Follow up on my “stocktake”

So, going through my house to remove any clutter build up didn’t take long. As you can imagine with only two bedroomz, tow bathrooms, the kitchen/dining/living area and the balcony, it wasn’t a difficult task. Just to be up front though, I didn’t spend too much time on the craft area as it was a case of ~ found some items then immediately began crafting to use them up. It is my intention to base the crafting I do over the next weeks on using up items that I feel have lingered too long. I had a good sales week at the art space and need to restock so I’ll certainly be doing plenty crafting over the next week or two. And then father’s Day will be almost on us so I had better keep that in mind while I am at it.

Anyway, I have put together a little collage of what I found to rid my home of. So without further adieu here it is.

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All and all it isn’t very much but I am sure that I will find more the next time a do a declutter sweep through the house. I know there is plenty of craft stuff to continue using up. There are also a couple of other unfinished projects that will clear away some scrap wood, unneeded recycled parts and then, as a result, a small piece of furniture. Then there will also be some long sleeve Tshirts with small holes that I will be cutting up, for crafting with, once the warmer whether arrives.

I have made a drop off at the thrift shop, paper is shredded, a few items went in the bin, some taken by my daughter, some in the recycling and the craft to the art space. I am still to drop off the batteries and the ink cartridges and the unused, out of date drugs were dropped off at the pharmacy for careful disposal. I am glad they are all out the door because they were mounting up in transition areas all over the house.

So as you can see I am keeping up with my maintenance decluttering plus seeing ahead to future maintenance tasks, while I am ever vigilant. One thing that didn’t go unnoticed by me was how easy the task was due to all the minimising I have done. My experience is proof that a decluttered home is a home that is easy to maintain.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter some outdoor sports equipment that is no longer in use.

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. Very impressive. I am still decluttering, a little each day. Working my way through the small hotel body lotion freebies! Another finished this morning, container already in our plastics recycling haversack – that’s three down and two to go! Then I start seriously on all the gifted sets! Two more patchwork magazines and a paperback to list on eBay on Sunday. If they don’t sell, then they will be off to the Charity Shop. Passed another paperback on to my daughter. Read a few old newspapers and supplements this week and they are now in the red recycle bin ready for next Monday’s collection. No more unread ones , thank goodness! Yesterday we gave my brother-in- law about 12 of my husband’s magazines which we keep for him. And a brochure for my sister! Having a busy week on the family and friends front so no opportunity to tackle another drawer or chest unfortunately.

    • Oh the plague of hotel cosmetic freebies! My husband keeps bringing them home, despite my telling him the contents/packaging ratio makes them very unfriendly on the environment…

    • It sounds like you are doing well there Linda. Keep up the good work. And I love the way you share things around.

  2. Great post, Colleen. It really brings home the reality that a decluttered house doesn’t stay that way by itself – it will always take effort and decision-making and follow-through.

    You must be so glad you started the process years ago.

  3. Colleen, it’s interesting the little things we can find just sitting around taking up space. I’ve two watches of Mom’s that need batteries but I have been unable to find the size they need. I’m tired of having them on my desk so I plan to call the one “last ditch” store to see it they might have them. Yesterday I was able to place two large body wash containers into the recycle bin. I went through a bunch of handmade cards that have been taking up some space in a drawer until Mom could decide what she wanted to do with them They were ones she had made. She decided to start a box of her own for things like that and put it in one of her mostly empty dresser drawers with thoughts of where to keep them once we move. Today she wants to use the floor plan for the new place to figure out what she will need and want to take. I know we are ahead of time as it could be another year before we move but she is motivated and there is no way I’m going to stop her. Grin.

    • Deb J.,
      You must be doing a happy dance. Your Mom seems to finally be getting on board the declutter train without as much persuading as you have been used to. Perhaps she is also coming to the realization that when the two of you eventually move, it will be two separate apartments within the same complex. She will not have you available as her 24/7 “maid” and will be responsible for taking care of her own place.

      • Kimberley, yes I am doing a happy dance. I do have to say that she is still having a time of it with the idea of a move and with downsizing the amount of kitchen items she will need. Cooking, especially baking, is her thing and she has a time dealing with not being able to do it as much. The main meal is provided with the apartments thus she really won’t be cooking much but she still is struggling with all of that. This will be a long process but we will get there.

    • Woo hoo! Your mom is getting into the decluttering ahead of time. Well done her! I bet you are excited to see what she is willing to give up.

  4. Yay! You know I love pictures! I went back through the bookshelves this a.m. and put 12 more books in the truck along with a “dust catcher”, to drop off for the charity fundraiser. The gal was so glad to get that stuff. 🙂 Since her sale isn’t until September 13th, I bet I can find more to give her.

  5. I’m having a good laugh at your spice containers that you are putting on ebay. Identical except the lid colour to the ones I got earlier this year. Oh if only we could have a 365 Less Things swap-meet once a year.

    • Hi Moni, I often think a swap meet would be good between the 365ers. There is often something I am getting rid of that another reader would like to take off my hands. It is probably a good thing that we are mostly a long way apart or we might just be swapping clutter instead of actually getting rid of it.

  6. As they say ‘ a picture is worth a thousand words’ and this is a good example. Well done Colleen.
    Deb J, your Mum and her watches reminds me of a friend who purchased a lovely new watch last week. It was very impressive with large numbers and a lovely band. He can only wear it when he is not working because it is too nice to get knocked around. When he told us how much it was, my husband and I nearly fell off our chairs. It was $1000. Later my husband said to me, there are a lot of things you could spend $1000 and a lot better items to tell the time , like an iPhone. I have another friend who spends her time looking for batteries for her extensive collection of watches which makes me ask the question ‘ why do they need so many watches?’ It ironic that people with watches spend so much time devoted to keeping them going. Me, I just ask someone the time 😉
    Tupperware is another time wasting, expensive product. The inner domestic goddess desires these items, but again the time and expense involved in ownership could be better spent. I speak from my own experience as in a previous life I was a ‘ hostess’ /salesperson.;)
    I’ve saved the best for last, today a friend of my daughter is coming to take the exercise bike away! I find riding an actual pushbike on the ride is far more enjoyable . Finally it is gone!!!!!!! Cheers

    • WendyF! Like you I can’t imagine having paid $1000 for a watch. I think $10 is a good amount. Mom wouldn’t even have these two watches if they hadn’t been given to her. We don’t carry a cell phone or anything so the watch is all we have. I don’t see a use for tupperware either. I think Mom has a few old pieces but I’m glad to say all the rest is gone. Congrats on getting rid of the exercise bike.

    • Hi Wendy F, I don’t understand the watch thing either. Our friend Margaret loves watches, most bought at the thrift shop of given her as gifts but I have adjusted bands for her and she often talks about having to get batteries fitted. Judging from the number of flat battery watches we get into the thrift shop I would say the many people just buy them and when the battery runs down they just buy another.
      Good job getting rid of the exercise bike Wendy. that must have opened up some space in the house.

  7. Wow, this is difficult. I had to come back in for another comment. Sitting in the attic this evening, eyes roaming over things, mind racing, “Do I need this?”, “Do I use this?”, “Do I even want this?”, “Why am I holding on to this?”.

    I was engaged once, many years ago and it didn’t work out. I still have every card, letter, note, picture of that time. I have been married for the past 15 years (September) to the man I know I was meant to be with, but at the time of my earlier engagement, that was also when I met my gal-pal soul-mate, so to speak, and that was an amazing, incredible fun and crazy time. She and I had a falling out in 1997 and we haven’t much communicated since. There are only two photo albums and I am choosing to keep those. Although I have some great memories, tomorrow the cards and letters are going to the shredder, along with 13 file boxes from my office.

    The cards and pictures were stored in a picnic basket, which I have emptied and set aside to donate. I also found a candle holder, two little, decorative wall shelves, some dust catchers that I absolutely do not need and (here’s a hard one, too), a 4-place setting of fine china. When I was 15-ish ?, my mom and I would go to antique auctions. There was an estate being auctioned off and I bought an absolutely beautiful set of china, four place settings (16 pieces), very formal, never even out of the packaging. My husband and I are not fine china people. I love our everyday dishes we bought in Arizona (made in Mexico) – super fun and colorful. I paid only $30 for the 16 pieces of china. Honestly, there is no reason to hang on to it. I don’t have any serving dishes or silverware that go with this stuff. I’m thinking the set needs to go to charity. It has been used twice in the 14 years we have been in this house. That’s just dumb.

    Here’s the truth: I want things in my home that I use, things that I am attracted to, things that make my life easier. We fully intend to always have a small home. I don’t need things sitting aside for “someday”.

    I keep thinking of what if there were a fire. We have a safe for our very important things, but all that really matters is my husband and my cat. 🙂

    I’m glad that the fundraising yard sale isn’t until mid-September. I’m pretty sure there going to get another truck load from me!

    • Michelle – here’s what I’ve learnt about myself: just because I like a particular style doesn’t mean it’s an ‘exclusive relationship’ and other styles will also catch my eye, especially if it is (to me at least) exceptionally pretty or stylish. In the past this has taken me off on tangents with my decorating and I have this item which, although being pretty sticks out like a sore thumb. And eventually gets stored away because it doesn’t ‘work’ and is very hard to declutter down the track because it is pretty.

      I had such an item recently – a miniature tailors dummy which had a beautifully white/gold fabric ball gown on. Then a lady I know opened her sewing/tailoring shop and had some smaller, not so pretty, ornaments in her shop window. So I showed it to her and she was ecstatic, it was perfect, and it’s there in her window so I get to see it whenever I go in. So what I realised was it was perfect for her, but not for me. Yes it was very pretty, but it didn’t fit in.

      So what I have learnt is that pretty things need to be seen. If it doesn’t work in my house, it should go to someone who will love to see it everyday. It kind of reminds me of a line from a Cindy Lauper song “some guys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world, I want to be the girl who walks in the sun………”

      If it doesn’t work with the life you have built for yourself, is there someone close to you who would love it? Or does it have any value, in which case you could sell it and use the money to buy something that really ‘pops’ now.

    • Well good for you Michelle, give yourself a pat on the back from me. And especially well done letting go of that china. There was a nice memory in it but not much use so it is better off going to someone who will use it.

  8. Even after all this time it’s amazing that you can still find things to declutter and not replace.

    • Oh Kayla, I would like to think that those batteries and printer cartridges wouldn’t be replaced but alas they do. Luckily we own fewer things with batteries but the printer still chews through the ink like it is going out of fashion. Being as the printers are designed to waste more than they use it isn’t any wonder. We are considering replace the colour inkjet printer with a black only laser printer because of the savings. Most of the savings come from not having to clean jets which is what happens to most of the ink in the other one.

  9. Colleen, this is really very little stuff. Amazing that you are decluttered to such a point! It’s really inspiring to see that you made it to the stage of “maintenance decluttering” and are still keeping an open eye towards stuff like those tupperware that just evolve into being unnecessary over time. Great work!

    • Thank you Sanna, and the tupperware sold for $62.50 which I am very pleased about. Some of it had been in service for about 2o years. So I already got my money out of them.

  10. I was going through my toughest box today, received greeting cards. This one really derails me from decluttering. I dread it and avoid opening that box. I was reading one of my uncluttering books last night and the author suggested putting cards received into binders so they are displayed and you can go through them and read them easily whenever you want to be cheered up. When I read this I had the instant reaction that I never want to go through and read my old cards now so I’m sure I wouldn’t even if I put them in a binder or album. Then I realized that if I dread them so much why am I keeping them? Then a sense of obligation to everyone hit me. So I took a few minutes in my mind and sorted out which cards (from whom) I was actually dreading. So today I sorted out all of those, tossed a few, but then moved the rest to a memory box that will probably only be opened in the future upon a real necessity. There were still so many cards left that I only got half way through and closed it up. I’m still trying to decide if I need to keep cards from certain people – for my own sake in the future, not for them (will I regret not having their words to me if they pass away? or will photos etc. be enough?). My favorite uncle passed away unexpectedly in January and I had just tossed his Christmas card to me. Christmas was his favorite holiday and his card was always the first Christmas card of the season to arrive. With or without the card I will probably always remember that. But it is just an example of the hoops my brain is jumping through just regarding cards! I need to be feeling really strong to go through that box! But I did make a little progress at least!

    • I did a similar job a couple of months ago. Loads of greetings cards stored in a wicker chest. I have been thinking of sorting them for years and had constantly put it off. One day I just opened the chest, took everything out and put them on the floor. I was absolutely firm with myself that most would go, that I was only going to keep the most special ones. I have only kept a very few, never thought again about the huge number I threw away. As you already know, you never look at the cards so why would you miss them if they no were no longer in your home. Now I have got rid of my cards I cannot imagine why it took me so long!

      • Thank you, Linda! This is a great example for me and I will use it to motivate me to get rid of more. My fear of regret has been paralyzing me from getting rid of many of them. But believe it or not I secretly wish the box would go up in flames rather than me having to go through each card! Some of these cards go back at least 25 years, a whole different lifetime ago. I’ve had a good life but for some reason cards just make me feel guilty, bad, depressed. I do not know why. The cards are all nice – no hate mail at all. I think I’m just not a “card” person. I’d much rather my family members give me a call than write me (email, text, etc.). Maybe I just don’t like stuff written down. I’m figuring myself out right here and now apparently!
        I feel sucker punched by yesterday’s attempt to declutter that box so I might give it a couple more days before I go at it again. I need to get a clear plan of “attack” to do it again – exactly which cards from whom get tossed. I’ll make a list first.
        Thanks again!

    • Hi Claire, what you did declutter of your cads was a big thing for you so congratulations for making such an effort. As you said, you won’t forget your Uncle and what kind of person he was and the little memorable-for-you things he did so you don’t need all of his cards. And if you only put the box away and think of it as a decluttering burden then I have to wonder how much the cards really matter. If it were me, I would only keep the favourites with heartfelt, thoughtful messages in them and get rid of the rest. However you take your time and do what is right for you. Part of the task of decluttering and actually the hardest part is coming to terms with the idea of letting go of the reasons why we keep things. Once we let go of that, letting go of the actually things themselves is the easy part. So even analysing your feeling on a regular basis is put of the process and not a waste of time.