Day 357 Key #1 to simple decluttering in 100 words or less

Key 1 – Don’t bite off more than you can chew

If you are finding the idea of decluttering your home daunting maybe you are thinking too much about the big picture. Maybe you are picturing turning over entire rooms and disrupting the household. That isn’t necessary. Just work on one small area at a time. Even if you want to focus on one room at a time just clean out a drawer, then another, then one side of the closet, then the other, then under the bed… Limit yourself to one hour jobs so you can easily get finished in one time period and leave no mess when done.

Item 357 of 365 less things

One short conversation with a friend and this VCR had a new home. They wanted to digitise their video collection but no longer had a VCR and we were only too happy to help.


5 Reflections of gratefulness for the highlights of this year

  1. The miraculous recovery of our son from his head injury – This one has to go to the top of the list.
  2. Our wonderful one month vacation in Italy.
  3. Starting this crazy resolution to declutter – It has made a big difference to my life.
  4. The big family get together – It was nice to see my mother-in-law surrounded by all her children and grandchildren.
  5. Surviving a four month separation from my husband while he was in the Middle East.

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. Great idea about breaking the project into little segements. The girls and I are cleaning their rooms over the holidays, a bit a day, and the list looks like this:
    Tues – under bed & window above bed
    Wed – nightstand
    Thursday – bulletin board, top of dresser
    Friday – corner behind chair
    Clara’s took longer than I thought it would yesterday. She’s the Queen of the Knick Knacks and doing the top of her dresser was slow but worth it. It took her a bit to catch onto the fact that we weren’t just going to straighten her stuff, we were going to evaluate it, too.

    Do you believe Liam achieved full recovery? Is he still needing any therapies? That is truly a miracle!

    • Hi Cindy,
      that sounds like a great plan you have set out there for cleaning the girls rooms. Don’t you just hate the Knick Knacks. Liam’s room is the one room in the house I neglect because he has a huge desk for his art supplies/projects/uni stuff and it is always a cluttered mess to me. It is organized chaos to him though and I dare not move a thing. Every now and again I notice him decluttering and all is “tidy” again. I will have to be content with that.

      As for Liam’s recovery we really can barely detect anything amiss with him. If there is it will become more obvious when he goes back the university or when he gets a job. Once his teeth are fixed early in January it will only be the scars on his face that will be left as evidence of his accident.

  2. Bonjour,

    I just found your blog and it couldn’t happen at a better time. I planning to reorganize my office/sewing room (where also keep my linens). I have two questions for you.
    1- I thinking of keeping the linens in the appropriate bedrooms. So even if I want to attack only the linen closet, I’m discorage because I have to clear out the other closets for my new organizing system. What would you do?

    2- I have no problem giving things that are perfectly good for someone else or throwing things that are clearly no good anymore. It’s the in between. I can’t giving away or throw away things that are in almost perfect shape. I feel I have to repair it before I
    give it away (but I don’t) and I can’t put it in a garbage bags without thinking of the pollution. Do I need therapy?

    SP Excuse my poor English.

    • Hi Louise,
      your English is a lot better than my french so you did well. I would like to take this opportunity to say welcome to 365lessthings and I hope we will be of help to you with your decluttering mission. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      As for your problems:-
      1.) I love the idea of storing the linen in their appropriate rooms I do with this with my spare room. Don’t be discouraged from the idea just find a place that you can put them in the appropriate room and deal with organizing them properly once you get to that area. There is bound to be a corner of a closet or a drawer when they can stay on a temporary basis until you get around to do the job properly.

      2.) I am not a therapist of any kind so I can’t give you an opinion on that but I do understand what you are saying. If you have the time, do the repair if you want to if not don’t concern yourself too much because the new owner will probably have the skills to do the repair themselves. When people buy things and receive things secondhand they don’t expect them to be perfect. I recently sold two robot vacuum cleaners on eBay, I stated clearly that the batteries no longer held a charge but there were many bidders happy to buy them as they were. I never throw anything away that I think someone else will be able to get some use out of.

  3. I agree with not disrupting the household, or tearing up whole rooms. You’d be amazed at how much decluttering you can accomplish in small bits and pieces.

    I made another pass through one of our closets yesterday, just because I happened to be in there hanging something up, and came up with another pile of clothes that both of us are now willing to get rid of.

    Once you’ve been at this for awhile, you’ll find that you really have to start searching for a spot to declutter because you’ve already decluttered most areas. Then it’s just a matter of maintenance.

    • Hi Becky,
      that is exactly right. I am glad to be at that point where it takes a while to come up with my decluttering item for the day. It is as you say because I don’t have so much less stuff to choose from these days.

  4. I rearranged the master bedroom today. Pulled out the bed, purged some books from the bookcase, tidied the bedside cabinets (night stands?) And turned the whole room around. It looks great and so much bigger! I was a woman on a mission. Now I am in bed admiring my handiwork. Next time I might go a bit slower!

  5. Great advice for everyone, those who are well in to the decluttering and those who are just beginning. Sometimes I forget (again and again) that it doesn’t all have to be done today.

    I agree that #1 for gratefulness is Liam’s recovery! What a miracle! Having your hubby home is pretty awesome, too 🙂

    • Hi Willow,
      working at it has certainly worked for me although I must admit I had begun way before the 365lessthings challenge started for me. I really feel though that taking your time and really giving proper thought to what stays and what goes leaves less room for error in the long run.


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