Declutter a fraction at a time

Over the last week there have been two comments that inspired this post. One from Sanna expressing her excitement about decluttering a box of little bits and pieces and another from Moni suggesting that decluttering one book at a time is easier for her than contemplating getting rid of the whole collection.

Some people may think that decluttering will go on forever at this pace but I have found quite the opposite. Sometimes decluttering doesn’t even begin when a person looks at the big picture and feel there is too much to lose. This is especially so when a person has been avid about collecting certain things over a long period of time and/or feels personally attached to this collection. Book lovers are a prime example of this. When faced with the prospect of having to decrease their collection by one entire bookshelf they may want to run and hide. Give them the task of removing just one book and the task isn’t so difficult. Empowered by that achievement the task of finding another and later another and another gets easier.

IMG_6573After reading Moni’s comment I decided once again to apply this logic to my craft supplies. I went to my pantry and grabbed a coffee jar that had been set aside for just such a purpose. I took it to my craft room with the intention of slowly filling it with beads as I decided I could live without them. I began my quest in a box where I knew resided beads that I was not so enamoured with. I chose a few to put in the jar intending to stop there. But then I started thinking that there were others I could happily live without. Sure I could have made something from them one day but I have no shortage of other beads to choose from so why keep ones I have had for ages yet never used.

Once I was on a roll I decided to go one step further. Could I get rid of enough to condense a couple of boxes down to one. Sure enough my momentum brought me to having a full jar of beads to donate as well as one divided storage box to go along with it. It may not look like much but I am very happy with my efforts.

Your momentum may not carry you this fast but it sure is easier to convince yourself to let a little bit go rather than a lot.  My experience is that this, less traumatic approach, is more likely to result in a repeat performance. My dramatic craft room declutter mostly took place this way. A little here and a little there. Once you condition yourself to letting  go it becomes easier and easier. In fact more often than not my desire to reduce eventually overrides any desire I have to keep things and I end up decluttering far more than I thought I would.

Today’s Mini Mission

Shoes are another kind of item that need reassessing on, at least, a seasonal basis. Get all your shoes together and decide whether you really use or need them all. Declutter those you don’t.

Eco Tip for the Day

On a rainy day put out a few large containers to collect water for use on the drier days to irrigate your potted plants. Best to use containers that have lids because if not used quickly the sitting water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

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 signed up for your blog posts to come to my email…. just seeing the title 365 less things every morning is motivating. I am decluttering the office space. It is no longer used the way it was back when we had a desktop computer and I was homeschooling three. We have adopted 2 special needs kids since those days and now I need a space that is comfy with a loveseat, has a small desk and is a place the special needs kids with their therapists can go so that it does not interfere with the things that go on in the rest of the house. Our house is GRand Central Station. . . Anyway, I’m picking through the accumulated stuff one box at a time. One shelf at a time. I’m being ruthless. I got my girls involved yesterday. They ended up calling themselves pack rats when they realized they still had drawings and school papers and tests and *things they might someday use* saved over the last ten years. Our garbage bag ended up being so full none of us can lift it. 🙂

    • Wow Angela, some women are just born mothers and you no doubt are one of them. I couldn’t even imagine home schooling my children and not only did you do that but adopted a couple more. I would say the world needs more mother like you but to you it is probably just a labour of love and don’t see the big deal in it. Well let me tell you it is a big deal as far as I am concerned. I only wish I was a little more like you.

      I am so glad your girls got in and helped with the sorting. It makes it mush easier when the people who should have a say in the matter are at hand. I bet you all had some laughs as well as some quality time together. Decluttering can be a fun experience. Scanning is a great way to condense this sort of clutter into an easily accessible trip down memory lane without taking up much physical space.

      Welcome to 365 Less Things and happy decluttering to you and your family. 🙂

      • Thank you for your kindness…

        As you can imagine 5 kids/teens creates a lot of stuff. I’m still at it. I just downsized from the huge u-shaped desk to a little wooden organizer that holds the copier/printer and I paid $12.99 at a thrift store. You ought to see it. I am so stoked about the downsizing!! I posted a quick pic on my blog if are interested in seeing it.

        I am enjoying your posts every day and they are keeping me so motivated.

        Less is MORE!! So freeing.

        • Hi Angela, the desk declutter was a huge one and as was the bargain you got to take its place. It is so satisfying to find what you need secondhand so you aren’t forced to buy new.

    • It’s so neat that you adopted two special needs children. That’s awesome. It’s also wonderful that you got your girls involved. I think getting children involved in this type of thing early will help them do better as adults.

  2. “More often than not my desire to reduce eventually overrides any desire I have to keep things and I end up decluttering far more than I thought I would.” This is what happens to me. Once I get going on something, like my scrapbook supplies, I find I just keep going and end up with a lot of supplies gone through and set aside to give away. That’s what I did last week. I started out with the idea that I was going to just make cards from some supplies I had bought for that express purpose. Before the week was over, I had made almost 300 cards from all the supplies I had bought for that purpose and had cut all the papers I had bought for that reason in to card size. So I have plenty of cards to use and paper cut for about 1000 more. That may sound like an overabundance but I plan to use many of them for a card ministry I am going to start so they will go quickly. Ugh! Our postage just went up too. I have to think this through a bit more. Maybe I will use them for the church card ministry.

    • I’ll be focusing on my crafting area again later this week. I have a small goal I would like to achieve and anything that doesn’t fit that goal will just have to go. Wish me luck!

      • Colleen, I know you will achieve it because you are determined. I’m reading all these comments and they just resonate with me. This decluttering business is not something you do once and then it’s over. It’s not very often that you can do it in a “Tornado” moment either. This is a process that happens over time. Time to delve into, consider, and acclimate. I’m one of those make a decision and get it done people for the most part but in this area I am much more thoughtful and slow about things.

      • I am too colleen.
        Its been a mess since xmas and I am finally getting in there today. Its amazing what you accumlate over a month or so. Expesically when you just dump and run. Well the running has stopped today and am making a large dent in it and will continue all week till its done. I need room to do my craft LOL.

        • Hi Denise, I don’t need room to do my craft. What I need is time. However we all make our choices and right now craft is on the back burner. Well most of the time.

    • I made a special drawer for my cards in my decluttering yesterday. I think it might actually help me to know where they are and to actually send one to someone eventually!

      You have a lot of cards!

      • Angela, yes I do have a lot of cards. I don’t buy cards cause I can make them cheaper. Plus we send a lot of them. On top of that I head up a group of people who send cards of encouragement to all the people who attend out church. We don’t use the cards I make for this ministry but when we send cards for special reasons (get well, sympathy, etc) we do send the ones I make. So I use a lot of them in a year.

      • Funny you should mention a drawer for your cards. I was busy, again, in my craft room yesterday trying to achieve a similar objective. These is a box of card crafting supplies, envelopes mostly, some card blanks and some samples in my linen closet. My goal with my craft supplies was to contain them all only in the furniture I long ago bought for that purpose. I have now managed to declutter some more supplies in order to get these card crafting supplies to fit in a drawer within that furniture. Now all I have to do is transfer them.

  3. This is precisely what I have discovered since starting to declutter, and I’m so glad you are able to put these things into words to help those who are just starting out. It’s a very important concept for the items we are inclined to be more attached to. Just start with a few, or even just one! It’s all tied up with the “thing a day” approach, just refined a bit further.

    • That is exactly right hence the title ~ Declutter a fraction at a time. (Thanks again for the heads up on the wrong spelling) Break down to whole task into areas and break down the area into items. I often decide I want certain things to fit into a certain area and what doesn’t fit most be decluttered. I may then come back to the same area later and decide I now want those certain things to fit into an even smaller area and have at it again.

  4. Today’s mini-mission: Shoes. I don’t have a huge number but still find I have favorites and dust-gatherers that I am keeping ‘in case’. I have just rearranged the boots in the mud room, putting the least-used in the most accessible place, and the favorites in the corner. The pair I am most seriously considering for disposal is now visible and right at hand. Simply rearranging a closet, drawer or shelf may give a new perspective and help us see what’s right in front of us.

    We are off to the Big City and our week at the hospital. I’m taking along a bag of paperbacks and another of good magazines, all of which will stay there when we leave.

    • Hi Wendy B, sounds like you are deploying another strategy I use. Bring the less used items to the fore, use them and decide whether they really suit my needs and if not declutter them, if so ad them to the rotation.

      Wish Ian good again for me and enjoy your reading time.

  5. It’s the only method that works for me… chosing one thing at a time. Each thing let go is a small victory that encourages me to find more.
    As for collections, as fun as it is to do the collecting, it always ends up being that one (or three) are truly loved and the rest are just possessions for the sake of the collection. I have experimented with letting go of the “collection” and just keeping the truly loved pieces to enjoy for their own sake. It is liberating – sad too, I can admit that – but overall a transforming experience when the realization hits that more is not better, and more added to the collection has been taking something away from the truly signifigant pieces!
    Former collections have been cut without regret, leaving only the “best of”:
    The one book from the series that is worth re-reading
    The one decorative plate that represents the best memories
    The 2 fantastic handbags that go with 80% of the outfits
    The horse figurine that makes me smile…
    you get the picture.

    • This is something I am working on…keep a few of the very favorites and let the rest of the collection go…it is a journey, and I am a work in progress

      • hey, i have a neice that will inherite most of my ”things”. i have started giving her collections that she can enjoy now and i can still see them when i visit her

    • It is clear that you both understand and deploy this strategy well creative me. It is both liberating to let the excess go and wonderful for the good items once lost in the clutter to be better appreciated.

  6. One thing I like about the fraction-at-a-time approach is that my standards for keeping things can steadily go up. I did a big photo purge last week, getting rid of all the photos that were bad. Next time I should be able to get rid of the photos that aren’t bad but aren’t good / meaningful.

    • Rebecca, I’m with you. On one, single trip, I took over 600 photos. There they sit, in a stack, awaiting my attention. I will get that pile pared down before I put the good ones in an album.

    • Rebecca – “my standards for keeping things can steadily go up” I have been trying to find a way to express this for ages. Yes its true. Stuff I would have fought to the death for when I first started, is now long gone.

    • Exactly Rebecca, what a great example of yet another advantage of decluttering a fraction-at-a-time. Becoming more discerning. Well said.

      I have discovered the same thing when it comes to photos. First go through ~ get rid of the real rubbish photos. Second ~ all the ones that were good but practically the same as another. Next time around ditch all the ones that really don’t mean anything or are of people who I couldn’t even name. Soon they will all fit into one box.

  7. Yes. And no. I keep my things within limits I choose. Currently my buttons, beads, and supplies fit within the limits I have set. But a kindergarten teacher on Freecycle is looking for little things for her children to play with and count. So I think some of the older beads and things might fill a jar or box for her, even though paring down is not the intention. Better described as sharing, not hoarding since they will definitely be using them.

    Ah, the books. I don’t get the need to pare down the books. I have no more than fit on my wall of bookcases. They are not stacked on top of each other. It feels pleasant to have so many friends standing by. I go through them once or twice a year and do pass some on. But there are many I have had for years. While I might not visit them for awhile, I do tend to revisit them. I can’t imagine what it would look like not to have a lot of books in the house. I would give a book to someone who wanted to read it. But with so many libraries and used bookstores I don’t feel I am depriving anyone by keeping them. Thankfully, I have many other areas to consider paring down.

    • “It feels pleasant to have so many friends standing by.”

      This is how I feel about the books I keep. They are friends – some old, some new but still friends.

      I don’t keep books for the sake of looking smart or well-read (if that were so, I would still have Anna Karenina and not a single Nora Roberts). Nor do I keep them for the sake of a collection. I keep them because they are friends I can depend on and enjoy. Plus they are an escape and an adventure. I’ll never live in 1920s England but with some of my books, I can pretend I do. ^___^

      • Rachael W – I know what you mean by saying books are friends. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having books. Personally I now have an e-reader and much prefer that option. But I had reached a point where I realise that I’d run out of shelves and I’d run out of space to store them in the ceiling and they just suddenly felt like a burden to me and when I pictured and wrote down a description of my dream home……I realised a couple of days later, there wasn’t actually a bookcase mentioned. So I asked for e-book vouchers instead of gifts and as I felt the need to re-read some favourites, I replaced them in digital form rather than book form, so I have the best of both worlds now.

        • Moni, your situation is where I do my best to encourage people to let go of at least the books that will fit with their declutter goals. If people want to get the rest of their house in order but keep all their books then that is just fine.

        • I think I started giving away or selling books when I was about 18 years old. Until then they were sort of holy to me, then I started swapping them for others. At first I got rid of mainly those I didn’t enjoy in the first place. Then came the “easy reads” I didn’t really bother to read again, though they weren’t bad, but they just weren’t particularly good either. Still I accumulated many more than I gave away in that time. Only when I started the decluttering journey overall, I also reduced books. I found, there are those books that I don’t want to read even once, those that bear to be read once, those that bear to be read twice or even three or four times – but most books kind of “wear out” with repetitive reading. So I got rid of some books meanwhile that have been favourites a few years back. Then there are those that are good, but difficult or sad or otherwise hard to read and with those (which I kept without exception earlier), I found myself reluctant to read them again any time soon. There are many classics amongst them and as books are getting easier and easier to track down second hand via the internet etc. and I’m even in the position to live in a city that has a national library (meaning: they store every single book ever printed in my native tongue, no matter whether trivial or classic, and you can borrow them all, you just have to order one day in advance), I just don’t need to keep books I have no intention to re-read within the next years. When I want to read them again in five or ten years, I know, I can get them into my hands again, so I don’t need them at home. I know, I will always want to have a few books at home, to be able to read on a rainy Sunday, but I don’t need so many for that purpose. I’d rather contribute to institutions like that national library etc. for keeping up the good work, as these institutions are, what I as a literature-lover rely on and think highly of. But I don’t need a half-crappy library of my own, if I can have a really great public one. (as well as occasional second-hand romances from the thrift store that I can take with me on travels or an e-book-reader for the same purpose)

          • Hi Sanna, that was a nice explanation of where you are at with storing books. Well done you! I am glad for you that you came to this realisation and that it works for you. I love my local library even though it is not even close being a national library but it is handy, friendly and free ~ three of my favourite things. 😉

        • I like the idea of getting vouchers for my Kindle. I would like to replace some of the books I have on my shelves with an e-read copy but can’t afford to do that without some gift vouchers. They seldom have them on the free books email rotation.

      • Good for you Rachael W. Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of the things you love.

    • That sounds just fine to me Delores. It seems you keep that wall of books in check so no problem there.

  8. I do like the idea of condensing and setting limits. Going from having two or three boxes of something down to one box has helped me reduce a lot of things using this method. The important thing is to get the storage container out of the house once you are done doing that, so you are not tempted to just collect more. Setting that new limit is helpful, too.

    It may be hard for many people to start decluttering, but by starting with one item a day, it eventually adds up and you begin to see the difference it makes. Not only can you notice the difference it makes in the amount of things you have, but it makes a difference in your attitude towards stuff. Just like you said, Colleen, you get to the point that you truly desire to reduce and have less stuff. That is an awesome feeling!

  9. Colleen, you are so right!
    Starting is “half the rent” (as we’d say over here ;-)). Once I have started on one area I notice that I go back to that area from time to time and declutter some more. I decluttered several scissors some weeks ago and then one more some days ago. I have decluttered office supplies a few times before but this morning I felt like pulling out some more unused notebooks and drop them into the freecycling box because I really am not using them up at the speed I thought of when decluttering the stash the last time. Putting areas and the amounts of stuff they hold on my radar one after another helps a lot on the decluttering quest. As much as I’d like to complete one thing and then move to the next and so on I found out that in the long run and overall I am much more effective if I don’t dwell on certain things for too long but move an and let myself come back and repeat the exercise some time down the road.
    Thus I have swept (some but admittedly few) areas completely but mainly everything remains a work in progress and – albeit VERY impatient at times – I am fine with that.

    • Oh Ideealistin you and Rebecca have both expressed perfectly what I was going to post! Going back and reassessing is so much easier if you have found that a) your standards have risen and b) you have missed *insert item here* not at all 🙂

    • Hi Ideealistin, it seems you and I both work in much the same fashion. I don’t think I have ever really had a clean sweep of any room in the house. Actually maybe the bathrooms but there was so little in there to begin with that they don’t really count. I have begun the clean sweep now though but even then I am doing one piece of furniture at a time.

  10. I just discovered your blog and after reading the first few recent updates I decided to go right back to the beginning and read all the posts – I’m only up to Day 129 so far lol.

    I have a great desire to simplify and minimise my stuff – for the past few years I’ve realised that materialism isn’t importand and stuff doesn’t matter, so have been pretty good about not shopping out of habit or boredom and a lot more careful about bringing new things into the house.

    I still have a few weaknesses – silly things like buying skincare products when I already have a cupboard full of them. I smiled at your tip – use one product and don’t move on to any others until that product is finished and don’t buy any more until all the old products are used up. I decided I would do that just recently, partly as my skincare routine was rubbish and my skin suffering but also to use up all the products I’ve lying around that are starting to drive me nuts. I’ve been doing well, sticking to a new skincare routine and using up products merrily, but old habits die hard, I was in the Body Shop thinking I’ll just stock up… duh!

    So I need to learn to break those habits and be stricter about learning the new good habits that will supersede the bad ones to become my new normal – its a work in progress!

    Oops, I seem to have wandered off on a tangent. The actual reason for my comment was about struggling with letting go of stuff, because I have the guilt that I know I paid for things and I can’t just get rid of them because that’s wasteful. So meantime the stuff is consuming me and I’m all stressed because my house is a mess, there’s too many clutter hotspots and I am overwhelmed and unable to achieve anything.

    Until the aha moment reading this blog – I don’t have to solve my world clutter crisis in a day! I just need to decide to tackle one thing at a time, don’t worry about the bigger picture and overwhelm myself with endless to-do lists that just never seem to get done.

    Today in my lunchbreak I decided to tackle a couple of tasks that have been hanging over me for a couple of weeks and I’ve been overly conscious of not making any progress with. I just decided that I had 15 minutes for each task and I would get done what I got done and if it wasn’t finished, I would do the same tomorrow and the next day etc etc till finished. One was a thorough review and reorganisation of our household papers as I’ve an urgent need for some car papers that I can’t track down in all the mess and the other was to work through a stack of magazines – that one is actually much easier now that I’ve discovered CamScanner – which allows me to photograph and archive any interesting articles and photos instead of drowning myself in magazine cuttings. I didn’t finish either task, but I did find the car papers and I did clear about 50% of my magazines! Yay to me.

    The other probably more important thing for me is that I’ve decided to give myself permission to let go of things without guilt or judgement. Reading your blog with all the tips about “the psychology of stuff” has been very enlightening – I have to acknowledge that my life’s changed since the stuff came into it and now if I don’t use it or love it, I don’t need to hold on to it – I liked the tip of taking a photo of sentimental items and also having in mind that if I get rid of it, instead of languishing in a cupboard somewhere my old stuff might go to a new home and be loved again. Thinking about it like that immediately releases the guilt. We too have 25 year old wedding presents that we’ve never used but can’t get rid of because someone gave us them! Or we’re drowning in old tech – black and white TV and Sega Mega Drive – hello?!?! So new motto – if it doesn’t have a purpose and I don’t love it any more, I will pass it on for someone who will and I will not feel guilty!!

    Sorry this comment turned into War and Peace but I just wanted to let you know you inspired me so much!!

    • Hi Mags, what a great comment. You have really made my day. It is so gratifying to hear that my approach to decluttering has been the solution to another persons problems. I seems like you have already taken on a lot of advice and are making great progress. Not only with getting rid of some things but by giving yourself permission to let go. Guilt has only one purpose in life and that is to teach up a life lesson and change our ways. You have turned your guilt into just that and have generously passed the object of your guilt on to others who will benefit from it. Good for you.

      I am glad that you caught yourself while in the Body Shop and realised that you were heading down an old familiar path. You put up the Enter at Your Own Risk sign before it was too late. Well done. Who doesn’t find themselves in this situation every now and again. My weakness is useful items, things I have used in the past and found helpful. Things I now know I don’t need in my life. So I see them, I think fondly or how helpful they once were to me and walk away.

      Welcome to 365 Less Things and I hope you drop in often to join the conversation or to just let us know how you are getting on. Good luck and happy decluttering.

      By the way, there are plenty of people out there who collect old gaming systems so you should have no problem getting rid of them.

    • Wow Mags! It’s great to see you on here and telling us how much Colleen’s blog means to you. I just love reading about how people are being effected by reading the blog and how they are changing things. I’m proud of you for realizing and starting to act on the “no guilt” thing. That’s such a big one.

  11. Like so many others here, I find it easier to start with just making myself get rid of one thing – but also like others, I often gain momentum and end up getting rid of lots of things. It’s the same with housework (I use the FlyLady method of doing little and often, but frequently end up carrying on with another 15 minutes of work after my allotted 15 minutes has been completed).

    Craft things are my current focus. I found myself reluctant to get rid of anything by just giving it to a charity shop, because I don’t know what will be appreciated and also don’t want my donation to be bought for a pittance by some customer and then sold on by them for a profit. But I’m too lazy to sell the items for a profit myself. So my solution has been to look for a charitable group who does craft classes for adults and donate all my extra supplies to them. I haven’t fixed on the group yet but just knowing this is my target has made it a lot easier to part with the supplies that I don’t love or use.

    • Hi Jenny, setting yourself an easily attainable goal and then achieving often give you the momentum to go on and overachieve. I love how that works out.

      I love your idea for the craft donations too. I hope you find a nice group to be the beneficiary of your kind offerings.

  12. I’m sometimes feeling as if decluttering will go on forever with this method as it can be difficult to spot the difference, but just as you say, it is the only way decluttering takes place at all at my home.
    And like so many others here, I’m decluttering all sorts of odds and ends and sometimes some area feels “unfinished” when I leave it, just because it would be too hard to let go of more. Yet over time this seemingly irrational or wild approach works just fine and is so easy to stick to as I’m always allowed to chicken out and get going on something else.

  13. Colleen, you know how much I love to do things by numbers: for a long time I’d set myself a goal to declutter say 10 books at a time. Over the course of a couple of years that got me down to 1/2 my family’s collection (which is still pretty substantial at over 1,000+ books!) I can’t bring myself to get rid of any more, and my ‘reward’ is to get some built-in bookshelves made this year.

    These long summer holidays I set myself a goal of going through EVERY drawer and cupboard in the new house, and while I didn’t get rid of masses of stuff (don’t OWN masses of stuff, yay!) I did donate/trash everything that hasn’t been used since we moved from Melbourne a year ago. Just ONE drawer/cupboard a day took a few minutes – even my filing only took 15 minutes (but I’d been avoiding it for weeks!), now my walk-in room between the bedroom and en suite has 4 completely empty wire shelves. That’s 1/2 the shelves!! Actually, soon it will be 6 of 8 as one of them houses old school uniforms I need to donate, and the other has my mending pile (hmmm, which seems to grow bigger rather than smaller…) If I wasn’t regularly reading your blog and everyone’s comments I’m sure I’d find all this a lot harder!

    • I know you love your books Loretta as does the rest of your family. Setting a limit is a good idea. I assume once you have the shelves built that will be your limit of space to hold them.

      You are so right about doing the clean sweep. One drawer or cupboard per day doesn’t take that long when most of the clutter has already been eliminated. I’d better get moving on that then.

      • Well, that depends on how big the bookshelves my husband allows me to get this time around 😉

        I’m loving everyone’s comments about books. I do however, worry when I see some of the excellent-quality, rarer fiction that my public library weeds out. It seems a lot of libraries are buying multiple copies of modern best-sellers, and getting rid of books that are becoming exceedingly hard to find, even 2nd hand. Makes me sad…

  14. I guess sometimes we just want results. That is when we want to do everything at once and end up doing nothing. So I have tried and tried to do little at a time so at least I do something. I have been having friends over and they have noticed how much stuff I have decluttered, how my house looks more spacious, more aired and it has more light. I was a little taken back by that, but it had been a while since they had visited. And I was happy. So little by little takes longer, but gets the job done more efficiently.

    • Andreia – I am sooooooooo happy for you! You have chipped away in the background and are so hard on yourself, I just knew sooner or later some sort of result was due!

      • Thanks Moni!!! Yes, I tend to go a little overboard with myself, but my friends gave a new look of my own house. It was just like Deb J said at her post the other day: when someone frm outside gives you perspective, you see your house as you never seen it. My friend said this: “It is just great what you did with your house. Last time I came over there was so much stuff that door from one of the bedrooms could not be open. Now it is so nice!” I was beaming!!! 😀

    • Exactly Andréia. Sometimes it is worth taking photos of each room so you can look back on them later to see how far you have come. I begin to take the new situation for granted after a while. I then think ~ there must be more stuff I can get rid of. Too bad most of what is left is not mine so I am kind of stuck with it.

  15. The thing I especially love about this forum is that we hear about so many different methods of decluttering. Have just read Loretta’s decluttering by numbers. 🙂

    Books are my weakness and I need to get my head back in the game now that the year seems to have kicked off properly, but alas for me, on a book by book basis is the only way that works for me unfortunately. I don’t have that attachment to my craft cupboard at all, in fact I am counting down the years until my girls are finished ballet and I can get rid of it all!

    We had friends staying with us on the weekend who haven’t been to our place in over a year and they were surprised at how few books I actually have these days, so I should take encouragement from that.

    • Hi again Moni! See ? You are also making progress. Congratulations!!!

      • Andreia – the irony is that it seems so long ago that I got rid of the bulk of my books that I was a bit surprised. I do endorse the slow and steady method, however, every now and then I seem to go with the “tornado” method and throw the entire area into chaos and I spend the next few days freaking out because of the mess I have made but it does make a dramatic improvement when I eventually surface. I don’t recommend the “tornado” method in general and if it is items that you have an emotional attachmet to, then definately go with slow and steady.

    • I sometimes think I have spent most of my kids lives wishing they would move out of one phase only to find they just move into another. The next phase will be moving out and I am so looking forward to sending all their stuff with them. I love them to death, don’t get me wrong, but it is a parents job to raise them and set them free. I think it is almost time they were free at last. I am sure they will be glad not to have me breathing down their necks as well.

    • I’m with you about our forum. BOOKS!! I don’t have that problem as much any more on the bookshelves but you should see my Kindle. Grin. I’m trying to work on that too. I’m gradually taking off the books that I have read and would not care to read again. There is always something to declutter.

  16. My method with books is to try reading the ones I am considering getting rid of – it’s surprising how many I just give up on, even if I thought they were wonderful years ago. If I can’t be bothered to finish them, then out they go.

    • This is something I have started recently as well. One of my goals for this year is to read the books that have been sitting on the shelf unread for years, and then let them go. I am getting to the place where the books aren’t stacked on top of each other and there are even some spaces opening up on the shelves. I do have some favorite books that I consider friends that will stay forever, but it’s good to have some breathing room on the book shelves.

      • Me too! My goal is either to read it or out it goes. If it doesn’t grab me in the first chapter it will exit the house too. I have stacks of books I’ve bought over the years but never read so this year it’s decision time for all those books.

        I recently read a post by the former CEO of Nelson Publishing Michael Hyatt who believes that life is too short to read bad or boring books! If that’s his motto as a publisher I think we readers can adopt it too 🙂

        • Thanks for saying it out loud, Gail, that others do that, too! If a book doesn’t interest me within an hour (roughly 50 pages) it won’t get more of my precious time. I do the same with movies but usually quit after 30 minutes if they are not my thing. I just don’t see the point of wasting my time on something that’s boring (unless I have a specific goal or purpose for reading/watching that outweighs the cons). I’ve had very strange reactions to that from other people though. Apparently many feel obliged to finish what they’ve started when it comes to books and movies. Also, I don’t believe in breaking things in forever. If something doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit – my opinion.

    • Well done Calico Ginger, Deanna and Gail.

  17. Christina Neumann

    I’ve been decluttering for over a year now. Have done great,and I always find things to clear a little more. One of the biggest accomplishments though was an emotional giveaway. Years ago my MIL, who didn’t particularly like me or her son(my husband), gave us some old Navajo rugs. I tried using them but I’m into more solids and cleaner looks. So, I just boxed them up. Tried to sell on ebay a few times with no luck. So this year ,I said , to heck with it, and gave a nice one to my husbands friend in Phoenix , Arizona. And gave the rest to good will. I still have 3 small wall hangings and not sure what I do with these,as they don’t take up a lot of room, but still, there in there.
    It was a big deal to let go of that weird sentiment that I had to keep these. I’m relieved there gone. One less box of stuff.

    • Hi Christina and welcome to 365 Less Things. I would have thought that old Navajo rugs would be very sort after. I am surprised someone didn’t snatch them up. I suppose it depends on how old they were. Anyway good job relieving yourself of something you didn’t want especially when there were some not so fond memories attached. I keep nothing I don’t want no matter where it came from or who gave it to me.

  18. It’s definitely true for me that picking out one thing at a time to let go of leads to more and more going out. Sometimes I just have to wait for the mood to strike, but then watch out! The trash and recycling will be full by nightfall! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Sandy and welcome to 365 Less Things. i just did a little decluttering via eBay this afternoon. One student flute and one Tupperware item off to new owners and out of my house.

  19. Lately, I have been opening a drawer in whatever room I am working in and just cleaning out one or two items. I have a drawer in my microwave cabinet and double doors on the bottom. While Easter dinner was cooking yesterday, I found myself just sorting out some plastic cups and miscellaneous pieces of stainless from this cabinet that never get used. This is an easy way to declutter. Five min here and there still make a difference.

    • You have the right idea Maggie. Just a little here and a little there makes a big difference in the long run. Decluttering while you are waiting is like free time decluttering. You had nothing better to do and yet you achieved something. Yay!


  1. […] Sanna fills us in on her reasons for liking the slow and steady approach to decluttering in this comment. […]