Be Open Minded

This week’s mini missions ought to really get you thinking about the way you see the items in your home. Today’s mission ~ Declutter something you have kept out of habit because it used to be useful but now isn’t necessary ~ suggests that you should be open minded about everything in your home not just the things you know for sure are clutter. Moni made a point yesterday that she liked that there were no bedside tables in what was my son’s bedroom, even though she is a bedside table kind of girl. As I said to moni, when visitors come I can always bring down a side table from my bedroom or from the living room, for the short period of time they are here. The other 11 months of the year that room will be easy to keep clean.

Convention has us thinking that things should be done just so. My daughter’s opinion of my son’s room was that it looks like a jail cell. No personality. I understand where she is coming from and even I may relocate a little wall decor from another room to jazz things up a little bit. But, since for the most part no one is going to be in there, there is no point in cluttering it up.

Do you have things cluttering up corners, closets, cupboards, drawers and walls in your home that are simply there out of habit or because convention dictates that it is appropriate to own such things? Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t like being dictated to so I will do and own just what pleases me. To heck with convention, I love space, fresh air, ease and spare time.

So take a long hard look at everything you have in your home with an open mind and ask yourself, do I need this, do I love this, do I want to continuously take care of this item.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you have kept out of habit because it used to be useful but now isn’t necessary. Maybe old pet equipment, outgrown kids toys, kitchen gadgets, reading glasses that are no longer strong enough…

Eco Tip for the Day

My daughter says, choose two meals you would like to cook in the week and then plan the rest of the week around the leftover ingredients so that nothing goes to waste.

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. Somehow, I never had a bedside table since I was about 10 years old. I sometimes had a little shelf nearby or used a spare wooden chair (which I would clear when company was over and the chair was needed), but there were also times when I had nothing of that sort. If your alarm clock is a little further away that even makes you get up sooner. 😉
    I think I just never got into the habit of using a nightstand, so for example I leave my glasses in the bathroom when washing my face and put them on again after finishing my bathroom routine in the morning. That said, it might be more difficult, if I wasn’t able to read without glasses.

    However I like thursday’s mini-mission. There may certainly be things that aren’t that necessary after all.
    Haha, I think I mentioned my boyfriend being a little roadblock in some areas these days, however, he on the other hand stopped me from buying unnecessary stuff a couple of times lately. So I guess we help each other along the way.

    Today I had a special decluttering experience. When bringing the trash outside, I left the emptied in-house “trashbin” unattended for a while on the porch. The trashbin really was a big plastic planter which I already was about to declutter a few weeks back and then thought that I might re-use it as a trashbin. Apparently it has been “stolen” (most likely someone thought it was going to the trash as well and he/she might as well take it ). Oh well, I’m not sad about it, we didn’t really need it anyway.

    • Hi Sanna, it seems your boyfriend is good at taking care of the clutter that hasn’t made it to your house yet. It is good to have someone around to keep you on track when it comes to not buying things. I hope he is applying the same rules to himself. 😉

      One thing about the disappearing trash bin/planter at least now you know that if you want to put free stuff out for people to take it will be successful. 😆

      • He is quite good at avoiding to buy clutter. He would rather spend all his money on food, though he can be frugal there as well, so no complaints.
        That’s also what made decluttering a bit difficult around here earlier: he can go forever and ever with the same old things while I like to spruce things up once in a while. So I bought stuff and he didn’t get rid of it. However, we mostly succeeded to turn vices into virtues, so now he stops me from buying while I make him declutter. 😉

  2. Today’s mission will be easy for me, time to throw out the chewed up dog collars. I also found an old pair of glasses that can go. I only need glasses to read fine print, so previously I had purchased glasses that I only put on to read, then take them off or hang them around my neck on a chain, I was always losing them. My new glasses have larger frames so I don’t need to take them off, hence I don’t lose them.
    I like Bridget’s idea of meal planning, what two meals does she suggest? ( I love her pumpkin and sweet potatoe mash).

    • Hi Wendy, that does sound like easy decluttering. Thanks for the donation at the thrift shop yesterday as well.
      I wonder if those glasses will make it easier for you to win UpWords on Friday. 😉
      I will ask Bridget to scan a couple of easy recipes for you out of one of her cookbooks. I have to confess I did pick up a Gordon Ramsey cookbook for her at the thrift store yesterday for $3. I don’t keep cookbooks myself but she seems to like them and this on was full of healthy recipes. I’ll let you know if she tries something on us next week that is good. It won’t require an oven because my in on the fritz right now and will take a week to get a new element. No roast this Sunday. 🙁

      • Did you notice the dictionary in the donation? Winning is not important(much;) ), it is the fun and chatter that accompanies it. Which is why your board game night with the family is a great idea. Even a whiteboard can provide a few laughs with people trying to draw clues to name a movie or song.
        I can imagine your frustration with the oven! The high sided frypan might handle the roast for you and redeem itself? Cheers

  3. My bed is a sofa bed which I keep in sofa position. The top of the back of the sofa is wide and flat enough I can put things (books) on it (I tend to read before I fall asleep). Of course, it is also the favorite sleeping spot of one of the cats but she doesn’t interfere with the books so it’s all good. My alarm clock is on my phone which tends to stay on my desk – across the room from my bed. :]

    • That sounds like a good setup Rachel W. Like Sanna said the further away the alarm clock causes you to have to get up to turn it off. No hitting snooze when you can’t reach. 😉

  4. Colleen – I have been thinking about Deb J’s shelf idea since the topic came up. I haven’t put the idea to Adrian yet, but I have googled some pictures and I’m going to let that one roll around in my head.

    Recently Adrian & I decided to buy a wok as we have begun to do more Chinese based dishes lately and our frying pan doesn’t have high enough sides. I wanted a teflon coated one but Adrian liked another one. The wok Adrian picked had very precise instructions to season it before using it, and to cut a long story short, despite following the instructions it didn’t work out. Adrian returned it to the shop and was given a refund and he asked if we should get the one I liked. I ummmed and aahhhed and decided we would make do with the frying pan for now – it was a nice idea but I’d got to wondering if I used lesser quantities it would fit easily in the pan and that would still be enough to feed everyone (Adrian was taking the left overs for lunch) and once we get into Winter again, the crock pot will probably get used more, so lets just see how things roll over the next few months.

    • Hi Moni, I used to have a wok and used it often but this house has a ceramic cooktop. No good for woks. I bought a high sided frying pan and, like your wok, I should probably have returned it. It takes about ten minutes to heat up enough to cook anything and then has trouble maintaining that heat. What a waste of electricity and annoying to boot. I have put up with it for five years now but my daughter has done nothing but complain about it since she moved back in and is doing a lot of the cooking. It may have to go. I, like Adrian am not a lover teflon coated pans. I am even less of a lover of things that don’t work well.

      • Hi ladies. I have both a ceramic cooktop and a flat-bottomed non-stick wok with a long handle. Use it all the time. Love it.

    • Moni, I had the idea for the shelf when we moved in here because there is no room for a bedside table on the short wall where I have the bed. We had these shelves we had used for other things in the old house so I grabbed it. It works so well I couldn’t believe it. I”m really happy with it.

      • Deb J – I have on my to-do list (and you will note I said ‘my’) for Adrian to build us a new headboard. There’s nothing wrong with our existing one but it matches the bedroom furniture we no longer have and I’d like something more modern. As all the old bedroom furniture is in the storage room upstairs at our work awaiting the last pieces ie headboard and bedside tables so they can be sold – although I was considering not including the bedside drawers. I couldn’t see us not having bedside tables, but now I am thinking of shelves…………. so it might be the right time to consider the options or to do a trial run without them.

        All our clothes live in our wardrobe, so our underwear lives in the bedside drawers I will have to relocate those. Its probably a good time as my wardrobe is extremely empty.

        • I hope Adrian will build it soon. I know you will be excited to get the furniture out of the storage room at work. I have a hanging cloth shelving unit in my closet that works for about anything you would want to put in it in the way of underwear. Maybe something like that would work for you.

  5. Funny you should mention bedrooms. For the last year since I moved back home I have detested the bed my dad purchased for the room, firstly because it’s a double bed, but secondly because as far as double beds go it’s very large, chunky and heavy. Since the room isn’t big enough to have a space either side of it, it’s pushed up against a wall which slopes due to the roof – so basically, it takes up most of the room and it’s a nightmare to make the bed each day! However it’s not our furniture and it cost a lot of money so we are stuck with it until we graduate.

    Consequently I’ve made my partner promise we can have real Japanese futon’s when we get our own place! I love the idea of being able to fold the beds away if I want to, to make more space, or leave them out to make the room feel cosy – but best of all there will be no more squishing myself down the side of the bed trying not to hit my head on that sloping wall in order to fix the bed! 🙂

    • I feel your pain Jane. I am looking forward to my sister coming so I have a reason to make the now easy to make bed in what is now the guest room. Perhaps your dad bought that bed on purpose so you wouldn’t get too comfortable and forget to leave. 😉 Smart man your dad! 😆 Just think how much more you will appreciate the bed you end up buying for yourselves when the time come. Through adversity comes great joy.

  6. Open minded – it makes me wonder what other ideas are out there that I have never come across. I recently heard about an alternative to having an electric jug/kettle. One of my workmate’s bro-in-law is a plumber and recently built a house. The water filter spout that comes out of the sink beside the tap, has a switch and if you flick it one way it is cold water and if you flick the switch the other way it is hot water. Beneath the sink is a small hot water cyclinder. I asked if it used a lot of power to keep water hot but apparently not it works out to the same as having an electric jug boiled the average number of times per day.
    I thought this was a very clever idea and I will consider it for our next home.

    • Sounds very American to me Moni. Many of the homes of our friends in America had these. The savings should not only be calculated on the average number of time you boil the jug. Anytime you need hot water to soak a pot or rinse something you don’t have to wait and waste water while the hot water makes its way from the system which is often metres away from the kitchen. It would be even better if you can use the hot water thingy to fill the sink for washing up. I would however like to be able to see the real time calculations on the energy efficiency of this set up.

      • Colleen – I’ll see what I can get hold of. Next thing Adrian was wondering how he could mount the toaster under the bench ie put the bread into the toaster thru the bench. I hope he realises the push down mechanism would be beneath the benchline before he cuts a hole in my kitchen!

        I saw an episode of Grand Designs – not sure if it was the UK or the Oz one – and a guy built a home loosely on the idea that not all rooms are utilised all the time and had walls that moved. Probably going a bit far for me but it was interesting.

        • I like the idea of moving walls. I know a lady who has a studio apartment. She has a Murphy bed that comes out of the wall. During the day she has a living room. At night she just move a couple of chairs closer to the sofa and then has a bedroom. I like the idea of moving walls.

          • Deb J – didn’t the traditional Japanese home use that idea by having sliding panels? And of course the futon mattress and the low down furniture. Hmmm…… maybe I should be checking out what Japan has to offer.

          • Moni, yes it did come from the Japanese. There are some good ideas out there.

        • Yes, I think Adrian has lost the plot with that toaster idea. Although there are probably toasted with sensors these days that pop down by themselves when the toast gets put in. This also wouldn’t work to well if everyone likes there toast done at a different setting. Liam likes his white ~ yes weird I know, might as well give him stale bread ~ so we would have to keep reaching in under the bench to change the settings.

          I do however like the moving walls idea. A open loft style apartment would be good for that.

        • I think Adrian needs to look online to see what kind of ideas are already out there. I have an aunt who has an under-the-cabinet toaster. It works great and is really easy to clean. Everything is where you can easily reach yet is is not very noticeable at all.

  7. Ahhhh, the simple pleasure of lots of free space. Most definitely one of my favourite indulgences at the moment.

  8. In reference to your “bed only” bedroom and saying you could bring down a table when you have company……….
    I read a great quote that said something like “Better to need something one day of the year and not have it, as to have something 364 days and NOT need it!”
    Please excuse if I’ve mentioned that before but it’s worth repeating!

    • Brenda – that’s brilliant – it is going on my pinboard

    • No excusing necessary Brenda. Say it as many times as you like. I know I have said those words over and over again. It is like people I know that have big gas guzzling cars to do one road trip and year while spending the rest of the year just driving in the city. 360 days of gas guzzling and difficulty finding a big enough car park and 5 days of having plenty of grunt on the freeway. Go figure. And don’t even get me started on the 4 wheel drives owners that never go off road driving. Talk about “just in case”.

  9. Was over to see S today. She and another friend are getting a lot done. Another couple of good work days and maybe I can go in and work in the craft room again. S has her car full (trunk and back seat) of things she was going to take to Goodwill. Included were 350+ books.

  10. Great tips! Will definitely keep the cooking/days a week strategy in mind. Thanks for this.

  11. Although, I didn’t find anything that fit into this exact category, I did declutter two items. One was a small dust collector and one was an item that would have been useful had I ever used it. I have never used it, therefore it is going bye-bye.

  12. Saturday I’ll be doing my big grocery shopping (will make meals that can be multiple days or else frozen) and then over to the recycling center. I am SO thankful that the center accepts household hazardous materials such as cleaners, batteries, chemicals, paints, etc. I have a big box and will be glad to get it out of the house and onto proper disposal as opposed to a landfill!!

  13. Good for yo Michelle. I am glad you are ditching some of those nasty cleaners.

  14. Last week while laying in bed, I thought to myself if there was anything I wouldn’t need if we had to move – since we are on our journey of carrying out a simple life. In the past we have processed quite a bit of wool, but in the last year the amount I picked and carded I could have combed by hand. Downsizing an already small home my husband and I made the joint decision to pass our small set of wool working tools onto others. In turn it will help us get to Italy to volunteer for a month. Something for something, experiences above all!

    • Hi Cheryl and welcome to 365 Less Things. I wish you all the luck in the world on your bid to minimise and get to Italy. What a great adventure is in store for you I am sure. When it comes to being eco friendly you leave me a long way behind. I am sure Willow, one of my other readers would be interested in reading more about your fibre spinning and garment reacting.


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