Day 208 Time to tackle the tricky stuff

For the last 207 days finding things to declutter has been a reasonably simple task due to the sheer volume of stuff that needed to go. Now it is time to tackle the tricky stuff. The stuff that so far I have avoided simply because I didn’t want to make the hard decisions.

Things like…

  • Those craft items that I keep telling myself I will eventually use one day but after years that day has never arrived.
  • Some of the sentimental items that deep down I know are just clutter that no one but me would ever want.
  • Items that I know I don’t want but have been struggling whether I should give away or sell.
  • Even some items I should sell on ebay but am getting a little tired of dealing with pricing, photographing, describing, watching, mailing and just taking the gamble as to whether they will sell or not.

You know, I feel better just having admitted these things to myself and I am now eager to get started. I am tired of this stuff sitting around taunting me with the guilt of having wasted the money on it in the first place. Other stuff that  I must admit I have been too lazy to deal with so far. Realising that I can risk a few eBay insertion fees because we have done well enough on eBay so far it won’t matter if the odd thing doesn’t sell.

It is amazing how even though I declutter and write about decluttering every day I can still manage to forget the rules. Still manage to fall into the psychological pitfalls that I advise everyone else to be wary of. Well luckily I caught myself before I was too far gone. Maybe now I am getting a little melodramatic but you get the idea sometimes a person needs to stop and take a good look around them and at themselves and get back on track.

If you are off track with your decluttering stop and think what is worse, the task at hand or the bad feelings generated day in and day out by being surrounded by the clutter. Do yourself a favour just get rid of it.


On refection maybe I should have kept this dream catcher and hung it over my bed. Maybe it would have done it’s job of filtering out the bad dreams and only letting the good ones through like the dream of a clutter free home.

Bridget's Dream Catcher

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Thank you Colleen. Sometimes this process just gets damned tiring. As soon as I finished reading this post, I picked up the camera and went straight downstairs and photographed a high chair, baker’s rack, and baby tub and push car to sell on Craigslist. I’m downloading the pictures as I type this. When your motivation is lagging, sometimes the stuff you can’t just stuff in a bag and drop off someplace become the hardest to get rid of even when it has the potential of earning you money. Moving over to Craigslist now…

    • Hi Donna,
      good for you mate. Get stuck into it and free yourself of those troublesome clutter items. Good luck with Craigslist I hope you are successful!

  2. I am also in the process of dealing with tricky stuff. Papers and belongings from my parent’s lives/deaths, childhood memories and mementos of my own grown children are most prominent in the list.

    At times I think getting rid of the other stuff was easy! Good luck!

    • Hi Annie,
      I have dealt with plenty of stuff already that I am sure other people would have found tricky but this journey is very individual and the tricky stuff is different for everyone. When I wrote this post I was sure some of my readers would be thinking “hasn’t she already dealt with some pretty trickly stuff” but like I have said from the get go, this is a process and dealing with it slowly at a pace that allows you to learn and grow as you go is important. I am just at a new crossroads where I can either continue to ignore some stuff I have avoided so far or I can take the path to liberating myself from those clutter burdens. When I put it like that it really isn’t a hard decision.

      Good luck to you on your journey too.

  3. I have also had those same feelings lately. I wish that eBay and Craigslist were not such a hassle although I think of the analogy when it comes to losing weight that it takes just as long to lose it as it did to put it on. I have been buying stuff for years without much second thought. It never got out of control and put me into debt, but it has sucked some life and energy out of me. I am feeling lighter, happier and freer even though I absolutely dread the selling part.

    • Hi Stephanie,
      thanks for joining in the discussion here at 365 less things. Even though it is not a forum it sure feels like it to me and I like the feeling. i went over and had a lool at your blog, good on you for jumping on board the “thing-a-day” challenge. I left you a comment and will be back to read more later.
      As for the selling side of decluttering it can be a pain at times. Luckily or luckily as the case may be, my husband is keener than me and is responsible for most of our eBay haul the unluckily side is the part where he is less inclined to just donate some things that I would rather just get rid of quickly without the fuss.

  4. Oh this one hits home! I got rid of most of the craft/assemblage/collage stuff, but still have one big box left. I have promised myself that it will go if I haven’t used any of it within a year. So far it hasn’t been used because I have been painting and will only paint for the forseeable future. Yet still–I remember collecting those elements with so much enthusiasm!

    • Oh yeh! I can relate to that passed enthusiasm. I read somewhere recently that you should only buy the craft supplies you need for the particular project you are working on and no more. There will always be another sale there will always be a product to suit your needs and what is no longer available you will probably have forgotten that you ever saw anyway. Hobbies come and go and it doesn’t pay to stockpile supplies because the “go” side of that equation could come sooner than you expect.

  5. Photos! I am so overwhelmed with even the thought of dealing with them. I’ve decided to give myself permission to wait until the LAST to deal with the photos. That takes pressure and guilt off.

    • Hi Willow,
      I haven’t touched much in the way of photos yet either. But like you say, something has to be left until last it might as well be that. I will be able to give it my full attention then but for now it is volume that is more important to me.

  6. Yep, de-cluttering gets harder when you get down to the bone, and then beyond. Items with some sentimental attachment can be especially hard to throw out: old love letters, diaries, gifts. Also, items that you have been socially conditioned into believing you need: a TV, a microwave. It’s surprising how little these items are missed when they are gone, but you’d never have guessed that from the emotional turmoil you go through before finally letting them go.

    • Hi Tony,
      you are so right. I have still got a long way to go and I don’t know yet where the stopping point will be. I’ll just make that up as I go along. But like you say the sentimental stuff can be especially hard to part with. I have come to one conclusion today though after talking to a friend on mine. I am going to waste less time trying to sell some of my items and just donate them because there are a lot of people out there far worse off than me.

  7. On the stopping point I’m not sure there is one – every time I think I’ve “touched bottom” so to speak, I find another load of stuff to get rid of. It seems never ending. 🙂

    On the question of selling vs donating. It can be a hard call to make. My time is precious, so rather than waste time puttering about with Ebay/Amazon, I’ve donated a lot of stuff, or given items (mostly books) to friends. The bigger items (e.g. TV/microwave etc) I sold through the local newspaper for free (or a small fee for items of £25). To me time is far more precious than money.

  8. De-cluttering is not easy, it is not for the faint of heart. We each have areas that are difficult to sort through. That is why your site is so wonderful because I can come here and get some inspiration.

    During the course of a year there are ups and downs, light clutter and deep rooted clutter. I think the 365 days is the only way to dig through it all. You probably think differently about your stuff now than you did back in January.

    • Hi Erin S,
      I must admit I have no problem choosing stuff to get rid of these days. Like you say I feel quite detached from the stuff now compared to when I first started. I think that the extra hours I have been working at my job lately are just making me feel lazy when I get home. But just writing this post has made me feel better and ready to jump into the ring for another round.

  9. Oh, I so know what you mean! The first rounds are relatively easy… it’s a lot of work to cart the stuff around or sell it or whatever, but the decision making part of it is easy. But after a while you do get to the hard stuff. I think it’s worth it, though.

    I recently just walked through my house and found 10 things I could easily give away… it’s amazing how this is such an iterative process. You have to keep going through it again and again.

    As for me, I’m just uncluttering, very slowly.

    • Hi Barb,
      I took a look at your blog. I love the names you give your children Monkey and Pumpkin they are the light of your life I can tell. Keep up the decluttering and do drop in and leave a comment as often as you like. We are always here to listen and interact.

  10. I truly love this blog and use it for daily inspiration to keep me inspired…I am an artist and a mother, so many things I’ve kept over the years and then purged ,over and over until I reached a point and I realised I saw such potential in this stuff as ‘ future art’ that somehow I inadvertently had become a hoarder.
    That was 7 years ago .many many skips,donations and decluttering months later,I consider and read about a minimalist approach to living.i battle daily with the desire to acquire, and keep and organize stuff but new habits have formed and so from a place of total chaos I have found serenity at last!
    It IS a constant process but emotional attachment can be broken or reassessed ..thank you for this awesome blog, your advice is perfect for I have done similar and the results speak for themselves. After the last huge mammoth purge this month, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,It’s like I’ve truly reached a point where I can see it how I envisioned my home in my mind 7 years ago.So I say to all attempting this process….NEVER give up,keep doing it ,and you will succeed.:)

    • Hi Sarah and welcome to 365 Less Things. Oh! I can so relate to seeing the potential use for things in art projects.I have been lured by this temptation many times in the past myself. Now these things still stop me in my tracks but my desire to remain uncluttered overrides any temptation. Once I walk away the object of my fascination is soon forgotten.

      Thank you for sharing your story with us and what a success story it is. Good for you! I am sure your success and encouragement could make a big difference for someone reading it and will inspire them to keep on keeping on.


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