Day 197 Gogol’s declutter approach

Yesterday at about 10:40pm I was finally getting around to reading the new comments on my blog when I found one from Gogol who hadn’t commented before. I enjoyed it so much and I thought you would to. It is an interesting approach to declutter decision making that I don’t think I had heard of before. It runs along the same line as putting all your stuff out in the garage and only bring items back into the house if you really feel they are worthy but with a different twist.

Gogol if  you are out there reading this  leave a commet and tell us a little about yourself. Here is what Gogol wrote…

There is one thing that I would like to share with you all.  While decluttering, it can be a really difficult task to identify which things you need to keep and which you can donate/throw away.
Here’s my tip: Imagine all your possessions have been sold to a pawn shop (by a junkie friend or an evil in-law, whatever).
Now ask yourself, which of them would you buy back? The price doesn’t matter. I bet there will be a lot of items that you don’t wanna spend money for,  however small. These are the things that need to go!
Let me know if this works for you.

Now that is a novel approach isn’t it.  And I was very thankful for the suggestion because like I said it was 10:40pm and I hadn’t settled on a topic for todays post. See what a symbiotic relationship blogs can be.  I help you, you help me and we all learn something new and sometimes are amused along the way.


These drink coolers are a blast from the past. A time that will never be forgotten that I can assure you my husband doesn’t need any visual reminders of. He and his best mate talk so often about those good old days that I am starting to feel like I was there myself which would have been great because it sure sounds like it was fun.

Stubby Coolers

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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  • Mini Mission ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more.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.
  • Mini Mission ~ Wednesday 20Dec2017 Declutter by recycling some items. That mound ofused takeout containers, old newspapers and magazines, paperwork that needs shredding, glass jars you set aside in case you have a use for […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Gogol brings up an interesting approach. I think that way of thinking is really smart under the caveat you are careful not to give into any rationalizations about why you should re-buy back everything.
    To jump on Gogol’s idea, maybe literally taking out boxes of things to the sidewalk as if you were throwing them away or making them available for free pickup. Then decide what to bring back in, if anything. My idea might only be one of those things that would work in theory and not practice, but I like how Gogol brought a new angle to the topic.

    • Hi Reggie H, Willow, Lynn and Rebecca The Greeniac,
      I am glad you all agree it is a novel approach. Maybe I should add it to my Declutter Decision Making Guide Page. I hope Gogol chimes in with some more good ideas in the future.

  2. Any idea that gets us thinking about the true value of a physical item is a good idea! And Gogol’s puts a new twist on it, as does Reggie’s.

  3. I do that, actually. “Would I buy this again?” or “Would I buy this back?” and most items don’t pass the test.

    There is stuff I keep just because I *want* it, even if I wouldn’t buy it again, but it helps with stuff I’m really questioning.

  4. Rebecca The Greeniac

    I’m totally with Gogol on this one. If you wouldn’t buy it, then you don’t really need or want it!

  5. Gogol has a good idea there. I’ve done something similar. My mother always thinks we might need something. My idea is if it is something we can do without (find something else to use to do the job) then we don’t need it. What I like about your picture today is that you have a picture. You don’t really need the item if you have a picture and the memories. Sometimes you don’t even need the picture.

    • Hi Deb,
      I am intreged as to the conversations that might go on between you and your mother about the stuff you would like gone. I am sure we could all learn something from them. If you are ever feeling like sharing a little insight with us please send me an email through my contact page and we could put a post together.

      As for the photo I dare say we will never seek it out again and it will probably be decluttered from the hard drive at some point too. Keeping photos are a good idea though if it is only a memory trigger one is after rather than the clutter. Putting together a photo collage of ones memory triggers would be a fun project.

  6. Now that’s a good idea! I’ve got some boxes in the basement that are full of things from my cookery and from my kitchen that I haven’t managed to give away or throw away. I am keeping them for a few months and will only take what I need to use, if anything. Maybe I should consider which of it I’d buy all over again. At this point, none of it!

    • Hi Meg.
      I like the leave it in the basement plan. I have a leave it in the garage plan but actually it is just the holding area before it get sent of to the thrift store. By the time it gets to the garage it has already been photographed and perhaps even blogged about so there is no coming back. I would have to admit that to you guys and I don’t want that happening.

  7. This afternoon I reminded a friend that the photocoopies she was hesitant to put in recycle because she didn’t want to ‘waste’ the paper and money only added up to ONE meal in a restaurant. If you look attheoretically needing to replace something you might give away with its ‘true’ value, it’s easier to let it go. At our house, we use the ‘it’s less than one cup of S….ck’s coffee’ comparison.

    • Hi Willow,
      I sometimes think we worry about the money wasted when it is altogether too late. We should be considering value for money before we purchase something in the first place. There are always other options like hiring, borrowing and just not bothering to begin with. But I do like your value system. Consider how little it is worth rather than expend mental anguish over it.

  8. The drink coolers would look good in a deep frame… just a thought!

    • Hi Lynda,
      Welcome, it is nice of you to drop by and leave a comment. have you been reading long or are you a newcomer.
      As for the frame idea, it is a nice thought but less is more these days and they have been hiding in deep dark corners in cupboards for so long now that we really won’t miss them.

  9. That is awesome!!! I love that thought (hee hee, the ‘evil-in-law’. LOL!). Just yesterday I gave away more stuff and then last night I was having regrets. Looking at the situation as if I’d have to pay money to bring it back into my house….I should have never bought it in the first place and don’t want to spend money on it again…so now the ‘regret/guilt’ is gone and I can truly focus on being happy with less. Yahoo! 😉

    • Hi Annie,
      I am reveling in your joy. It warms my heart and I am sure that of Gogol that this post has freed you of regret. My day is better for knowing that. Thank you!

  10. hi! its wonderful to see that so many of you liked my idea. 🙂
    here’s a little intro. I am a 20 year old engineering student from India. the Minimalist bug bit me quite recently, though the ever-growing clutter in my room (& home, but more on that later) had been freaking me out for a long time. so now I am actively doing something about it. two days back, I donated 72 of my books to a local book rental company. it felt great! plus i try to declutter everyday.
    add me up on facebook if you like. it would b fun to have some Minimalist friends to share my thoughts with. I thought of creating a blog myself but am afraid I won’t be able to devote the necessary time to maintain it.
    I found this great blog quite by chance & now its on my bookmark toolbar. great work Colleen!

    • Hi Gogol,
      thanks for telling us a little about yourself. Are you studying overseas or are you living in India?
      I am forever incouraged by the number of young people who are embracing the minimalist lifestyle. The youth of today are are the future of this planet and if they can learn not to pollute it and exploit it to the point of distruction then there is hope.
      It sounds like the books you donated have the opportunity now to be useful to a large number of people as well as help in the livelihood of another.
      You are right about the time it takes to maintain a blog. At first it didn’t take up much of my time but as my blog has become more popular I find myself spending hours each day replying to comments and emails and writing my daily post. I love it though and I especially enjoy all the wonderful people I am making contact with along the way. You should concentrate on your studies at the moment that is your priority.
      Please keep joining in our conversation I look forward to your input. Thanks again!

  11. Definitely great idea, always good to have new approaches to keep on decluttering and to keep from stopping to bring in more. These days I always ask myself the question “will I be decluttering it soon?” before buying/bringing home anything!!!
    I will have to try the “buying back” trick sometime when we are considering getting rid of something!! There isn’t really that much left, but something always surfaces after a while… And with a child there is always going to be outgrown clothes, toys, strollers etc..

  12. Hi Colleen, I read Gogol’s comment on yesterday’s post and I started implementing it immediately with my kitchen items. I had just returned from a 5-day minimalist vacation with my DH and was catching up on my blog-reading. I think it’s one of the best ideas yet. It really makes one think about the value of “stuff.” Thanks for including it on your list.

    • Hi Di,
      Yes Gogol was really on to something there. That is why it is so important for people to leave comments on blogs like this. It really adds to the information out there and I like to pull it to the front page out of obscurity in comments so no one misses it. Thanks again Gogol!


  1. […] is what Jacquie, who was inspired by Gogol’s buy it back approach, had to […]