Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ A Photo Will Do

Deb J

Deb J

A quick apology to Deb J and the readers who wondered why her 4th Thursday post wasn’t published last week. Silly me! I forgot. Goodness only knows why because Deb’s posts give me a day off each month and you would think I would look forward to that. 

I’d had this soft, cuddly Ground Hog Beanie Baby since 2002. On Ground Hog day that year I had a new job and the company had a celebration because we had supposedly survived the “go live” of four new programs as well as new phones. One of the people I worked with had given all of us in management one of these little toys.

I had a small cloth rabbit that was the start of a rabbit collection I didn’t want. It was from a very close friend and I really liked the rabbit when I first received it. I just didn’t want a collection of rabbits. I’d had it for many years. I never see the friend anymore because we live far apart but she will always have meaning in my life.

I had this cute rabbit sitting on a chair that another friend had given me. I received it several years ago and it had meaning because at the time this friend was a rabbit collector herself. She’s still my best friend but one of the few people I know who is just as much a declutterer as I am.

I had a small quilted rectangle with scripture on it. I had made it many years ago and then made more to give to friends. It was very special at the time because of the circumstances in our lives back then. It was old and worn.

The day I wrote this post I took pictures of all of these items. As I was looking over items with the idea of decluttering them I realized that while they had meaning they didn’t really need to be kept. Having a picture of them would remind me of the person or occasion they were from and the object itself could be passed on or trashed. They just sat on a shelf collecting dust. The ONLY time I looked at them was when I was dusting them or when I had to move them to get to the books behind them.

I’m not sure I even need the pictures. But since they are just taking up a small bit of space on my hard drive right now, I can take some time to think about them. It’s easy to pull up a picture and decide if I need it. I do that about once a month. If I decide to keep it then it goes into one of the files I have on my computer for pictures. If not, it gets deleted. Simple. Easy. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately—taking pictures, holding them a while and most being deleted. I don’t need an item to remember people who are/were special to me. I’ve got a good memory for things like that.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter electric garage or craft tools that aren’t useful enough to warrant keeping. I won’t make a list of these as they are so many and varied.

Eco Tip for the Day

Let your fingers do the driving. When there is something you need to shop for, phone ahead to make sure the store has what you are after rather than making a wasted trip. Every small amount of petroleum product saved is a good thing.

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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  • In the moment Today's post has been brought out of the archives as a timely reminder to stay in the moment. We all spend far too much time "multi tasking" and thinking about what has to be done next, […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I read the book Clutter Busting by Brook Palmer. One of the things I shared with my daughter was the three questions: Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it? It is much easier to get rid of when you realize that it doesn’t belong in any of these categories. For any of you who haven’t read the book, I thought it was well worth reading. Simple, to the point and it got my oldest daughter to finally declutter things she has been hanging on to for years. I couldn’t get her to let go, but he could. Check it out from the library, of course, so you don’t add to your clutter! My husband finally got rid of several things he has been hanging on to after this. Instead of telling people what they should get rid of, which I am very guilty of in the past, I have tried to ask them the questions and then not express my opinion. Whatever they choose is fine for now. It is amazing how much more stuff is leaving our home!

    • Marianne, the book sounds like a good one and the questions good too. I am learning that there are many things that will finally get the point across to someone and many times it might not be us.

  2. Ooooo… those kind of collections can be dangerous because they can take on a life of their own. I am (no surprise) a cat lover, and back when I still had a real job, on every occasion that required a “gift” from a co-worker, someone would give me a cat figurine of one sort or another. Pretty soon my entire office was full of cats! When I left the job they all came home with me. It wasn’t until one of my real cats decided that batting glass figurines onto the floor was great sport that I finally decided to get rid of them all. I donated them to a thrift store run by a cats only animal shelter… I’m pretty sure they all found good homes!

    But seriously, my next door neighbor married a guy whose last name was “Bacon.” She said from that moment on, people started filling her life with pigs! And as soon as one person sees a pig figurine they assume you “love” them and they start giving you more! Oy!

    • EcoCatLady, I get what you are saying. I also am a cat person, but not every dang thing with a cat on it is cute or would something that I need for a collection. LOL Love the pig story!

    • EcoCatLady, good for you on getting rid of all of those cat figurines. The “Bacon” story is funny. That’s exactly how some things get started. I now tell people I have no collections and if they look around our house they can tell that.

    • What a perfect place to donate cat figurines!

  3. Good post Deb J – last night I decided to work on my office desk as it was near the heat pump and several of my favourite programmes had season finales, so I folded the laundry while watching one and went thru the drawers while doing the other. I think because there was plenty of room in the drawers some items had managed to slip thru the last round. So I started a box and I wrote on it “don’t want but don’t know what to do with” as a joke. (out in the garage I have a box with ‘goodwill’ written on it, and ‘younger cousins’ and ‘freecycle’ etc and I try to sort things as I go) to my surprise thru the evening, other members of the family started adding a few bits and pieces to this box. I think……I think sometimes we have things that we don’t use/want/love but just don’t know what to do with, so we do nothing. I’d just written it on the box as a joke because I was feeling very unmotivated (didn’t want to go out to the cold garage). In the past I’ve found I’ve had to sort things as I went as stuff stored in boxes and baskets remain there for the duration, but maybe I’m missing an opportunity with the rest of the family or my ‘lazy’ days.

    • Moni, what a great idea even though you meant it as a joke. We have some things I could do that with that are out in the shed and I haven’t a clue what to do with them. I will put them in a box like that and then have someone go through them with me to see what they think. I have done very little of value today. I think I am so tired from having to go out in the heat to do the monthly grocery shopping that I just couldn’t get motivated to do much of anything. Now I have an idea of a few drawers I could go through while just sitting and veggting.

      • Deb J – its a variation on the 1st degree of seperation method in a way. I have to be careful as things contained in boxes and baskets tend to get overlooked with me but was kind of fun hiffing stuff in there and not having to think about it ……. yet.

    • Oh… I’ve got a box just like that (well without the actual label) – it’s mostly stuff like half used bottles of lotion or spices or perfume… I mean it seems like a waste to just toss them, but I don’t want them. How do you get rid of stuff like that?

  4. I do like the picture taking option rather than keeping the object. It is funny how once you let someone know that you like something, for me it has been cows, suddenly they think that you need an entire collection. I have received everything from cow figurines, cow pictures, to cow stuffed animals. I am over forty now and I am not sure that I have a need for stuffed animals anymore :). Good post today, let’s us remember that objects are not important, but the people that give them to us are. I have managed to declutter a few books this week. I have a friend who I recently got to visit with and I found out that we share a similar interest. Of this particular interest, I have some books on it and I happily sent to her some books that I will no longer need. I love to declutter something that I know will be enjoyed by someone else.

    • Collections are really odd. Sometimes people actually start a collection because they want it but so many of them are like your cows and we having this feeling we should hold onto it because they were gifts. Glad you were able to get rid of some books.

  5. Deb J, I never took the photo road, but I see that it could work and especially make some hard decisions less hard in the sentimental clutter area.

  6. I take pictures too.
    Since my screen saver is my photos slide show, I get to see the item once in a while and not have to worry about it’s condition anymore – it’s preserved and the memories are accessable without the space.
    That being said, I don’t think it would work for every sentimental item. There are some things where the scent or texture is the important part of the memory. Good thing those things are few and often small!

    • Creative me, you are right that not all sentimental items can be dealt with just by taking a photo. I”m glad that most can though.