A thing a day ~ Days 3 & 4


The item for day three is a batch of cleaning rags etc, from my laundry, that don’t perform very well. What use is a cleaning rag the doesn’t leave you with a perfect finish. So these are going in the bin. I’d donate them but that would only be foisting the problem onto someone else. 


The items form day four are a selection of greeting cards that I have filled out ready to post for the December birthdays. They may not seem like a declutter item to you but the truth is that I have been so slack at posting birthday cards this year that the stash I have has become like clutter to me as it is so slow moving. So actually getting around to doing this feels like decluttering. I hope to be more organised next year so I reduce my stash to a reasonable amount so it doesn’t take up much room in the house. To explain my slackness in the this area of my life I would like to point out that it takes Australia post about a week to get anything anywhere these day and my Google calendar has been set to remind me a week in advance about upcoming events. When it comes to sending cards one needs a two week reminder in order to fill out the card and get to a postal box in order to mail it and then there is the procrastination factor. Well that’s my pathetic excuse anyway.

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Hi Colleen,

    I agree with you about certain fabrics that are useless for cleaning… they are in the trash! That is why I don’t make rags from clothing I no longer want. It usually isn’t a great fabric for cleaning. I do strip off any buttons, though, and add to my button stash if they are interesting ones. If they are plain shirt buttons, I donate them as such (because I don’t sew) 🙂

    Being Thanksgiving in the US, today we decluttered a lot of food 🙂

    • Peggy, we decluttered a lot of food, too (that was cute), but I’m concerned that it may reappear as waist clutter!!!!

    • Hi Peggy, I donate my interesting buttons to a friend who makes ceramics and like you the boring ones go to the thrift shop. I just have a glass jar I pop them into, along with unwanted craft embellishments and drop it off to the thrift shop with a pile of other stuff.

  2. Colleen, I totally understand about the card declutter! I send a lot of cards and I prepare them early. Then, I can’t wait to get them out of the house. Ha! I usually mail a week early. You have made me feel better about mail in the US, though. I have been unhappy about the fact that what used to go overnight now has a day in between. But, a week!! That is awful! However, to go across country here, it is about 5 days.


    (I wrote the article about homemade cleaning supplies but it was returned to me with all kinds of goofy symbols in it and words divided in weird places. If you will send me the email where you’d like it sent, I will try to remove the symbols and resend it. Also, please put your email in the body of the letter, as it doesn’t show in the address line. Perhaps you could use it as a fill in when you are out of town. )

    • Hi Brenda, I am also excited about sending out 20+ Christmas cards in the next couple of days. I made way too many of them last year to sell at my art space and they didn’t sell well. At least I didn’t have to make any this year, I just used last years but there are still too many. I think the cards have slowed in sales because the postage jumped form 70c to $1 and is now so slow that people just send messages online.

      And as usual I am slow with the emails. Especially last week as we were suddenly having new flooring fitting in the apartment. We procrastinated over it for so long and the when we ordered it on Monday there was a cancelled fitting for someone else and they phoned and asked would we be ready to have it done on Thursday. Yikes, nearly had conniptions. But we managed. Thank goodness for the good weather because most of our furniture was on the balcony for two days. I will check my mail and get back to you soon.

      • LOL, Colleen – conniptions, now there’s a word you don’t hear very often.

        • Nicole, when I was growing up, someone would be “having a conniption fit”! I hadn’t heard that in a while either. Fun!!

          Colleen, if postage gets to .75 or $1.00 in the US, I won’t be buying/sending Christmas cards at all!!! And I’m already planning another downsizing of the birthday cards to send. Thankfully, my stash on hand has diminished as well. should use it up this next year!

          • LOL, Brenda. You never know what you’ll come across on Colleen’s blog – that’s one of the great things about it.

  3. After a great Thanksgiving, in the mist of clean up found 2 items to pass on. I’m getting rid of a set of turkey lifters I thought would be useful, but doesn’t work any better than heavy serving forks.

    Also getting rid of a round compartment relish tray. Every time I use it, think plates & bowls would the job, take up much less space & have more variety of functions…so out it goes.

    Glad to see you back to original blog format Colleen.

  4. Earlier this week, I donated four bags of clothes (my kids still are growing and going through the clothes, and I convinced my husband to contribute a suit he no longer wears as well as a couple of shirts, and I threw in a few items of my own); a stand-up mixer that I don’t use anymore; a bag of yarn, craft supplies and a pattern book; two boxes of zhu zhu pets and their accessories; and some stuffed animals. It was great to get those items out of the house. Now to convince my daughter to part with her play kitchen and similar items that she hasn’t used in more than a year and that are sitting around the basement. She recently cleaned out some Barbie items, games, play purses, games, etc., so I know that when she’s ready to part with her kitchen and accessories, she will. I just keep asking her.

  5. First the rags, I finally had Mom go through hers a few wees ago and try them out to see if they even work well. Guess what went in the trash? Most of them. I have to tell you we are getting rid of all but a couple of microfiber cloths. I hate doing it but since they have to be washed separately that means either buying more so we can have at least half a load or washing them by hand. Gave them away. Back to using Swiffer cloths. We use both sides but I still cringe every time.

    Cards, I did poorly with this the last year and it drove me nuts. SO one of the first things I did this month was mae all the cards for the birthdays and anniversaries this year and have the all ready to go. They are in a clear men’s shoe drawer from The Container Store. I have my calendar set to tell me when they need to be mailed. Ah! I feel so much better.

    I learned of a new online Second Hand clothing store here in the US called ThreadUp. You go online and pic what you want and they send it to you. You can also send clothes to them you don’t want. I haven’t tried it yet but I want to. I just have to find the time to shop the site. Loos pretty cool to me.

  6. We always used (and still use) the rags made from old clothes in the kitchen instead of using paper towels (except for actual cooking, such as draining fried foods). We (and the children) called them throw-away-rags and used them to wipe up spills anywhere inside or outside the house, to wipe plates before washing, to wipe grease and oils from skillets, etc. They went immediately into the kitchen trash, and were never ever washed. I always thought of it as kind of a green thing–one more use of something useless. We used cloth napkins and cloth towels to dry our hands in the kitchen, so we did not buy many paper towels, compared to most families.
    As far as microfiber cloths are concerned, though it says not to wash them in a regular load or dry them in the dryer, I just throw them in and cannot see that it makes much difference–not enough to matter to me at least. I do dishes by hand and cut a large cloth in half to get the size I like.

    • Molly, I do that with my husbands discarded tee shirts. He ruins them pretty fast unfortunately, but it makes me feel better to cut them up and use them that one last time before trashing. Like you, I use them in the kitchen. I keep them in a covered bowl on the counter where they are handy.

  7. I am trying to get my pantry back under control at the moment. I think a couple of things changed at the purchasing end and it has caused a flow on effect down the line. Also my younger daughter is home for the summer and she now loves cooking and rules the kitchen with exuberant creative chaos. Older daughter shares the main meals but purchases her own breakfast and lunch food so one of the lower shelves has her stash. I roll my eyes a bit at this. And invariably when a hotspot of untidiness appears it seems to be open invitation for odd things to gather.

    My dry goods range has expanded a bit lately but on the plus side the canned goods has also decreased, so maybe I need to re-allocate some space and consider my storage situation.

    As it is due for a Spring Clean I will no doubt find some insurgent items lurking.

  8. Idgy of the North

    This group continues to inspire me. Out goes an extra blanket, outgrown winter boots, outgrown hoodie, pail I used to make laundry detergent in and pull out keyboard tray that my husband tried and didn’t like. Also going through drawers. I put several things from kitchen drawers into the trial separation space.

    As the holidays approach, am going to use this opportunity to ask the kids to go through their rooms and make some decisions. They have a whole bunch of books and toys that are not looked at anymore (youngest is in middle school and eldest is in high school).

  9. I too keep a stash of rags in the kitchen for the drips/drops that hit the floor. Then out they go! I give household budgeting classes to parents within the program I work for and one of the things I tell them is, “get your paper towels off the counter!” Such an expensive one use product…we use kitchen towels for counters and the rags for the floor. A roll of paper towels last forever in my house. Also use cloth napkins (when the kids were small they would pick out their own napkin rings for the season) and toss them in with the towels. Around here something has to be used at least twice before it’s tossed.
    On another note…have been rejuvenated by the re-focus on one thing out a day and have been successful so far!
    Love reading about children being home for the summer and spring cleaning! Here we are looking through the cold weather clothing to see what needs replacing!

    • Hi Karen, you are so right about paper towel. I use it very sparingly. I also use very little cling wrap and even that is only because when my daughter moved over a year ago she left a roll behind. Otherwise there wouldn’t even be any in the house.

  10. I finally got my new computer and can respond to some of your posts. Just wanted to say that I am bundling together lots of blank cards for donation. Many charities in the U.S. have decided that what will get us to donate to them is to send us cards. I hope I can lift the donation bin after I have sorted them into bundles.
    I would not have thought of this without your post.