Day 192 Decluttering regrets

Willow asked me to explore with my readers whether there is anything that you have decluttered that you wish you hadn’t. She asked if I had such a story from my own experience.

This isn’t the first time this subject has come up for me and I have not addressed it before because I could not think of any time that I have thought “I wish I still had such and such”. Then it occurred to me that that is my answer.

No I have not encountered this problem yet.

Not in the last 192 days or for any other time over the years. I fully expect it might happen one day but of all the things I have decluttered over the years if this is the average for regret then I am not concerned if the demon eventually rears it’s ugly head.

As the saying goes there’s no point crying over spilt milk.

If you didn’t care about it when you gave it away then there is a good chance the desire to have it back shall also pass and in no time you won’t care again.

Please share with us in comments if you have a declutter regret story, we would love to hear about it.

My husband just reminded me that at one point years ago I convinced him to throw away some old letters from his cousin when they were younger. Personal stuff about what was going on in their lives at the time. Stuff that they could only talk to each other about. Unfortunately this beloved cousin died a couple of years ago when she was just 43 leaving behind two young girls and a new husband. That is the one thing he certainly regrets, it would be nice to have those letters to look back on now. So be careful with the really personal sentimental stuff, more importantly spend more time with the people you love because you just never know how long they will be in your life. I think that is the real regret here.


I may one day regret getting rid of this ironing arm but I bought it at a garage sale for next to nothing for one specific purpose. There is a type of shirt my husband wears once every blue moon that is a real b**** to iron because the sleeves have to be ironed with the crease up the side not on the top. I figure it will save me a lot of bother if on the rare occasion that he needs it I’ll just send it to the dry cleaners and let them deal with it. Problem solved and it will be well worth the money spent. Getting rid of it will free up a great deal of space in my inadequate laundry cupboard.

Ironning Sleeve

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • Mini Mission ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more. With the holiday season here you will likely need every inch of spare space.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I have been decluttering on and off since 2002, and, inspired by you, in the last three months have disposed of 244 items or bags of items.

    In all that time, the only thing regretted is a small kitchen spatula which my husband used occasionally – and he said not worth replacing!

    I can’t think of anything else… if I’m really not sure about something, I’ll leave it till the next go round and probably get rid of it then.

    I LOVE living like this, our home is always tidy, I know where everything is and life is so simple.

    • Hi Janetta,
      I use the same tactic as you. If I am unsure about something I put it aside for the next go around. No harm done there. If you find yourself avoiding it over and over but never actually using it then maybe more thought needs to go into what the attachment is and approach it from that angle. There are still plenty of those items lurking in my home but I will get to them eventually.
      Oh! And good job with decluttering 244 things/bags of items. I hope there will never be any regrets or you may regret taking my advice in the first place and we can have that! lol!

  2. I have experienced a couple short-term regrets for getting rid of certain things. The problem is: I no longer remember what they were. Obviously they were not that important, lol!

    • Hi Ginger,
      I did laugh out loud when I read your comment. I think you and I might have a similar sense of humor.
      It pretty much says it all but doesn’t it.

  3. Ginger and Colleen, I laughed at both your comments!

    Thanks, Colleen, for addressing this topic. I’m looking forward to reading others’ comments, too.

  4. Awesome post Colleen. I hadn’t really thought about this, but I must confess; I haven’t had one single regret over anything I’ve declutterd thus far.

    So much of the clutter in my home is so easily replaced. I suppose if there should ever be an object that I regret purging, I could find another if need be.

  5. I have been decluttering a lot for more than ten years and once I did regret getting rid of very particular books ( I knew they were out of print but I thought I could find them in a library : the answer was no !).

  6. My only regret is about of the same importance as a spatuala, as well: a small piece to a Tupperware set.

    One thing I do to avoid regret is to keep all the pieces of something I have, even if I’m not using part of it at the time. The biggest example I can think of (literally) is storing an end table because it went with the coffee table that I was still using. I figured if one part was still in play, the other might be too when I rearranged again. I’m not using the large bottom drawer of my refrigerator, but I stored it for the same reason. Also, I often sell my items as a way of getting rid of them and having all the pieces makes them more appealing to someone else. I suppose that applies to giving something away too: It seems nicer if all the pieces are intact.

    I was thinking about this post and some people’s fear of “I might need that some day.” Then I was thinking about how most of us will have a cocktail when we eat out or buy a fancy coffee. That’s money gone, and it’s not coming back. If you fear you’ll need it someday, remember that you can skip a couple coffees or a cocktail, and *wha-la* you have the money to re-buy your item (hopefully at the thrift store, where you donated it, right?)

  7. I’m in Ginger’s camp — sometimes I question myself a day or two after I get rid of something but a week or two later have no clue what it might have been.

    Re: letters/cards. My filing cabinet drawer for letters is so full that action must be taken. I decided several months ago to discard any cards that simply have a pre-printed message with a signature (e.g., “Merry Christmas from us”) and no personal message. Personal messages are harder for me to discard. I’ve been writing with some of my pen pals for more than 20 years and that’s a lot of letters. I have been taking all the pre-2001 letters and scanning them using the super-fast scanner at work. Then I make a PDF for each year per person, make proper backups, and shred the letters. I re-read them when I scanned them and can honestly say I haven’t ever re-read them before taking on this project. It was kind of fun reading what we wrote to each other when we were 12 years old. I’ll probably never look at the PDFs again but feel better knowing they’re there. And surely no one is going to go through my filing cabinet and ask me why the Easter card for 1993 is not in there.

    I’m more sentimental about letters from close relatives and decided I will at least scan them now (since the original is my only copy) and decide later whether I can bring myself to shred them.

    • Hi Mmm Yarn,
      That is the beauty of paper clutter. It can be scanned and stored out of sight out of mind on your computer hard drive. It is the words that count after all not the paper they are written on.

      Hi Cindy,
      Yes I am with you on the funding of replacement items. Even though this could be an issue for some who don’t have a lot of disposable income, it stands to reason if you had the cash to waste on the clutter in the first place you can probably affort to replace the odd item with the cash you aren’t wasting now that you have stopped this habit.

      Hi nicole 86,
      I know you are a book lover, your comments reflect that and this is a tricky one for you. If books are something you refer back to on a regular basis it would pay to be careful about what you get rid of that is for sure.
      For me personally I find that there are so many books out there that I am flat out keeping up with what is new at the library without having to regret missing one I have already read. I also find that non fiction books quite often date too much to be worth storing for too long these days with the speed of new research and modern technology there is always new information and new ways of doing things.

      Hi Betty Jo,
      your experience seems to be the norm with this subject. If you take your time to make sensible decisions when decluttering in the first place the regrets should be few.

  8. So far haven’t regretted anything I’ve gotten rid of, not even old artwork and crafts or things foisted on me by well-meaning family members.

    My biggest regret is wishing I had all the money I’d spent on things I bought and no longer need or want, or all the time back that I’d spent in shopping.

    • Hi Meg,
      good point I know my husband has said the same thing about some of the stuff we have gotten rid of. Live and learn though. My biggest regret is setting a bad example for my children.

  9. I have the letter regret too. I had some old letters from a dear friend written about 18 years ago. Totally inconsequential stuff, nothing too deep or anything like that, mostly just written (years before email!) when arranging to next see each other. Very sadly he died this week far too young and I would give anything to be able to read those letters again. Just to be able to hear his humour in them one more time.
    I need to go through my momento box at some point and will definitely be scanning stuff in before chucking anything else.

    • Hi Lesley,
      letters and greeting cards will be coming up in a post maybe even tomorrow if I get my finger out. One of my readers asked for advice on this. My husband mentioned those letter again just this week so they are sadly missed.

  10. Probably 10 years ago…I got rid of a blue denim vest, an off white denim vest and a brown denim jacket because they were too small for me. Since I lost the weight, I have regretted many times not having them. Maybe it’ll go away now…after telling of the regret. Also a checkered dress when I was probably in my 20’s…I gave it to my aunt.


  1. […] get caught up in the momentum and get a little reckless. I suppose this falls in the category of  “Decluttering Regrets” that we have discussed before but from a different […]