Day 259 Not living up to expectation

Don’t you just hate products that don’t live up to your expectation. Products that you bought for a specific purpose that didn’t perform as suggested on the label, as advertised or live up to first appearance. These items often end up cluttering up your home because you just wasted good money on them and you hope that through some miracle they will actually come in useful at some point and you will finally get value for money.

There are some products that come very quickly to mind for me…

  • Cleaning products that just aren’t as effective or simple to use as the advertising suggests. I can just see some of those ads running through my head as I type. You know the ones that show this disgustingly filthy bath tub that has clearly just been sprayed with a substance that even a damp sponge would easily clean off. What they don’t mention is that once you have “easily” wiped the “real set in” grime away you have to rinse this caustic substance off with fresh running water which is sometimes more difficult to achieve than the scrubbing itself.
  • Glues that according to the label achieve a bond that even Superman couldn’t break. Often they don’t achieve anything more than a weak bond to even half the substance they profess they can. Leaving you with not only a useless tube of glue but a pile of useless pieces of something that you are reluctant to waste more money on by buying yet another glue that might or might not manage to actually stick them together.
  • Food items that look good on the surface but are barely fit for human consumption. I remember years ago a company brought a cheese alternative onto the market and advertised it as tasting just like a mild cheddar. Maybe there is another meaning for cheddar that I was not aware of  because this substance bared no resemblance to any cheddar I had ever tasted.
  • Clothing that seemed to fit just fine when you tried it on but after one wash could only hope to fit your ten year old daughter. Why is it that they don’t preshrink the fabric before they make the clothing out of it. At least with clothing items you can return then and get an exchange or your money back.
  • Shampoos and conditioners need I say more. My favourite advertisement for this one is the when the Jamaican guy goes into the store with his afro hair to buy a bottle of shampoo and comes back later for a refund because his hair is now silky and straight. If only that add was true it would save me a lot of time with the hair straightener. At least it is blatantly deceptive a lot of other manufactures of similar products use the same trick but in a far more convincing manner.

That is just a small sample of the kinds of products that we are seduced into buying with no hope of being anything but disappointed. Sometime I think this is bordering on false advertising but I am sure there are guidelines to this that have very sketchy boundaries. All I can suggest is return them to the retailer if you can, write and complain to the companies that manufacture them and if all else fails use them up as quickly as possible in as many outside the box ways that you can so they are gone from your home and not taunting you with their shortcomings.


I am glad to see the back of these heavy cotton shorts. They are a pain to iron.


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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Iron? You iron mens shorts? Lower the bar right now!

  2. I am so with you on the cleaning products and hair products. That covers a lot of my clutter right there! (Well, former clutter for some of it)

    While we’re sort of on the subject, how irritating is it when a company (say, one that makes shampoo) changes the formulation, advertises it as better, and you buy it thinking, it will be better than EVER!, and it no longer does the job… seems underhanded to me! I mean, you’ve gotten used to the quality and expect at least that much out of it, and instead it’s worse.

    • Hi Jo,
      when you move from one country to another you have to work out which products you like and it can be very hit and miss. Then when they go and change the product on you it is really annoying. I have a microfibre mop that I really love it works so well on my glossy white tiles. Now the new replacement pads are not a good as the old ones and I am really cheesed off and like you say they are the “new and improved version” ha.

  3. This isn’t really related to the post, but I had a profound uncluttering-related experience this past week, and I thought it would be appropriate to share it here.

    Last Monday, a wildfire started 2.5 miles from my house. I was just getting back from a weekend away and didn’t even have time to go home a grab a few things before my area was evacuated. (Fortunately my neighbors got my pets out.) The fire spread and it was huge. 166 homes were completely destroyed. Fortunately my house was spared because the fire went in the other direction. I spent a whole week evacuated while hundreds of firefighters fought to contain the fire.

    I had a lot of time to think about everything that was in that house, all of my belongings that I didn’t have with me for the long weekend. I had a lot of time to reflect on the possibility of losing it all. I thought about a few heirlooms and photos, I thought about the difficulty of replacing everything, and of course I thought about the 166 families that did lose everything. But in the end, while I was sad about possibly losing a few items, I felt that for me, it was just stuff. Just stuff that can all be gone in an instant. When I finally got back home, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there and much, much less attached to any of it.

    I know these kind of experiences sometimes lead people to hoard, or at least attach more sentiment to their belongings. For me, it had the opposite effect.

    • Amy, what a sobering experience. How terrifying that would be.

      Interesting, like you say, that people can have such opposite reactions to the same thing.

      Glad you and your pets are safe.

    • I’m so glad you were not harmed in this devastating fire and your house was spared. My co-worker’s nephew, a young man, lost all his possessions in that fire. The house he was renting was one that was destroyed and he did not have renter’s insurance. How many of us who are now decluttering and hoping to minimalize our possessions have ever wished that a fire would just take everything away so we would not have to deal with it all, but when it actually happens…….it is a sad event to not have a choice in the matter.

  4. Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!! Cleaning products and hair products, you got that right. When I do find something I like, they go and either change the formula or discontinue it or the local stores stop carrying it.

    And what’s up with the ironing??? I only iron shirts worn to things like funerals, if then. Minimalist Wardrobe=no-iron clothing. I have spoken. So there! ;D

    • Meg, You are too funny! LOL

    • Totally with you on the ironing thing! Mine only gets used for holding seams in place when I’m sewing!

    • Heeheehee. That reminds me of something that happened to me a few years ago. I almost never iron, but my husband was a pallbearer at a funeral so I had to iron a white shirt to go with his suit. It had been so long since I used the iron I had forgotten where it was stored. It took me two days to find it. When I plugged it in, my 5 year old daughter ran out of the room because she thought it would be noisy like a blender! She had never seen me iron before. 😀

      • Hi LAH,
        welcome to 365lessthings and thank you for your comment.
        I wish I could forget where my iron is but alas there are things I just have to iron because I am a little to tidy for my own good. Although I haven’t been near one for three whole weeks while on vacation. Purhaps I should just where my travel clothes (light wieght non-iron) all the time when I get home. LOL!

    • Hi Meg,
      sorry to be setting bad examples for my readers, I will try to do better in the future. LOL! I must say I haven’t missed ironing while I have been in Italy or cooking for that matter. Too bad I will be back to reality soon.

  5. My husband took back some non allergenic sun screen last week. Cuz it’s not. He’s allergic to it. We’ve had to change laundry soaps several times when, yes, the new and improved one had a different formula and he was allergic to it. Sigh. Why does it have to always get ‘improved’? If it wasn’t perfect before it was improved, why did we buy it and why did they sell it?

    • Hi Willow,
      I think they do that to try to sell more and all they do is lose the old faithful customers. Why can’t they just lie about like they normally do and change to label and not the product, then we would all be happy. Haha!

  6. Ha! OK, here are my solutions to those problems…

    1) Cleaning products. Don’t buy them. I use baking soda, and occasionally some vinegar or bleach, but that’s it!

    2) Glue. Well… I do have a bunch of packages of glue laying around…mostly purchased for some specific task. I’ve found that I have the best luck with my hot glue gun… don’t have to worry about the toxic fumes and it works better than most any glue I’ve tried.

    3) Food “substances”. Don’t buy them! I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan who says “eat real food”. So I buy fruit, veggies, milk, eggs, beans, rice, oatmeal and cheese (the real stuff) – and that’s about it! The only experiments are the ones I make myself! No simulated food-like substances here!

    4) Clothing. I buy only used. I know this sounds crazy, but it really seems to last much longer than the new stuff. It all comes pre-shrunk, pre-faded and if there were gonna be seams that were gonna “go” after one or two wearings, they’ve already gone. It’s much cheaper too!

    5) Hair Care. I used to spend a fortune on hair care products, but now all I use is baking soda, citric acid and a little jojoba oil (which I also use for lotion). Hmmm… my shampoo looks a bit like my cleaning products! Anyhow, no more frizzy impossible hair, no more closet full of miracle potions that didn’t work, no more toxic chemicals on my head, and no more spending a fortune on hair care!

    OK… Problem solved! 🙂

    • Where does one buy citric acid?

      And, how do you apply these to your hair – all at once? or is the oil like a conditioner and applied after rinsing? Please fill me in!

      • I got the citric acid at a “scientific store” that sells all sorts of chemicals (it’s what came up first when I Googled it.) But people who do their own canning use citric acid, so I’ve since heard that you can find it in the grocery store by the canning supplies.

        Here’s a post I wrote a while back about my method:

        Apparently going without shampoo has sort of gone vogue and people are calling it “no poo”. So if you Google that phrase you’ll find tons of info. Most people use apple cider vinegar but for a variety of reasons (detailed in my post) I have switched to citric acid instead. It’s really done wonders for my hair, plus it’s dirt cheap!

        Good luck and let me know if you decide to give it a go!

    • Rebecca I love your solutions! 🙂

  7. In relation to the fire that Amy wrote about…and because I used to be a structure firefighter, I have concern for loss due to fire in country and city locations. I remember reading (just recently!!!) about being able to upload all personal documents to a web site for ‘storage’ and availability anywhere (there is an Internet connection). Anyone else read this or know more about it? How secure is such a thing? At least it would give peace of mind in the event of theft or fire loss…

    Great ideas for cleaning – I have recently switched to baking soda/vinegar…and good ‘old elbow grease, cause in the end, it all has to be ‘scrubbed’…then my arms get a work out, too!

    Iron? Now folks, WHAT IS THAT? I agree w/ Rebecca – if ya want to get great clothing at an incredible price, THRIFT/USED is the way to go! That is the only thing me and my husband and kids get, cause if an item can survive on another kid and still be wearable, then it has a chance to survive for my kids, too! They received new clothes for their birthdays, and already I’ve had to reattach a belt hoop and sew up a seam on a legging. GAG! There was (slight) blood shed, but my finger will survive. (don’t call me betty-home-sew-maker…). In our minimalist state of life, I was lucky to find a needle and thread…

    • Glad you like my el cheapo solutions! In terms of web storage, I use a service called “Carbonite.” It’ costs about $50/year and it’s a great service. You basically install their software on your computer and then it automatically backs up all of your files to their remote server. Everything is encrypted and safe. It’s saved my butt numerous times! I think there are other similar services out there, so you might want to Google it and see what comes up. I’ve also heard that (I think) has a service where you can just buy xyz amount of web based storage for any use. I’m not sure how it works or how much it costs, but that might be another option. Good Luck!


  1. […] are other great comments on this post so go and check them out at this link. Rebecca has some particularly good […]