An update from Sanna

Hello everyone!

Colleen asked me to write a little update, so here it is. My challenge was to declutter 20 things a day for three weeks and possibly longer if I realized that there was still a lot more to go.

As I started a few days early compared to most of you, when this post will be scheduled I will be almost two weeks in. I have by now decluttered more than 200 things around my home! I can’t really tell whether it makes a difference for the home staying tidy yet. We had to reshuffle quite a bit as we now have a guest staying here and she brought some things of her own as well.

Having her over brought on some more motivation even. She is guest at our house at the end of a year-long stay before she moves back to her home country, so she has all her momentary belongings with her. She decluttered most of her household supplies etc before coming over and really has “little” stuff, just clothes (but for all seasons), cosmetics and a couple of “beautiful things” she wants to keep. When seeing her stuff all cumulated the day she arrived, I was shocked how much she had to carry, although it was really just clothes and a couple of other things. I had to think of a comment on 365lessthings a few weeks back where someone mentioned his goal to reduce his possessions to two boxes per room. After seeing how much space so few possessions take up, I think that we do tend to underestimate the volume and amount of stuff we own. I certainly do: I didn’t count all my thread, but I got rid of 50 spools in the last days and guess that wasn’t even half of it!

When I set up this challenge, I feared that 20 things a day would be a little too much maybe and that I would run out of things to get rid of after three to four weeks. Well, I definitely know better now. Some days I had a little more time and got rid of individual items like kitchen items, empty files or greeting cards I don’t intend to send anymore, other days I was in a rush and just opened some drawer, counted up to 20 pens, spools of thread, pencils, paints, paint brushes or small hardware bits and removed them from our home. I did count most things individually, apart from a little container full of beads and sequins which I used to round up one day’s 17 items to the full 20.

The 240 things I got rid of so far really didn’t take up much space. It’s merely about a shopping bag full. However, when I think that there were 240 completely random unnecessary things around that could be decluttered in the blink of an eye, I am rather happy I took up this challenge.

So I will continue and definitely keep at it for the whole month of July! There are still random things in the hardware and craft areas and I didn’t even start going through photos, reusable shopping bags or cleaning supplies.

In the comments to last week’s post, Tracy linked to her blog where she keeps count of what she decluttered during here challenge. For some visual inspiration I share it here:

I think, she’s doing great: there’s so much that left the house already!

How are your challenges going?

Today’s Mini Mission

I will ~ Declutter something your have been telling yourself for sometime that you will declutter. Now is the time to let it go if you think that way.

Eco Tip for the Day

Decide what you need from the refrigerator before opening the door. Standing there with the door open while you think about what you want to eat just lets the cold air out. Then the fridge has to work harder and waste electricity to regain its optimal temperature level.

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:

  • 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. Mom visited 2 days last week while they repaired her house’s a/c. In my cool house, she helped me cull out too much wrapping paper and linens. Maybe 20 items all together, but now my linen cabinet is neater and the charity shop has nice items to sell. Plus, mom is an excellent folder so all the remaining lines are perfectly folded, so tidy and pretty.

  2. Sanna, it sounds like you are getting lots of things decluttered. I love how all of us are getting there. I haven’t decluttered anything this week. Haven’t had the time. I hope to work on it tomorrow.

    • Deb J, have a relaxing week end and maybe a little relaxing declutter as well!

      For me, I think it really has a lot to do with adjustment. I’ve so often felt that I “don’t have that much left”, but then a few weeks later I realized that there was still so much more that could go. Also, I’m now decluttering many things that have been part of a use-it-up-challenge since I first started off decluttering. We haven’t bought office supplies or sewing supplies for years, but obviously the stock was still more than sufficient! Time to actively reduce there!

      • Sanna, I kow what you mean about all the use it up supplies for the office, etc. That’s one of the things I want to work on. I have gradually been finding people to pass things on to. For instance, I gave the secretary at church a box of envelopes because I have only used one in about 4 years. We used to use them all the time but things changed. So rather than using them up I gave them to someone who can actually use them. I’m really tired of having some of this stuff around.

        • Deb J – that is an excellent point. It doesn’t matter who uses them up, as long as they get used up.

  3. Hi Sanna,

    I’m trying to keep with the 10 items per day that I promised. If I miss a day, I try and make up for it. I started with old photos that were in albums. Thinned them out and got rid of 3 albums. When I complete all the albums, I will try and use the existing albums to store the leftovers from the discarded first 3; they were the type that had materials that are not photo friendly. I’m hoping I will not have a need to purchase a new album but that will depend on the condition of the remaining albums I need to edit. I also got rid of some condiments and juices from the refrigerator for recycling. I try and toss or set aside for donations any items that I come across, as I notice them.

    • Anna – I am leaving photos to the absolute last project. I’m mostly working on CD’s and DVD’s this week, but grabbing the odd thing here and there around the house as I go about my day.

    • Wow, that is quite a project, Anna! Photos are quite difficult, aren’t they? But it sounds as if you were on the right track! Keep it up!

  4. Great post Sanna, it is amazing how those things add up. It is also amazing how easily we find these things when we set ourselves a tangible goal. Putting a number on things to be decluttering in lots sure focuses the intension. I have been busy all week and haven’t been able to be so involved in the blog comments but still there is decluttering going on in my house. A friend gave me a pile of craft paper for my card making so I in turn gave a pile of my older papers the my granddaughter as part of her birthday gift. I also gave her adhesive, ribbon and embellishments. One in one out. However I have also put aside hundreds of beads and several pieces of my old jewellery to try to sell at our art space fete this weekend. Next week I will have more time to focus on keeping a proper count and hopefully photo catalogue it as I go.

    • Colleen, it sounds as if you are letting go of quite a lot, too! Yes, papers and other craft items sure build up quickly! There’s no problem with that as long as you go through them and get rid of the ones that probably won’t be used anymore.

  5. It’s great that you are purging your home of excess. It doesn’t matter if it is small or large pieces. In my experience, it is all the little things that seem to multiply in drawers and boxes that make keeping an organized and tidy house difficult. They don’t seem to stay in their drawers and boxes for a start. I know the million pens and pencils we had in this house ended up everywhere but where they were supposed to be. (I’m blaming the cats. Shhh.)

    I made a bit of progress on our multipurpose room. I used a brass…pot? container? thing that my mom got in Egypt a billion years ago to hold her video game CD roms. It is more attractive than the plastic container they were previously in. Also we had it already in the house collecting miscellaneous junk so now it has an actual purpose. I will probably use the plastic container for her DVDs under the television and get rid of the crappy plastic drawer thing they are currently in.

    So only one thing will be decluttered but something rather lovely has a function as well as looking nice.

    • Haha, you’re so right about the pens! That’s what made me set this challenge in the first place – I don’t have any cats to blame! 😉

      Great that you did some reshuffling and put that container to good use. I did something similar a few months back. I got rid of all the jewelry I don’t wear and rehomed it in a little wooden box I inherited. The jewelry box I had before wasn’t bad, but it was just a practical item, nothing special to me, while this little wooden box is one of my little “treasures” and had no practical use before. I had to minimize my jewelry further to make it fit, but it was worth it and feels so good. A box I love full of pieces I love. 😀

    • Rachel – It’s ok to blame the cats once in a while!! I moved my couch the other day and realized why it seems there are never any toys for them…there must have been twenty little mice and balls under there!

      • Hahaha. They were using your couch to store their toys, Tracy. Cat organization at its finest.

  6. Thanks so much for all the inspiration Sanna – and I SO appreciate the push with this challenge!

    I cleaned out the big pile of old newspaper and magazines we had in the living room and started to tackle the pile left from the filing cabinet. My son aided the one item per day I was going to get rid of by growing out of his two good pairs of pants! 🙂 At least it’s summer here and he can wear shorts until we buy him some new ones. The pants were donated and I actually decided that 5 items per day is more than reasonable for me to clean out right now along with the paper. We’re painting the kitchen (that one’s done), living room, our bedroom and the main floor hall this summer and I’m decluttering as I clean for prepping everything. Since I have to pull it all out anyway, I might as well go through it, right? Tell me again why I’ve hung on to all this junk?!?!

    Rachel W. – love the idea of using the brass pot to hold the game items! I think I’ll have to rethink some of my containers this week.

    • Painting sounds like a great reason to go through all your stuff. Nothing like a little redecorating to inspire decluttering.

      Thanks, Lea! It was really just me looking around the room and wondering what I could possibly use the brass containers for. Two are in use and I’m hoping to find uses -legitimate uses – for the rest. Let me know if you come up with any container inspiration. I’m always interested in what other people use for storage.

    • Great to hear, that you are doing so well, Lea!

  7. Sanna – you are doing great! I’m glad I signed on to this challenge, nothing like a deadline or a goal to get things moving.

    I have sorted a big box of papers, a good 200 went into the document destruction bin at work, who knows how long I would have let them sit nicely contained in the box without the drive to get my 400 happening. Clothing has been sorted and a box is awaiting to go as is a bag going to Goodwill of random household items. I have been having a sift thru our remaining books – I doubt it will be a heroic sounding exodus, but lets see what comes of it. I am currently working on CD’s and DVD’s. I probably won’t have any progress to report until closer to the end as I have to consult with other family members, including the extended family who no doubt will be the likely recipients of DVD’s.

    • Wow, Moni, that is quite a lot!
      My next areas will be the rag box, the shopping bag drawer and the “memories” box (mostly photos). And I’ll probably go through office supplies and sewing box again. I found a friend who’d like to take my sewing supplies, so I’ll have a look if I find even more stuff for him. 🙂

  8. Just an extra thought – the boxes that were dumped in my bedroom during garage painting, all are gone except one and that holds some books.

    I had a friend call in unexpectedly the other day – I apologised for the “mess” as I had a storage bin of CD’s and a storage bin of photo boxes, albums etc and a box of folders (these have to be re-housed within the house, the cupboard they were in fell apart while shifting for painting) in the lounge. To me it is a real eye sore but I’m leaving them there to annoy me, ergo motivate me to do a bit each night. She laughed and said she remembers when my house was entirely like that, every surface had stuff, every spare space between pieces of furniture had boxes or something, lots more furniture. She said she was kind of pleased to see my ‘mess’ because it made her feel a wee bit better about her house. I decided to take it as a compliment.

    • Does leaving it there motivate you? I’ve heard that some people just learn to ignore that kind of thing. I can’t ignore something like that unless I’m super busy. Maybe I should do that with with the last bin of paperwork I have to sort. Stick in my room where I will see it everyday and it will bug until I do something about it. Gonna give it a shot. Thanks for the idea!

      • Rachael W – once upon a time it would probably have just blended in. Now I am used to seeing clear space I find it an eyesore having these boxes there, a bit like a broken window would be.

        However, I found the boxes in the lounge area bothered me more than when there were some boxes in my bedroom though. And for that reason I made sure I started with the ones being stored in my room first. My guess is that I spend more time in the living areas and visitors don’t see my bedroom. If I moved these storage bins to the garage, progress would probably stop, so for now, when I sit down at the end of the day to watch something on TV, I see these bright pink with white polka dot CD storage boxes stacked in a clear storage bin, right beside the screen.

        I guess it’s a case of finding what prompts you into action and mixing it up as need be.

  9. i dragged out and set up my ancient scanner and have finally started tackling my paperwork. i’ve been wanting to digitilise my paper for years & now ive started thanks to this challenge. its painfully slow as my scanner is old & very slow but i have scanned over 200 pages. i think the challenge will last the rest of the year but i have set it up so i can do it while watching tv. so the bonus is guilt free tv time!!

    • Kristina, that sounds like a monstrous task, but also as if you found a great way to tackle it. Good luck with your further scanning and decluttering!

  10. Sanna, thanks for the shout-out! Now I really need to stick to my challenge 🙂

    I agree that even if it’s little tiny things we’re decluttering, it’s amazing to think just how many little tiny things there are! When I told my fiance what I was up to, he balked- he thought I would have nothing left when I was done. I told him that I had already gotten rid of a hundred things at that point and asked if he had even noticed…he looked at the ceiling, and said “ummm…”

    I had him converted when I told him the more I clear out now, the less he has to move in August!

    • You do fabulous, Tracy!

      I got my boyfriend’s consent to declutter as much as I like (concerning rather random stuff that is there for practical reasons… Of course not his books or CDs or such) without having to ask him, so off we go! 😉

  11. I have failed miserably at this challenge! I’ve been going through some personal issues that have been keeping me down and not-at-all motivated. I have set up a tentative (hopeful?) goal for the weekend though. First on the list is weeding the garden. Rain has brought out a ton of weeds and I darn near can’t tell the real plants from the weeds! Second, what didn’t sell at my yard sale in June needs to be put in the truck and donated. Third, I KNOW there have got to be some wee things I can get rid of. I like the idea of taking leftover/unloved lotions to work to share – fantastic idea! Time to get off my tush and get busy. 🙂

    • Michelle, everyone has these times when progress is more difficult, so don’t let yourself down! You got some good goals set, so good luck with those! (even if it takes a little longer than the weekend)

  12. Sanna,
    Congratulations to you and everyone else on board with the challenge.
    Getting rid of bumpf not used is a good thing whether large or small items.
    I am loving and using that term, bumpf, to describe junk, rubbish and clutter ever since Doodle’s post. Those living in the UK make everything sound special 🙂

    • Thank you! I like the term “bumpf” as well, it’s always fun to learn new vocabulary on this site… 😉

  13. Hi Sanna!

    I did not formally accept the challenge, but have been diligently going through books. Guess I have gotten rid of about 40, so I’m making progress. I have also been decluttering in general for a while now. I don’t know if I saw it on this blog or another, but my new motto is “Just Let Go”. It is amazing how that has helped me!

    On an unrelated subject that goes way back to our previous discussion regarding canning jars………it is almost time to start canning in the US. You said something in one of your comments that I would like to have more information about. I wonder if you would be willing/have time to correspond with me temporarily on that subject????? I could send my email address to Colleen to pass on to you if you could find it in your decluttered heart to do so. : ) I would be forever grateful!


    • Sure, Brenda, if I can be of help to you!

      Great to hear that you did get rid of so much! I think, “just let go” is a great motto. I’m absolutely in that mood as well. It seems as if my boyfriend was, too! He just said the other day “I trust your judgement whether we still need this stuff or not, so throw it away if you want!” Heehee!

      • Oh, Sanna, that is so great that your boyfriend is on the bandwagon, too!!! My problem is the Just in Case stuff since I grew up poor. Also, being frugal, I tend to think if I save it, I won’t have to replace it in the future! I hate to shop. But, I’m improving on Just Letting Go instead of saving for Just in Case!!!

        Thank you so much for offering to help with my question on canning differences between countries!!!!!! I will send my mail to Colleen in the next few days and perhaps she will forward it on to you for me!

  14. Colleen,
    Thanks for sharing Tracy’s blog. I so enjoyed the visual and her blog provided as much enjoyment as your’s does.

  15. Thank you for the help. I am still going. Everyday except today I have gotten rid of 20 things in the sewing room. Today I got rid of 8 old pens out of there. I went to the den and found more than enough to meet my 20 a day goal. Now to keep it up this week.