Clutter you don’t care about

Hi folks, well after reading the heading of this post you are probably wondering what on earth I have written about. So lets get started.

My home isn’t clutter free. People probably think it is but it isn’t. After all I have never professed to be a minimalist and doubt I ever will aspire to that. The bulk of the clutter that I planned to get rid of is gone. And, as you all know, we achieved our goal of moving into a small apartment almost two years ago now. My wardrobe doesn’t hold a lot of clothes, my shoe selection is minimal compared to most, we have books but not a lot. We don’t have excess toiletries, linens, stationary supplies, paperwork or food supplies and the kitchen holds very few items  that don’t get used often.

However, there is still some clutter in our home. I have an abundance of craft supplies, despite my feverish crafting habits of late. We still haven’t finished culling photographs, which is one of the tasks I raved on about a lot back at the start of my decluttering. There is a variety of coffee making implements high up in one of the kitchen cupboards that don’t get used. And my wedding dress still wastes space in my wardrobe. Those last two things are ones I haven’t been given permission to dispose of yet or they would be gone. And the keepsake box probably holds some items that we probably don’t care much about but I haven’t taken it down to look through it for a while. Keepsakes are probably all clutter really but if we enjoy that little trip down memory lane every now and again then they aren’t clutter to us. And then there is the stuff that just isn’t mine to part with so I don’t touch it.

There are three reasons why there is still some clutter in our house. Clutter that has been lingering for a long time too. Reason one is that I believe that all parties who have any ownership of the clutter also has a say in whether it stays or goes. Reason two is that, there are some decluttering tasks that I am still happy to put off until I feel inclined to deal with them, such as photographs. And reason three is that, like the less loved keepsakes, I really don’t care if they remain because they don’t take up much space.

All in all I am very happy with the clutter level in our home. And yes I do still declutter items every now and again. And yes the craft clutter in general is lessening despite the fact that I add to it for certain projects. And yes there are still items I would be happy to part with. And the one thing that keeps the level of clutter down is the fact that we don’t buy much in the way of material things these day.

So what clutter do you still have in your home that you don’t mind being there or just don’t care to deal with yet? Or perhaps you need some advice on why and how to get rid of some things that really do irritate you. Share your thoughts with us and we will give you our advice or opinions.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you keep just because most people have one. I decluttered out BBQ soon after I began by declutter journey. It is almost sacrilegious to not own a BBQ in Australia but we just never used ours so out it went. Five years latter and we have never replaced it or missed it for that matter.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I’m glad you mentioned the wedding dress! The other day I saw mine tucked away in a box at the back of my closet. I know my daughter will never wear it, but it would hurt my husband tremendously if I sold it. Additionally, I’m not certain I’m ready to get rid of it. Because of this and since it doesn’t take up much space, it is still there. Maybe I can dream that in the future the 80’s styles will return and a grandchild will wear it 🙂

  2. I still have my wedding dress too – I made it myself and even though we have been married for nearly 25 years and have 4 sons and no daughters, I cannot get rid of it yet.

    I smiled to myself the other day – I had decluttered a DVD that I hated and thought no-one would notice it had gone, but which one (out of the hundreds we have) did my son want to watch? Too bad.

    I have agreed with a friend that rather than call ourselves minimalists we will call ourselves ‘lesserists’ – at the moment our aim is to live with less, and since we both have large families, this is as much as we can hope for at the moment. What it does mean is that we consider carefully before we bring anything into the house, and we are trying to live with the one in, one out principle.

    • Cathy – I like that….lesserists

    • Ah Cathy, DVDs now that is something I would be glad to see the back of. We have Netflix now and there are plenty of movies on there to keep me occupied on the rare occasion that I could give a hoot about sitting in front of the TV for hours. Did your son get very bent out of shape about the DVD being gone or did he just find something else to watch?

      I like your term lesserists. I referred to myself as a moderationist once and my husband thought it was sill. I just googled the term and came up with this noun

      a person who favors, supports, or promotes moderation.

      The link to the word moderation revealed this definition…


      the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.
      the act of moderating.
      moderations, British. the first public examinations at Oxford University for the B.A. degree in mathematics or in classics.
      in moderation, without excess; moderately; temperately:
      to drink in moderation.

      Sounds perfect to me. I am most definitely going to refer to myself as a moderationist in future.

  3. As far as wedding dresses go, I guess I should consider myself lucky. I had it wrapped in light plastic in a cardboard storage box in the basement closet floor. Needless to say, it did get damp and then I saw some spots (probably wedding day food/drink soiling that went unnoticed before storage). I had no trouble tossing it. Then a few years later, out went the veil and wedding cards. I’m just so glad these items are not part of my decision to declutter. I really think that the longer you hold onto sentimental items, the harder it is to bring yourself to let them go. I know that many people say to take a picture of the item (like the many bowling trophies my husband used to have) and then let the item go. I would think there are many pictures of us wearing “that” wedding dress.

    My daughter is 41, unmarried and if some day soon, she does get married, there is no way she would want my old wedding dress. She has her “own style” and for that I am grateful.

    Now if someone can tell me how to inspire my son to let go of his many baseball/hockey cards and other sports stuff, I would be even more grateful.

    P.S. I can’t get too tough with him, as he became disabled at the age of 24 (now 38)……I just can’t.

    • Hi Ann and welcome to 365 Less Things. I was hoping the stains on my wedding dress would make the process of getting rid of it easier. Because I just didn’t care I simply through it in my washing machine and lo and behold the darn thing came out looking great. Mind you that still isn’t the hold up on getting rid of it, in fact it makes it easier because it is in sellable condition.

      Sorry to hear about your son. Our family almost had that same experience but fortunately our son recovered amazingly from the serious brain injury that he sustained at the age of 19 and the fractures in his back were stable and also healed well. As for those sports cards I can also sympathise. We had tonnes of baseball cards in our household but also fortunately my husband did declutter many of them. There are still some hoarded away in the car park cage of our apartment building. I must mention those again soon. In fact I should make a list of the things I would like to see decluttered around here and see if there is anything we/he could work on getting rid of. Unfortunately one can’t force other to declutter things that are meaningful to them so we just have to live with it. But a little gentle encouragement every now and again sometimes hits the mark. So keep on encouraging and hopefully that will get you somewhere in the end.

  4. When most people come into our house they think we have no clutter. For the most part, we don’t as far as what can be seen. Even what is unseen to most would not seem over cluttered. The problem is that I feel it is too much. We have too many pictures on the wall. We have too many keepsakes. We have too many items in the kitchen cupboards. And on and on. Hopefully, much of this will be decluttered when we move. I’m hoping that when Mom had her foot surgery and can’t be up and around I can get her to go through some things and declutter.

    • Hi Deb, I understand where you are coming from. I too would declutter our home more were it up to me, but when cohabiting one has to respect the right of others to hold on to things that they believe to be meaningful or useful to them. Fortunately my hubby is pretty good with the decluttering as well and like me also still lets things go now and again. Would I like my home to be a little less cluttered, yes, but sometimes I think it is my life that is a little cluttered which makes the walls close in around me at times and not so much what is in our home. Too many irons in the fire so to speak. My upcoming vacation might help me sort out what is expendable to make my lifestyle more relaxing yet meaningful and satisfying.

      • I know what you mean about too many irons in the fire. Right now things are like that for me? We are going to a lot of doctor and test appointments so Mom can have her surgeries. Add all that to the regular life stuff and I feel overwhelmed.

    • I am the same Deb. I was tutoring a young nurse for her maths exam a little while ago and she said to me. “This place looks like a display home, do you actually live here”?

      I also was helping a friend pack up as her husband is in the airforce and they are being transferred to Brisbane. Hubby is away and the airforce will pack up most things but we packed the wardrobe up. I would have done things a little differently. She was saying how one person doesn’t need all these clothes but she didn’t want to try anything on and I ended up packing her entire wardrobe up even though there were things that clearly didn’t fit. She is feeling overwhelmed and I was there to help not push my views on her. Maybe at the other end when she is less time poor.

      • Mich, your friend sounds like my friend. I helped her get started on decluttering and then another friend finished helping her. She still has way too much and she knows it but can’t let go. She has boxes of stuff. Added to that she has clothes in three sizes and hasn’t worn two of the sizes in years. Her husband is just as bad.

  5. I still have my “wedding dress” also. It is just a designer outfit (tunic and culottes), not a gown. I possibly could wear it if I didn’t try to button the waist LOL. I don’t know if I’d ever declutter it because I still love it and it takes almost no room in my closet.

    The thing we have made the most decluttering progress on this year is our debt! (It is part car loan, part student loan). We are very close to paying off my husbands car, which he & I are entirely responsible for. The remainder are our daughters student loans which they pay on but we cosigned for. We help with those as we can, aware that those loans could become fully our responsibility in case of death or serious illness.

    This financial “decluttering” has been vastly helped along by not “stocking up” on things or buying in excess of our needs. I thank the 365 community and especially Colleen for helping me realize this wisdom 🙂

    • Hi Peggy, I love the sound of your wedding attire. Something different, I like that.
      And congratulation for reducing your debt by not wasting money on stuff you don’t need. Statements like that make blogging so worth my time. Assuming that your daughter is now employed, and capable of paying off her own student debt, is it possible to renegotiate the loan so it is only in her name? I don’t know how these things work so I don’t know the answer to that. However in reverse, if you and your husband died I am sure they would be happy to had the entire debt to her so surely, like any loan, an assessment of finances can be acquired by the lending institution to ascertain whether she is a viable risk on her own. Although I guess you might also be like my husband and I and feel that paying for your children’s education is an investment you are willing to finance yourself.

    • Being debt free is the best thing you can do to simplifying your life.
      We only ever pay cash for what we buy. I would have loved a big caravan with all the bells and whistles – we have a very basic small van that I love because we make do with very little when we are away, with quality lifestyle. It’s probably the closest we will ever come to being minimalist.

  6. For those of you with wedding dresses still in the closet, there are organizations that are happy to take them as a donation. For example, the Angel Gowns organization in Australia. I donated one to a charity in the USA (I forget the name) that sold them onto brides would needed an inexpensive gown. I believe there is something similar in the UK.

    This post made me chuckle … there’s only two of us at home but we have 6 bicycles. There’s plenty of room for them in the garage. They’re all in good working order but unless we have to pick just two, we’re going to keep them … they all have their unique “personalities” so would find it hard to part with any of them.

    • Hi Kate, I did balk at writing about the things I keep because at this point I don’t care to work on them or declutter them because we have the room. I have always had the room for all the clutter I owned so it isn’t a good reason to keep things. However like your bikes, there are always those items that you still have a reason to keep and the room for them so why not. Especially if they aren’t upsetting anyone else, collecting dust or annoying in any way.

      As for ways of getting rid of my wedding dress, that isn’t a problem for me. It is convincing my hubby that we don’t need to keep it, or do some stupid photo shoot with it before doing so.

    • Kate – I am on the wait list to send my wedding dress to Angel Gowns, they were inundated. They say, however, if I were to sign up and become one of their sewers, we could arrange a swap with another sewer. I’m still thinking on this.

  7. I am so glad you brought this up. I have recently mentioned here that for me the “clutter” I don’t mind is books, records and my knitting and hand-spinning supplies. While I regularly cull out one – time reads, like popular novels and mysteries, I keep classic books and some which have sentimental value. But, my books are all neatly shelved, as are my vinyl LPS and compact discs, which I listen to often . I still prefer the old stereo sound to digitized music. As for knitting and spinning, my yarn and fleeces are neatly organized in bins. But I strongly feel that things you love and value are not “clutter” if they are neatly shelved, or otherwise properly stored, and at least occasionally used or referenced. As for my own home, I’d rather see a wall of neatly shelved books and music than a bare wall, because I use and enjoy those items.

    Now, consider a woman I know who claims to “collect” dolls, but she has none at all on shelves or in display cases — just random bags and boxes of dolls, old and new, heaped in the corners of her home and on the floors of her closets. And her dining room has been rendered almost useless with boxes and bags of un-inventoried dolls. If you come to my house and wish to hear Pink Floyd’s “Obscured By Clouds,” I can find it in seconds. The woman who collects the dolls? It might take her DAYS to find a Cabbage Patch Kid if you ask her to. The heaps of bags and boxes make her house unpleasant to visit. To me, this goes beyond clutter and has become hoarding. This lady is a very nice neighbor, but I do not enjoy visiting her home. I know that she and her husband fight about it often. This is not healthy.

    I completely agree with this post! If you have things that you use and enjoy, and they are neatly displayed or stored, it isn’t “clutter.” Our dwellings should be homes, and our homes should include our interests. A home is not a spartan, empty box unless that is your true goal. One should not have to apologize for the things that give one pleasure to use and enjoy, the last bit of that sentence being most important.

    • Well stated Dez. And I think your neighbour may have gone beyond a loving the dolls she collects to loving to acquire the dolls. The thrill of the chase if you like. I have seen many cases of this in my time. Crafting can have that effect on a person over time. I have experienced the urge to buy craft supplies only to have them sit around for years unused. I am over that of course. Although sometimes I find the odd thing cheap at a thrift store that I bring home, but if it is sitting around for a couple of months without being used up or refurbished it goes back where it came from. I still enjoy a good project but I have no room for unachieved ones.

  8. Hi Colleen!
    What an interesting post!
    Actually, I almost entirely stopped buying stuff. Somehow I still get replacements for clothes (hand-me-downs from people who still buy or have more than they need, and I’m happy to be of some “declutter-assistence” that way) and other things (stationary, beauty products etc. etc. – I get them as souvenirs, as presents for christmas or my birthday and instead of becoming clutter most of them are indeed useful these days that I don’t buy so much anymore). Only rarely will I buy stuff and always it is needed or useful. (the difference would be: shoes to walk are needed, a pretty box that holds exactly my sewing supplies and fits the space is not actually needed, because it did work somehow before I bought it, but it’s useful and much-used. 🙂 )
    I’m happy with the amount of clutter. We do have clutter, yes. I save worn-out clothes or sheets to make something new out of them – but only fabrics I really like. Sometimes I don’t use them right away, sometimes it takes some months or even years – but I’m not drowning in projects, and as I don’t buy anymore, the stack isn’t growing faster than I can work through it. Likewise we still have a “stack” of stationery, wool, etc. However, it is an amount that will be used and can be used.
    Actually I am rather fine with the amount of things we own. Although not everything has an immediate use. I do find though that if you don’t own more than you know you own, you actually use even those not-regularly-used items when the chance arises. Because you manage to think of them. I also realized that I more often think up “matches” of things I saw somewhere and people I know and declutter in that way, too.

  9. It took me a long time to let go of my wedding dress. Fortunately, I have kept my husband, ha ha. I have plenty of pictures of our wedding day. I saved the back bow of my gown ( a light-weight organza easy to store flat small bow) and put the gown and veil in a thrift store donation box. You’ll know when it is time.

    • Hi Mary and welcome to 365 Less Things. Well done on both getting rid of the dress and keeping the husband. Both can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. LOL! I agree with the fact the the photos are enough. Although I never look at them either but am unlikely to declutter them. The dress however can go to the thrift shop in my opinion but only once I get hubby’s permission.

  10. Like Deb J my friends consider my house clutter free and are rather alarmed when I say I still have plenty to declutter. Life transitions and stuff required changes with these transitions.

    I have the wedding dress which is waiting to go off to Angel Gowns, I have seen some other lovely ideas, so if I get too fidgety while waiting, I can look at those options too.

    Right now – I still have a lot of dance clutter but my daughter finishes with her dance school this December. It will be the end of an era after two daughters going right thru. I have sold a lot of costumes over the years but I kept everything which they still fit. Concert time is notorious for the teachers asking for some costume to be brought out of retirement and re-used to save time, money and effort. I could start getting rid of items that are not likely to be used this concert……but I will get 2-3 times more money in February when the Dance Comp season begins again for the new year, so I will wait until then. I will however begin sorting thru stuff as our border is a size smaller than my daughter and I will ask her to model some of the smaller items for photos before she leaves next month.

    (I do confess that I would be happy for it to be gone now but I plan to give the money to my daughter when she heads off to University next year for spending money, so I will view it as a ‘savings account’ for now)

  11. My wedding dress was donated to become Angel Dresses. Now the closet shelf is filled with empty photo albums. Got the photo negative digitizer and hope to start work on the photo clutter this coming winter. We’ll see. Empty photo albums may get donated and print photo books?

  12. Stuff that is neatly on shelves is what I’m not dealing with, or neatly packed in labeled boxes. I refuse to see that, as there is so much out of control stuff!

    I have more envelopes than I’ll ever need (since I don’t actively swap or sell books anymore), but they are neatly sorted and boxed and labeled and out of the way. There is so much more stuff that is in my way that I have easier ways to productively get rid of they barely register.

    I’m sure there’s more in the kitchen cabinets I could dispense with, but I do like to cook, and I do enjoy a good kitchen toy (that works well!). So since they all fit nicely and I can find what i need, I consider it “done for this round”. I went through them all a few months ago and took out the obvious stuff I didn’t use, which gave enough space for what was left to be comfortably accessed. Good enough for now.

    I have drastically reduced the number of books coming in the house, so I am not concerned about the amount of books in the house. As I read them, they will mostly head out. It’s slow, but it happens. Now that I don’t have to find room for MORE books I’m ok with the current state of books. I don’t like the boxes of books in the basement (I lost two bookshelves when the kid started getting books and those went downstairs), but that will fix itself in longer term, as the unread books upstairs trickle out. Short term, the books are fine. They are not getting worse, are under control, and I like books. I like to see books, I like to peruse books. So I am not stressing about books either!

    The garage, however…I don’t know what’s out there. That’s my current target. Some of what I know is out there I know I don’t want, I just have to get to it to get rid of it! So neatly labeled ID’d, boxed or shelved stuff…yeah, ignoring that for now.

  13. Most of the clutter I keep is aspirational clutter. I don’t think there’s a problem with aspiring to something even if I know I might never get around to it. I don’t mean hanging onto climbing gear for when I someday climb Everest, but I have a small kit of woodcarving tools, and some drawing books and art supplies. If I only get them out from time to time and dream about painting or carving, that’s OK by me.

    • Hi Wendy, I like to aspire to things too so I know what you mean. However I tend to designate a use by date for many such things these days. I feel guilt free on this because most of it comes to me free or cheap secondhand. I wouldn’t go out buying new stuff without an immediate intention to use it.

  14. I don’t know what sort of clutter this is. I have an upright 6 drawer freezer in the garage. It has always been full of neatly labeled meals and things I bought on special. After the Newcastle storms in April that left me without power for 6 days, I decided to leave it turned off. I would freeze meals for my children when they came to visit to take home. Haven’t missed the freezer, was a little disappointed it didn’t make a difference to our power bill. Discussed it with my husband and if one of our children don’t want it then I will sell it.

  15. This was an interesting read, Colleen. Sometimes I wonder whether people work harder to acquire things or to declutter them later.

    As we removed the unnecessary and unwanted stuff from our home, we were rewarded with more than enough space for the items that we love and use … and our home looks delightfully uncluttered, even with all the things that we decided we wanted to keep, and even though we aren’t done yet. Once the superfluous stuff is all gone, the meaningful items get their time in the spotlight.

    Decluttering has made such a difference and it’s amazing to witness the transformation as we continue to streamline to the point that’s just right for us. It’s lovely to have a home that only has meaningful and useful things … and still has breathing space. There has been no sense of deprivation whatsoever, in removing unwanted items … in fact, we’ve gained so much, in many ways. Being happy with the way our home is also makes it easy to not let any clutter back in. Everything we did has been worth it. Being surrounded by space (with your much-loved items – items that reflect who you are as an individual – intact) sure beats being surrounded by unnecessary stuff any time!

  16. Oh Colleen, I still have my wedding saree. It was a gift from my big sister. The saree is dark green with golden zari border and it is absolutely gorgeous and still in a very good condition. More than the sentimental value, it is the sheer beauty of the handwork involved in the piece that prevents me from decluttering it.

    Oh well, I’ll probably get there someday, till then I’ll enjoy looking at it once in a while and maybe wear it on our 10th wedding anniversary this December and take lots of photos.

    • Your saree sounds gorgeous Saigeetha. Isn’t it interesting that the female wedding attire is used once and then left unused in more than one society in the world. I wonder if other countries, religions etc do the same. Such a waste really isn’t it.

  17. Today was a very successful decluttering day. I didn’t plan it to be when I woke up. I believe I was psyched by what I was reading on 365 this week and also some of Colleen’s entries from March 2015 and the replies by many. I had already stowed away some excess stationery from earlier this week and some odds and ends but then I decided to go through the kitchen cabinets and dining chest and found some more stuff. I also tossed some expired stuff from the fridge and pantry and made a mental note to keep it simple and not purchase “special” pantry items for one time meal dishes.

    Back to the unexpected decluttering: I read about “books” on 365 and as suggested went back to read what Marie Kondo and author of Clearing Clutter with Feng Shai wrote in regards to unread, half read and read books just hanging around. With that inspiration, I was able to let go of close to 20 books. Yeah, I just spread them all out on the floor and picked one up at a time to decide whether I really still wanted them. I went directly to Goodwill after dinner tonight, as it was important that all of my excess actually exit today.

    The biggest donation and one that I have been mulling over for quite a long time was my Keurig coffee maker and the remaining 4 pods I had. It was a gift from my son a number of years ago but my husband and I prefer to make a “big” mug of coffee fresh each morning. I just can’t see having that extremely large unit sitting out on my precious counter to make one cup of coffee at a time. So happy to finally have it gone!

    Sure hope I don’t crash and burn! LOL