A thing a day ~ Day 1

It has concerned me for a while that my posting here at 365 Less Things has been very sporadic, and that even has begun to occur with the Monday Mini Mission posts. I put this down to a couple of things. One is personal commitments that seem to take up so much of my time of late. And the other is that my interest in writing about decluttering has waned with my lack of a decluttering goal. 

This goal concept has always been a thing here at 365 Less Things but I didn’t realise how much of an encouragement it was for me until recently. With the lack of an actual goal to work towards when it comes to decluttering I have become a little bored of the task. That isn’t to say that I haven’t been decluttering at all, because with my constant decluttering of craft supplies the task certainly seems to be continuous. However sometimes it is so continuous that it seems never ending which becomes both tedious and feels futile. A problem which I have encouraged so many other readers to overcome by focusing on the one thing a day method. Ironic right?

So, I have decided to start to declutter one thing a day again. My goal at this point will be 30 days in duration and we shall see where it goes from there. I will be going to Japan just after Christmas for a couple of weeks over which time I will be taking a break but I dare say I will commence again on my return.

My intention is to go back to my original format of post my thing a day. Perhaps not every day but at least more often that my pathetic effort of late. But we shall see how that works out.

Join me in my quest if you please by also committing to the goal of one thing a day for a period of time. It gives you two goals, firstly the thing each day and also the long term goal of whatever period you choose to stick to it for. You might be surprised as to how inspiring that turns out to be.

So my thing for today is an evening gown that has been in my closet since before my original challenge began over seven years ago. I guess I thought I would eventually use it but since I have another gown, that also hasn’t been used in quite a while, I most certainly don’t need two of them for those very rare special special occasions. So here it is and out it goes.


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Continue reading with these posts:

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  • 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. Nice gown.
    I’ve just removed some shirts from Hubby’s side of the wardrobe, something I have wanted to do for a long time. So glad to see them GONE.
    I will make my goal to spend One day a week decluttering. Cheers

  2. Colleen,
    Your one-a-day was so inspirational for me. I had a large business calendar wall chart that I filled out as I got rid of things. It was great to see the spaces filled day by day. If I lapsed I would find extra things to fill the gaps. I still have a way to go but my husband and I cleared the garden, garage and verandah this year so too much to list day by day. Now I need to clear a bedroom for the Grandchildren that have come on the scene so I think the listing will be a good start for me as here is a lot of sentimental “stuff” in there.
    You have been such an enormous help over the years as have other members of the group with their comments and tips. You have reached the end of your journey but there are so many of us still struggling along the way. Your E-mails and Facebook page give me a nudge to strive to have that junk out of my life.
    Thank you, Colleen.

  3. Hi, Colleen.

    The one-item-a-day method has worked well for me, in conjunction with some intensive decluttering sessions. Speaking of Japan, I’ve been reading about the rising trend of minimalism there over the past few months.

    I look forward to seeing what you’ll be decluttering.

    • Nicole V – ironically Japan is where minimalism came from! I love the concept of the traditional house ie moving screens so that home space can have multiple uses. I have looked at some modern adaptations of the theme using cavity slider doors and other clever ideas.

      • My husband keep watching internet videos of that sort of thing too moni. We are hoping to multipurpose our spare room and we can do with all the inspiration we can find on line.

      • What about noise issues from such doors, Moni? Do they allow more noise to filter through?

        • Nicole – Im not much of an engineer but from what I’ve seen in magazines and on tv the modern cavity slider doors are about the same thickness as a regular door. I think there is some sort of rolling mechanism and a track. Apparently because of clever engineering they aren’t heavy at all. The situations I have noticed them has been empty-nester apartment, beach house, studio apartments etc.

    • Hi Nicole, maybe Marie Kondo has inspired the minimalism over there.

  4. I think the same thing happened to me. I spent most of the summer concentrating on decluttering books. We had a pile that one or the other or both of us had read. We ended up hauling off over 300 (I think my husband sneaked some out–which he will never read since he had not read them all that time they were sitting there). Then I got distracted doing tax returns. That is finally over, just in time for the holiday season. A friend wanted any and all used throws for early risers in a nursing home where she works, so found 3 to give her and some fleece to make at least one pieced together one. That led to some more items popping up so now have two bags of slacks, shirts and blouses to donate to the thrift store. So that was good–books, etc.–to do a lot at once, but I think back to one a day is the way to go, especially during the holiday season. I do need to do the kitchen though since I am sure there are a lot more than one that will pop up. I still love this blog best and love the comments. Some other blogs have become mostly their living, which I guess is okay since a lot of them have small children and they are SAHMs wanting to have an income, but it does conflict with the decluttering articles at times. So even if I slack off on the decluttering at times, I keep reading and try to stay motivated. My husband hasn’t completely bought in, but I think he is beginning to realize it is easier to find something if there aren’t so many places to look. He thinks I should know where everything is, lol, but my memory isn’t what it once was–along with my knees, etc. So we do appreciate all that you and your site have done for us. We just don’t always have or take the time to comment. My daughter-in-law declutters, too, and we compare notes when we get together. We have some funny stories to tell each other.

    • Hi Molly, good job decluttering so many books. Sometimes they are the hardest things for people to let go. And isn’t it great when you find a charity to give stuff too. I recently found a knitting group at a local hospital who will happily take my leftover yarn so now my limit of only needing one small drawer to house my knitting supplies is easy to maintain.

  5. Ooo. That’s a beautiful dress. I’d love that cape.

    And I look forward to your post a day. Your daily decluttering was very motivating for me.

    • What Lucinda said!
      My first thought was also “ooo what a beautiful dress” LOL
      I am excited to see your thing-a-day with pictures once again.

      My thing – gave a lovely top to a friend last night, she has the “girls” to fill it out, whereas I no longer do after decluttering about 8 kilos from my body. I offered a second more casual top that missed last weeks thrift bag, and she excitedly took that one too.

    • Thank Lucinda. It is a nice dress. I thought I would try it on expecting it to be too small for me now which would make it even easier to let go of. In fact it was slightly too big. Weird but satisfying.

      Ha ha Stephanie, I have never had “the girls” to fill any top out well. I think that is why the dress looked a little big on me. Didn’t have any spare “chicken Fillets” lying around to stuff my bra will. That would have changed the dynamics of fit somewhat I would think.
      Also well done on the weight loss. I been you can feel the difference.

  6. Last night I took out all of the boxes that contain Christmas decor. I went through one and got rid of a huge garland, about 4 boxes more to go..

    • I only have one box but I think I will be doing the same this year. We have been away or too busy to care about decorating for the last four years or so so haven’t looked in that box for years. Now is a good time to check it out.

  7. Colleen, I so relate. But I have discovered that my life is too cluttered and I am now working on decluttering one thing a day from my “To Do” list so I am less cluttered in the new year.

    • Good for you Deb. I think the more space we free up the better we like and and just want to find more.

      • I have so many other things I would rather do but seem to have let myself get pulled back into doing to many things. SO I had a talk with Mom and we have decided to limit scheduling doctor appointment to only one day of the week and not so many in one month if we can help it. I am going to be talking to one group and telling them I will meet with them once a month but that is it. I can’t see planning to meet every week and then someone cancelling most of the time. I hope to have all the new paperwork (wills, powers of attorney, etc) not only finished but signed, notarized and given out to the right people. I have a lot going on but am going to get it done as quick as I can so I an open up my days again.

        • Deb J – I think what you’re doing is very sensible. I have a friend/acquaintance who always had firm boundaries on how much she’d have on her to-do list – even if it meant her kids missed out on some event or activities – maybe she took it a little too far but it is her life after all. Anyway, I recently text her as I wanted to learn a bit more about her ideas, catch up for coffee etc, lol I’ve gone on her to-do list though at this stage it probably won’t be until in the New Year.

          • Once you meet with her let me now what her ideas are. I think I would like to hear about someone else who is trying to do this.

        • I need to pay attention to this issue too. Although sometimes I just feel like I am getting lazy in my old age. Not that I am all that old.

  8. Colleen – thank you for committing to an advertisement free site and for being the inspiration for so many people! Everything has a season…and sometimes we have to move on from a “good work” so that we are free for a “best work”!
    Personally I have a long way to go…but it is definitely a lot shorter thanks to you!
    I am going to recommit to taking something out of the house each day from now through January 1st. I have let things slide a bit and cleaning and decorating for a family Christmas (yea!) will give me a real incentive to get serious again!
    Here is the U.S. we are wishing each other a blessed Thanksgiving…so I will wish all my friends in the Southern hemisphere a blessed weekend!

    • Hi Karen, and thank you for the nice comment on the blog and the well wishes for the season. I hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving. I love the concept of Thanksgiving and celebrated it yearly for a while after returning to Australia. This year may be the only one when we didn’t but it has been a crazy year and Thanksgiving day was just too hectic for that this year. Must begin again next year.

  9. That is a beautiful dress. I would have second thoughts about leaving it go, also. Once in a while, you have to take a break from decluttering, downsizing, whatever you want to call it. Months ago, I rid myself of bags and bags of stuff. It took a broken water pipe to spur me(us) into action just recently. Our water heater is in a tiny closet which had many of my husband’s clothes and personal items in it. I won’t touch his stuff to declutter, it has to be his decision. When a pipe sprang a leak, we had to empty the closet to access the pipes. His stuff was lying all over the place. I woke up the next day, after the repairs, to find a huge pile of his clothing and various items, ready to be donated, no cajoling on my part. I was proud that I didn’t pick through it and save anything. He even helped me take it to the local thrift shop. This encouraged me to finally clean out my pantry/utility room after 5 years. Tossed, donated, scrubbed and I can finally walk into this tiny room without tripping or banging my head on something.
    We even found room to put extra shelving for actual dry food storage(we have extra food “stuff” sitting on a small window seat, drives me crazy). Even if you pause a bit with major decluttering, pick up something and put it in the donation box or trash. Inspiration will strike again. My next project, get rid of a wonky recliner(works, but kind of doesn’t) and a coffee table which the dogs teethed on, I painted and now never use. Might do this tomorrow if I can lift the items into my truck.

    • Hi NF, I also have a husband who shows initiative when it come to decluttering so I understand how great that can be.
      I also know how some little incident can spur you on with the decluttering. We have just had new flooring put into our apartment and it has got me decluttering like a demon. Reshuffling some things also can make a big difference to the way things fit in, while it also inspires you to declutter to make things fit in easier and neater.

  10. Wear that beautiful gown out to dinner with your husband then declutter it.

    • Hi NF, I also have a husband who shows initiative when it come to decluttering so I understand how great that can be.
      I also know how some little incident can spur you on with the decluttering. We have just had new flooring put into our apartment and it has got me decluttering like a demon. Reshuffling some things also can make a big difference to the way things fit in, while it also inspires you to declutter to make things fit in easier and neater.

    • Oops too late for that Pat. I did consider cutting it off and using it that way but decided I am getting too old for shoestring straps and never was a lover of them in the first place. I’d need to buy a new strapless bra and that seemed like to much bother and expense.

  11. When last I posted, I had a family home to empty in order to move to an apartment. Using your system and encouragement, I had gotten rid of several thousand items (keeping a list and counting items helped keep me motivated). It wasn’t nearly enough but with the help of my family and a 30 yard construction dumpster, we got it finished in one terrible week.
    My first day back at work after the big move, I got very sick. My blood pressure was knocking on heaven’s door and an EKG showed signs of a possible heart attack. After all the tests, the doctors settled on a diagnosis of a severe anxiety attack. One of the consultants told me there is a condition called broken-heart syndrome which occurs sometimes after a major shock like the death of a spouse or child or even a good thing like winning the lottery. It mimics a heart attack but doesn’t necessarily cause the heart damage of a true heart attack. Lots to think about there. I had felt like I was throwing my life away especially that last week but I was donating, passing on to other family members and throwing out – just things.
    Instead of more prescription drugs, my doctor gave me a list of lifestyle changes to work on. He told me to try to drop some weight, get some exercise every day, cut down on caffeine and salt, try yoga or meditation, stop working (I’m 67.) and sleep more. All things in moderation and it seems to be working. My blood pressure has been normal every day except the day after the election.
    I’ve been in my 650 square foot apartment with only two woefully inadequate closets since April and I still have some boxes of stuff to deal with so I think it’s time to start again. I’m going to recommit to one item a day through January 1.

    • Joanie – oh you poor thing! One of my family members suffers from anxiety attacks and they are horrid. He was recently prescribed liquid Kava Kava by a herbalist and it helps enormously. Its non addictive, simply a muscle relaxant.
      All things in moderation. Yes that is fine advice.
      Such a big upheaval in such a short frame of time would be very upsetting, it would be altering the picture of your ‘reality’ so drastically.
      Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Joanie, thank you for sharing your story with us as it is a good example to share. There are always pitfalls along with the benefit to just about everything in life and decluttering is certainly no exception. I am very please that your doctor gave you great advice when it came to lifestyle changes that would help your situation rather than resorting to medication. Sometimes medication is necessary but where it can be avoided is a good thing. Especially when very doable good habits are affective. Good for you.