Day 347 Staying ahead of the game

There are three key elements to decluttering

  1. Purging your home of items that are unused
  2. Being selective with future purchases so you do not end up recluttering you home.
  3. Staying ahead of the clutter by removing items as they become redundant.

Today I want to talk about #3 on the list above. The key to staying decluttered is to make sure you remove any redundant item from your home as quickly as possible after it outgrows its usefulness.

Redundancy can include…

Physically growing out of an item

  • Children are especially prone to this, some more so than others. I was fortunate to have small children so they tended to wear clothing out rather than growing out of them. So I usually got good value out of my clothing purchases. Children also grow out of their sporting equipment, car safety items, beds etc.
  • Unfortunately, we adults can also suffer from this problem due to weight gain and loss. It can be very tempting to keep the clothes in hope or fear that we may fit into them again. Sometimes these items only serve to torment us rather than inspire us.

Mentally growing out of an item

  • This may apply to children more than adults but not exclusively. As children age, they mentally outgrow toys, books, hobbies, school supplies and pursue new activities.
  • Adult tastes can also mature as they gain experience or see new possibilities for their lives that can include books, hobbies, digital media, information technology or a new business opportunity.

Breakages, wear and tear

  • There are very few items that we acquire that last a lifetime, so it stands to reason that items break and wear out over time. Unfortunately in this day and age many things are not made to be repaired. It can be hard to part with items that have served you well. It sits in the cupboard while you hope to find a way to make them useful again. Don’t wait, if you cannot fix or re-purpose it today then time rarely changes that fact, recycle what you can and discard the rest ASAP. Quite often there are handy folks out there that can re-purpose the parts so make every attempt to find the item a new home rather than send it to landfill.
  • Single use items such as batteries, ink cartridges and pens can accumulate in office drawers. Most of these items can be recycled and there are often drop of points at your local stationary store for this purpose.
  • How often does an item of damaged or shabby clothing, which instead of mending or discarding it, ends up back in your wardrobe. Deal with it immediately, is it repairable? Then place it in your sewing area or take it to a tailor. If it cannot be repaired, re-purpose the fabric (search Instructables for ideas) or use it as a rag.

Limited use

  • Newspapers are the main culprit under this heading and accumulate quickly, don’t let this happen. Pass them on to someone else or recycle them as soon as you are done reading them.
  • Magazines can be more useful in the long term as reference material but I think it is best to set limits. I have set my limit by not buying them any more but most folks aren’t prepared to go that far. I used to subscribe to several craft magazines that I mainly used as visual inspiration but I find just as much inspiration via the internet for free with no clutter.

Basically there is always going to be clutter maintenance no matter how well purged your house is at this moment. Things become redundant along the road of life. Keep up with these redundant items and you will not have to worry about returning to square one.

Item of 365 less things

Scooba didn’t live up to my expectations, too bad a person can’t work this out before wasting the money in the first place. Never mind, I sold it for $132.50 on eBay.

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. My polish apple pancake recipe –I don’t make them all that often but we always enjoy them when I do.
  2. A lovely night out – I went out the a friends granddaughter’s end of year dance recital last night and it was amazing. There is some real talent in that school.
  3. Modern technology – It give me the ability to help people from the comfort of my sofa.
  4. Butterflies – Aren’t they amazing looking creatures.
  5. The willingness to learn – Live would be pretty stagnant without it.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Overflow I have experienced examples lately on how clutter can lead to disorganisation which in turn causes more clutter. Actually, in the cases I am thinking of, the clutter is useful and used […]
  • Avoiding a cluttered wardrobe I'll be the first to admit that I am no fashion expert. So I am not going to give you any advice on what clothes to shop for. However, what I am going to share with you today are tips that […]
  • 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Great post, Colleen – such a good point about changing our behavior to avoid having the problem grow all over again.

    Thanks for the link to Instructables. Somehow I have never managed to come across this before. Inspiring!!

    • Hi Jo,
      I have known plenty of people who declutter and have garage sales every twelve months or so and I useed to be one of them. This is all very well and good but if they just followed keys elements #2 & 3 they would always stay ahead.

  2. Any chance you might share the polish apple pancake recipe? Sounds yummy.

  3. Ok, now I also want to know, will you share your polish apple pancake recipe???? I bet LadeeSunshine and I are probably not your only followers/readers who want to enjoy the mouthwatering yummy goodies!!! I bet if we were all closer, Colleen would make these for us and we could all bring our most favorite yummy tea to share! And we’d discuss decluttering and lots of other topics and laugh and maybe even cry together, and overall just enjoy being together! Oh well, we’ll have to just enjoy the warmth (????) of the blog. hee hee! 😉 Happy Holidays!

    • Hi Annabelle,
      A little cheeky today aren’t we? But that does sound lovely when will you be over? I will put the kettle and the air-conditioner on and whip up some batter for those pancakes. If you get here before I get back from the shop getting the apples Liam will let you in. Luckily the house is tidy I wouldn’t want to ruin my reputation. Actually I would really enjoy a tea, a chat, a laugh and a cry with you all it would be lovely way to spend the day.

      The batter in the Polish apple pancakes is just there to hold the apples together. It was a recipe I found in some sort of healthy eating cookbook about 12 years ago. I will send you and LadeeSunshine a copy tomorrow when I have access to the other computer.

      • send it to me too!! (Thanks!)

        • Hi Barbara,
          it’s on it’s way. I have decided to make it my post for Simple Sunday this week so if the email doesn’t get through you will be able to get it on Sunday. I didn’t have your email among the ones I save from people who have commented before so if you are new I would like to say welcome to 365lessthings and I look forward to hearing from you again. We benefit greatly from our shared wisdom and we would love to hear some of yours.

      • I definitely enjoy a white Christmas, but I would surely appreciate a warm one where you actually have to turn on the A/C. It’s been so cold here that I drink hot tea all day just to stay warm. Brrrrrrrr! Would love to have a cup with you and the other friends on this blog. I am happy for you for the good times and laughter you are sharing with Liam. How precious.

        • Hi Di,
          I am having a cup of tea as we speak. I don’t care how hot it gets I still love a good cuppa. It’s a nice cool overcast day so far the temperature is 21C, a great day for walking. I hope it stays this way for a while.