Donna Smallin of on The Law of Attraction

Donna Smallin of

I have been subscribed to the monthly newsletter from (not to be confused with since back in 2010 before I even began to blog about decluttering myself. I always find Donna Smallin’s advice very useful and inspiring. I found an article from her latest newsletter particularly thought provoking and wanted to share it with you all. I emailed Donna for permission to use the article on my blog and her response was so friendly and welcoming and of course she said yes. So without further adieu, here it is…

“Many of us have a tendency to hold on to things long after their usefulness has expired. Have you ever wondered why we do that?

One reason is because of something called “the poverty mindset.” We subconsciously believe that if we let go of something, we will need it later and won’t be able to get it.

I have found the opposite to be true. The more I give, the more I get.

Have you heard of the “Law of Attraction?” Basically, it states that the energy you send out is what you get back. Energy is sent through thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds. Deeds include giving your time, money or things.

When you hold on to “stuff” you don’t need or want anymore, you are holding on to negative energy. You are also likely acting, whether you realize it or not, from a belief that you don’t have enough.

The problem with this type of thinking is that our experiences in life are driven by our beliefs. If you believe deep down that you don’t have enough, you will never have enough.

On the other hand, when you clean out your closet, garage or basement and donate unneeded items, you send positive energy into the world.

Act as if you already have everything you need and your life will be filled with abundance in more ways than you ever imagined. This is my wish for you.”


When you hold on to “stuff” you don’t need or want anymore, you are holding on to negative energy.” How true is that statement. The negative energy behind “guilt clutter” and “aspirational clutter” is monumental on its own without the negative energy of the cluttered space and the desperation behind feeling you need the items to ensure your own security. The silly part is that most of the stuff is not even vital to your survival in the first place. “I might need it some day” is really a case of you never needed it in the first place but have convinced yourself that it is useful so therefore you should keep it. So what if I got rid of it this week and then two years down the track I finally find a use for it. For two years already it has just been one thing among a huge group of clutter crowding your space, making you feel hemmed in, tied down and trapped and for what? That one time in two years you will finally have a use for it.

Do as Donna suggests send those unused items out into the world and reap some positive energy. The positive energy from giving, the positive energy of letting go and the positive energy of not being trapped by stuff. After all, all we really need to survive is food, water, shelter and love. Everything else is a luxury that you can live without.

Today’s Declutter Item

With less clutter to store I no longer have need for this container. Yes I could keep it just in case I find a use for it later on which is unlikely considering I only intend to declutter more. Or I could let it go out into the world to be used now by someone else now who actually has a use for it. Not only does this action create that positive energy Donna was talking about but it gives me more encouragement to remain uncluttered and have no need ever for this container.

One more empty box

Something I Am Grateful For Today

It was rush rush rush today with a little Christmas celebrating in between and I feel satisfied with the result. I even have my to-do list ready for tomorrow and it’s not that long, yet. I hope your pre-Christmas week is going smoothly too.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

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. This is so true. I think it is the same with relationships and other areas of our life too. Too many times we don’t let go of the things that are really holding us back from enjoying life. I don’t think people realize what a burden they hang on to when they don’t let go of things. We should all be less attached to things and also be more forgiving of others instead of hanging on to the past.

    • Yes Spendwisemom,
      forgiveness is a big thing, not only to generously give to others but to ourselves. Sometimes we have to step back from things and look at them with different eyes and allow ourselves to let go.

  2. I have also been emptying boxes. It is a great feeling to say, “another empty box!!”

  3. How timely. I just bought some new and much needed walking shoes. When I got home I not only threw out the old ones but also two other pairs of worn out shoes. Why was I keeping them and wearing them when I have newer ones in good shape? Well, I really wanted to be sure they were worn out I guess. My feet deserve better!

    • I can relate to this Juhli. My two old pair of Keens are at a point where they need replacing and when they are it will be hard to part with them. Not because of the old “I might need you someday” but because they have served me well and it would seem so unceremonious to just toss them in the bin. We have trapes many miles together and visited many countries but the fact is they have had their day and in the bin they will go. I will definitely be photographing them before they go though.

      • Colleen, would you please come over here and throw out my hiking boots for me. They’re 34 years old, weigh a ton and hurt like hell. They’ve also taken me over numerous mountain ranges in four continents and I…can’t…let…go. Yet!

  4. hm. I dont like the word energy, because it implies some sort of spiritual aspect. But I do get where you are coming from and I think it is true.

    • Hi Lena,
      I think the word energy is often used to avoid any spiritual connotations but ultimately it really does mean the same thing in a non-religious kind of way. I think.

  5. This “hanging on” really does drag one down. I retired from my corporate job after 37 years with the company and we all promised to keep in touch, but you know what? It didn’t happen except for two great sales people who don”t even live in this city. They have their niche and I move in different circles now. Yet in my big wardrobe clean out I see I have hung on to my corporate clothes. When on earth did I think I was going to wear them? They all fit and are in good shape but at age 66 I am highly unlikely to find myself in that environment again. The pants I’ll keep and a couple of blouses, but the jackets are never going to be worn by me again. So it’s off to the second hand shop they go and what they don’t want can go to the hospice depot who have assured me they want ANYTHING. Thanks for this post – it’s clarified things.

    • Hi Shirls,
      I am glad this post has inspired you. You can thank Donna for that. Now you have a little more breathing space in your closet. Are you sure you are going to need those trousers and blouses though? I just delcuttered all the work outfits I had kept “just in case”. Working at the thrift store I have noticed that there is an endless supply there of black pants and tops so I figured if I ever need that stuff again I will just buy them for $4 each at the thrift shop.

  6. Thanks for your well wishes in this pre christmas week. I have bought all the presents (that was Saturday’s lunchtime’s happy dance!) However… my house buying is in high stress mode, as today I’m meant to send a big cheque, but the bank won’t release some funds of mine. If I turn out bald, it’ll be from all the calls to the bank!!

    But I’ve had AWESOME success on ebay – an old phone for about $15, plus two old pens, netting about $45 (incl. postage). Sent the pens, cause she paid straight away and they were for a gift. So little victories there… If only freecycle wanted a fully decorated artifical tree!?

    • Hey, good luck with the house – I went through all that 2 years ago and it is stressful but oh how wonderful it is when you get those keys at last!

      And good luck with with the tree. My tree this year was a freecycle number and I am so pleased with it –

    • Hi Snosie,
      look on the bright side if you pull all your hair out you can declutter some grooming products. It always pays to be a cup half full kinda gal. On a more sensible note, I hope the back has seen sense and all will be well again soon. Well done with the ebay selling. I have some stuff I want to get on but I figured I would leave it for after Christmas so I didn’t have to deal with trying to post it at this time of year.
      Good luck getting rid of the tree. Stick it out on the footpath with a Take Me sign on it. You might get lucky and have someone take it but in the meantime it will look festive out there. 😉

    • snosie, i love your ‘happy dance’!!! 🙂

  7. Wow, this is a great post, and I’m so happy to still be reading every
    day whatever appears here at 365 less things. Colleen, it is so note-
    worthy, to me, that it is now almost 2 YEARS that you’ve been decluttering
    one item a day. I’m still decluttering also, although at a slower pace since
    I’m not the one in control of alot of stuff that, in my opinion, is “holding us back”, but I do keep whittling away at what I myself can part with & I do
    love to see an empty box or container!
    Thanks for all you do!

    • Hi Sumarie,
      yes there is only so much clutter we are in control of but hopefully setting a good example will win through in the end. I am glad you are doing well decluttering your own stuff. I keep finding one more thing in my kitchen and I am loving the space I am creating. It gives me scope to reorganise again and again. One day it will be just perfect.

  8. Excellent review of this book! I’m so intrigued to read her story. For me, letting go of ‘stuff’ has certainly helped me put the past in the past, give forgiveness (to myself and other situations), and move forward into a lovely life for now and into the future!

    Happy Holidays to all!

  9. Thanks for the link Colleen. I’d never come across this lady before!

    I’ve just stumbled across this too:
    which I’m going to implement in the new year.

    There is a huge amount of decluttering going on at the moment as I’m packing up the house for the big move in the new year. So freeing!!
    The irony is, the new (rental) house has soooo much more storage than this one, but with one less actual room, I don’t want to fill it up. It will be lovely to open wardrobes and cupboards and have empty spaces and shelves 🙂

    Oh, and I’ll be sure to check out the best cafes and pubs for when you come to visit!

  10. Grace from Brazil

    I had a wonderful experience concerning this very thing, of letting go and being blessed. Recently in a post Cindy posted, I think, she mentioned that if it is not out of the house it is still clutter. I had gone through my closet again and took out a couple of things that just did not feel right (although I got compliments on them!) So even though I had decluttered them so to speak I still had them in the house. I was unsure what to do with them since we don’t have charity shops here. A friend of mine came to mind. I gave them to her half doubtful but knew she would know what to do with them. You can imagine my delight when I saw the next evening in two of the pieces of clothing (which I would never have put together but worked) at a graduation. She looked radiant, not only because she wore them well but she looked so happy to have something new. Now if I had only known that ahead of time I would have rushed to give those to her. Sometimes we let our doubt keep us from giving, second guessing ourselves. If in any doubt, GIVE! The blessings come a hundred-fold.

    • What a lovely example of positive energy Grace. The bad feeling of keeping them was far outweighed by the good feeling you received from seeing your friend happy with what you gave he. Well done!

  11. I find this to be very true, the whole hanging on to negative energy/letting go thing. I do feel hemmed in by stuff and not just in a physical sense, and the sense of release when I do clear out stuff is great. And I have definitely felt this year I have created ‘space’ for new things in my life by letting go of quite a lot.
    What also amazes me is this decluttering at times seems never ending – sometimes I feel so on top of it, and then, like now, after a month of illness, the house feels full of too much stuff again, though very little new has come in. We are defintely still dealing with past ‘stuff’ rather than adding to the problem.
    My current desire is to find bookshelves that fill the last bit of spare wall in our sitting room, so we can get the last of my husband’s books off the floor and on to shelves. Needs to be about 4ft by 6ft. In a sense that still feels like decluttering, as I need to declutter the things that currently have no home, into a home, if you see what I mean. Of course , I know it isn’t decluttering in the true sense!

  12. Sheesh. This is new age gobbledygook.

  13. 100% agreement with everything you wrote

    • Hi Gail and a hearty welcome to you from everyone here at 365 Less Things. I particularly enjoyed that blog post myself. I think I will repost it again sometime in the future just as a reminder.