in the community is.
    2. Style: A mix. Slow and small bits when I am busy with chunks of time and chunks of items when I have more time.
    3. Need help organizing: For me this is not a problem. People seem to think I am weird. I say I am lazy. I have better things to do with me time that running around looking for something or cleaning more because I have a clutter of things.
    4. Practical advice vs sources: I like both. Even though I may have seen it before it may only be now that it sticks or I have that “Ah ha” moment.
    5. Anything missing: Na. I think you are doing a great job. I love your blog and this community.

  13. Colleen – you have mentioned a couple of times since you have shifted into your apartment that you are re-visited art. There have been some pieces of art that I have had no problem what-so-ever donating or giving away, but there are some pieces of art which seem to strike more of a emotional chord and are difficult to let go of, have you encountered this problem?

    • Hi Moni, I have no problem getting rid of most things, it is my husband who tends to stash art items under beds etc rather than get rid of them. I think it might be time we had a chat about that. If there was any art I have a problem with getting rid of it would likely be the stuff my son has done. But even then it would have to be ones that I have a special attachment to. I seem to have developed more of an attachment to open space rather than stuff so letting go is usually easy.

  14. 1. Cause: my need to improve on a budget, love bargain hunting and always giving to kids more than I had 2. Change: yes i now buy on sale or garage sale, op shop 3, yes i now talk myself out of items or put stuff away for presents instead of just giving without reason 4, its just stuff and my kids won’t remember how pretty our house was but will remember how we spent our time 5,both 6, im a procrastinater so ive followed ur blog but barely read it 🙁 sorry 7, im learning slow and steady works but once im ready to do something im on a mission 8,both 9, unsure

  15. Hi!
    I seem to share many things in common with you all. I’ve been a sporadic reader for a few years now. Here’s my answers:
    1. Cause of clutter. I never had much as a child, so getting rid of things has always been difficult, with a subconscious worry that I might go back to not having anything. Though, I have a well-paid career now, so this has been a thing for me to work on (I’m getting there)!
    2. Changed purchasing habits. Like a lot of people here, I’ve decluttered in one big lump, then slowly, then in another burst again. Last burst was for moving apartment (about two months ago) and since then I’ve had a lot more space but deliberately not filled it. I’m trying to only buy things if I know I need to get rid of the old one (e.g. buying a new ski jacket and trousers is fine, since the old ones are literally falling apart at the seams and will go in the bin).
    3. Learning about clutter habits. Habits are a difficult thing to break, but I’m definitely getting there. One difficulty is charity shops (I gather you call them op shops in Australia), as they’re so cheap, I can get lots of dresses, and keep loads of them. Trouble is, I do wear all of them (I have about fifty maybe). Aside from that, I’m very much better at not buying new bags or shoes or decorations I don’t need. It’s all a learning curve though. I recommend looking at http://www.jamesclear.com for anyone changing habits. He has a lot of very interesting articles on improving things by 1% (the mantra of this site, really!), on finding where you keep tripping up on starting a new habit or stopping an old one.
    4. Never occurred to me before. Yes, just last week the mini-missions forced the realisation that several more difficult areas have been ignored, by which I mean a large mementos box (I haven’t looked in it for two years), and several items I keep solely because they were presents, though the people who gave me them will never know if I don’t keep them/ display them in my living room.
    5. Too much clutter, or not organised? I can probably now say I don’t have a clutter “problem”. Some things could be improved, but mainly because I’ve moved house and am manically studying for professional exams, so making the house neat is not allowed to be the priority, however much I’d like it to be. I’m always interested to read about both decluttering and organising.

    1. Has the blog helped? Yes, absolutely. Most of the other decluttering blogs advocate a large burst of packing all your possessions up, or taking a few weeks and doing several hours of decluttering one room a day etc. While I have done those things, and it’s helped and even been fun (especially seeing the results), I think the slower approach lets you thing every day about improving, and also has led to me taking several weeks pondering over a particular item, weighing up the pros and cons of keeping/donating/selling. Some items need that time, because of subconcscious ties to them. In fact, this spills over into my “time decluttering” where sometimes now I will ponder the effects of a two-day course out of my working time, and spend a few weeks deciding whether to go and stress myself out in the rest of my life or not. Decluttering is not just for physical items! 🙂
    2. Slow and steady style. Oops, I mainly answered this above. Yes, your blog is unique!
    3. Advice on organising or getting rid? I think both are useful. The whole point of us all doing the decluttering is to make our lives easier – less cleaning, less moving things around, less time spent looking for things. Organising the stuff that is left can also make your life easier. I’ve seen it called “choice architecture” elsewhere, meaning you keep things around you in a way that it’s easy to put something back because its place is right next to you, or there IS a specific area it is kept in. Examples: always keeping your bag with keys/purse/pen at the door, or for me right now, keeping my study desk ready in the morning with my laptop open and the very next study topic laid out, so starting is instant as soon as I sit down.
    4. Need decluttering advice or discussion of its causes? Again, both are great, and go hand in hand. Getting rid of items is very important, but the causes of the clutter need tackled to stop it building up again, and as I started to say above, decluttering can be done in other areas than your house, including your schedule, even your friends (by which I mean, keep only the people that treat you the best nearest to you, and treat them well in return).
    5. Anything missing. I can’t think of anything missing. This is an excellent blog which helps so many people with a problem they have identified, in a way other blogs don’t. The combination of discussions on physical and mental clutter is great, and I’ve dipped in and out of the site regularly over the past few years. There’s always something new to think about! Many thanks Colleen. This is a very worthwhile endeavour.