Adam and Eve

The story of Adam and Eve, I believe, is about more than just defying Gods wishes and giving into temptation. Even many religious people believe this to be a made up story, a parable if you will, to make a point. Or even several points, if you read between the lines.  One clear lesson of this parable, that I see, is to be satisfied with what you have and not be forever wanting for more or other things.

Given the age of this story, even if made up, it is obvious that people have been inherently greedy for a millennia or more. So why is it that no matter how much we have we are always wanting something else. This gets me to thinking about another things that the nuns taught us about in Catholic School, and that is purgatory. This is a place, we were told, where sinners go when they die to suffer for their sins before being allowed into heaven.

Here is the definition as per my Apple Macbook dictionary…

purgatory |ˈpərgəˌtôrē|
noun (pl. purgatories)
(in Roman Catholic doctrine) a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.
• mental anguish or suffering: this was purgatory, worse than anything she’d faced in her life.

It has occurred to me more than once since my school days that it seems that we are already inhabiting such a purgatory. This state of never being satisfied with what we have is certainly a form of suffering in my opinion. It is a state that I am sure many of us would happily live without. It is a constant state of ~ This one next thing, or being just a little more financially comfortable, will make us happy. Then when we reach that state we once again find a new “one next thing or state of financial security” that will make us happy sometime in the future. Preferably sooner rather than later. If that isn’t a form of suffering then I don’t know what is.

My declutter journey has certainly eased this suffering for me, but the demons still come to visit now and again. Financial security is my Achilles heel but the desire to acquire can also creep up on me at times. I must say that I get far more long term satisfaction from letting go of things than I ever do from acquiring them. Maybe there is a lesson not to be missed from that experience.

And I don’t need to tell you that the more we resist these temptations the less we need to declutter.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter shabby fabric items other than clothes. Worn out napkins, rags, table cloths, cushion covers…

Eco Tip for the Day

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The more we refuse to acquire, therefore reducing our consumption and reusing what we already have, the better caretakers of the environment we become. And the less recycling we need to 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

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, I think that not only did Adam and Eve want more but they wanted to be like God. I think we have a tendency to be that way. We want to be like someone else whether that be a friend, a rival, or the people we see in magazines or on TV. It all boils down like you said to not being satisfied/content. I think we all have days when that discontent temps us to buy or hold onto things we don’t need. I think one thing we can all say is that this decluttering process is not only getting rid of excess but is helping us to say no more often to those temptations.

    • I totally agree with Deb J and you too Colleen. Very interesting and can’t wait to see what other’s think on this topic. It’s also good to hear that sometimes you too are faced with and occasionally give in to temptation Colleen, even after being at this decluttering thing for such a long time. It makes it seem more real and relatable. 🙂

    • Some good points there Deb J.

  2. I don’t think we have anything that meets todays mini mission criteria. On the eco mission we are trying really hard. I wanted to get rid of our picket fence by remodeling it – taking out some pickets, adding a top rail and painting it. My husband wanted to get rid of the fence altogether and buy boulders (very expensive and hard work to move), or a new fence. Because the fence is in good shape, remodeling the current fence has resulted in minimal expense for paint and a small out of wood for the top rail. This project has brought up my husband’s desire for a new type of saw, which he says is necessary for the job. He is not really the do-it -yourself type. We discussed the option of borrowing one as he will probably not use it again anytime soon. He was able to borrow a saw versus buying one and save several hundred dollars, and we do not have to store it with all the other tools that rarely get used.

    • Well done Sheryl, it sounds like you did a great job of corralling your husband away from getting carried away buying unnecessary things there. You get a gold star for both being environmentally friendly and clutter avoidance. Give yourself a pat on the back from me.

    • Cheryl, what a good job of bringing your husband into the equation and getting him to go the less expensive, more decluttered side.

  3. I can desire things , but not wish to own them.
    I now have a certain amount of guilt when I browse these small independent shops that have the most gorgeous and desirable items, because I get enjoyment from browsing but I am not supporting them economically.

    • Hi Wendy, I understand what you are saying here. We also have to think of our own finances and the state of our homes. That isn’t to say we can’t indulge occasionally.

  4. I think I did today’s mission a week early–since last week I put about a dozen dish towels into the rag bag. (We use a lot of rags in the kitchen instead of paper towels.) I did get the urge last night to start going through my sewing materials again and have 2 garbage bags for the thrift shop so far–included a few UFOs that would be simple for someone to finish, but decided I didn’t really like them enough to finish them, since I have more altering to do.
    I still like to browse at the thrift shop or Goodwill (which is near Home Depot & Lowe’s so I can go there while my husband is buying whatever at either of those stores). I don’t necessarily find anything, and have been known to change my mind and put something back, lol. I ask if I really love it, or is it just all right since I have plenty of all rights. This doesn’t a waste my time since otherwise I would be wasting it looking at plastic pipe, plumbing parts, lumber, etc. This only happens about once a month or so, and seems to cure any desire to shop. In a regular store my mind goes kind of blank at the rows and rows of clothes that are just alike except for colors.
    I guess I like practical rather than fussy so don’t usually pine for someone else’s fancy furniture and furnishings. In fact I am amazed that people choose the heavy comforters (in US) for winter & summer and then pile umpteen pillows on top of the bed, too. This means they run the air conditioner very cold, and all the pillows make making the bed a nightmare. Also I have been to houses where the towels were “for show”, and if you washed your hands, you were at a loss as to how to dry them, lol. With our children the rules kept down a lot of other problems–they had to eat at the table, snacks as well as meals, no wandering all over the house leaving dirty dishes and dirty hand prints all over the house. They were to go brush their teeth when they left the table, too, so if they brushed their teeth, they nearly had to wash their hands. But the furniture was sturdy and we didn’t fuss about it. Most of the furnishings came from garage sales so if something did get broken (rarely happened) it wasn’t a big deal. The same with clothes and toys. But I have seen mothers chew their kids out for getting their clothes dirty playing, etc. etc Because they were wearing expensive clothes.

    • Oh Nana! You hit the nail on the head with people who have so many pillows and comforters and quilts on their beds! They see them displayed in the stores and try to mimic it at home . I like to Keep it simple , less washing , dusting , ironing and making a large bed with all those extras is so time consuming and back breaking .

      • Nana and Wendyf – LOL I am one of those people who has decorative pillows on the bed. My mum is big on soft furnishings so I grew up thinking it was normal. Unfortunately my husband didn’t like them so for 20 years we didn’t have any throw pillows but recently I introduced a few to bring in a bit of colour. So far no major objections from hubby.

    • Nana, I too wonder about the big heavy comforters and all those pillows here in the US. I think it is just one of those things the magazines & TV have taught people to think they have to have. My mother is like that and complains about not wanting people to come over because she has to make her bed. I make my bed every day by pulling up the sheet. Grin.

    • Hi Nana, I used to be one of those people who had haft a dozen cushions on my bed. Now when I walk into my room I just love the simplicity of my bedding arrangement. I don’t even have the doona on the bed for most of the year. My kids never had expensive clothes so we sure didn’t have the issue.