Clutter doubts and counter arguments

I really enjoyed Cecily’s post from Tuesday. I very much agreed with her that we need to be honest with ourselves in order to convince ourselves to let go of the things that have really just become a burden to us.

Some of the things I used to find hard to let go of earlier in my declutter journey were…

  • Storage containers once they became empty of clutter. The inner dialogue that would creep in at the point of letting go was ~ But they are so useful what if I find I need them later on. And my honest response was ~ I don’t plan on cluttering up my house again so I will make sure I won’t need them.
  • Craft supplies. The what if argument would rare it’s ugly head again here too ~ What if I find later on that I have more free time to concentrate of being creative? My counter argument was ~ You still have more than enough supplies to keep you occupied for months maybe even years so enough is enough.
  • Small sentimental items. The argument here was centred on the fact that they didn’t take up much room so what does it matter? I soon learned to counter with ~ Every piece of clutter is clutter no matter how big or small. Lots of small things add up to big clutter in the end. And generally these things were hidden away where I never saw them anyway so why keep them.
  • Clever useful gadgets. No matter how clever and useful they are and no matter how much respect I have for clever design if I am no longer finding a use for them then they have become clutter to me. And rather then be wasted they should be set free to be useful to someone else.
  • Things I still use regularly but had too many of. For example, pens, hand towels, craft supplies (again), coffee cups, glassware… this list could go on and on but I think you get the idea. All of these things get used often in my home and yes if I were to keep the excess they would eventually get used due to natural progression through wear and tear. BUT ! (did I make that clear enough)… that could take fifty years and putting aside that fact that I may not live that long the object of this exercise is to reduce clutter, all clutter. If I have to buy a pen or a cup forty years from now I think I can live with that.

I think you get the idea. Think about the things you own. Anything that feels like clutter probably is clutter. And if in doubt put it under careful scrutiny before walking away and trying to ignore its presence. Let it go and enjoy the freedom of living with less.

Today’s Mini Mission

The inside of the fridge always is in need of a little decluttering no matter how soon ago you did it last. Have a dig around and see if there is any out of date items or just items that you keep thinking you will use up one day but never do.

Today’s Declutter Item

These were one of those useful little things that I had to convince myself to let go of. They were being useful for some time holding foreign coins that were totally useless to us once we returned home from trips abroad. Once the coins were donated the pouches really weren’t needed either. Ignoring the argument that I might find a use for them in the future took a little effort but I got rid of them quick so there was no turning back.

Useful little pouches

“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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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Colleen, another excellent post. I can really relate to the “what if?” mentality. I have been trying for the last 14 years to not live that way. Sometimes it’s really hard. What if I need it someday? That puts a lot of pressure on a person mentally and physically when you have to wade through all the “what if?” clutter. I agree with you, better to buy a new pen or mug in 40 years-if- you need one again. Living clutter-free is good for the body, mind and soul.

    • Cindy here – Colleen is on vacation.

      I think you’re right Jennifer. Freedom in the present is worth a small purchase in the future. Yes, you may need to replace it later…maybe. I found that when I decluttered my storage boxes and then thought “I could use one of those,” I was able to come up with alternative solutions specifically because they’re weren’t around any more.

  2. I don’t often comment Colleen, but I read EVERY day! :)! I particularly like this post as it will spearhead my new challenge of removing 1,000 items from my home before years end! I’m confident that I will exceed 1,000 before the end of the year…(I just have too.much.stuff!)

    Thanks for your helpful insights and direction!! :)!


    • Hi Sharon. We’re so glad that you read every day. I love your goal of removing 1000 objects by the end of the year. I know you can do it! I average about 3 items a day, and an coming up on two years, so I know it’s possible.

    • I was just about to say that 1000 items is a lot and I couldnt do it, but I thought about it a bit and realized that although I say I declutter one item a day, its not true. I count 20 decluttered CDs as one. I count 3 bras as one. I count 2 glasses as one. I roughly estimate there are around 50% more items. that would make it 500 a year I guess. and thats not a problem with my small already reduced household. so for a family household with kids, 1000 items shouldnt be indeed a problem 🙂
      have fun sharon! you will see, decluttering everyday is soon a normal household habit of yours.

  3. Wow! Cicily’s post yesterday and your post today, Colleen, really made me think!!! The honesty thing is SO TRUE!! And something I read from another blog (forgot whose) fits in with what you are saying today. It was that the majority of things we decide to get rid of can be replaced down the road, should we need it, for under $20.!!! However, even knowing this, it is hard to overcome the poverty mentality. I have been fairly broke most of my life and I am always thinking I should save something in case I need it in the future. My home is not cluttered, but I have way more than I need or use. Last week, I did start removing a lot of sentimentality clutter, starting with POUNDS of cards my husband and I have exchanged. It felt good to lighten the load.

    I, too, have way too much craft supplies, having made my own greeting cards for about 20 years utilizing rubberstamping. It was even hard to burn my old sentimental cards thinking I could “re-make” them into other cards!!! However, if I’m REALLY HONEST with myself, I realize I am getting tired of investing hours and hours of my life into something that seems so little appreciated by the recipients. I think I am evolving into a “box card diva” in the future. How easy to just select one and mail! Also, the recipient doesn’t feel guilty about trashing it after the event.

    Currently, I am still dealing with the “just in case” clutter. With all the disasters going on in the world, I feel the need to be prepared for hard times.

    I read several decluttering type blogs, but yours is the most inspirational and encouraging. Keep up the good work!


    • Hi Brenda you are absolutely correct, the things that we struggle with to get rid of, are usually under the $20 mark and easily replaced.

    • Fantastic comment Brenda. It went straight to Friday’s Favorites. You’re right that probably most thing we waffle over would cost less than $20. I wonder if most of the things we own cost less than $20. (Obviously, some cost much, much more, but I wonder.) Certainly one could argue that $20 plus $20 plus $20 adds up but more emotional and physical freedom adds up too! If you include the important lesson of making more careful purchases in the future, you’ll be in great shape when you do have to buy that pen 20 years from now.

      • sure it would add up. but decluttering has this beautiful side effect of money coming IN! I started counting in january, and I made almost 200 euros so far…

    • Hi Brenda. Those of us who were force-fed The Great Depression through our upbringing also struggle with ‘just in case’ clutter and the need to keep useful stuff. I find it helps to ask the question: if there were a disaster, could I eat this, wear this, or use it to survive?
      Would I pack it in my life raft? Would I miss it if my house burned down? Would I buy it again if I had to start over?

      Letting go of stuff is letting go of fear. Good luck. Wendy

      • Hi Wendy B – twice in the last 4 years we have had to evacuate as a precaution with tsunami risk. It definately comes down to what is actually near and dear to you, and no I didn’t see boxes of clutter being shoved in the back of the car.

        • I know this might sound stupid, but isnt it good to be sometimes reminded of the danger of losing everything you own? Not that I wish for you guys to get a Tsunami, heaven forbid. I can just imagine what massive task it is to survive and recover from something like that. But you know, Germanys biggest natural risk are overflowing rivers, or a nuclear catastrophe, but Germany didnt make it a risk the last 30 years, and they will be soon gone, hopefully, so lets not get started on that… But what I mean is that I have never been in danger, noone forced me to think of what to do in that situation and there is for sure no knowledge about emergency plans, evacuation processes and so on in the average german household.
          We are lucky with such a safe country, but we dont have a clue about the meaningless of stuff compared to our life. (maybe thats why germans are uneasy)

          • Hi Lena,
            Brenda’s “just in case” clutter reference was about hanging onto stuff to get through economic hard times. Judging by our older generation, I think that having a lot of ‘just in case’ stuff simply reinforces fears. We need to be realistic about what we keep ‘in case’. It’s scary to let go of something you think you might need, but freeing to do so.

            North Americans are no strangers to devastating natural disasters but, unlike economic disasters, you are given little time to ponder what to take with you. Other than having a fire safe for important documents, an inventory for insurance purposes and a designated meeting place in case we are separated, we don’t dwell on disaster plans. There’s only one rule — get out!

        • Hi Moni, I will never forget watching TV coverage of people evacuating in the face of a raging forest fire – one woman in a panic to save her wedding dress and another stuffing her car full of Beanie Babies! Imagine camping in a school gymnasium for a week with those. I thought it very sad. W

          • Hi Wendy B – if it is a long distance earthquake triggering a tsunami warning we usually have a few hours, it would be different if it was triggered closer to here. And we also have the risk of earthquakes where you get no warning.

            Yeah, I’m blown away by what people go back for. I have friends whose home was destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake and their take on it is that only people matter, things are nothing, just more things to be broken, more things to have to sweep up.

  4. Getting rid of empty storage containers is really, really hard. I recently gave away one of mine and it was a monster in size, but I’m glad I did. If I empty out any of my brown ones, I’ll keep those, but they stack and they’re all identical, so the lids can be swapped and they *will* be used…but I have two kids, so I have different sizes of clothing to store sometimes. (I try not to, as a rule, but my son is getting into the sizes where jeans cost $10-20 USD, so if I can save two pairs in the closet for a couple of months, it’s often worth it.)

    Useful stuff is probably harder for me to get rid of than sentimental things!

    Anyway, Colleen, I thought of a subject. What about “personal” items…like bras, underwear that no longer fits but is in pristine condition, nighties, etc. What could someone do with those? What *should* someone do with those? And how many should we have? Haha!

    • I save my clothes from one child to the next. I think it’s well worth the investment in space. Now that my younger child is 9, she does help decide what will be saved. Somethings she just thinks aren’t “her” and I don’t bother to store them.

      As for personal items: my favorite thrift store sells bras, nighties, and pristine panties. How many should you have? I’m going to say at least 7 panties, although I have more, probably a dozen. If you have a pretty big bunch, I suggest you divide them into lovely / clean / comfortable and slightly tattered / stained / slightly wrong fit. Save the second pile for days when you are having your period. There’s no point in using your good underwear when there’s a chance of accidents.

      I currently have two bras. I handwash one in the shower every night and wear the other. While my panties cost just $1 or $2 each, I wear supportive bras that cost between $50 and $60 each, which is why I have so few.

      Slips – I don’t think I have any of those any more.

      Pantyhose – I rarely wear these and have two pair – one nude and one black.

      Nighties – I have 4 for summer, 3 for winter, and one pair of pajama shorts that I don’t especially like but are very modest. These are good for when I stay with relatives and will likely be seen in them.

      Hey – I think you just got a post for free!

      • Haha! I think I did too! 😉

        I do the same with bras, as I am a bit large on top and I’m nursing.

        So you can donate nighties and stuff to thrift stores? I didn’t know that. I have some that I’m honestly not going to use…I’m bigger since I started nursing (these were bought *before* my first child) and my body shape simply isn’t the same any more. Still pretty stunning if you ask my husband (and I do! =P) but definitely not the same.

      • The longest I will go between laundry is two weeks, so I have at minimum 14 pairs of undies. Pretty much all of them could stand to be replaced, but doing so would mean shopping at stores I’ve been avoiding for ethical reasons.

        I’ve found that 3 bras is a good number, ideally 3 everyday and one va-voom bra. I wear them 3-5 times before washing them: irrational fear of inadequate hand washing. I’ve had good luck on ebay for new bras (I’m a 28F and need $50-$70 bras as well, but you can find the same ones for $20).

        Don’t have any slips but think one could be useful for clingy dress fabric.

        Nighties – don’t wear pants to bed, and simply rotate T-shirts.

        • I like to count stuff, so I’ll weigh in here!!

          I have not enough knickers… I mean, washing day comes cause i run short. I wear dark/black knickers almost constantly (wear dark trousers for work). I find that helps with accidents too (and hate light underwear for that reason! Also white turns grey with time!) I need at least 14, as in summer I shower before bed and in the morning.

          Bras, I have far more than all you. I have at least 5 ‘formal’ bras – three strapless (beige va va voom, black, white), stick on beige, va va voom strapped black… Then I have 5 for normal daily wear white, black, beige, green, blue, navy. Victoria Secret got me (blame them for the va va vooms x 2, blue, green and navy!!) when I was in the US.

          No slips… never have!

          Stockings – 2-3 beige pairs, 3-5 black pairs (some are stay ups others are true stockings).

          Socks – FAR too many, that some are stored for ‘later’. But last washing i think I hung out 10 pairs of my socks… so I do wear them!

          • If I could shop at places like Victoria Secret (I only blame them for continuing the myth that all women can squeeze into their bras, and their support stinks. Totally understand the compulsion to buy pretty bras.) I would have as many bras as you! I’m limited in funds and availability, which artificially lowers the count.

          • ok ladies, I want to know now. what is the difference between slips and undies/knickers/panties? Because my definition of a slip falls into those categories…
            I found that while I really like small and sexy underwear, I am super lazy to wash it by hand. on the other side, small underwear doesnt need a lot of space. fantastic.
            Am I the only one that is wearing a bra more than 3 days? – except in summer when I sweat a lot of course.

          • @Lena: englisch “slip” = deutsch “Unterkleid, Unterrock”

            Right, everyone? A slip is a kind of dress/skirt to wear underneath a dress?

          • I never wash my bras (ok, I exaggerate here). However, I don’t wear bras at all too often, so I kind of forget, if I wore that thing once or twice or more often until I finally get around to washing it.
            I tend to wear bras in summer more, in winter I just wear singlets most days and am happy with that.

            I’m fine with bras though at the moment (finally found my size and at an affordable prize), but have way too many knickers. Last time I counted, I had about 25. :-S

          • thanks sanna, that would make sense. I never had such a thing though… try the following: after the next washing (just so that you have most of them fresh) you spread them on your bed. Then you pick your absolute favourites, that you love to wear and will keep until their death. Then you pick the ones you never wear. that should have reduced the pile significantly.
            Then you pick the ones that are really not pretty anymore and you decide on: I will wear them until “natural decluttering” happens. (save the better ones for after that) or you get rid of them. I am doing this to my socks at the moment. I am wearing the ones that are almost falling apart until they are falling apart and then I reward myself with the new pair I hid in the drawer.

            lucky you… in my next life I want to have breasts that can do without bra. sadly, in this life for me and my surrounding it is better if I wear one.

          • you just made me count mine. I have 30. and I decluttered 20 not so long ago… I wasnt aware of that. I just took my own advice and started a natural decluttering round on those. thanks 😉

  5. Pens and craft supplies and stationery in general…I need to go give a bunch away! 🙂

  6. Hi all,

    If I’m brutally honest all my ‘What If’s’ turned into ‘What The’s’ !!!

    I’m content in the knowledge that if I need something I’ve already set free then I’ll replace it. ‘Brain Change’ just keeps striking, buy a new car and it depreciates by 1 third the moment you leave the lot, it’s all down hill from there value wise, so unless I have a heap of gold bars I won’t be storing it if I’m not using it. Everything depreciates in value so therefore I feel no need to covet and store anything anymore. What I have hanging around is being used daily and my crafty stuff is being consumed by me and others so I’m well on my way to bare bone nakedness!

    I sooooo totally love that I have less and less each day and my boys think it’s great too. My son the other day announced he’s going through his games and music again because he doesn’t want to become a ‘hoarder’ !!! Bless his (really big) cotton socks!

    Thanks for the ‘free’ post Cindy, it reminded me to go through some other bits ‘AGAIN’. Is it normal to do the same area again and again and again? Or have I entered the ‘Twilight Zone’ and dreamt that I had de-cluttered??? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. I’m enjoying the discussion about disposing of storage containers once you’ve disposed of their contents. Some of them are so nice and the best ones can cost quite a bit so it’s hard to part from them. It’s the potentiality of them which tempts me, but I have issues with parting with margarine tubs so I’m probably just weird. 🙂

    The anti-clutter writer Don Aslett has many amusing things to say about containers and storage systems in his books; he has dubbed them “junk bunkers” and I remind myself of that forcibly when tempted by some clever and beautiful system. If what the junk bunker is holding is stuff that you’d be better off without, it’s a poor use of your space and your money.

    I should confess that I am about to buy a freestanding shelving system for my tiny shed (shed is only 3 x 6 feet) , which has to house some things which belong indoors and would be inside if my apartment was anything other than minute. After careful research, I shall be dropping £20 on this galvanised steel system. It’s strong, hardwearing and portable and I figure it for a once-in-a-lifetime expenditure to resolve a particular problem in an already-dejunked space. But I still feel a bit guilty…… crazy is that?

    • I hear you. With all this focus on decluttering, one gets so careful not to bring useless stuff in. I found myself a bit fanatic the other day when I tried to carry 7 bottles without a bag, because I try not to bring in plastic bags… I accepted the offer of the lady in the end. my olive oil was way more important than another plastic bag that I will reuse somewhere. seriously. If you need something, go and get it. Especially if it is a shelf that will bring organisation, space and a solution for a problem. I promise you, you will love it!

    • Junk bunkers — I like that. No one would ever accuse me of having a cluttered home, but that’s just because I’m organized. I’m the queen of Rubbermaid bins. But my organized clutter is still clutter. I’ve emptied several bins but haven’t been able to part with one, yet. Those might be the last things to go.

      • Thank you, ladies. I thought I was going to have to resign my membership in 365 because last week I bought some plastic drawer dividers! But, with less stuff in the drawers, I needed a way to keep it all from rattling around and getting muddled up. Decluttering and organizing are interdependent.

        • Hi Wendy B – a working system isn’t clutter, organisation is the goal 🙂

          • Too true and Yay for being organised enough to hear your stuff!

            Is anyone else finding echoes around the house musical??? 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • nope. I dont like echoes in a house. it feels cold and hard. I have it especially in the kitchen, and I really dont like it, but I dont want to hang curtains, because I dont have the stove fan thingy, and I really dont want to place a rug in my tiny kitchen, thats gross.

          • You have me wondering about echoes now. I think I never even recognized an echoe in a completely empty room. ??? Maybe, there’s a difference as to whether the floors are tiled or wooden, ceiling height etc. etc.

          • what I mean by echo is (dt.) “Hall” – the dictionary says its (engl.) “reverberation”.

  8. Sorry Cindy, I thought Colleen did this post. It’s a good one! I love all of the comments, too. They’re all dead-on accurate. I’m a big fan of Don Aslett, his way is the way of all of us here. Don’t organize your stuff better, just get rid of it, or most of it, anyway. Also, I think also if hard times come nothing I’ve gotten rid of could be eaten or burned for heat or sold (during hard times we’ll mostly all be in the same boat and nobody will be spending money on junk). So, it’s not like all of the stuff I’ve gotten rid of will help. Best to store up friends and skills and maybe a little extra food.

  9. I realized that I am also careful to declutter storage solutions. But I found that I had so many little bags and pockets, boxes and doses, that were clutter although they contained things. like jewellery or coins, hair thingies or just a pretty stone I brought home from beach vacation. And while I like the items they contained, and I wanted to keep them as well, I had to get rid of those little containers, because I forgot what was in them. I got rid of around 10 of those mini storage containers and oh look – I can see this stone from the beach in a bowl now next to the oyster shell from my grandmother. amazing.

    I would never get rid of middle sized cartons though. you know the one where the cettle come in, or boxing gloves, or the camera… Some contain the cable/manual/spare phone or the pictures from school-days that are waiting to the next round of decluttering. Some I keep for selling items… And whenever there is a new one coming, I am super happy to find a new use for it. One thing that bugs me is the carton that my printer came in. I also saved the polystyrene holder for it. I mean I will at one point move again, and then I will be grateful for. But the box is huge and taking away a lot of space.

  10. Just today, I got rid of about 8 storage containers (rather small ones).
    I also got rid of lots and lots of tiny bits and pieces and it’s very true that all these small bits add up to big clutter in the end. Actually, I think that the small bits are the worst clutter as they have no function in themselves and just accumulate.

    I’m happy that my boyfriend was decluttering as well this week. 🙂

  11. Yesterday I gave the quilting supplies I’ve been hanging onto for 5+ years to a friend who sews for charity….it was a GREAT feeling!

  12. Hey all,

    Don Aslett wrote a book many moons ago called ‘Is there Life after Housework’ I found it by accident and I believe it was the first book I’d actually read that mentioned ‘CLUTTER’ he got such a huge response on that one chapter he wrote other books just about clutter and organising and storage etc. He is hilarious and through humour he hits the nail on the head with his classic one liners! I call him the Arnold Swarzanegger of clutter! The illustrator for his books is brilliant as well, my all time fave is the lovely lady hiding everything under the rug!!

    Remember it’s not about getting everything ‘GONE’ (unless you want that) it’s about making everything work well for you and whoever shares your space. My life always gets hectic but inbetween I help myself stay calm by realising sometimes I just have to let go of that or buy this to help with that. I definitely have less which has helped me do and be more, but I’ve also bought the odd thing that has helped organise my ‘now’ things. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. Hi Dizzy, I found Don Aslett’s “Is there life after Housework?” and “Freedom from Clutter” in a thrift store years ago and I love them. They’re actually at my Mum and Dad’s place, last seen in a cluttered bookcase, which itself is obscured by boxes of books stacked 5 feet tall. I literally can’t get them without a major excavation! It’s so funny considering the subject matter.

    If anyone here hasn’t seen these books, and his other titles, I cannot recommend them highly enough. He’s a very funny guy, very genuine, and a great observer of human foibles. And his cartoonists are superb. There was one of a pensive-looking guy captioned something like; “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I got rid of it?” and above his head is a think-bubble with a nuclear mushroom cloud.

    Another has the mailman jumping out of his skin as the cartoon-face front door spits junk-mail back out of it’s “mouth”. Two baffled-looking mourners stand at a graveside in another. Grave is closed but disappearing under the mound is a slide of consumer junk and the mourners are saying something like; “She DID take it all with her!”

    See, I haven’t even seen these books for years and I can remember every page. 🙂 Seriously, as well as being screamingly-funny, his observations are very acute and linger as long as the excellent ‘toons.

    • Heehee I took three goes of trying to read his books before it really sank in, I just kept laughing my head off!! Do you remember his bit about trying to build a shelf whilst looking after his young children for a week? The little maniac thought he could do it all like us ‘girls’ whilst his wife was out of town. That was a scream, bless him, and to think he started out as a ‘house cleaner’ to pay his way through college. I just love his books, they will always have a place on my shelf!!

      • Oh, yeah, I remember Don’s confession. He’d worked extra hours to buy his wife a plane ticket to visit her parents in another state, telling her that OF COURSE he’d be able to look after their 6 young children. He then set to show how an efficient businessman organises a family and still achieves his goals (and builds a cabinet) ………needless to say he achieved nothing but chaos, life was a complete disaster and when she phoned home, he allowed the wailing of their children in the background to lure her back early. And then he got to be efficient again, and had learned an important lesson about just how much his wife was contributing to family life and his successful business. 🙂

  14. Ooops, the nuclear mushroom think-bubble cartoon was in the third book of his that I’ve read; “Not for Packrats Only.”

  15. I agree totally Colleen with your counter argument to “what if I have lots of time in the future to use these cratft supplies etc “.I read that yesterday and suddenly realised that I have a drawer full of sewing threads – all waiting for the magical time – possibly 5-10 years from now when I will retire and have plenty of time to do lots of sewing . And then a funny thing happened which really made me realise how pointless it is to keep things “in case ” you might need them. I don’t do a lot of sewing these days but I just happen to be making a wall hanging for my daughter and this morning, in spite of having a drawer full of threads (all 154 of them !) I didnt have the exact shade and had to go and buy some anyway! So – I have now sorted them and most will be going to a dear friend who sews every day of her life and shares her studio with her equally talented daughter. I’m sure they will love them and use them – even for their mock ups if needed and I will have mangeable little collection which will be pleasing to look at, easy to access and not take up much room. And its not that difficult to go and buy thread occasionally – it cost less than a cup of coffee! Thanks for the blog and the reminder to take a second or third or fouth look at one’s “stuff ” and have another think about it.

    • Good for you Judith. I have found myself in this position so I understand exactly. I look forward to getting homeland continuing on with my decluttering. the craft room needs a little more attention yet

  16. I love the tins that popcorn comes in. The ones with the cute picture on the sides. I have been able to put some duplicates in the recycling bin but the others, I keep. For now, quilt scraps are in one but what to do with the extras. There are only so many Christmas trashcans one needs. I used to use one for dogfood, but my mini-dachshund died almost 2 years ago. Any suggestions? I don’t have any kids at home so using them for toys is not an option. Perhaps I should get some legos for the grands to play with while they are here. HELP!

    • Hi Maggie,
      here is my advice. You obviously see these items as a problem as much as a treasure. I would suggest you ignore them for now and continue on decluttering other items that you are happy to part with. I almost guarantee that somewhere not far along your declutter journey you will decide you are finally happy to let them go. There is a possibility that they are collectable and you could sell them on ebay and make a nice profit once you are able to let go. Decluttering isn’t about letting go of the things you love. I would suggest though that you don’t add any more to your collection in the meantime.

    • What about covering with colored contact paper and other decorations and using them as small trashcans? This really is only helpful if you have lots of room in your house and if you’re willing to give up the “cute pictures” on the sides. I would also ask – do you get these every year? And consider how many you have vs. how many are actually realistic to keep around. No estimates, actually count them while you’re doing this. It might be helpful to set a firm limit for yourself on how many you can have at one time. And if you have an impressive amount of them, maybe set all of them up together and have someone take a picture of you with your array of tins before you declutter them. You could make it your next Christmas card!

    • Hi Maggie, we used to use one to empty the fireplace ashes into.

  17. if you like those so much, why dont you just use it as decoration? I mean yeah, if you have a purpose for it, great, but if you dont, then they can easily stay empty and you place them somewhere, where you can look and admire them… if you dont want to do this, then maybe consider them as a special sort of gift wrapping and give them away/donate/trash/recycle/etc. you know the drill.
    I figure, the more I declutter, the more I also repurpose things, storage containers, boxes, tins etc. Maybe you will find something that can go in there after you decluttered another storage item.

  18. I think I will just leave them alone for now. I looked at the sewing room yesterday where the tins reside and I only have 4 left. I must have tossed some of them and just don’t remember. Anyway, when I bought popcorn this last Christmas, my son took his tin home and I the one I bought my husband did not have a particularly attractive picture. So, the four I have will stay and I’ll use them for something until I am ready to move them on. Thanks for the suggestions. Also, I know not to buy the tins with nice pictures. It’s easier to toss the plain ones. 🙂

    • Hi Maggie,
      it seems you had it all figured out from the start. Reduce and resist that is all it takes. Four isn’t a big number to keep and maybe one day you will be ready to let go of even those.

      • Hi, Maggie…I don’t know if you stock a pantry at all, but empty popcorn tins are excellent for storing packages of dry goods such as rice, beans, flour, sugar, etc. to protect them from weather, bugs, or mice.

  19. Becky, This is a great idea. With just my hubby and me, I can put all our rice, noodles and other dry goods in one tin and sit it in the floor of our pantry. I would never have thought of this. And I can see it EVERY Day when I get things out of there. I don’t go into the sewing room every day so I will enjoy these much more in the kitchen. Thanks.

  20. Maggie, you might be comfortable to repurpose the popcorn tins as “gift bags”–put gifts inside and just add a bow or other decoration. This would mean they leave your home, and maybe you are not ready for that yet. If they left one at a time, that might be easier.