Day 273 Why am I still clinging

Now that I am back to my daily decluttering I decided to take yet another look through the storage cupboard in my laundry. This cupboard is quite useless in a way because it is not deep enough to store certain things I would like to keep in it but on the flip side it isn’t deep enough for things to get shuffled to and lost in the back of it. And yet there are still things in there that haven’t seen the light of day since we moved into this house three years ago.

I am giving myself the excuse that due to my blog I am only decluttering one thing a day and I just haven’t gotten around to these items yet but in reality I have gone through this cupboard more than once already and have been clinging on to these items for who knows what reason. I am going to list the items below and will analyse the reason I think they are still there and you can use that as an example of “This is what you should not do so let that be a lesson to you!”.

  1. Three round quilted pot holders – these come under the “MAYBE ONE DAY” category as they have been kept because they are still useful and may get used one day. I was given two other very nice new pot holders with scenes of Seattle as a leaving gift by a friend and those are the ones we choose to use regularly. We only use this style of pot holder to hold hot dishes when we eat in front of the television so they are unlikely to wear out any time soon. If I am being realistic these other three are likely to linger unused for a decade while wasting space in my house so for that reason they are going in the charity box.
  2. An apron – This comes under the “SENTIMENTAL” category. When I lived in Seattle one of the jobs I had required me to wear an apron and I was given permission to take it as a memento of my time there when I left. Needless to say it has also sat in that cupboard unused for three years and been passed over each time because of the personal attachment I had to it. I will never forget those times and the lovely people I worked with and I don’t need this sentimental clutter to help me to remember.  So that’s another item for the charity box.
  3. A “so called” recyclable shopping bag – This item comes under the “FREE SO COULDN’T SAY NO” category. I am sure you can all relate to this one. Here is how the story goes. I went to a craft fair and as I  entered the venue they were handing out free recyclable shopping bags, all pink and pretty and like a Bower Bird to a blue object I couldn’t resist. Against the better judgement going throw my head at the time I weakened and accepted the bag.  I was already at about day 40 of my 365 less things challenge and should have known better but maybe I hadn’t really learned the art of resistance as well as I should of at that point. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I have more than enough of these bags already so this one will go in the charity bin with the other items.
  4. A hand towel – Here we have one for the “SOMEONE MADE IT FOR ME” category, my mother-in-law in fact. (Barb if you are reading this please forgive me!) It was one of those things that seemed like it would suit my needs at the time so I accepted it graciously, used it a couple of times and then it seemed to work its way to the bottom of the pile. Usually one seeks things out that they find the most useful and use them over and over again so the fact that when I found this I thought “Oh, I forgot I had that” generally means it didn’t really work for me. So I will be good and put it in the charity bin even though I have pangs of guilt because Barb made it for me and she is a kind and generous person. (I thought I had better throw in a little extra groveling there just in case she is reading this.)
  5. One T-shirt – Unfortunately this one falls into the “WE SPENT GOOD MONEY ON THIS” category but with a twist. It wasn’t one of those impulse buys that you regret later on and wish you hadn’t wasted the money. It was more of a laundry accident situation. The t-shirt was a Manchester United jersey that probably cost my husband more money than I want know about. One would think that when a manufacturer makes a red shirt it would sensible to make all the white components of that shirt out of materials that won’t turn pink when you put the shirt in the red wash load where it belongs but alas they didn’t. So you can guess where I am going with this. My husband wouldn’t wear it as it was and after several unsuccessful attempts to turn the pink writing back to white again all I managed to succeed in doing was to fade the black stripe to grey while the writing was still pink. So it has sat in the cupboard  for the last three years out of sheer guilt and the hope that I would come up with a solution. Now I think it is time I shed the burden by getting rid of it and the bad feeling along with it. I will put it in the charity bin and maybe someone else might not mind its imperfections.

So we have just about covered every weakness that causes clutter here in one 10 minute session of cleaning out a single cupboard. About the only category we didn’t touch on was “SHEER LAZINESS” and I would like to think that there isn’t anything in my home that is there purely because I am too lazy to carry it to the garbage can. That is something I couldn’t live with.


As it is supposed to be one item a day, even though I found 5 items, I will post them one at a time or a risk running out of things before the 365 days are up. Stay tuned for the others over the next week. This is the hand towel mentioned in today’s post.
Hand Towel

5 Things I am Grateful for Today

  1. Leftover roast chicken dinner – Nothing like not having to cook when your husband is out of town, especially when the leftovers taste so good. (Homemade of course)
  2. Friends to have coffee and a chat with – today was spent catching up with the friends I missed while I was away.
  3. A warm house on a cool evening – spring may be here but the last couple of nights have been a little cool but the house warms up quite nicely during the day. (Not heaters required)
  4. Time – I have had plenty of that since I have been home so I have been able to settle in quite nicely.
  5. Encouragement – Thank you to all my wonderful blogger friends who have sent words of encouragement for my quest to find out what I want to be when I grow up. Now all I need is to do something about it.
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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I just this week gave away some pillow covers in a revolting orange/brown pattern that were given to me. My husband wanted to keep them to put on right before this person came over and THEN give them away. Some stuff just seems to paralyse people. I know that for all that I’ve decluttered – there are some areas that I feel so overwhelmed by I haven’t even looked there.

    • Hi TheSimplePoppy,
      don’t feel bad about “not looking there” I still have a few of those areas to tackle myself. I will be able to deal with it when you are ready. I find I am getting less and less clingy as the time wheres on. In fact my husband often reminds me that he doesn’t plan on living in an empty shell of a home with nothing personal left in it. We are no where near that stage yet so he needn’t worry.

  2. Colleen you are such an inspiration! Just as you continue to dig deeper, I am doing it again as I unpack in my new place. After spending a month, a portion of that with very few belongings, most of the stuff I kept from the first decluttering looks like junk to me now! Some of the older pieces I’ll be selling, and the other stuff will be donated. Some of this stuff I’ve owned for forty years!! Great question, “Why am I still clinging?”

    • Speaking of Betty Jo owning something for 40 years, did you ever come up with a grand total of the years you’d owned something? I guess it was at least a month ago, so I must have missed it.

      Glad you’re back and glad you’re giving up that job Colleen. It never seemed like the right fit for you. Maybe it was once…but not any more.

      • Hi Cindy,
        the total time value for that week of decluttering was 92.5 years. I am glad you asked that question because when I went back to check out the answer I realised I had miscalculated on one day so I fixed that mistake while I as there.

        As for my job, I don’t think it ever really fitted but I did learned a lot while I was there not only about aspects of the job but about myself. I suppose that makes it worth the time spent there.

    • Hi Berry Jo,
      I am sure your home is far more decluttered than mine and you are the more inspirational of the two of us. At least while you are decluttering you are also finding time to be creative and puting your stuff out there for the world to see while I cower in a corner affraid of rejection (or something) when it comes to my artistic side (some wierd quirk in my otherwise outgoing personality).
      Maybe some day I should post some photographs of my home so people can see I still own plenty of stuff. The walls have artwork and photos and there are still things on shelves (granted I would like to see the back of some of those) so it still looks and feels like a home. Maybe if it starts to echo I will know it is time to stop. LOL!

      • Yep, when it starts to echo I suppose that is an indication to stop. Mine echos a little now, so perhaps I should not unpack anything more. LOL Actually I like my place to look homey, rather than sterile, so I’m sure I’ll put some things on the walls and shelves, but nothing like I once did.

  3. I read somewhere that it’s good to have one completely empty shelf in your house–it’s an incentive to maintain the open space. Recently I opened a cabinet and there it was: an empty shelf! I’d forgotten!

    • Hi Willow,
      I am glad to say that I have at four empty shelves in my house that I am aware of without looking. Two of which are in the kitchen which is the most amazing thing. I hope to to expand on that in the near future, particularly in the china cabinet.

      • Those empty shelves can really be a blessing. I had two in my kitchen – a whole cabinet. My husband was surprised it was there, but I reminded him that we intend to live in this house a long time and might need it/use it later.

        When my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Tupe 1 (juvenile) diabetes last December, it was a stressful time, as I’m sure you can imagine. They weigh you down with A TON of supplies at first. (We still have lots and lots of stuff, but at least not the huge assortment we started with.) Anyway, I’m sure you can imagine that the empty cabinet made a hard transition a bit easier. At least I had a place where I could immediately and neatly store everything.

        • Hi Cindy,
          sorry to hear about your daughters illness. Just as well you had a space all ready to store the important items required to deal with this problem. We need that extra space ready in minds too so we can get our heads around these situations when they strike us out of the blue. I hope she and your family are dealing with it as well as you can.

  4. I’m so with you on the red/white clothing where the red runs into the white, leaving it pink, and there is NO WAY to get that colour out … it’s really irritating and the cost of the item doesn’t seem to be the deciding factor on whether it runs or not … there, that’s out of my system now 🙂

    I need to grit my teeth and start letting go of some of those sentimental or too-many-of-one-thing things too. You did very well!

    • Hi Jo,
      yes I love it when you pay $40 for a team shirt and for that money you get $39.50 worth of team logo and a poxy 50c worth of baddly cut, sewn and dyed fabric that those logos are adhered to. Very soon even your $39.50 is down the drain because the shirt has fallen out of shape, the seams are coming apart and the dye has run into the logo. Needless to say I am never the one in this family to make those sorts of purchases. Wouldn’t it be nice if these companies considered that they are getting enough money for the logo that cost them next to nothing when mass produced so they could at least provide a decent base to put it on. Greedy so and sos!
      You’re right it does feel good to get that out of my system.

  5. Hi Colleen, I am new to your blog but spent a bit of time reading through some past posts. Betty Jo suggested I come over and I am so glad I did. I am literally just on day one of my journey to declutter but am actually looking forward to it. The serious work will begin in the morning…I already know where I am starting. Thanks for spurring me on. Patty

    • Hi Patty M,
      I read your response to Betty Jo’s fairwell post and my heart went out to you I am so glad she sent you to me.. In fact I was going to send her an email this morning asking her to let you know about my blog because I hoped I could be of help. I will read your response again and see if I can pin point a few items that I could write soom posts about next week just to help you get started.
      I wish you a warm welcome here at 365lessthings and you will find that the reader comments are also very helpful so if you have the time don’t forget to read them also. I wish you the very best of luck on your quest.

  6. Hey, Colleen that’s so sad about the Man United shirt! When my husband moved here in ’02 he was understandably homesick around the World Cup. We were out running errands and noticed a new soccer shop in a dinky strip mall. They had a gorgeous England team shirt for $90. I held my breath and bought it for him, hoping it wasn’t a knockoff or something. Fortunately it turned out to be washable, no pink collar. I still get in a cold sweat thinking about the chance I took with that purchase. He still wears it every World Cup and a few times in between. Hope you have better luck if you buy another in the future.

    • Hi Meg,
      I think if I had washed the shirt on it’s own it would have been fine because the fabric is synthetic. The problem was, because the it was red I naturally put it is in the red load and something else must had done the damage. I dare say the label said wash separately but who has time for that, not me. Oh well, it is just a shirt life goes on.
      Can I asume from your comment that you are English?

  7. I’ve only just recently found your blog as I’ve just started on a de-clutter journey. Being pregnant is a great incentive to reevaluate things. My minimalist husband is very happy with this. So, I’m really enjoying your blog, and going thru the archives.
    But what I actually wanted to comment on was your grateful for leftover roast chicken comment. I’m the same, but for me it is because I can turn it into soup and make a fantastically cheap (and new ) meal with leftovers from a previous meal

    • Hi Holly,
      I would like to extend to you a hearty welcome to it is good to have you on board. Thank you for leaving a comment and we hope to hear from you often in the future. Being pregnant is certainly a great reason to reevaluate your belongings and it is so important to carry those minimalist principles through to when you have the baby and as it grows. So often we overindulge our children with excess clothes, toys, books and all sorts of things. There really is no need for this and it puts unnecessary strain on supply and demand and your bank balance and in the long run teaches bad ethics to the children. Best to learn these lessons now rather than when it is too late.
      Chicken is so versatile isn’t it. Even when it has been cooked already you can use it to make soup, noodles, sandwiches, pasta dishes and the list goes on. I have a great Curry Chicken Noodle recipe that it can be used in that I have been making for years.


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