An Update On ~ Five Items I Won’t Declutter

Way way back on Day 258 of my decluttering journey I wrote this post on five items I won’t declutter. Today I am writing an update on that post. Pictured below are the five items in question.


So which of these items do I still own that I would never part with.

The Flour Sifter ~ As I have mentioned previously was decluttered. It left on the 19th Oct, 2012. As I mentioned in this post I decided I no longer needed it, either for practical or sentimental reasons.

The Can Opener ~  This I still have. It serves me well and I have no need to replace it with some new fancy modern equivalent. This old fashioned type is good enough for me.

The Peg Bag ~ Natural progression finally took hold of this item. It got very old and even rattier than it looks in the photo. I used it to make a pattern to sew a similar one for my daughter but I chose not to replace mine. Instead I began using a plastic basket I already owned. This substitution started out as a trial separation, knowing that I could make another if I wished, but I have not as yet bothered to do so. A part of it still remains, the coat hanger within it was used in my daughters new version. Hers is made from a luscious rich red corded velour fabric remnant that I got cheap at a craft shop.

The Laptop ~ This was replaced long ago. It was over six years old and not cooperating well. So in essence it wasn’t decluttered just substituted. It was sold on eBay and hopefully some tech savvy person managed to revamp it and it is still in use somewhere today.

The Grill Pan ~ This is another of those old, well seasoned items that is still in my possession. It is great for cooking pancakes and many other foods on. It was secondhand when my mother-in-law gave it to me and I know that if I decided I didn’t want it my daughter would be happy to take it off my hands.

All these items were of great service to me. They were, and in some cases still are, used and used and used. This is the kind of stuff that I find most valuable in my home. No fancy china, not mementoes of past achievements, not an extensive wardrobe or status symbols. Just good old fashioned useful stuff.

Here is what my daughter wrote in the comments of that original post back on day 258:-

I almost fell over when I saw the photo that was next to this post when it came up on Facebook. It was the one of the skillet from grandma and I thought you’d gotten rid of it. It’s honestly the greatest skillet known to man..and the rest of those items are all some of my favorites. A little bit because they’re just really useful and good items to have around the house but also because through all the moving that we’ve done over the years, they’ve always been with us to make each new house feel like home.

Decluttering isn’t all about getting rid of stuff it is more about sorting out and only keeping the good stuff that is truly important to you for whatever reason.

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. I too have gotten rid of things I said I never would. Right now I have my American Girl dolls and their accessories (from when I was 12-ish? I’m going to be 35!) and I decided to see if I can sell them on Craigslist. At one point I would have never parted with them for sentimental reasons. But now I can see potential without them. Free space! Moving on to the next phase of my life! Plus I have two boys who have NO interest in them. They have become clutter, but sell-able clutter.

    Also with time I seem to change how I view items. I was just thinking about donating some decorations that used to be my grandmother’s. I remembered them being really nice in my head, decorating her house – I loved to see them over the holidays. But when I pulled them out they were just sort of sad (to me) and old. They weren’t the same not being in her house, when she was alive. I’m sure someone would see their vintage charm and snap them up, but for me they just dredge up weird, unnamed feelings and emotions. I think I need to let them go finally. Things have changed!

    • Which American Girl dolls do you have? I still have mine as well (or at least my parents still do!). I’m sure I’ll get to the point of seeing them as clutter, but I’m not quite there yet! I know I’ll have to get there in the near future though; my parents have both retired so there’s a good chance they’ll be downsizing soon!

      • My daughter has McKenna, Caroline, Marie-Grace, Saige, Molly, and a lookalike doll. I think my daughter has purchased 4 of them out of her own money. My mother gives money for birthdays and Christmas as she can’t get out to shop anymore and also slips the kids $5 and $10 here and there. My daughter saves it all for her dolls. She plays and plays with them by herself and at some of my son’s sporting events (one of the kids has a little sister who loves the dolls, too, and that’s what the girls bring to do).

        I used to think they were the most ridiculous things in the world, and then we started reading the books together. I LOVE them, and my daughter is now very interested in history and other lifestyles. I’ve learned and relearned a lot of history that I either never knew or that I’d forgotten about, so I love them as much as she does.

        Which dolls do you have?

      • I have Samantha and Kristen, and a ton of Samantha’s accessories. My grandmother bought me Samantha, but I used to save my money and buy different accessories and the Kristen doll. They are still in their original boxes LOL. I imagine if I had girls, I would have let them get played with long ago. But instead they sit in their dusty boxes, and I know I have to get rid of them. They just don’t have the same magic they used to in my eyes.

        One thing I have yet to want to part with are my Barbies. I keep them packed up in my basement on a top shelf, so they are protected. For some reason those hold more fond memories than the American Girl dolls. I spent many hours playing with them, alone and with my friends. I also have Rainbow Bright dolls, I kept my original four and got rid of the others (some which were duplicates). I don’t know why I keep them, but I just look at them and they make me happy.

    • My daughter is into American Girl items now and wants to give them to her kids when she’s grown up with a family (she’s almost 8 and planning ahead apparently!). Let’s hope she has girls who like what will then be old dolls. I’m trying to get her to part with the baby dolls and less important bigger dolls that she doesn’t play with so much. Every few months, she will get rid of something to donate to another little girl who doesn’t have much, but sometimes it’s hard for her.

      I’m very sentimental about Christmas decorations and never thought you could have too many, but I recently parted with some that have been around since I was a kid (a long time ago). We have so many of our own and my kids make ornaments as well, so I decided to donate them to a family who doesn’t have any decorations for Christmas. I also gave them an artificial tree (we get a real one, so it was just sitting around in storage after my parents gave it to me), some lights and sparkly garland that we can’t use because the cats eat it.

      I also recently donated a casserole dish that my mother used when I was a kid. Many wonderful meals were prepared in it, and I’ve tried several times to get rid of it as I don’t use it much but I felt too attached to it. I heard about a woman who was starting a household from scratch and had a couple of small children, so I decided to donate it to her. We have a wonderful organization in town that helps people who are so desparately in need that they cannot afford even second-hand shops, so I give them all the things I decide I don’t need. I love the fact that the woman who runs the organization usually has someone in mind to give the items to when I donate them – makes it much easier when I’m feeling sentimental and clingy but know deep down I can part with something.

      • Hi Donna B. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I went through the Christmas purge several months ago. I started off collecting Victorian decorations (not vintage ones), then went to the Colorado woodsy theme, then completely retro – vintage ornaments from the 50’s-60’s. I have decluttered the Victorian and the woodsy stuff and pared down the retro ornaments and I think I am happy with that look. However, I will do a thorough look-see when I pull out the decorations this year.

        When I donate things, I feel better knowing that they’ll go to a local family or such. A friend picked up two coats this a.m. for another lady who is taking them to a reservation and I hope they’ll help somebody this winter. 🙂

  2. I have a biggish box of things ready to go to the women’s shelter thrift shop. All are things that not even a year ago Mom said she would not get rid of. I love how time changes our minds.

  3. I would like to post about the mini mission set for today, the bedroom. I had a laundry basket on the floor that was full of things for the consignment store. I took them there last week and she only accepted ONE handbag! Very disappointing….I didn’t have the energy after that to sort further and deal with it all but today I did. I must admit, some things got relocated to the office closet as they will go onto Craig’s List soon. They are too good for donation now, later, we’ll see. A bag of clothes went into my car for Goodwill to drop off this week….In my closet was a basket full of Christmas items I was going to gift to Santa collectors in my family, tie ornaments on packages to give away, etc. but decided they will be given to our church fair in Nov. to help raise money for missions. Since I am busy that day and can’t shop (and what a great excuse for not bringing more into the house), I did want to help out the cause. For me it is a win-win. I move things out of the bedroom and help my church by having things for others to buy! I hope to be posting everyday this week as I have been lax in decluttering since moving into our new home and emptying all the boxes. With this week’s mini missions, I see more I can do daily in every room of the house.

    • Kim, I like your idea of giving things to the church to use to raise money. We have done that several times and it really was great.

      • Thanks Deb J…..I look at it this way, the fair needs items to sell to make the money for missions, so some of us supply the goods and others purchase them……. 🙂

  4. This is a great post! Yes I have stood with a metaphoric pitchfork in my hands and swore I’d never get rid of (insert name) and then eventually (and somewhat sheepishly) found myself getting rid of it. But right this second I cant think of what, proof that the seperation wasnt nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be! I am out of town today and will think on the trip home.

    At the moment there is a ‘will never get rid of’ item that is waiting to go to its new home, so I’ll talk about that. I loved Laura Inghalls Wilder’s Little House books as a little girl. I eventually cobbled together a mismatched, worn out looking series from second book stores, markets etc so I could have my own set. Eventually they fell apart and I didnt replace. Fast forward to my daughter around age 7, who at the time was reading constantly, and I decided to buy her the set all nice and new. I discovered that there was a new re-release of the books, beautiful spines and cover borders in a gingham design AND using Laura’s noted they’d written a series each on her mother’s and grandmother’s childhoods, plus a series of what came next for Laura and her family, and of course her daughter Rose. And be-still my beating heart, each series likewise had a spine and cover border design in a fabric print representing each girl. For someone who loves books, loved the series, and loves a collection, this became a year long mission to collect them all. It was a painful process researching the isbn numbers so I’d get the matching book and ordered it in, our usual book retailer brought in most, but a number of them I had to find online and order in. Eventually I had the whole set and they are beautiful, my daughter loved them and many admired them. Eventually my daughter outgrew them and they have been carefully stored in a cupboard as I planned never to rid of them. Recently I learnt my niece now 6 is quite the young reader and I have decided that she can have them. My SIL was surprised I was happy to part with them but I’m happy they are going to someone who I know will appreciate them.

    I think that is the key to ‘never give away’ items, they need to go to someone who will love them or appreciate them as much as we do and then its ok to part with them.

    • Hi Moni! I loved your story! As a book lover myself I know it can be wrenching to give books away. However, as I never did a collection as carefully and as dedicated as you did, I don’t think I know just how difficult it was to give stuff away.

    • Hi Moni,
      I had a similar experience with a treasured book collection. My Mom saved all our Dr. Seuss books (and other toys!) and asked my brother and I a few years ago when we would take them. (We are in our fifties and didn’t have a clue that she had our toys stored in the attic. We thought they were long gone.) I had such a difficult time letting go of those books. Then my husband told me about a local grade school that needed books to help the youngest kids learn to read. Dr. Seuss books are perfect for beginning readers, and suddenly, I could let the books go.

    • I agree, my gorgeous big dog passed away last year, the whole town loved him and was in mourning. After 4 weeks of Sunday thinking I am going to send his collars to the rescue shelter with a note of appreciation for their work.
      It is hard sometimes ! Jane

  5. GracefromBrazil

    The mini-mission helped me take a quick look at my bedroom. I saw two items, one item that did not need to be on my dresser anymore, ( a candle holder) and another decorative item I had almost gotten rid of once but couldn’t do it. But today I took one look at it and knew it was time! Thanks again for these little missions that give me focus in my busy day.

  6. Kind of never say never. I’ve also taken things to the thrift shop that I didn’t intend to ever donate.

  7. Well, I finally got rid of my wardrobe!!! Back when I first came here that would be unthinkable! I had a relationship with that thing. But it is out of the door and I feel free… Sometimes we just look over our possessions again and again and see that nothing is as irreplaceable or as impossible to live without as we first thought.

  8. I definitely have a few things that I won’t declutter either. I have another donation bag that will make it’s way out the door and to the donation center today :). Every little thing makes a step in the right direction. My bags are getting slower to fill as I am working on some of the harder stuff to let go of now.

  9. My husband and I talked over the weekend about which things we would take with us for a short move, and which for a long move. It was interesting to see which things he prioritized. For a long move, he wanted to take his stack of French comic books and his computers. After reflection, he added clothing, kitchen stuff, college textbooks, and his electronic components and tools to his list. He hasn’t touched the French comic books in several years, so I never would have guessed they were so important to him. His parents were surprised that he wanted them when he moved out.

    I have a box of Breyers toy horses sitting in my closet that I never thought I’d part with. I want to send it to a young cousin, but haven’t gotten around to pairing the box with something for her brother and sending it all to them. Toys should be played with and loved, not kept in a box. I have reduced the number of books and quilts / blankets I keep, but still have plenty more than I use.