Day 355 Procrastination Clutter

I know that I have written about procrastination causing delays in the decluttering process but that is not the only role that procrastination plays when it comes to clutter. In many cases procrastination actually causes the clutter in the first place.

What starts out as a good intention can soon turn into a failure to carry out a particular task that leaves in its wake a pile of clutter. For example…

  • The hem on your daughter’s dress has fallen and you put it aside to restitch but 2 months later it is still lying in an ever growing pile of other good intentions next to your sewing machine. Now the dress is not only still in a state of disrepair but it no longer fits your growing child.  Result – one dress that is now clutter.
  • You bought that new novel that everyone was talking about but lets face it you are a doing person – not one for sitting around reading. Six months later the book in still on the shelf unread. Result – Bookcase clutter.
  • You decided try a new hobby/sport and it seemed like a good idea at the time. You bought all the gear required to give it a go but alas you still haven’t taken that class you meant to take to get you started or made one step towards joining a team . Result – hobby supply/sporting equipment clutter.
  • The monthly bills came in but why should you let those companies make interest on your money – better to wait until the due date to pay them right? Not if they just get lost in a pile of clutter on your desk you kept putting off tidying  up. Now the due date has passed and you are have to pay a late fee. Result – money down the drain and a bad credit history.
  • You bought a new laptop but kept the old one with intentions of selling it on eBay to recoup some on the money you spent. Where is that old laptop now? Still cluttering up the desk while you procrastinate about a starting price and finding the box for it in the garage. Result – Desk top clutter, less dollars in your pocket and another empty box littering up the garage.
  • Putting things off until you have more time, are more relaxed, feel up to it, are fitter, happier, healthier, the kids are grown…are some of the endless procrastination excuses that lead to clutter.

I think you can see where I am going with this. The solution is to make time immediately to deal with those small tasks around the home instead of putting them off until it is too late. You may be surprised at how little time it actually takes. And limit your financial commitment (eg. buying equipment and supplies) prior to learning the skills involved in starting a new hobby/sport etc. You may find that you don’t have the skills or patience for it after all or are just not as enamoured with the idea once you’ve tried it. Otherwise before you know it you are surrounded by unfinished tasks, unread books, magazines, sales catalogues, expensive tools, hobby supplies, sporting equipment…

Take some time out to identify some of this type of clutter in your home and deal with it immediately. I am sure you will be relieved to eliminate the guilt that comes hand in hand with it.

Item 355 of 365 less things

What used to be a pile of unused craft supplies is now a set of monogrammed birthday cards for the male members of my family. It will take twelve months for them to disappear altogether but I have saved several dollars by not having to buy cards, nibbled away at my abundance of craft supply clutter and had some crafting fun all in one effort.

More Craft Supplies

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Craft – I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t making something.
  2. Getting lost in what you are doing – Especially if it is something you didn’t want to do and the next thing you know it it is done.
  3. Free access to things better than shopping – parks, the library, beeches, walking trails…
  4. Dinner is over the kitchen is tidy and I can sit back and relax for the evening.
  5. Imagination

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

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I love those cards!

  2. Wise words Colleen. I have a tendency to sit on things and procrastinate…..and when finally come round to dealing with them wonder what all the fuss was about. Your post has prompted me to get on and deal with my road tax, it’s not due until the end of the month but I have to keep mentally deducting it from my December budget and it would be so much easier just to have paid it!

    • Hi Anna,
      you hit the nail right on the head there- “and when finally come round to dealing with them wonder what all the fuss was about”. Oh how true that is. There may be a little physical effort involved to doing something but there is far more mental anguish involved in procrastinating about it.

  3. Love the cards. I think i will scrap-lift and try some like them for some guys in my family. I try to get all the cards made for the year so that then I don’t have to do them in a hurry.

    Procrastination. I hear you. My mother has a pile of things she needs to do but seems to never get around to them. I too have some piles but mine are because I am waiting on a particular item to be found to finish something or I have certain supplies out until I finish a project. I’m working on finding a way to have an “in progress” drawer and a “waiting for something” drawer. That way things will be nicely put away.

    • Hi Deb J,
      scrap-lift all you like and have fun while you are at it. Even though I have all the cards ready for the year you can bet I will still forget to send them on time. That is one area where my organisation skills seem to go out the window. Oh half the people I send them too never send me one anyway and the guys all have their wives doing it for them so if their card is late they can just “suck it up”. 👿 🙂

      I like the idea of the “in progress” and “waiting for something” Drawers, I have some 13 x 13 trays that work very well for that purpose. Even thought they are still out where you can see them they are at least organised.

  4. I love those cards! Sometimes I wish I was a little more crafty and could come up with cute stuff like this! Of course I am glad I don’t have the clutter that goes along with some crafts!

    • Hi Mercedes,
      thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment I believe it is your first. Welcome to 365lessthings I hope you are finding my blog helpful.
      Your are right about the craft clutter it is like a bowl a pasta that no matter how full you seem to be getting the bowl never looks emptier. I enjoy doing craft so I will gladly chip away at my supplies until they disappear.

  5. I’m procrastinating right now. I should print a couple of photos for this explanation of what I did with the grant money I received earlier this year. I actually already filled out the form, but since we moved the printer hasn’t been connected and I just keep putting it off. There are other things that require more time and effort, like going to my new studio to organize the huge mess that it currently is.. Oh and there is one button that needs to be sewed on.. and so on.. (At least the button is from my own dress, not my daughter’s, so it’s not likely I’ll outgrow it. )

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      I wish I was there to help you get through a few of those tasks, it sounds like you have your hand full. You need to recruit a few loving friends or family members to come and give you a hand to catch up. Try to find a little time in between the more important stuff to squeeze these things in and you will feel a whole lot better. Start with the easiest thing first you will feel like you are making quicker progress that way.

  6. That’s how a ‘yarn stash’ develops. 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder here. As I look at my pile of stuff around my computer, I see just that: procrastination clutter.

    • Hi Willow,
      your mini mission this today is to tidy up that procrastination clutter and then you can settle back to a restful Christmas break.

      • Mini mission accomplished! Wow, did I ever go through the papers to recycle! And then my #2 son called to say he’s driving down tonight instead of Thursday! Everything is ready 🙂 Let the offspring arrive!

  7. Those are great-looking cards! Nice for the women in their lives to say, “Nice!” and manly enough for the guys to say, “Nice!” 😉 Good work!

  8. Hi, Colleen…Your post is so true.

    I’m in the middle of some “procrastination clutter” right now myself. I do mixed media collage, and have tons of supplies for that. Within the last few months I’ve switched to doing most of my collage digitally, and probably don’t need to keep ALL of the supplies I have, but sometimes I still like to do old school cut and paste collage, so I’m very undecided on whether or not to toss any of the supplies, and what to toss if I decide to.

    I normally don’t have a problem with decluttering. It’s only my art supplies I’m not sure how to handle.

    By the way, I like the cards you made too. I should make some. I have enough supplies, and I’d save money by not needing to run to the store to buy cards for every occasion.

    • Hi Becky,
      that is the trouble with stockpiling art supplies when you change styles you then have a huge supply of stuff to get rid of. I have learned my lesson there. I don’t think I will have to buy a card for the next ten years. Ha Ha!

  9. Your last comment about guilt that comes with the clutter from procrastination is so true for me. It’s a burden that doesn’t go away until that specific clutter is gone or used up. But it’s a great feeling once the stuff has been dealt with.

  10. I can really relate to the paying bills one! I used to leave my bills till their due date, but would often forget – causing me to lose out on the 7% discount for my gas and electricity bills for early payment. My new resolution is to pay them when I receive them.

    Lovely cards. Reminds me that I have run out of white card stock (I buy a 100-pack of unlined index cards) so the kids can always make their own cards. I’m nowhere near as talented as you, but I’m going to make more of my own cards next year.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Colleen. Your blog has been a pleasure and inspiration to read, and is my favourite blog. (Pity none of the Christmas baking I did is transportable, otherwise I’d have sent you a package!)

    • Hi Loretta,
      I am glad you have seen the light when it comes to your bill paying. I actually have an even better system now – I leave them for Steve to take care of – it is really working well for me. I love that we can pay most of them on-line because my mailbox is never cluttered either.

      I will keep that index card hint in mind for when my white card stock runs out although that is going to be a long time away I think and then I had better use other colours until the whole stockpile is depleted.

      I really would have enjoyed some of your Christmas baking maybe some day I will get down to your neck of the woods and pay you a visit. I will be expecting home made goodies by the way. 😉 Have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful 2011.

  11. I really like those cards, Colleen!!! Wish I had the time/inclination to do that sort of thing, but somehow I don’t anymore. Not sure why, actually! But those cards are beautifully designed and well-crafted.

    So true about procrastination. I’ve got a plumbing project that needs doing (not an emergency), and I’ve got all the parts for it….weeks ago….sigh. It’ll get done, but probably not until after “the holidays.”

    • Hi Meg,
      just so you feel better I write about procrastination because I am an expert at it, not the writing but the procrastinating. I have no shortage of first hand experience. I think I am getting better though, luckily I read my own blog so I give myself lots of useful advice 😆

      Good luck with the plumbing project and fingers crossed it doesn’t become an emergency during the holidays. 🙂

  12. I adore those cards!!!!!! Really, you should sell them…(I’d buy!). The procrastination clutter is sooo true at our house! I had my daughters ballet slippers sitting on my arts/crafts desk for several weeks before I actually attached the elastic straps. What took me forever to do, actually ended up being so lovely, the peace and quiet, sewing the straps onto her slippers, thinking of how happy she is when she is dancing. My heart just overflowed with love for my darling girl. Then I finished sewing, and I realized it didn’t take long to do, and that I had so much fun while I did it, that I thought, WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO ACTUALLY SIT DOWN AND DO THIS??? Silly me! Procrastination clutter – BE GONE! 😉

    • Hi Annabelle,
      this seems to be a popular theme- procrastinate- finally get around to doing whatever – then wondering why it took so long – rinse and repeat. ???? Why do we do this to ourselves? You’d think we would learn from experience but we tend to make the same mistake over and over again. I wonder how many time we have to fall into this trap before we break the cycle.

      I am glad you like the cards, they were a lot of fun to make. I think I should start an etsy shop and start creating to sell that way I might make some money and deplete my craft clutter at the same time.

  13. Colleen, Ok, one more thing, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! to you and your family, what a joy Liam is doing so well. Happy holidays to all of Colleen’s blog followers…I’m sitting here drinking my cup of green tea and thinking how lovely it is to know that I’m not the only one dealing with this decluttering stuff, that other people all over the world are connected via Colleen’s blog, and that we can share and inspire, from Colleen and from each other! I guess that would be a warm fuzzy moment via Internet. Annabelle

    • Hi Annabelle,
      what a lovely person you are, I love a good old warm fuzzy moment and that was a doozy. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and that 2011 is filled with great things and you achieve a beautifully decluttered home. Colleen

  14. I had to laugh at this – I am currently doing an open university course, and when my assignments are due, de-cluttering is one of my major ways of procrastinating from doing my assignments! Maybe that’s also a reason why I’m online posting replies to decluttering tips, rather than typing my essay (after already sorting out several items for the charity shop and putting several more “where they belong!) 😛

    • Hi Tracey,
      welcome to 365lessthings and thank you for leaving a comment. Your story here sound familiar, doing something easy and satisfying to avoid doing something that carries a lot more responsibility. I am sure we are all familiar with this maneuver. Now get back to doing that assignment and stop procrastinating. 😉