Day 215 Declutter burn out

Yesterday I received an email from Denise which raised some interesting decluttering questions. I have edited and reworded the email as I did not have time to contact Denise to get her approval to quote it verbatim but I am sure she will know it was her and this is what she asked… (more or less)

What happens when you have gone through the house once and think you have decluttered significantly. I am sure I could do better but I wish I could see items around the house with “new eyes”. If you reach an impasse, do you try again or try another project and come back to decluttering in a few days? Does leaving the house help?

I have never really “gone through the house”. I am very much in tune to what is in my home probably due to the fact that I have moved so many times over the years. Since the last move I have added very little  but removed a lot therefore I know what is where and what I really don’t need/want/use.

Most days either my husband or I think of something that needs to go. Some days we do put aside more than one thing while on others we may be dealing with the removal of one item or another either selling, dismantling for recycling, putting in the garage for the next donation drop off not to mention photographing for the blog. We have even been trying to get ahead a little because we have a vacation planned soon. (Stay tuned for more info on that)

In the end there is an average on one item a day to be decluttered and added to the blog.

As for seeing things with new eyes, that happens all the time. The more I write and read on the subject of decluttering and minimalism the more ruthless I become about the “useless to me” items around my home. I would never call these items totally useless as they have potential to be useful to someone else. That is why so many things have either been donated or sold. I may pass over an area time and time again and find something else I realise doesn’t mean that much to me after all. That is the beauty of 365lessthings I learn and change as I go. There are so many things that at the start of this journey I would have had difficulty parting with but my attitude and belief systems have matured as time has passed.

That is not to say that I never have burn out days. They are usually days where other things are getting me down which can cause my enthusiasm to become a bit stagnant. Life goes on outside of my decluttering and blogging world that can stress me out and make me want to curl up in a ball just like anyone else. I wouldn’t want to let my readers down so a drag my sorry butt to my computer and troll though other sites to give me inspiration. Sometimes a comment from my wonderful readers will get me inspired. I know there are so many things still in my home that need to go so I just shake off my doldrums and get to it and I usually feel better for the effort.

Denise asked if getting out of the house helps. I like to take a long walk each day which isn’t always possible but a walk sure does raise the spirits and gives me time to think about what I am willing to tackle that day. Unfortunately lately the lousy weather we have been having and the extra hours I have been putting in at work have certainly put a damper on my mood and restrictions on my time. Denise works from home so I can imagine getting out would be essential to put her in a better frame of mind to see things with a fresh eye.

Who knows maybe Denise has done all that needs doing for now. Everyone’s journey is different. We all have different needs and are at varying stages in our lives. One persons idea of being decluttered may be vastly different to another. I suggest take a second look at your feelings and not so much at the items themselves. I find it is a natural progression and I really just make it up as I go along. If I felt like I was done now I would stop.

So good luck Denise, I hope this was helpful to you and to my other readers as well.


Another item just like yesterday’s only this one made more money, $36.00 in fact.

HMAS Darwin Port $36

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Holiday Declutter by Deb J Each of us has a different day when we clean up all the decorations from the holidays.  One thing we all do though is repack and stash away everything.  This is a great time to […]
  • The hurricane method of decluttering. Part 1 The hurricane method of decluttering, as Moni dubbed it, is when one rips through the house decluttering a vast amount of stuff all at once. A person's hand is often forced into this […]
  • 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.
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. There was recently a post over at Unclutterer on the same topic.

    As for myself, if something looks visually unappealing, I cull. If I have a hard time closing a drawer, I cull. If it becomes too hard to squeeze more clothes in on the hanging rod, I cull.

    Every time I thought I would finally get to a comfortable spot with just what I needed, I managed to learn more about myself. Not everyone is capable of pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, while that seems to be what I thrive on.

    I like to think that my journey has let me peel back one layer at a time, just like an onion. Each layer should be analyzed, praised and inspiring. If in a decluttering rut, I say one should put more focus on learning more about themselves and the rest will come.

  2. I agree Stephanie that the declutering/minimalising/simplifying process is a pulling off of layers. Usually it starts with the physical items and then moves in to the mental and emotional areas that are ‘cluttered’. And it’s an ongoing process and the two often overlap.

    I can go along happily thinking I’m all decluttered and then bam! I’ll see my home or live with fresh eyes and realize that I’m in need of another layer ‘scrape off’ .

    • Hi Willow,
      I think you have nailed it with your comment. I can really relate to your words. It is not just about the clutter. I have decluttered many times through the years but this time is different for me. This time it is about learning to live a new way and being more concientious about my purchases in the future.

  3. It’s surprising how items can go from the rating of “you’ll have to pry this from my cold, dead hands” to “why did I buy it in the first place”. I think that, as you declutter, it takes a bit of time for things to find a new position in your life. Sometimes the criteria aren’t as simple as I haven’t used that for 6 months or that’s a box I haven’t unpacked since my last move 10 years ago… Your stuff has to find its place again and sometimes that is all that’s needed to confirm that it’s surplus to requirements.

    • Hi Lynda,
      I think I get what you mean here. I think that sometimes the key for me is just being honest with myself.

    • I so relate to this!! My sister and I split my grandparents China after my grandfather passed away. For 5 years, my half of the China has been packed away. I have not used it, looked at it, or even thought about it….until a few days ago. I have now decided the China, I so very much wanted, needs to go – it’s time has passed. I don’t need it and it’s time to ship it to my sister or donate it. The way I feel about something changes with time. I’ll grow founder or decide to break the ties.

      • Hi J,
        thanks for joining us here at 365lessthings. Those sentimental items are usually the hardest to part with so good for you. The old “out of sight out of mind” decluttering method works a treat whether intentional or accidental. For the most part it wasn’t the item we wanted in the first place but the memories they provoke and this is especially a strong bond in time of grief.

  4. I have done a few “rounds” of decluttering. I got to a point where I was either satified for the moment, or burned out my enthusiasm for a while.
    Now I don’t let new clutter creep in, and when I get a new burst of energy and enthusiasm, I do another round. I also have a shelf in my wardrobe where I collect things to be booted out. When it gets to be enough I deal with it (usually donate, or take books to a used book shop etc.).
    I agree about the layers. As I learn more about minimalist living and myself and how freeing this is, I am able to let go another round of stuff. At this point it’s getting to be so little that I have to look much harder for it. I love empty shelves!

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      I’m with you, I love empty shelves. I think when this 365 days are done I may be a bit burned out myself for a while but I will not forget the minimalist principles Those principles will keep inspiring me to be careful about what I bring into my home so I don’t end up back at the starting point.

      Hi Donna,
      I like your analogy of moving from a bright room to a really dark one. That is a very good discription of what it is like.

  5. Great post and comments. I totally agree with Willow and the layers analogy. In June I had a fairly successful yard sale and sold a lot of stuff. Once it was all gone I felt pretty giddy about it for a while. Then after I had adjusted to the removal of that layer, I started looking around and asking myself “Why didn’t I put that in the yard sale? Or that??” It’s like going from a really bright room to a really dark one. At first you can’t see anything, then your eyes begin to adjust to the change and you are able to see more and more.

  6. I keep an empty box in the laundry room (which is at the back door near where we park our cars) in which I place items for donation. When clothes which are too small come through the laundry, they get washed, dried and placed in the bin … not back in the kids rooms. The family knows it is there, so other items will find their way into the donation box. Great way to make it easy.

    • Hi CindyK,
      I belive this is the first time you have commented on my blog and I just want to say welcome. All the wonderful input by reader like you make the finishing touches on my post each day. So thank you for joining us.
      Your donation box method is a great way to make it easy. I have my box in the garage it is usually overflowing.

  7. Not sure if anyone else has said this, but one great way to find things to unclutter is to commit to pick a room/area/drawer/etc and then commit to touching every single item in there to determine if it has a home and if it is where it should. Often times I find that the things that I am not sure where they should live are often the clutter in my home. Touching everything also helps you to notice those items that somehow you seem to not notice any more because they have just been there for a while.

    • Hi Stephan,
      I like this method. Touching everything will make you really aware of what is there and whether is belongs or not. If you have to justify everything you touch I am sure you will eliminate quite a bit.

      Oh! I almost forgot, welcome to my blog. This is your first comment and a very helpful one too I must say. I hope you will chime in with more or these great tips in the future.

  8. Hi Colleen,
    I have just found your blog (and just discovered minimalism about a month ago) and am really enjoying it. It is transforming my life.

    I like Stephan’s idea as well – I used this touching technique with my husband in order to declutter our garage. I sat my husband in a deck chair in the middle of the garage and pulled everything down from shelves and out from boxes. I handed him everything and we discussed what to do with each item – throw it out, give it away, sell it or keep it. This took a whole day and as you could guess – we ended up keeping 25% of what we had. Mostly tools and camping gear stayed.

    I have done most of the house but I can see now after a month has past that there is another layer of “stuff” that needs to go. And why didn’t I see it before? Each week brings a change in my mental attitude – it really feels like a paradigm shift.
    Thank goodness for the internet and these wonderful blogs 🙂

    • Hi Nicole,
      thank you so much for your kind words and welcome to my blog. I hope you will find lots of helpful advice here. It is amazing how you mature as you go along with the decluttering process and become less materialistic along the way. You are doing a great job so far and keep up the good work. I look forward to hearing more about your efforts.

  9. Funny you should say that you know what you have because of all the moving.
    Two weeks ago we visited our son and his partner in QLD and I commented that they did’nt seem to have any clutter around. Their comment was because they have moved so much that they have scaled it down really well.


  1. […] Willow on Day 215:-  I agree Stephanie that the declutering/minimizing/simplifying process is a pulling off of layers. Usually it starts with the physical items and then moves in to the mental and emotional areas that are ‘cluttered’. And it’s an ongoing process and the two often overlap… Read More […]