Enlisting help with decision making

Just a quick announcement before we get started

I have lost my ADSL connection at home and am throwing this post up quickly at the McDonald’s restaurant near my house. I don’t much like the insecurity of using these types of networks so this will be the last post I do until my service is restored at home. They promise me this will happen within the next 72 hours. We’ll see. Thanks for your patience.

While taking a walk Yesterday I stopped to look at the For Sale sign on the house up the street. I notice the shed in the back yard as I walked away or more to the point I noticed the metal shelves with stuff on them outside of the shed and it got me wondering. If that stuff was so important or useful why in just left out in the weather.

My mind started to meander as it often does about what the other members of the family think about this stuff in full view or the world or what the neighbours think about it for that matter. I wondered, if the stuff belonged to the husband does the wife wish he would just use it or get rid of it. Then that idea sent me on another tangent.

I gave a little advice once about enlisting help from your friends when it came to decluttering your closet. Giving them permission to be completely honest about what you wear and more to the point what you shouldn’t wear without them having to worry about retaliation for their honesty. Friends see you from day to day and have a fair idea of what is in your closet that you wear, what you don’t and what you shouldn’t so I thought they would be good help in this area.

The intention behind these two ideas brings me to the point behind this post. If you are humming and haing about what to get rid of and what to keep when it comes to your household items maybe it would be a good idea to seek the opinion of the other members of the household, be that husband, wife, partner, friend, flatmate, mother, father… about what they think you don’t use or in fact what you own that they would be happy to see the back of.

The people who spend the most time with us ought to have the best idea of what things we use and what we don’t. I for one would be glad to get rid of any baseball souvenirs in this house that aren’t worthy to be out on display. While I am sure my husband would be glad if my craft area was to be half the size it is. Maybe with a little encouragement from our loved ones we could be realistic about what is worthy of the space it takes up in our lives even if we can’t admit it to ourselves.

If you fear that an all out war will break out or at best you will become offended should you dare to pursue this idea maybe to just imagine the other person’s response will give you fare judgement of the situation.

The equation looks like this ~ If you are on the fence about getting rid of something but your fellow householder says I am 100% certain you don’t use it or they hate the thing and want it our of here ~ then that really tips the scales towards getting rid of the item according to my mathematical knowledge and decluttering sensibilities.


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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I let my sister help me edit my closet. She is a great judge of fashion and knows I will love her no matter how critical she is. However, if it were up to her I’d have no camping or gardening clothes, so I have to keep a small amount of items that I’m supremely comfortable in (and that I can be rough on without guilt) no matter how bad I look!

    There are mountains of toys, equipment and mysterious metal parts that I would happily remove from the house/yard… but they aren’t mine. I must lead by example and let go my own things with a simple request for others to keep their stuff reasonably contained. This summer I am getting my 14 year old son to look at his toys. He still likes them but is realizing he doesn’t play with toys anymore (except some lego). With my help, I’m hoping to show him that his room will be the clear space he craves if he lets go of the past.

    • Hi *pol,
      I remember one year in Seattle when I was having a bit of a declutter and my son decided he was ready to let go of his old toys that he had grown too old for. He got all glum when we were boxing them up and I said to him “You don’t have to get rid of them if you don’t want to!” his response was that he was ready and that it was just sad that those days a gone and he wasn’t a little child anymore. It brings a tear to my eye even now year later that he would recognise the significance of the situation and not just see old toys he no longer used. Now we are at the crossroads again as he is about the declutter his box of “must keep” stuff in the garage. Thanks God he has a much practicality in his as sentimentality.

  2. Colleen my husband too would love the chance to HELP me declutter my craftroom- bring in the big red wheely bin is his catch cry.
    I am on your declutter journey though I am 57 you would think that I would know better by now. I think a few people of my vintage are similar, as children we did’nt have much so we are now loath to get rid of it. But I try and your site is inspirational..
    I have many of the clutter items that you mention and this morning I was thinking about email clutter then read your comments.
    Thank you again for your site and encouragement.

    • Hi Denise,
      my husband has been good about my craft supplies but that is probably because he thinks it helps keep me sane. I have done so little lately except make my Christmas cards and repair a little jewellery.

      Don’t worry that at 57 you have left if a little late. I think that you will find that most people reading my blog are middle aged women. I think the accumulation of wisdom over the years has finally set us straight. I am particularly delighted though when young people get smart about consumerism at such an early age. They are the lucky ones.

      Hope you are going well clearing the email clutter. I hate having more emails in my inbox than will fit on the screen without scrolling. Unless they all came in overnight in response to one of my posts though.

      I am glad you are enjoying my blog and especially that it is helping you to work you way through your clutter. Keep at it and remember slow and steady wins the race.