Change your attitude and change the world

I have just started reading a book called ~ A complaint Free World by Will Bowen ~ How to stop complaining and start enjoying the life you always wanted. I haven’t got far in to the book but the story goes something like this. Will Bowen is a church minister who has started a movement to get people to stop complaining, criticising and gossiping. The idea is to use the 21 days to a better habit principal to stop yourself from participating in these futile negative behaviours.  He offers free purple bracelets to people who want to participate and whenever you find yourself complaining… you must move the bracelet from one wrist to the other and start the twenty-one day period all over again.

Of course this has got me thinking about other negative habits not the least of all being ~ Forever desiring things you don’t have and clinging to physical possessions that in the end is really just stuff. After reading the comments that came on last Saturday from people sharing their stories about letting go of these habits I think we have proof that this is possible. The only thing holding you back is your own mindset. Over time and with a little practice mindsets can be changed.

In the first few months of my declutter mission I very quickly figured out the the mistake I had made in the past was to declutter then reclutter with new items whose novelty or tenuous usefulness would eventually wear off. Then of course it is back to square one, a house full of clutter and the arduous task ahead for me to unclutter it again. Although blissfully ignorant for some time I am however not stupid. So once my mind was focused on permanently decluttering or minimising it didn’t take rocket science to figure out the solution to ending this cycle.

I was amazed how quickly I changed my mindset from shopping for what I wanted to mostly only shopping for what I needed. The thought of not adding any more clutter to my house was enough to convince me to change my ways. The fact that I was decluttering slowly this time had the unintended side effect of making me continuously aware of staying uncluttered. Had I decluttered quickly like I had in the past I dare say that old vicious cycle would still be in place.

If I can do it you can do it too.  If any of my readers out there are having trouble getting their head around this idea here is your chance to give it a go. Why no pledge to Buy Nothing New in October.

Buy Nothing New

…is not about going without, nor is it Buy Nothing New Never. It’s about taking October to reassess what we really need, think about where the stuff we buy comes from (finite resources), where it goes (landfill), and what our alternatives are. It is about conscientious consumption and by not spending on stuff we don’t need, increasing our savings for the things we do need. Pledge to Buy Nothing New during October and challenge over consumption. You’ll have more time on your hands and money in your pockets.

There is also a competition to win $5k see details at this link

It is only 31 days and as they say it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. So give it a go and you might find you will break the cycle of recreational shopping for good. How much easier will it be to keep your home decluttered then?

Today’s Declutter Item

I have a set of boring brown glass mugs that were given to me as an engagement present form an appreciative customer 25 years ago. My mother-in-law hates these ugly cups (sorry Barb) but I like them. She has bought me “nicer cups” over the years that have come and gone but the ugly brown ones still remain. My declutter item today is one of the mugs she bought me that now is a loaner because it’s partner got broken. It only ever gets used when all the others are either dirty or in the dishwasher waiting to be put away. My dominant tidy side thinks that it just makes the cupboard look untidy so off to the thrift shop it goes. I will continue to use my trusty brown cups of which I still have five of the six I began my marriage with over 24 years ago now. Thank you Margaret Muller if you are still out there I am still using your cups.

One cup too many

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I love that I can find silly ways to amuse myself. I was walking home from a friends house yesterday and saw a magpie in the grass with a big juicy law grub in its mouth. Meanwhile this bird is still singing away and I couldn’t help but thinking, “Stop talking with your mouth full you naughty bird!” and went off chuckling to myself up the street.

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 will definetly be participating in no new things october, perfect time as i have just replaced all the kids uniform, ballet/tap shoes, they have coats for winter, they have new shoes, i don’t anticipate having to buy anything for 6 months 🙂 I love a challenge!
    Sharron x

  2. The Complaint Free World concept really made a difference for me. I didn’t use the wristband but I did focus on not complaining, criticizing or judging others (or myself). It quickly made a huge difference in my behavior and my husband noticed although he didn’t know I was working on it. This was several years ago but No Complaining is now one of my Happiness Resolutions. The desire to change behavior is one thing; having an approach/plan to make a specific change is the key to success.

    • Hi Juhli,
      I am attempting to do the same thing without the wristband and I have noticed an improvement already. i also try to put a positive slant on a situation when I encounter other peoples negativity. At the same time I think it is important to allow others to vent a little first.

  3. I think in the last few years I’ve learnt to be more like this (less complaints), but to some people I still seem to complain a lot, so seems I have a way to go. Really something I should think about doing, seeing I’m a girl (aren’t we almost all on here), I can easily have a hair elastic as the reminder item (I do think I need a reminder).

    I’d like to do the ‘nothing new for October’ (and it’s a GREAT website too!) but I’m back to looking for a ‘house’ (my aspirational word for a small apartment!) again before the year is out, and think buying a few things prior to the big move might be good. Just start a small glory box, cause I’m worried if I rush the buying cause I ‘need’ a fryerpan, I might not get the best quality etc.

    • Hi Snosie,
      you could always pick up some second hand item to use until you find just the right items for you. The thrift stores are full of household goods. If you pledge to buy nothing new in October you can still buy second hand. Although I would wait until I moved in before buying anything because you don’t know what will fit until them. Look at it this way if you can borrow enough to go camping with that is all you need until you get your own stuff.

      • Ah Colleen, you echo me! I said the camping line to my colleague who was moving out of home (for the first time, in my case, it’ll be for the n-th time) I think he still had a few shopping sprees! I just ‘worry’ (ok, consumerist is screaming here) that I’ll live with borrowed/2nd hand forever. And what’s wrong with that… mainly that I want nice stuff… sigh… perhaps I should start scouring vinnies

        • Hi Snosie,
          I got together a bunch of household items for my daughter when she was moving out. Four years later they are still in my garage. She moved out alright, to her grandmothers “temporarily” where she didn’t need the stuff. I personally would leave it until I actually needed it if I were you. Getting stuff “just in case” can be just as impractical as keeping stuff “just in case”.

  4. I’ve pledged for nothing new for October, and I think it’s a good time to work on the no complaints as well!
    Good luck to those who participate in the buy nothing new challenge!

  5. I’ve just bought 2 sets of beautiful, fluffy Turkish towels for my bathroom (currently they are for display only, for open for inspections) but it is such a pleasure to buy things I *need*. No need to feel guilty or remorseful, and I got them on sale too, so not that expensive either 🙂 Of course, 4 old towels will be chopped up for rags, which is something else I love to do: repurpose.

    Already pledged not to buy ANY clothes for a year (starting this July), and can’t see myself needing anything new in October. Sounds like a doable challenge! The no complaining thing, hmmm, will *really* have to work on it!!!

    • Hi Loretta,
      I am glad you are willing to give it a go. I have to admit complaining and criticising are two of my weak points so like you I really will have to work on it.

  6. I LOVE the idea of No Complaint World. I’ve been working on this concept in my life for the last several years. I find my surroundings help shift my attitude too much, something I need to work on. I want this book.

    No new purchase October. Piece of cake. If you don’t have any money, buying new stuff is difficult anyways. lol

    • Hi Bree,
      One of the solutions to getting complaint free was to stop hanging out with people who drag you back into the habit. That may be a way to get to the 21 day goal more quickly but it is a bit callous and unrealistic. I would prefer to think that by complaining less yourself the habit might rub off on to those around you. I am willing to take the risk because I love the people around me or else they wouldn’t me there.

      There you go you have found a positive byproduct of having no money. Buy nothing new October should be a piece of cake. There is a bright side to everything.

  7. Colleen, thank you for the two challenges. I have not been buying new for some time now except for consumables, so not buying new in October should not be a problem. On the other hand, the 21 days of no complaining/grumbling/gossiping is just the challenge I need. I had actually become aware that I have become a complainer, gossiper, etc of late. It is easy to get caught up in it where I work. I accept this challenge with pleasure and I will start first thing in the morning. Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    • Hi Di,
      I am not doing too well with the no complaining challenge but it won’t take a couple of days to change the habits of a lifetime. The trick is to stay focused on what comes out of your mouth at all times. I think buy nothing new in October will be a lot easier for me.

  8. The buy nothing in October will come much easier for me than the no complaining…YEEKS!!! I tend to make an emergency out of everything at times. I try to tell myself life doesnt always go as planned (my 92 year old mom lives with us) and I need to go with the FLOW!!. Im trying hard to reset my buttons when stress pops its head into my life. Your articles and all the inspiration from the comments help so much!!!
    Now, the no shopping is easier. We were always buying, buying, buying and then saw how much we OWED and nearly died. The past year we have all of our bills on a chart and each month another box is filled with a payment and I am never filling them again with unwanted purchases. now that I am 52 most definately know the difference between things that are necessary versus luxuries…..and Im patting myself on the back because it only took me about eight months to stop whining about it lol lol lol… comes easier with practice believe me….and when you see the debt going away it really inspires you to minimalize more and more…..

    • Hi Donna,
      Well done bringing the debt down and I can understand fully that you were finding it hard to adjust to this new lifestyle at first. I was lucky my decision to declutter coupled with reading minimalist blogs prior to starting my own was what inspired me to stop shopping. Although even then just the prices of things in Australia after living in the USA for 7 years had already slowed my shopping to a trickle. And then there is the fact that I have always been a relatively frugal person made it easy for me to adjust. We had no debt so I wasn’t forced into the situation so it was complete freedom of choice for me. For you, making a chart and watching that debt slowly disappear must have been great inspiration. If you felt a little whiney and deprived at times I think that was completely justified but you stuck with it and now the withdrawal symtoms have subsided. As you say ~ It comes easier with practice. I look back to when I first returned to Australia and how much I whined about the price of things here but now I am grateful because it started me on a new path of more ethical consumption.