Day 285 Simplify

There are many ways that having a decluttered home and embracing the principles of staying decluttered can simplify your life. I have discovered the freedom that decluttering has added to my life and I would like to share that with you.

  • Time – At the very least, you will waste less time maintaining your home simply because it has less in it. The less you want for things the less time you will spend working toward and obtaining them.
  • Money – It is much simpler to track where your hard earned money is going when you reduce the number things you waste it on. The less you spend, the less you need to earn to stay ahead of debt. As you know I have reached a stage where I can give up my part time job in order to concentrate on some self discovery and some of that is due to the fact that I am no longer spending like I used to.
  • Choices – When you have fewer things to choose from it stands to reason you narrow your choices saving time and mental energy on decision making. Making choices from large quantities of clothing, toiletries, crockery, linen etc steals small chunks of time out of your daily routine.
  • Getting Organised – Having fewer things creates a situation where it is simpler to get and stay organized. You will find it easier to keep things together that belong together especially if you have limited space. This will make it easier to find things when you need them and save even more of your time.
  • Celebrations – I like this one. How complicated have celebrations become with the retail onslaught that we face these days. A wedding is about witnessing the union of two people not about getting $20,000 in debt. Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus and I guarantee you most people don’t give that a second thought any more. I, for one, find it so much more enjoyable to simplify these occasions back to their base elements namely the theme, the  joy of being together, heartfelt good wishes and perhaps to share a meal. It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.
  • Shopping – Everyone of the issues above is somehow related to this topic. Shopping less will save you time and money, not to mention the hassle of trying to find a park at the shopping centre, fighting the crowds and walking from store to store looking for the best price.
  • Thinking – As Isabella pointed out in her comment yesterday – I find I am much calmer now that I don’t spend so much time trying to work out where things are or spending time staring at piles of clutter saying to myself “I really should clean that up”. Clearer surroundings give you a clearer mind – less time worrying about the mess, less time trying to remember where things are in the mess and less time procrastinating about cleaning up the mess. Makes me feel tired just thinking about all that mind clutter.
  • The Process – Even the act of decluttering can be as simple as spending ten minutes each day to find something and set it aside to be disposed. If you approach it thinking it is a mammoth task and try to complete it as quickly as possible then you will likely loose heart well before you are done and learn nothing from the process.

I am sure there are other ways in which decluttering has simplified aspects of your life. Please leave a comment and share your personal experience with us all. The more we share the benefits we have realised, the more likely we will all keep on task.


A few more old travel books for the donation box.
Travel Books Day

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Wisdon – Hopefully I gather a littel more every day.
  2. Public Transport – I wasn’t up to walking to work today so I caught the bus for the first time.
  3. That I didn’t have the trouble my daughter did getting to work today – On her forth attempt she found a way out of her neighbourhood that wasn’t cut off by flooding.
  4. Bed – I am looking forward to falling into it tonight.
  5. My voice is starting to come back- Maybe tomorrow I will be able to meet a friend for coffee and a chat without getting a headache.

IMG_2235IMG_2220Banana FlowerAzaleaMy Walking Path

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I find that in simplifying it gives me time to focus on my relationships with friends, family and faith.

    • Hi Susan,
      I like that idea. Just the stress relief alone frees your mind to be more in the moment so you can enjoy your life wherever you are, whoever you are with and whatever you are doing.

  2. Choices: I joined Project 333 and am limiting my clothing Choices to 33 items for 3 months. I’m already finding that it’s so much easier to get dressed in the morning when I have fewer choices. Now I get why most men can get dressed so much more quickly than women do–they often have fewer clothes to choose from!

    Every point you make I heartily agree with. Our Christmases and Thanksgivings and other holidays are not nearly as stressful as they used to be. And my husband is very glad they aren’t!

    • Hi Willow,
      we are very spoiled for choice these day and we foolishly think it is a good thing.
      I was considering joining Project 333 myself but I found out about it a bit late and there is so much going on for me at the moment that I decided to pass. I hope Courtney decides to do it again if this one goes well. I did however do a bit of a reorganization of my wardrobe just to see where I stood and I don’t think I even own many more than 33 spring/summer items when you don’t count underwear, uniforms, lounging and sleep wear. There are a few items in there almost ready for natural progression decluttering as well.
      I am glad you have learned the art of stressless celebrating.

  3. I still have a looong way to go, but I love the rewards of being able to clean the house so much faster when there aren’t so many decorations to dust around! After all we don’t even really “see” the knick-knacks we accumulate anymore, so why do we think we’re going to miss them if we donate them? Home Interior Designers advise us to move our artwork to different walls every so often so that we notice them again. I used to constantly shop for containers or cabinets for organizing, but the real answer is to get rid of all the “STUFF”!
    My personal biggest hurdle was to decide to donate items rather than beat myself up for not selling them, which caused me to procrastinate.

    • Hi Karin,
      it seems to me you have also come a loooong way if you are already noticing a difference in how much easier it is to clean your home. You are so right about the dilemma of donate or sell it can cause paralyzing procrastination. I think sometimes that if you aren’t desperate to get out of debt then donating is the quicker and easier option.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your great comment with us. There have been a few new commenters this week with some great insight and I have included a couple in my favourite five for this week, expect to find this one there. Please drop in more often, as I say the more voices the more we are likely to learn from each other.

    • Karin, I’m right there with you girl on procrastinating getting rid of certain things because I hope to recoup some money from selling some of this stuff. I’ve had great garage sales, but some things just need to go on craigslist or ebay or else load everything in the car and just get it out of my life.

  4. Oh oh oh I love this post!!!! There is a light fixture that a local church displays each holiday season, it says “KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS”.

    • Hi Annabelle,
      maybe the church should move the light fixture to the local shopping mall where they aren’t largely preaching to the converted. The one holiday I loved the most in the US when I lived there was Thanksgiving because what could be better than family and friends getting together for a meal and being grateful for all the good things life has given you. No gifts necessary. I wish we had Thanksgiving in Australia.

      • For years, I’ve said the same thing! Thanksgiving (US style) is my kind of celebration. Food, friends and family. No pressure to purchase presents.

      • I think if Christmas were celebrated more like Thanksgiving everyone would be happier and less stressed during the holidays. After all Christ is the one who gave himself as a gift to us on his birthday, yet we give gifts to one another and thank each other instead of Him. I think it’s kind of mixed up.

        • Hi Di,
          I couldn’t agree more and if people don’t believe in Jesus create a new holiday and call it something else. I am all for people believing in whatever they wish but it does seem a little silly celebrating Christmas every year if you are an atheist when in reality it is a religious holiday.

  5. I have learned to limit choices for myself to only 3 otherwise I get overwhelmed. I remember the first time I went to the Giant Eagle grocery store – it was fun at first to see all the varieties of everything (from mustard to bread to…) but shopping took forever and I was exhausted thinking all these decisions, I went back to the smaller store and was much happier.
    I also limit choices in my wardrobe which goes back to wearing a uniform for all of grade school and high school. I wear a turtle neck with pants in the fall/winter and a golf type shirt with pants in the spring/summer. The only decision I make is what color! I love the simplicity

    • Hi Jessiejack,
      You have a good system in place there I would say. The old saying spoiled for choice should be changed to disturbed by choice.
      We bought a new car in 2007 and plan to keep it until it dies so we won’t have to make car choices for a long time I hope. If we can limit the miles we drive perhaps we can postpone it for even longer.

  6. I have also done the same thing now with cars since 1996! I limit my choice to what color Toyota Avalon I would like – so much easier!

  7. Love this, Colleen. I’ve noticed that more and more people are putting “no gifts” on invitations and instead, asking guests to contribute to a charity. I think it’s a wonderful trend that promises to hopefully inspire more people to do the same and maybe scale back the spending and scale up the spirit of celebration.

    I just noticed that you are less than 100 days to 365. I hope this doesn’t mean you stop when you get to 365?

    • Hi Belinda,
      Your comment reminds me to message a friend from work and make sure they haven’t got plans to by me a farewell gift since I am leaving next week.

      No, I will not be abandoning 365lessthings when the year is up but I will cut myself and my readers some slack and not post everyday. I am enjoying writing to my blog and feeling like I am helping others.

  8. We just had Thanksgiving in Canada. Sometimes I wish I could declutter the meal 🙂 So much cooking! Has anyone else simplified their holiday meals? (I realize how lucky I am to have the problem of too much food; I feel guilty even asking the question)

    • Hi Jo,
      the best way I can think of to simplify the meal is, if you are having family and friends coming around get them all to contribute with a plate of something. It takes the burdon off you. When I cook a roast meal everything goes in the oven except the greens which could also go in the oven if I chose the right ones. I know that in America you usually do mashed potato and a yam dish which makes it a lot more work. Maybe you sould start a new tradition of simplified Thanksgiving and if anyone complains then they can make the dish that they want included. Then you will be able to thank them for there contribution.

  9. Two of the items on this list that I have found very liberating for me are limiting choices and cutting out the unnecessary shopping. I check only the pharmacy flyer for the 3 items we use regularly and the grocery flyer for the foods we use regularly. It takes practice to ignore everything else. After all, businesses aren’t really trying to save you money, they are trying to get you to part with it. As for shopping in general, I just don’t go unless I need a specific thing, then I try to go in, buy, and leave. Leaves me with more time, more energy, and more money for other things that are more refreshing and satisfying.

    • Hi Jo,
      in Australia we receive our flyers in the mail box. I have put a no junk mail sign on my mail box so I don’t get them any more. We don’t generally have the same great specials here that you do in the US so the flyers here really are worth the bother to read. They haven’t caught on to the coupon thing here either.

  10. As a former “recreational shopper” who’s been reformed for a long time now, I can tell you there’s absolutely nothing like staying out of the stores.

    Way less stress! Way better for your finances! Much more time in the day!

    I haven’t set foot in a mall in at least ten years, maybe a little more, and I don’t miss it at all. I have NO DESIRE to have to go to one–and I especially wouldn’t be caught dead in one during the holidays. (Black Friday shopping? You couldn’t pay me any amount of money to participate in that.)

    Our extended family has been trying to simplify Thanksgiving and Christmas for a few years now. It hasn’t happened all at once. First we scaled back the gift giving, which went from a huge, stressful extravaganza to a much simpler everyone-draws-a-name celebration.

    We used to make and bring SO much food that it was more of a hassle trying to find containers to divide it all up and send it home with people or store it, than it was preparing the full meal.

    We keep cutting back by eliminating dishes that we think we can do without, and it’s amazing how we haven’t missed what we’ve cut out. I think if we make one more reduction this year, we’ll have it just about right.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re going to keep blogging once the year is up. 🙂

    • Hi Becky,
      It seems that you are well and truly reformed in more ways than one. Good for you. You are also an inspiration to some of the other readers who have just begun this journey. Having been able to resist the retail bug for ten years is quite an accomplishment and proves not only that it can be done but that is has some great advantages.
      I am happy to hear that your Thanksgiving celebrations are finally getting to level that is just about right for you. Isn’t it interesting how we keep celebrating excessively thinking that it is what our loved ones want but then as soon as you say enough is enough they nearly all heave a big sigh of relief and comply happily. It’s as if they were all just waiting for someone else to have the courage to lead the rebellion so to speak.

  11. When I think of simplifying, I think of how my shopping has been incredibly simplified since embarking on the minimalist journey. I haven’t been to the mall in at least two years. And since we cook mostly from scratch and 3 1/2 months ago we decided to go vegetarian, grocery shopping has been so fast, easy, and inexpensive. I check for the weekly sale items mostly along the perimeter of the store, except for a few staples found in the aisles. I love it!

    • Hi Di,
      you’ve certainly got shopping down to a fine (minimalist) art form. I whip in and out of the shops much faster these days myself. The most time I ever spend there is when I meet friends for a coffee and most of that time is spent chatting and that is free and devoid of clutter.

  12. GREAT post Colleen, very well said. Thanks for the food for thought…



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