Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Two Year Anniversary


Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

May 30th marked the end of my second year of decluttering and the end of the second year of reporting daily on Facebook what I have decluttered. (Possibly I’ve missed a few days, but not many.) In the past 731 days (Leap Year), I have decluttered 3690 items and made $2471.20 plus $1000 barter for repair work on my van in exchange for our car, which we did not replace. Yes, that’s a heck of a lot of stuff, but let’s remember that the average house today is almost twice as big as it was in the 1950s, while families are closer to half the size. The concept of the long-term storage unit barely existed in the 1970s. “Shopping” is many people’s favorite past time and their favorite vice. I had (and still have) plenty of things I can get rid of, and you do too.
For your viewing pleasure and my embarrassment, I have selected a few before and after pictures for you to look at, laugh at, and be inspired by. You’ll probably recall me saying, more than once, that we have extensively remodeled our house in the past 10 years (and, yes, it pretty much took the whole ten years). The house was so ugly and so cluttered when we first bought it and when the children were young that I never took photos of the house itself. You’ll have to look around the girls to see to the YUCK! behind it. The second photo in each set is a photo I’ve taken today, so you can see the vast changes.

During remodeling and a good reminder that a magnet-filled refrigerator is not a things of beauty.

A clean refrigerator is a beautiful refrigerator.

Look at all the stuff on the counters and floors. Wow!!

7' of kitchen island and not a bit of junk in sight

Dan and baby Clara and a whole lot of clutter.

Dan's desk. No cute little girl but no junk either.

I found this photo after I wrote the post, but it's too clutter-y to leave out. No "after" photo, though.

Today’s Mini Mission

Are you in the habit of still owning enough of some items to cater for that larger family than you once were before the kids left home. Time to declutter a few. Some suggestions ~ towels, sheets, blankets.

Today’s Declutter Item

I didn’t have any sheets, towels or blankets to get rid of but I did find a bunch of container lids that I no longer have the containers for. I find this a little strange because when I donate items I make sure all their parts are together. I can only assume that some of the containers broke and I forget to get rid of the lids. If I remember correctly a few of them belonged to ceramic and enamel dishes that I did donate to the thrift store. I must have forgot they had lids because I never used them, they didn’t need them in order to be useful anyway so who cares.

Plastic container lids

Something to be grateful for today

I cleaned the oven today, not my favourite job. The fairies didn’t do it for me and yes it was hard work but I am just grateful it is out of the way and I won’t have to deal with in again for a month or two or three depending how long I can ignore it for. 😆

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Thanks for sharing the before and after pictures. Personal example is the most meaningful when trying to inspire others. It looks great!

  2. Great pictures for examples. Doesn’t it just make you want to shout for joy that your place looks so much different? I know that there are days when just looking at our cleaned off fridge makes me get all happy. I have this picture in my mind of how I want the house to look and we are getting there. It feels so good.

    • In looking back to find photos for this post, what really amazed me was not how cluttered the house was, but how incredibly ugly. My friend Holly called me a “house visionary” and I think she was right.

  3. lol Cindy, I didnt read the description of your first pic and was really shocked, when I saw that this massive fridge was standing in front of your window. thank god that was not its permanent place 😉 that must have been quite some work to shift such a monster (yeah, magnets dont make them prettier indeed) around.
    you came for sure a long way. I love the look of your kitchen, its really “ready to use”. I hope you dont mind asking, but are there really two ovens?

    • There were also two refrigerators in the “ugly” photo. The one we were using, and the new one that replaced it. And, yes, I have two ovens too. Although it was my choice and my kitchen design, it was also my mistake. I definitely don’t need two. At some point, I’ll take it out, but that takes time and money, I don’t need the space for cabinets, and well…it’s just not a top priority.

      • Hi Cindy – awesome transformation, I wish I’d taken before pictures. Would be such an encouragement to me even now at the (hopefully) halfway mark.

        I do like the two ovens idea, when I’m cooking for guests it would be such a convenience to have an extra oven or an extra microwave, but that’s only a ‘peak’ situation, the other 99% of the time I’m just cooking for us and I don’t bake as there is a perfectly lovely bakery down the road.

        I do think with my next house I will probably get an over which has the warming drawer underneath, my mum always had one and it was handy, even if it was to just store the extra trays and racks and roasting dish etc while not in use.

      • I’d like to hear what made you choose two originally. I’m sure there was a good reason… But it wouldn’t be that then you’d have two to clean!

        • I am also curious. my parents ‘upgraded’ as well. My father treated himself with a new oven two years before he died. a bit fancier that this IKEA one:
          I love it, its huge and pretty, although I do not like to polish this metal surface all the time…

        • Hi Snosie
          When we bought our house it came with a self cleaning kitchen. Best invention ever!!!!!! We just remove everything from it, switch it to a particular mode and half an hour later we just have to let it cool down to wipe out the bottom. Unfortunately it doesn’t clean the racks. I would never have spent the extra to have that feature, but next house it will be a must.

          • That was supposed to say “self cleaning over” – I would however give my right kidney to have a self cleaning kitchen!

          • Self-cleaning oven and one of them never gets used, so it’s clean as can be.

          • Moni, I love the ‘idea’ of the self-cleaning kitchen!!! I was reading your reply and got so extremely excited at such a concept!!! If ONLY we could make that happen!!! 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing–all those clear surfaces look wonderful!
    I still have (a few) photos on the fridge but I was so happy the day I finally removed all the “poetry magnets” (we also had them all over the metal front door & those went too). They were kind of fun for a while, I thought they would encourage literacy when my boys were little, but they were rarely used and looked so messy and chaotic.

  5. Wowza! What a difference! You guys did a fabulous job on decluttering & remodeling – job well done indeed! Thanks for sharing the photo’s – nothing better than a good before & after for inspiration as well as motivation for the rest of us!

  6. congrats cindy – can’t wait to see it in person tomorrow!

  7. Unfortunately today’s mission doesn’t really apply as my three teens are still all at High School and living at home. I think at this stage my linen quantities are good, I was considering getting rid of our flannelette sheets, but we are in the midst of a cold blast and they will be going back into active duty after all.

    It is funny you mention how houses today are twice the size for half the number of people, as I have been considering the house I spent my first 13 years in and I have realised that it was very small and had almost no storage built in either.

    I have some extra time this morning as my hubby had to drop the kids to school at 7.30 as they are all going on a field trip to Mystery Creek today, so I have an extra hour before I need to be at work. So I’m going to straighten up all the knex that we have been photographing and listing on trademe this week, and possibly get in a photo shoot of some more stuff I would like to list tonight. Does anyone else get grumpy having stuff waiting around for auctions to close? I try to keep it nicely organised/stored but in my mind it should be gone already! I also think it is because it has been dragged out from where it was hiding and is now in plain sight being a visual nuisance.

    • I know what you mean about getting grumpy (or frustrated) waiting to get the decluttered stuff out of the house when waiting for them to sell. It took two weeks to get rid of the stuff I decluttered from my craft room, the TV is still here that we sold because the new owners are taking their time getting it and the same goes for a dresser that I have an owner for. I really want it all out of here.

      • Hi Deb J – Wow that is a long pick up delay! I have often wondered if I should take several days off work, photograph and list everything and sit back and it would be over in one hit. But I figure I would have to take a couple more days off at the end to sort out the postings and what not. I have about 10 things on at the moment and I am amazed how much time that takes up, especially if you have week 1’s stuff either has slow payers or goes to ‘offer’, week 2’s stuff all the bidders prefer to bid rather than ‘buy now’ and week 3’s stuff, everyone hits the ‘buy now’ button straight away, and all 3 weeks stuff lands on early 3 to finalise.

        Meanwhile it is all sitting in my “out” spot annoying the heck out of me because it exists! I probably need to find a bunch of stuff that I can donate to goodwill to make me feel better and remind me that I’m making progress.

        • Good idea about finding stuff to donate to goodwill. It makes you feel better when you can see things go fast. I know this too shall pass but I do get tired of waiting for people to get their fannies in gear and get over here to get stuff.

          • Hi Deb J – yes dropped two bags to goodwill and I do feel happier and now that I’ve straightened up my “out” area and reminded myself its not permanent I’m feeling good again.

            I think part of the problem is that the knex wasn’t ‘scheduled’ to do until after all the snowboarding gear went and it was happily tucked away in the ceiling storage. But I had an enquiry for a particular set and to reach it I had to bring the all three storage containers and I ended up in a ‘bit off more than I can chew’ situation. And what I was meant to be preparing for listing, I’m feeling under a bit of time pressure as we’re mid way thru the competitive dancing season.

            Anyway, I’m at work now and hubby has just come and told me that he is proud of my efforts.

    • I am getting frustrated, because I havent listed anything lately, and taking pictures, uploading, describing everything is just such a task to do, and I dont have the time for that right now. so all my decluttered stuff goes into the “sale” drawer, and its getting so crammed full, I had to reshuffle that one today. annoying, I just would love to get it out as soon as possible, but I really want to see money for it…

      What keeps me motivated are those sales of items I had listed ages ago. I am sending out items that have been on ebay local ads (craigslist in ger) for months, and I almost forgot about them. so I know that once I list the decluttered items, they will leave here eventually. I am slowly understanding though that my drawer will be in use until I am done decluttering. and I dont see the end of that one coming along, so I might just accept it for now.

      • I have a small box of things I need to list for eBay or Craigslist and I have been putting it off quite some time. I know I need to do it but I dread all the work and dealing with people on the phone or by email who will want to buy it. It’s all more expensive items that will bring in good money.

      • Hi Lena – that’s a good idea for some quick therapy. I will go back thru my sold section and feedback to remind myself of progress.

        • Moni, I”m glad your husband is proud of you. That’s the best part of it all in my book.

        • haha, yeah. and then imagine that all this stuff you already sold – would be back in your house again!! (worst nightmare ever) I bet you would look at the “small pile” in a totally new light…

          • Lena – that is the best wisdom of all. It would be a nightmare to have everything that has been sold, donated, passed on, freecycled out….. returned to the house. For one, I have no idea where it would fit!

          • same here. I honestly have no idea where I had all of my things before. I mean yeah, there was new stuff coming in recently (lot of sports equipment), but I really think I am looking with a new pair of eyes at everything. my bathroom feels cluttered because I have this one bottle of cream standing there, that I am trying to “use up”. And I noticed that, when at others peoples place I start fantasizing of decluttering their stuff. I dont know if I should be happy or concerned about this change of mind. 😉

    • That would be good inspiration for decluttering Moni. If we dragged all out stuff out of our storage areas at once and saw how much there really was. Mind you that is exactly what my slow approach was designed to avoid but never the less it would be a eye opener.

      As for the mini mission do you have anything lurking that is excess now that your kids are older? Something from their younger days like plastic cup or plates, kiddy cutlery or the like.

      And I almost forgot ~ Yes I hate ebay action items lingering, waiting for the action to end. I hate it even more if they don’t sell and I am stuck with either re-listing, finding another selling option or donating. I have a ukelele that has been lingering for months. I am reluctant to just give it away being as it hardly got used. I feel inclined to recoup some of my wasted money in these instances.

      • Your ‘waiting woes’ make me laugh! We had a horrendous pink velvet wing chair that belonged to Ian’s mother. He was finally ready to let it go last year so we put it in our garage sale. A lady showed up, declared that she LOVED it, paid him $25 cash and then got in her car and left. And never came back. The chair sat in our garage with a SOLD sign for about a month and then went back down the basement. A YEAR LATER we put it in the garage sale at the Senior Centre. The first person through the door said she LOVED it but had no money. I wouldn’t let her out the door without the chair!!! (she paid me the next day). This morning, a month later, I got a phone call from a friend….. The original purchaser has resurfaced and is more in need of the $25 than she is of the chair. We all win.

        • lol. “pink velvet chair” made me laugh already, but the story afterwards is just hilarious. good for you, that you got that thing out…

        • Hi Wendy B – I LOVE this story! Oh cringe pink velvet chair.

          • I cannot believe that someone who left an item at a sale a year ago would even dare to suggest that they get a refund. She must be feeling really pressed for cash.

      • Hi Colleen – Dizzy suggested to me once to drag everything out my garage and only put back what I wanted to keep. Not sure what I was supposed to do with the rest while it found new homes but I did like the idea. Have thought of a few variations on the theme for future culls but would want to see my “out” area cleared first.

        Yes its pretty hard to get overwhelmed with one thing per day.

        I’m afraid no tippee cups or kiddy anything left over, except a set of plastic drinking cups but they are in active duty as I have 5 young nieces and nephew ages 8 years down to 6 months. BUT I did discover something in the hall cupboard!!!!!!! Last December I went away for a weekend and bought some little gifts for all the nieces and nephews but upon return they all had chicken pox and so I had to stay away (I have never had chicken pox) and I forgot about them. I shall get them wrapped up and distributed at the first opportunity.

        • “Yes its pretty hard to get overwhelmed with one thing per day.”

          and still we sit here and complain about the amount of space this one item a day is taking up…

        • We’re about to do that in the art closet, which seems to constantly be falling back into chaos.

      • Hi again Colleen – re: ukelele – have you thought about donating it to the music department of a local school or high school? It would certainly get plenty of use there.

      • Colleen, hang on to the ukelele a little bit longer then relist it on Ebay. My husband is a luthier & in the past few weeks/months there has been an unexpected resurgence in folks wanting ukelele’s – more than usual. Typically folks want ukelele’s in the summer months more – so you might want to wait until your summertime rolls back around.

  8. Hi Cindy,
    what a difference you have made over time. I love the before and after shots, it’s like I said last week ~ A picture paints a thousand words. I bet your garage is looking much better too now that your parents have moved back in and all their stuff is gone. You’ll be able to park inside again. Woo Hoo!!

    • Hi Colleen – I remember a before and after shot you did of your garage, and I initially was impressed with what I thought was your after shot, but then realised it was actually the before shot…..and that meant my garage was REALLY bad. 🙂

    • I got the car in the garage today. First time ever!! I was completely thrilled, but it turns out we need to get rid of a few more things (no surprise or hardship there, just a fact). When Clara tried to get out of the passenger seat, let’s just say it’s a good thing she’s young and flexible….

      • Congrats! Even if it is a tight squeeze it was still in there. That’s a huge feat.

      • Ah yes Cindy that could be a problem. Oh well I am sure if the clutter has gravitated to the garage it probably isn’t something you really need anyway. Good luck and happy decluttering.

  9. Oh Lena I just about fell off my chair laughing. “fantasizing about decluttering their stuff” – I LOVE it! Yes I have done that too, at other people’s houses but I thought I was starting to go overboard – had visions of my friends holding interventions. Good to know!

    • I’m guilty of this too Lena and Moni. I’m having to learn to turn off my decluttering eyes when I go to the homes of friends. I learned quickly that I have cluttery friends and I have to learn to live with it.

      • Hi Deb J – I have friends who call me a minimalist, which is so sweet considering I’m no where near worth of being of the title, and I call them the maximum-ists.

      • oh yeah, I thought that I am not the only one having these fantasies 😉 I think its so attractive because you dont have any emotional attachment to those items, so you could declutter so much more in just one go.
        I dont think my friends understood the range of my decluttering efforts, but I made pretty clear, that whenever they needed someone to help clear out an area, they should just call me… they say they have a basement that you cant use anymore because its full, oh how I would love to change that…

  10. Cindy, thank you for sharing your progress in such a delightful way… very envisioning to see this.

    I worked hard on my pantry today and made good progress. (Um… got rid of “one of” the crockpots. Don’t ask…) After a while I started to lose traction and jumped down to my basement utility room where I dragged out a huge science kit that we used in our homeschooling years. Since my children all went to school this year, that makes for a plethora of decluttering possibilities!

    Earlier this week I got rid of two giant tin tubs that old-fashioned Coca-Cola bottles were packaged in, as well as two nice garment-holder inserts for our two large suitcases. We never use the inserts, and I finally got to the point I was willing to divest them, even though they “belonged” to the suitcases. (Why ever not???) And I had several Freecyclers asking for both of these items. (Freecycle is a godsend for the declutterer!)

    The triple-balance scale (another item from our homeschooling years) went to my daughter’s science teacher who was delighted to have it.

    Loving this site… grateful thanks to all of you.

    • Hi Vicki S – did you belong to some sort of local association of home schooling? Could you put out an e-mail to the other members for that your gear is for sale?

      I only mention this because this morning I received such an e-mail from a friend who is in a similar position (I don’t think I was supposed to be included in the mailing) – and I thought what a good idea as those resources would be twice as valuable to other homeschoolers and she’s avoided auction set up fees and success fees.

      • That’s a terrific idea, Moni, and I have sold homeschool items in the past. At present, we are able to just give most of our things away, which is such a joy to me, and makes things so much easier.

        That said, I sold an expensive math curriculum last week on eBay… it was like-new, easy to package and ship and fetched a good price. But the science kit has probably 200+ components, including glass beakers, chemicals and the like which are tricky to ship. So I’ll be hunting down a homeschool family in my local area who will be happy to take it off my hands.

        I went down and looked at the huge amount of space that kit formerly took up on my basement shelves. What a great feeling. It is definitely true that you can become “addicted to decluttering.” Happy sigh…

    • Fantastic and good job!

  11. Hey does anyone know how long you should keep xrays? We get them on cd disk these days but I still have the old films from previous times.

    I asked a friend who is a physio and she thought they were important if there was the slightest possibility that the injury might need professional attention again later down the track, or if an insurance or ACC claim was involved. But I wonder realistically how many people have their x-rays from years ago?

    I am considering getting an art wallet to store them in, as there is one that we were specifically told to never throw out, but does anyone have any ideas? Or any better ideas on how to store them?

    • Moni, I got mine recycled (against advice here or on Basically, they have heavy metals in them, and if every time a doc wants info, they ask me to take ANOTHER xray. And I spend more time in Physio (which is soft tissue) than with bone people… and the bones heal! Even if people do keep them, surely those that are cluttered might struggle to find them?

      I think if you (or the injured person) feel that the issue is predominantly resolved, then it should be safe to dispose of them. Anything that aggravates the injury in the future will surely require more x rays. My dentist likes ever second year for teeth (she keeps them), so that seems a good time stamp?

    • Hi Moni, have you considered scanning them into your computer. Liam did this with his wrist x-ray and it worked a treat. I am sure the view was just as good as the original. I also wonder if you could take them to an imaging facility and have them transfer them to digital for you if you don’t trust doing it yourself. I never hurts to ask. Now I think I will go and follow my own advice here. Thanks for bringing up the subject.

      • Hi Colleen – in the last 5 years or so we have received all xrays on cd disk so they’re no drama to store. Unfortunately there is one film that we must keep in its original state as there is the possibility of re-opening the file. Hubby has volunteered an art folder he had going spare to file them in until we know a bit more.

  12. Thanks for the great before and after photos, they are very inspiring. All my photos look like your before pics, so its heartening to know that if I keep at it, I might have great after photos soon too!

  13. Cindy, thanks a lot for the before and after pictures! You really did a good job!

  14. Cindy, you’re an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. I’m in the midst of cleaning and it seems like such an overwhelming task but the tips offered on this site are very helpful. And, best of all, I know I’m not alone!

  15. Keep them! CD’s are small and don’t take up much room. A family member found it helpful 10 years later! Kid had broken his back years earlier, xrays taken, told it was a sprained back…fast forward ten years (VERY active kid)….back was bothering the kid so he couldn’t sleep. When they took the old xray in, it was obvious that the back was BROKEN! It’s a miracle the kid wasn’t paralyzed. Immediate full back cast done right then and there. They sued the other doctors for cost of treatment only–a good thing as my brother had lost his job.

    • Hi Kathryn and welcome to 365 Less Things. You are correct, old x-rays can be useful. I know that when I go into the imaging place for a mammogram and usually ultra sound they often ask do I have my old scans so they can compare with last time. With all the lumps and bumps I get it is hard to tell what is old and what is new. I think it is time that there was some sort of central data base kept for peopled medical records so that it all could be accessed without having to store stuff like this in our homes.

      • Did you know that in Canada this is exactly what is done – I assume it’s because we have public health care. X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, etc. are kept at the hospital where they were performed. They’ve gone digital in the past few years and have instituted a tech program so hospitals can share access to all the digital records in their own province. (Health care is under provincial jurisdiction.)

        What kind of healthcare system does Australia have?

        • Hi Jo H. “What kind of healthcare system does Australia have?” Good question or which I am not sure I have the answer. We have medicare where the less privileged can go to the doctor and be bulk billed so it doesn’t cost them anything out of pocket. Not all GPs do this thought I don’t think. People like me usually pay around $70 and get about $35 back through medicare. You pay first though and claim later, or my computer at the time where the payment goes into your bank account not deducted from what you are paying then and there. There is the public and private hospital systems. If you have private health insurance you will get treatment such as operations sooner unless I suppose it is a matter of life and death. Emergency departments don’t charge. To my knowledge there isn’t a system where information is shared (with your permission) although I do sign a form allowing shared information when I have any sort of procedure at a hospital. I don’t however think there is a database the stores this information it is just shared between providers where necessary. This would be another case of people getting paranoid about their privacy I’d say. For someone like me who moves around from state to state it would be helpful not having pay to get my own medical records every time I move or change doctors. I can understand that there are admin costs but there wouldn’t need to be if there was a central system. I am just glad I have very good private health cover that isn’t all that expensive.

  16. I was told by a doctor that anything more than 10 years old is not worth keeping. He also suggested that if you want to get rid of them to go to the X ray place and see if they will take them to add to theirs that they dispose of correctly.


  1. […] is a great comment from Larry who had never commented here before. It seems he has some good wisdom to share so I hope […]