Day 365 Day 365 Day 365 Day 365

Day 365 Day 365 Day 365 Day 365

You would think that I would have planned some kind of big fan fare for when DAY 365 came along but I haven’t. I had given it a lot of thought over the last few months and came up with nothing. The 365th thing should be something significant but everything that left the house has been significant in it’s own way. I am very happy that I made it and stuck to my resolution for the whole year. However, the exciting part is the lessons and changes of attitude that evolved along the way.

The idea of 365 Less Things was to take it easy, focus on one thing at a time instead of being scared off by the big picture, and that slow and steady would win the race. It proved to be a very successful way to declutter my home and I am more than pleased with the result so far. Taking my time and really feeling the journey embedded new principals into the way I approach “stuff ” in the first place. This meant that I haven’t recluttered my house as I went along and never will.

Although I have always been quite conscious about reusing, recycling, repairing, re-purposing and not being wasteful, I have now learned to be far more selective and thoughtful about purchasing anything in the first place. This is one of the most valuable lessons of all and it wasn’t nearly as difficult to adhere to as you might think. Even though I can be quite annoying when sharing my opinions on this subject, I found I have nevertheless had an influence on others who at first were reluctant to follow my lead. If being a little obnoxious has had a positive effect on the environment and peoples lives then I am quite happy to live with that label.

I have decluttered my home the fast way so many times but never before have I learned what I needed to learn to stay decluttered. Would I do it again? If I keep playing the game right I won’t have to but I sure am glad I did it this time.

So anyone out there who thinks the job of decluttering your home is too big and you just can’t go there, think again! Just one thing at a time is all it takes and eventually you will have a wonderful clutter free home. If the space that develops around you isn’t enough inspiration the liberation from always wanting more stuff and the peace that brings is something worth striving for. Add to that the free time not spent taking care of your stuff and money not wasted buying it should convince you that you are on a winner.

And to those of you who came looking for some inspiration and found me prattling on about myself and my stuff every day, thank you for listening. I hope I have helped inspire you to begin or continue on you own mission. I’ll be here again tomorrow with item 366 so see you then.

Item 365 of 365 less things

Although I would have liked to have my sports trophies as the 365th thing because they are one thing I would really like to see the back of (it’s a dusting thing). I just haven’t got around to photographing them and finding some way to dispose of them in an environmentally responsible way. So instead I have a selection of die cuts that I cut from scrap cardboard for my mother-in-law as part of her Christmas Gift.

Die Cuts

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. All the people/organisations who took my unwanted stuff off my hands.
  2. The feeling of cleanliness and space around me – this is especially noticed and appreciated when returning home after I having spent time elsewhere surrounded by clutter.
  3. All you wonderful readers who have listened to be for the last twelve months and forced me unwittingly to be true to my mission – It could have been easy to slip off the wagon without you to answer to each day.
  4. Having a family who is on board with the decluttering – Even though the kids could do with a lot less stuff they do humour me occasionally and declutter something to keep me off their backs (my daughter has a session each time she visits). My husband has been a declutter champion over the last 10 months (he wasn’t here for the first two).
  5. Having the idea to start this mission of 365lessthings – I am a very determined person and I pretty much new if I got started with this I would see it through but I had no idea how important it would become to me or how liberating.

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. Wow, congratulations – what a fantastic achievement. I’m aware I found your blog late in your journey, but your posts have been wonderful, very inspirational and resonated with me a *lot*. Thank you so much for all the time and energy you have put into your blog and with sharing your thoughts. I totally agree that good decision making starts in the shops.
    Are you going to continue your blog??

    • Hi Mrs Green,
      thank you for the congrats and also for the wonderful blog you create everyday. I am glad we have been a help here for you at 365lessthings. Don’t worry I am not going to desert every one. I will be back tomorrow but I may wind it back to Monday to Friday posting. You would think I would have made a decision on that by now but I have had a crazy two months to end the year with and have pretty much been coping day to day. There’s always tomorrow for decision making meanwhile I will keep plugging away at the decluttering and the blogging.

  2. Well done Colleen! Fantastic!

    I have read every single one of your posts over the past month and it has been a fabulous journey for you.

    I actually spent 6 years decluttering way back 2000-2006 paving the way for me to be able to completely change my life by giving up work and moving across the seas to sun and warmth and experienced everything you have said – how the decluttering muscle gets stronger the more you use it – somethings I couldn’t bear to part with in 2000 went out the door with ease in 2006.

    I played games with myself – eg the 16 week challenge of 1 book per day, 10 papers per day, 1 cloth item (eg clothing or household linen), total amount of stuff had to remain the same or diminish – eg 1 new thing in = 1 thing out (even if it was a broken old biro!)

    Another game, I packed as much as I could into 20 collapsible crates and the challenge each week was to reduce the number of crates by 1. Some weeks it could be achieved by repacking, and other weeks I actually had to throw stuff out. Psychologically, the act of repacking was allowing my sub-conscious to begin working on the letting go.

    As the pack-rat nature is buried deep within, I constantly have to review and declutter to avoid build up and right now, I just completed ‘1000 things’ – I have set aside a table in my office to use for going through things (keep or throw) and am circulating round my home a drawer or shelf at a time. I drew up a grid on my whiteboard and each box = 10 things gone through. Tick. (I am motivated by ticks!)

    One key decision I made years ago is to not judge the ‘value’ of the items i.e. one old sweety wrapper or till receipt = a thing just as much as an old chair = a thing. Makes decision making much easier!

    One of the most thrilling moments I experienced is the day I suddenly realised I could hear echoes in my home as shelves and walls gradually became clear!

    Anyway, congratulations again and a Happy New Year to you!

    • Hi OBC,
      wow 1000 things that is a lot of decluttering. I think my house would be empty if I got to that number but probably not. in fact I could probably find that many things in my son’s room alone. In reality using your theory of every tiny thing is a thing I have definitely gone way over the 365 mark already. As for that echo you speak of I thought I heard one when I first walked in the door after being away last week. It was music to my ears.

      I like your idea of setting small declutter goals I might have to set some for my readers.

      Anyway thank you for joining us here at 365 less things with all your experience you should have plenty of tips to share with us so please comment more often we would all benefit from your acquired knowledge. Have a happy New year. Colleen

    • OBC, thanks for sharing your decluttering strategies. I am intrigued by some of your examples. Like you, I also love to “tick off” things; it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

  3. Congratulations! Love your blog. I’m a huge fan.

  4. Congratulations, Colleen! Your perseverance has been an inspiration to me. What is the biggest, most important lesson you learned this past year?

    • Hi Willow,
      it is really a combo of all the lessons but I suppose the biggest one was to stop shopping and don’t replace the stuff with something else. Hardly a thing has entered my house all year and what has has replaced something old and worn which wasn’t included in the 365 things because it was being replaced. Learning to let go of the bindings to things is key too. We hold on to things for all sorts of reasons and none of those reasons are good enough to make you live in a situation you no longer wish to tolerate.
      Happy New year to you and yours!

  5. Congratulations Colleen!! I’m proud of you and so glad I found your blog. It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to more to come.

    • Thanks Deb J,
      I am glad you have enjoyed reading. If my old English teachers new I have been writing and people cared enough to read it they would be amazed. Lets just say English wasn’t my favourite subject as you can tell by my poor grammar and spelling. There will be more to come so stay on board.
      Have a Happy New Year!

  6. Congrats! Keep up the good work

    • Thanks Jessiejack,
      I wonder if I can find another 365 things. God I hope my husband doesn’t read that he is starting to think that I am getting a little too obsessed.
      You have a Happy New Year, I hope it’s a good one for you. Colleen

  7. I have never commented, but have read the last 100 or so days – well done!!!!!! What next in the blog??

    • Hi Krystyna,
      welcome to 365lessthings or should that be 365lessthingsandstillcounting. I suppose what is next is the 366th thing and more of my endless babble if you think you can tolerate that. I will most likely cut the posting back to Monday to Friday so I have time to pursue other things but I will certainly still be here so don’t run away. Please feel free to comment as often as you like because we love to hear what everyone has to say and we all learn from one another. Even ideas that sometimes seem like no-brainers are real ah ha moments for just the right person so never be afraid to add your knowledge to the group.
      A Happy New Year to you and we hope to hear from you more often next year. Colleen

  8. Woo hoo, day 365! Congratulations Colleen!

    • Thanks Judy and thanks for joining me on my journey it ain’t over yet.
      Happy New Year to you and yours and make it a good one with less clutter and more life.

  9. Ta-Daaaaaah!
    ta-dah dah-dah da-daaah
    ta-Dah dah daah daah
    ta-tum ta-tum ta-tuuuuhm
    + + + +
    dum de dum de dum de dummedy duhhhhm…..BOOM!
    (or some such march!)
    Congrats, Colleen 😀

    • Hi Meg,
      you make me laugh. That was a fabulous drum roll but could you throw in some trumpet next time please and turn it into a real fanfare. Ha Ha. 😆
      Meg I hope you have a wonderful 2011 and I look forward to reading more of your blog you are a far better writer than I.

    • Meg, You make me laugh too!

  10. You made it! Congratulations! You are truly an inspiration to those who are looking to declutter and simplify their lives. Happy New Year to you and your family. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for 2011!

    • Hi Penny,
      I don’t think we have heard from you before so welcome to 365lessthings. I am glad you have been enjoying the read we would love to hear from you more often so drop on by whenever you feel like it and let us know what you are up to. You have a very happy New Year! Colleen

  11. congratulations!!!

  12. Well done Colleen,
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.It has been fabulous to read and really inspiring! Happy New Year and enjoy your new found freedom!

  13. Congratulations Colleen, you must feel fantastic. I read your blog every day and am never disappointed. I got up to 263 “things”, with your encouragement but see that the last entry was two months ago: time to get going again, and what better time than the beginning of a new year!

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Hi Janetta,
      it does feel good to get to 365 and what makes it even more special is all the lovely words from my readers like you. It is has been a good day and tomorrow I move on to item 366 and I had better get a post written. I hope your and your loved ones have a wonderful 2011.

  14. Colleen, what an accomplishment to be proud of….you now have 365 fewer things than you had this time last year and inspired others to do the same with you. It was in March when I started reading your blog posts from the beginning and I have been reading and loving your posts since then. I’ve learned so much from you and your readers. It’s been a great and also heartbreaking year with Liam’s injury, but now we are back to rejoicing in his complete recovery. What a year! Colleen, I wish you and your family a happy and peaceful new year. Many blessings to you……

    • Hi Di,
      thank you for your kind words and thank you also for being with me from the beginning. God bless you for sticking with me all this time. And you are right this year sure has had its ups and downs but things turned out Ok in the long run. Liam is doing well and I made it to 365 and still going strong. I am so glad I started this mission because my home is so clear and I have met some lovely folks like you along the way. I wish I could do a world tour and met each and every one of my readers who have encouraged me along to way and held fast while the going got tough. It is a wonderful world that we live in and it is mostly due to the everyday people who try to do the right thing by each other and the world in general.
      Many blessing to you too Di and I hope you have a wonderful 2011. Colleen

  15. Dear Colleen (and Cindy),

    First time commenting, long time lurker! I have thoroughly enjoyed every post! I thought I was already good at getting rid of ‘stuff’ that was not needed – but using your posts as inspiration I have been able to let go of a lot more.

    I have introduced my mother to your blog (she has internet at work only) and she has been ruthless! She sounds so much more positive about her decluttering now that she has to only find one thing a day.

    We are pleased to hear that you are continuing with this journey.

    Tasha (and Therese)

    • Hi Tasha and Therese,
      it is nice to hear from you at last. I am so glad to have been an inspiration to you during my journey and even the silent listeners like you have been an inspiration to me to keep at it. Just knowing that you are there listening has kept me honest and at it for the last twelve months. Please feel free to comment as often as you like as we all appreciate your input. Even knowing that you have been inspired and successful with the one thing a day approach can be helpful and inspiring to others who feel overwhelmed and unable to begin. We are all at a different stage of this journey and we need each other to help us get to it or keep at it. So thank you for dropping by and I hope you, your mother and all of your family have a happy New Year and a wonderful 2011. Colleen

  16. Well done! I hope you keep writing, I really enjoy reading you posts. They also keep me motivated to continue my own decluttering project. Happy New Year!

    • Hi Anne,
      Thank you from dropping in and leaving a comment. I don’t believe we have heard from you before so welcome to 365lessthings. I am glad you have been motivated to declutter by my blog and I hope we will hear more from you in the future. Happy New Year. Colleen

      • Must admit, I’m a bit shy to comment because English is not my first language. I’ve been following your blog since September which was when I started to declutter my apartment. It’s a slow process with lots of decisions. I have several boxes of letters and greeting cards from friends and family dating back to 1970’s and I have no idea if I should keep them or not. Have you made a post of what to do with letters and greeting cards?

        • Hi Anne,
          letters and greeting cards are a tricky thing for some people. The short answer for me is keep the letters but weed through the greeting cards and only keep what is really significant to you. This is such a good question though that I think I will address it this week in a post so stay tuned.
          By the way Anne what is your first language?

          • Hi Colleen,
            I’m from Finland and speak Finnish. Thanks for your advice on letters&cards! I guess that’ll be my project this winter. If you tackle your trophies, I’ll tackle my sentimental clutter! 🙂 By the way, great post today!

            • Hei Anne
              On ilo tavata ja luulen teidän Englanti on erittäin hyvä. Olen käyttäen kääntäjä ohjelmassa voitaisiin vastata sinulle suomalainen Toivon, että se toimii ja voit ymmärtää, mitä sanon. Toivon kirjoittaa blogia torstaina noin decluttering kirjeitä ja kortteja, joten varo sitä.

  17. Colleen,

    I’m just chiming in to say this blog has been an incredible discovery, your decluttering journey a true inspiration and you yourself have been a true role model. I am delighted I have ‘met’ you and feel privileged to learn every day so much from you, Cindy and – let’s not forget it – the wonderful community that had gathered on this blog. I wish everyone all the best in 2011 and am looking forward to a lot more wisdom, joy and laughter on these pages.

    • Hi Ornela,
      on behalf of the rest of the 365lessthings community I would like to say thank you and a Happy New Year to you also Ornela. I hope it is a wonderful 2011 for you and your family and that you will continue to drop in and share your stories and views. Colleen

  18. Congratulations Colleen. As someone who starts so many things I don’t finish, I’m so impressed that not only did you declutter 365 things, you wrote a blog about it (nearly) every day. As someone who writes an irregular blog, I know that would have been the hardest part.

    • Hi Isabella,
      you are right about that, the decluttering was the quick effort of the day writing a thoughtful post takes a whole lot more time but it has been a pleasure. Meeting all those readers who comment has been a delight also as is knowing that there are many more readers out there that tune in nearly everyday so share in the 365lessthings community wisdom. Have a happy New Year Isabella and I look forward to hearing from you on a regular basis in 2011. Colleen

  19. I really enjoy your blog and glad you won’t be abandoning us! I have started a campaign at my house to box up everything for a yard sale in March. I bring home copy paper boxes which are uniform in size and place them in one room. I keep adding to the box until it’s full and place the lid on it and stack it. It doesn’t feel so messy and like so much work that I associate with putting together a yard sale. March is here soon so I’d better put it into high gear. Thanks again for your blog ~ a big inspiration to many of us! I especially love the photos.

    P.S. You are not annoying at all.

    • Hi Suddenly Susan,
      thank you for your kind words and I will be glad to be around in 2011 to help keep all my readers on track. I like your garage sale box up plan. I have my area in the garage where my stuff piles up before going to the thrift shop. In the 365 days I never had a garage sale because it has been such a gradual declutter there was never enough at any given time to make a garage sale work and with two motorbikes and one car in the garage there wasn’t much room to store too much at once. I actually really enjoy running garage sales so it is a shame really that I never had one and now I never plan on owning enough stuff to ever have one again.
      the photos will keep coming though so long as there is still stuff to declutter and I may start adding photos of the inside of my home so you can see how clear and clutter free it really is.
      Have a wonderful 2011 and good luck with the garage sale check out Day 102 Garage Sale Tips for my tips on running a successful garage sale.

  20. I’m late to the party but couldn’t let this anniversary go by without a big Congratulations! I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, happily: if I hadn’t found your blog with the thing-a-day concept, I’d still be sitting here cluttered and overwhelmed. Instead, I have tools to get the job done, and along the way found this lovely community with Colleen at the helm, and now Cindy adding to the mix. Colleen, you sure have the persistence and insight needed to make a success of your own project and also to lead and teach others. Great accomplishment!

    Happy New Year everyone!

    • Thank you Jo that was a very nice thing to say and I appreciate every word. How could I not continue on into 2011 with such lovely readers like you still looking forward to and being inspired by the post at 365lessthings whether they be Cindy’s, mine or ones created from readers input. It is nice to know I have made a positive difference in peoples lives.
      Happy New Year to you too!

  21. Have to add: your flickr slide show is neat – especially the picture with the word “useless” spelled out with the allen wrenches 🙂

  22. A bit late, but CONGRATULATIONS Colleen! As you know, I’ve loved reading your blog almost from day one. You have a unique voice and I love the way you write about decluttering and your life. You’ve certainly helped me a great deal during 2010 which was an extremely difficult year for me. Thanks to you, I can start 2011 with a lighter heart, and lighter home, as over 2000 items left the house in 2010. I discovered that my heart is telling me that it might be time to move out of Melbourne and live in a coastal town, and every time I look at an item in my house I ask myself “Can I see this in my new house? Will this fit into our new life? And, most importantly, do I want to PAY to have it transported there?”!!

    • Hi Loretta,
      Wow 2000 items, I am so pleased with your decluttering efforts over the last year. You must be so pleased with the results you have achieved. Approaching all your stuff with the question of – will it fit into your new home and life – will help weed out the remaining items that have survived so far. Loretta I hope this year is a wonderful one for you and that is it filled with peace and good fortune.

  23. Happy New Year, and congratulations to you, Colleen! I’m a big fan of your blog, and am glad you’re going to continue writing.

    Even though I’ve been decluttered and organized for years now, I married a man who collects just about anything and everything. He brought a LOT of stuff with him when we married, and is just now starting to be willing to part with some of it, so I’ll be doing the bulk of that decluttering too (but I always ask him before I get rid of anything that belongs to him).

    Since it’s harder to declutter and organize things that belong to somebody else, I use your blog as inspiration to continue on with this decluttering project. In the process, I find more of my own things that can now go out the door as well.

    • Hi Becky,
      with my daughter considering moving back home and a nineteen year old son who has tended to collect things over the years I can understand where you are at. I think you have the right idea – do the physical work yourself and just consult with your husband as to what he is willing to part with. The job will never get done if you leave it entirely up to the person who is a reluctant participant in the first place. Perhaps he will start to realise as you progress that he is clinging on to stuff for all the wrong reasons and start to feel the freedom from the burden that those items have placed on him. He may even begin to get enthusiastic about decluttering his life once he feels the weight lifting off his shoulders.
      Happy New Year to you Becky and I hope you have great success with the declutter challenge you have ahead of you. Thank you for supporting my blog not only by reading but with your insightful comments.

  24. Congratulations! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  25. I have really enjoyed your blog and your approach to decluttering. Slow and steady is the method I have finally decided works for me too. I have a box of trophies I’d like to get rid of too, and the thrift store turned me down, but did suggest I contact the local trophy shop. I was wondering if you have done that and if it’s really a good option. Marti

    • Hi Marti,
      welcome to the comments section of 365lessthings I don’t believe we have heard from you before and I hope this will be the first of many. I am glad that the slow and steady approach is working for you.
      I have not explored the possibility of donating my trophies to the trophy shop but it is high time I did. I have given it plenty of thought though but have for some reason been reluctant to make a move. I intend to take photos of them and then remove the plaques and perhaps scrapbook it all for history sake. That will take up less space and less dusting time which really appeals to me. Time to stop procrastinating and just get on with it. Please check in with me in two weeks to see if I have done anything about it. I need someone to keep me honest on this one.

  26. Congratulations on a job well done!

    Wishing you many good things in 2011.

    Colleen P


  1. […] promptly began decluttering one thing a day for the rest of the year. I am happy to say I not only completed my resolution successfully but it was so simple and satisfying that I continued decluttering in my slow and steady pace (an […]

  2. […]  “Cutting off my nose to have more room on my face.” That’s how my daughter Irene describes one of my simple pleasures: Decluttering.The pleasure we get from owning less, from uncluttered empty space, is a simple, easily accessible pleasure. One way I am enjoying this is by donating or chucking one thing a day, 365 a year. […]

  3. […] promptly began decluttering one thing a day for the rest of the year. I am happy to say I not only completed my resolution successfully but it was so simple and satisfying that I continued decluttering in my slow and steady pace (an […]

  4. […] promptly began decluttering one thing a day for the rest of the year. I am happy to say I not only completed my resolution successfully but it was so simple and satisfying that I continued decluttering in my slow and steady pace (an […]