Following my own advice

As the title suggests I have been taking my own advice and finding ten minutes daily this week to declutter some stuff around my house. And although the difference is small I feel a whole lot better for having done it.

The first area I decluttered was a drawer in my side-table next to my spot on the sofa. It wasn’t cluttered as such, as there was plenty of vacant space in it. However it still had things that had arrived there over time that either didn’t belong there, was rubbish or useless to me. I decluttered a small flashlight to the donate pile, a plastic bag to the bin and I little plate stand to my art space where it is more likely to be used.

I also decluttered a few boxes in my craft area. I reshuffled their contents and threw away or recycled bits and pieces in them that had lingered too long. There may not have been much that was decluttered but I feel better for them being organised and clear of unwanted stuff.

I also worked on a section of a drawer in my closet. From it I decluttered a brochure to the recycling bin, some old coins that I relocated to a more appropriate place, and a box and gift receipt from an item of jewellery I had received back in February (both went to the recycling bin). Which goes to prove that even when you think you are decluttered there is always things that come in and require dealing with at some point.

The next area I checked for decluttering was the cabinet that our television sits on. I didn’t find one thing in it that I could declutter. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d actually be happy to declutter just about everything in this cabinet but none of it is mine. They are all my husbands items, which aren’t mine to declutter. One has to accept that in a shared space there always has to be compromise.

Retrieving a jacket from my spare room closet resulted in some impromptu decluttering of two leather belts and a plastic skeleton. Talk about skeletons in your closet right! lol These items were freebies collected for craft purposes. Things like this in my house have use by dates. If they haven’t been transformed into something amazing within a reasonable amount of time and their potential usefulness means less to me than freeing up the space, then they are out of here. All three items went in the donation pile.

I even took a look through my sock drawer but didn’t find anything in there to let go. I have that area pretty well under control.

So as you can see, from all these little decluttering tasks that took mere minutes, it isn’t hard to achieve slow and steady decluttering with very little effort. All these little difference add up to a whole lot of decluttering in the end.

So how are you doing with the mini missions this week?

Today’s Mini Mission

Take a look on and in a desk or work space today. Give yourself ten minutes to find and declutter something that is not used and wasting space in this area.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

When all else is equal between one product or another choose the one with the most eco friendly packaging.

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 helped my son clean out his closet and found some sporting equipment that hadn’t been used in 10 years. Easy call to declutter, right? But actually it made me sad because that era of our life is passed and we no longer play a game we used to enjoy. Getting older and arthritic knees…bit depressing, I guess. I will get over it, cleaned out closets make me happy these days.

  2. Colleen, It sounds like your short times of decliuttering not only helped you keep things in a decluttered state but gave you a pick me up in your mind. I like to have those when life gets so busy you can hardly breathe.

    • Hi Deb, you are right. I think I produce these sorts of post when I need them the most myself. A lot of life as been going on around here just lately and during those periods one needs to constantly remind themselves that change is all part of life, as I just said to Deanna. Luckily I find decluttering and organising very soothing. And the bonus to that is it doesn’t all pounds to my hips or is bad for my health in any way.

  3. Colleen – I have been having a great week decluttering, or rather accumulating an ‘out’ pile. I’m doing this work while I’m cruising around the house doing other chores so it doesn’t turn into a decision making process. Just cart it to the out pile and if I decide I want it back, I’ve got a week or so to retrieve it. I’m not thinking about where I will donate or recycle to as that seems to slow down the process for me.

    I think I have hit around the twenty items mark which a spike in results for me these days and so far I haven’t retrieved anything.

    Today, after trying a number of different stores and also searching on my smart phone, I thought I was going to have to buy a whole new ironing board as the spongey stuff lining the ironing board cover had disintergrated and it appears that our ironing board isn’t a standard length to buy a replacement cover. Then I stumbled onto buying a felt liner and cutting it down to size. LOL its probably one of those things that everyone else knows about except me, but I thought I would share.

    The other thing I thought I would share with those who have restricted space in the kitchen or a dishwasher and rarely use their dish rack. Today I discovered a sink rack which you can either sit in your sink or on the bench (counter top). We don’t use our dish rack very often, maybe once a week, but the rack is annoyingly cumbersome in the cupboard under the sink. The reason I was looking in the dish rack section of the store is that my son needs one, so I’m giving him our original one and we’re getting the little streamline version.

    • Hi Moni, I have a padded cloth mat from Aldi which serves as a dish mat when some drainage is required . As I just have a sink with no drainage space this is a handy item. I would rather use it then lose bench space to a larger sink with drainage . Plus my dishwasher works perfectly .
      I usually find my ironing board frame dies before the covers. My sister is in Germany visiting her daughter and the iron plugs into the ironing board. Sounds very modern.

      • I have a padded cloth dish drying mat from Costco, and I love it. It matches my counter (bench) tops perfectly, so you don’t even really see it unless I don’t put the dishes away. And it can be folded or shoved in a drawer or thrown in the laundry if company comes over.

        The dish drying rack Moni linked to is very cute! Love space saving ideas!

    • Hi Moni, that dish rack does look like a smart design. I don’t own one any more as my sink doesn’t have a draining tray and most things get washed in the dishwasher. It is only baking trays and frying pans that get washed my hand and I have two sinks so I wash in one a drain in the other.

      I like your idea of putting things in the disposal pile with the thought that you could retrieve them if you like within a reasonable amount of time. I bet very little ever gets retrieved though. It is much the same as the trial separation method.

    • Moni, when I move (if that ever happens) I plan to buy a foldable rack similar to this.

  4. Off topic a little, but do you have any advice regarding scrapbooks? I am an ex scrapbooker and I’m in the process of sorting through and decluttering my supplies. However – what to do with actual scrapbooks? They take up so much space. I know it’s a personal thing but I have chosen not to have them out on display and they are currently residing boxed in the garage. I have about 12 I think, mainly of our son now 20! He is not interested but I guess maybe later …….

    • Hi Wendy, I am also and ex-scrapbooker and have about ten albums. They also aren’t out on display but stored in a buffet in our living room. There are times when I think they are just a waste of space too because they rarely get looked at. However they are family history books and much more likely to be looked through than plain old photo albums. I will be keeping mine.

  5. One of my clients mentioned that she used to teach guitar. She has a very soft demeanor, so I thought of my husband, who is interested in guitar but has never had a lesson for it. He has some social anxiety and I thought she might help him to be at ease. I asked this lady if she still teaches some, she said yes. So I engineered 3 guitar lessons for my husband this summer, while he is off work. If he enjoys his lessons, we will make it a regular thing. Clutter free gift!

    The first lesson was early this week. I wouldn’t be there for it but before I left for work, I cast an eye over my living room where they would have their lesson. I had to sort a 10″ pile on the top of my file cabinet! A minor amount of dusting, tidying, and opening windows for fresh air and I was satisfied with the rooms appearance (other than our ratty carpet, but that’s a story for a different time LOL).

  6. Hi, Colleen. I agree that doing a little at a time eventually leads to a relatively clutter-free and organized home. Doing something small every day helps in accomplishing a goal. Baby steps, especially when you are starting out, spur you on and you don’t get overwhelmed.

  7. I have one of those sofa side table drawers, too, Colleen, and I’ve been meaning to clean it out all week. You have inspired me to get it done today!
    Mine had a bit more in it than yours – a roll of tape, 12 (!) crochet hooks, 5 packages of sewing needles, 2 unmatched knitting needles, 2 rulers, a clothespin, 3 pens, 2 pencils, 12 Christmas cards from the 1950’s, a CD of learning songs for first graders (my grandkids are in high school), one sofa arm protector (never used), 29 balls and skeins of embroidery floss, 8 spools of thread, 1 new and 2 worn out emery boards, and assorted random bits and pieces of stuff. Everything has been re-housed, trashed, or put in the donate box. Took longer to type this out than it did to clear out the drawer -which now contains only the one good emery board! Thank you for the inspiration!
    Our local library is having a book sale this month so it’s been a good time to clear out the excess books. So far I have freed up about 14 feet of bookshelf space, which means a whole bookshelf unit can leave our upstairs hallway. Yay!
    It is good to have more air and less stuff in one’s home……

    • Dianna A, I love that last sentence!! “it is good to have more air and less stuff in one’s home.”
      That’s what I am striving for also!!!

      • Every day a little more out, and a little more breathing room, Brenda. Keep up the good fight!

    • Well done Dianna! I love that your sofa side table was full of creative stuff though. It is nice to have something you can do with your hands when you are sitting half watching TV. I have a kitchen tray that I often fill with papercrafting stuff and sit that on my lap. Most of the time though I just craft at the kitchen bench and listen to the TV rather than actually watch it.

      • Thanks, Colleen. If I don’t have something to do while I ‘m watching tv I usually fall asleep!

  8. Hi Colleen! I was wondering if you could do an updated home tour in photos? I’m sure we’d all love to see it & it would definatly spur on more
    decluttering for me! I remember when I loved those photos of your garage in different stages!

    • Hi Victoria, I don’t think I have ever done a home tour of my new place. I’ll have to check in my photo files. I doubt you would be able to see much difference from the day we moved in.
      Those photos of the garage sure were impressive. Perhaps I should again start keeping track of my craft space. The old ones from the other home sure were a massive change from start to finish.
      Anyway I’ll give it some though. Since I had decluttered my old house to fit into a smaller one there are times when this smaller one feels as cluttered as the old one did before I began decluttering it. That might be a slight exaggeration.

  9. Colleen, I like that you set a time limit on creating something. I’ve got two packages of Paper Clay that I bought to make pins to sell in my Etsy shop, but I’ve been procrastinating on making them.

    As it turns out, I’m just not into making pins these days. I’m pretty much over all crafting. That was for an earlier time in my life, when my daughter was young. I’ve moved on.

    I think I’ll pass on those packages of clay next time I thin out my art and craft supplies.