Day 229 The measure of your clutter

After a rather hard day I wasn’t feeling very inspired to write a post today but that would just not be good enough. So I decided to annoy my son again with his clothing clutter and I quickly got the short shift there. So then I had to move to plan B. There wasn’t actually a plan B in place but I have a method that doesn’t usually fail me. I just picked a room and opened a cupboard and a couple of drawers and sure enough I found something I had passed over before.

As it turned out it was a couple of pieces of sentimental clutter hidden away in a drawer in my daughters bedroom. Funnily enough it was actually the third drawer down but I promise it isn’t a junk drawer. When I pulled these items out a thought suddenly struck me and that was how long had each of these items been cluttering up my home. Then I thought how much fun would it be if for a week I add together the clutter years of each item together and see how many years I come up with.

Today’s item has been in my possession for fourteen years. It was a gift from a job I left once and was bought for me by a very lovely lady that I was sad to leave behind.  I have never really used this for anything it has just sat in the china cabinet looking pretty for all these years. So technically it has been clutter for all that time. So that makes fourteen years to start the tally for the week.


This item has moved from one end of Australia to the other then to the USA then back to Australia again. It is in good shape considering how fragile the fluted edge is.

Pottery dish

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Some of my clutter is/was over forty years old! Can you believe it? What possess anyone to hold on to something for forty years that’s clutter? (Betty Jo scratching head with puzzled look on face!) LOL

  2. Oh dear. I found a hatbox in the closet in the spare room that I’d forgotten about. And in it was tons of things I’d kept from childhood on: a box of barrettes from the 50’s-70’s, funky 60’s jewelry, some things from when my son was born and things he made in preschool, a felt rabbit I made in middle school which was on my cork board for years when I was growing up, just stuff like that. I kept a couple of the better things concerning or from my son, then dumped the rest and gave away the hatbox. Some of the stuff would have had to be more than 50 years old, and I’ve toted it around for at least 36 years. Nuts.

    • Hi Meg,
      like I said to Betty Jo. We have all been there so don’t be too hard on yourself. I don’t see a problem with having a little treasure box to look through every now and again. Little things don’t take up too much space but can hold a lot of happy memories. It is when you keep every single thing with sentimental value that the whole thing gets out of hand.

  3. Wow I love this post; I also have a clutter of my own in my daughter’s room. To be exact I had it for 5 years and 10 months these are her class work from school. So I took my camera and took pictures of her favorites and off they went to recycling. Now I have it in digital where she can view it at anytime. I’m sure I will have more of these as school will be starting next week.

    • Hi Angelina,
      back to school soon for the kids, are you looking forward to that?
      I still have a few choice school work pieces from my kids and although I have dwindled it down to a small amount it’s probably time I canned those and save them on the external hard-drive rather them have them taking up real space.

  4. Susan via email

    Ah, yes, the stuff from the china cabinet and/or the display cabinet. One of each in our small living room. When I couldn’t remember even which side of the family was the source for the knick-knacks, much less which person passed them on, I knew it was time. I took some to the local thrift store, but the more valuable ones are on consignment in a local shop. Who knows, I may make a few dollars toward the camera I really, really want. If not, at least they are gone. And by the time I have enough saved for the camera, I might realize I don’t really need it.

    Thanks for your examples and encouragements.

    • Hi Susan,
      that is the right attitude. Not only about getting rid of stuff but giving yourself time to think twice about making the camera purchase.

  5. Colleen, I have a cedar chest that belonged to my grandmother. I know there are clutter things in there and it’s one area I haven’t started dealing with. But my great grandfather’s sea bag is stored in there. I’ll never part with that as I consider it a treasure, a memento of when one line of my ancestry arrived in the US–in the late 1880s. So how long has it been in the cedar chest? Maybe 60-80 years.

    • Hi Willow,
      that sounds like treasure to me too. Decluttering is about identifying and eliminating clutter not giving up your precious treasures.

  6. Hi Colleen – I really enjoy the blog. I did have a question though. It sounds like the vase was pretty and given by a friend. Did you consider it clutter because you were “done with it” or because it was not functional? I think it’s ok to keep pretty sentimental things even if they are not useful as long as I really like them.

    • Hi jessiejack,
      I was just done with it and it was hidden away in a drawer out of sight. I agree it doesn’t have to be functional in order for a person to want keep something this just wasn’t sonething I felt attached to.

  7. Love your blog! Sat here and read all the way back to post #1 the other night. 🙂

    I have a pair of jeans from 1975 that I was saving in hopes of getting back into them. I’m still waiting, LOL.

    • Hi Becky,
      thank you for taking the time and being keen enought to read all the way back to the beginning of my blog. I bet you found the odd confonting thing along the way. So when are you getting rid of the jeans? 😉

  8. Sometimes it’s just plain funny coming across old stuff that has been sitting around for YEARS. Haha. Nothing like an old possession for a trip down memory lane when it comes to the sentimental clutter.

    • Hi Reggie,
      all we can do is hope those kind of objects are small so we can fit them in somewhere and not have to get rid of them. Unfortunately that is often not the case but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep those things that are special to us if we can’t bare to part with them.

  9. My husband is 41. Last Halloween, he busted into his sentimental clutter and pulled out his Eagle Scout uniform. Remember, of course, that he made Eagle Scout while he was in high school. The pants had two darts in them, which I let out, and he managed to wear the uniform as a Halloween costume, while I made quite a few joke about how I loved a man in tight pants. Still . . . I never thought that things would see the light of day, let alone get another wear.

  10. Recently I pulled out a box with my son’s baby clothes that I’ve been keeping for the last 23 years. I had good intentions of washing them and giving them away to a young mother. But my only child is going into the military and handling those clothes again, I realized I could not let go of both at the same time. The clothes will have to wait until a less emotional time.


  1. Decluttering the kitchen hutch | Queen Of Her Castle says:

    […] Colleen at 365 Less Things has an excellent post called, “The measure of your clutter”, where she’s looking at the items she’s decluttering, and figuring out how long they’ve been in her possession. […]

  2. […] Colleen at 365 Less Things has an excellent post called, “The measure of your clutter”, where she’s looking at the items she’s decluttering, and figuring out how long they’ve been in her possession. […]