Friday’s Favourites ~ 16Mar2012

On Fridays at 365 Less Things I share with you my favourite comments from my wonderful readers and my favourite web finds of the week. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Wow what a busy week for comments we almost cracked 100 on Tuesday’s post alone. Well done 365’ers. I was so busy answering them that I hardly had time to select some for today’s favourites. I didn’t have time to read other blogs either but I did manage to scrape together three articles for you to read. Enjoy!

Favourite Comments. Enjoy!

Sometimes stuff isn’t the only thing that needs decluttering. Jane tells us how she decluttered her tax to do task and her cable bill in this comment. How many times do we complain about not being decluttered but at the same time waste hours watching TV? ten minutes a day verses hours a day, there is no excuse for that.

Becky and I are proof that it is possible to divorce yourself from the desire to shop. Read her comment here.

Kristen shows she understand the advantages of slow decluttering in this comment.

I was impressed with Gails proactive approach in this comment in response to Cindy’s prescription bottle ring issue.

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading! ~ declutter-your-home-declutter-your-life

Today’s Declutter Item

My husband has been decluttering some of his stuff and I am sooooo happy. I hate dusting these models as I have a habit of only ever breaking his stuff. Plus I just hate dusting in general. So one less thing to dust is a joy to me yahoo!

Die cast Aircraft Model

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Seeing the joy in my new friends face today when she was saying how happy she was to have new friends. Sometimes doing good takes no effort at all.

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 really like this Paul Graham article! I reposted it on my facebook page too.

    This passage is especially accurate:
    “I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model of what’s around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally exhausting.”

    Though this part I do disagree with:
    “I’ve now stopped accumulating stuff. Except books—but books are different. Books are more like a fluid than individual objects. It’s not especially inconvenient to own several thousand books, whereas if you owned several thousand random possessions you’d be a local celebrity.”

    I think that too high a value is placed on books especially. There is a limit to what we can realistically read and absorb, and we are lead to believe that books are somehow a mark of prowess and intelligence. I’d rather someone know my intelligence from the wonderful experience of an engaging conversation (and the connection of human beings), than to just wonder by looking at my stuff. Not to mention, I think that viewing someone’s ability to have a clear and relaxed living space is also a measure of an even greater intelligence. And most people DO own several thousand random posessions but don’t even realize it. I think the 30 things challenge is a very good way to open your eyes to that.

    • I have to say Elspeth I also do not completely understand this love affair with keeping books. It has been a topic of conversation here at 365 Less Things many a time. I understand completely the love affair with reading them and even the preference for books over eReaders but keeping, no. But then I am not an avid reader so what do I know about it really.

      I have however also encountered many a person lamenting the fact that they can’t get their clutter under control, that they don’t know where to begin and would rather go and read another chapter of a good book than deal with it. In these particular cases I can’t help but think that the comfort zone of hiding in a book is causing the biggest part of these peoples problem with clutter.

      • Hi Colleen – I am having a giggle cos the book issue is back out there again. I found this week entertaining when you bravely sent to recycling the matt paper, and the collective gasp that went thru the scrap-bookers and craft types. When I began decluttering…..all the craft stuff was the first out the door without batting an eyelid, but I just about need therapy to put my Diana Gabaldon’s on trademe auctions.
        Thank goodness I only have the one vice, was sent a web link of a house in the US sooooo chocka full they can barely spread their arms out.

        • Moni I read and replied to your first comment before reading this one and I think that response covers this one nicely. Your love affair with books is on a whole different level to any attachment I have to craft clutter. But you constantly read books so it actually makes a whole lot more sense. Hmmmmm? 😕

          • As I said below, there is probably something really out of whack with me, and a therapist would have a field day getting to the bottom of it!
            It was nice to hear someone as logical as Paul who also has a book archilles.
            I also loved his comment how he never stood a chance against all the marketing and advertising experts – I must keep that one in mind for next time I go shopping and have to explain myself to my hubby!

            • Now Moni, I am not going to let you get away with that one. Advertising hype is not an excuse for buying stuff you don’t need. I see advertising hype as a challenge to buck the system and not buy their “irresistible” stuff. It is never hard to find the bull behind the hype.

        • wait – you think about throwing out jamie and claire?!? HOW COULD YOU EVEN DARE? 😉

          I decided I will keep the ones that I like, diana gabaldons books are for sure not the most intellectual I have in my collection, but I already re read them 3 times, same goes for fantasy novels (lord of the ring, game of thrones, and the likes) or childhood classics, that I remember reading over and over and over again (like The neverending story). I can easily throw out the ones that I keep just because I somehow got them, read them and actually thought they are rubbish. maybe one day I will be able to part with them as well, but for now I will keep those good books where they are.
          I have been thinking about this so much since I started following 365 less things. I made progress and it gives me a good feeling.

          • I have copies on my kobo and would ensure that they go to a good home, but it won’t be for a while yet.
            I know what you mean, I would find a book I really liked by an author, and so would start collecting others by him/her and found that some were rubbish. So I’m ditching the ones I don’t like first.
            Do hunt down a copy of Sara Donati’s “Into the Wilderness” – you will love Nathanial and Elisabeth just as much although they are different characters, their story will keep you turning pages into the early hours.

    • Hi Elspeth – I too really enjoyed his article. I’m a well documented book-aholic. Of all my clutter that is being frog-marched out the door, books are my archilles.
      What I have observed is that everyone has a clutter “vice” – what is straight into the recycling bin, is an emotional wrench for someone else.
      For me a book is like a friend, and I re-read my favourites each year. To me books are highly valuable, they transcend a dollar value. Obviously it fulfills something that is out of whack in me, but I could do a lot worse. We ended up with 100’s possibly over a 1000 books, and I have let go of around 3/4 of them. It has been the hardest one for me, and has set the benchmark of difficulty in letting go ie if I can let go of my Laura Ingalls Wilders, this (whatever it is) should be easy. I have to admit that I now have a Kobo e-reader and I use it daily and without it, I would have struggled to tackle the bookshelves. As for everything else, I don’t have quite the same wrench getting rid of things. I could chuck out half my kitchen and it wouldn’t bother me, but my foodie friend would find that traumatising. I could chuck out all my clothes and shoes and not be cut up about, but another one of my friends struggles to let go of any of her clothes.
      But anyway, I’m not trying to convert you to being a Bookaholic – but just saying, I can understand exactly where he is coming from.

      • Well put Moni. As I read that I was wondering is there any material thing in my house that I am that attached to and I have to say the answer is no. Even though my craft supplies are my biggest clutter vice if I lost it all tomorrow it wouldn’t worry me. Perhaps I am more sane than I give myself credit for. Either that or my insanity is distracting me from all else around me. 😆

      • Hi Moni – thanks for that. I’d like to clarify where my comment came from and then maybe it will read differently 🙂 Books have ALWAYS been my vice. I was taught from a very young age to keep every single book that ever came into my possession. In my family (of packrats) it was like a sin to get rid of a book. I’ve always had tons and tons of books that I have moved to a great many destinations (and I am a single person who lives in an apt. and changes locations fairly frequently, so there’s no place to “settle” them).

        A few years ago, I realized I had way too many things and set about trying to get rid of some stuff. It was so hard because I was taught from a young age that almost everything had sentimental value. And I never EVER thought about touching my books. Then around 1-2 years ago, I realized that because I have a goal of joining the peace corps soon and living outside of the country in unknown circumstances for at least 2 yrs, that I would soon have to either store or get rid of a lot of things. That is what started my journey into minimalism. It gave me the excuse I needed to start getting rid of massive amounts of stuff.

        All of a sudden I realized too some of the expectations that had been causing me to keep things. I realized that the reason I kept every book I had ever read was because I had this romantic notion in my head that I would have a grand library someday. What’s more, it wasn’t even my notion! It was my mother’s. And very outdated, because I decided a long time ago that I would travel around a lot and not “settle” into a house for a long time. But I never really thought about it or questioned it until then because I was so used to it.

        It’s only been in the last 6 mos to a year that I’ve started tackling the books. It’s been done slowly over many sessions, constantly revisiting what I have. I’ll go through and think “I couldn’t possibly get rid of that”; then maybe in a week something will give me a new reason to get rid of that exact book I couldn’t part with before. I used to have a huge bookshelf overflowing with books. Now I have one half that size that has extra room in it for other things. What I said above is the product of a long hard battle of my book-aholic-ism. I was almost angry that I had believed so strongly and blindly in these notions for so long. It seemed like such a waste – that is why I posted what I did. I wanted to let people like me know the alternative view – that it is possible to let go of the book worshipping.

        • Hi my name is Moni and I’m a book-aholic! 🙂 My story with books is a bit different, I was adopted into a family of packrats but non-readers. So I was a bit of a novelty to them having my nose constantly in a book, but we did sort of connect on idea of me wanting to keep my books – they understood that. When I met my biological family, they are all readers with a lesser degree of collections.

          Yes I always wanted my own library, and I love lending books out to friends, but have noticed that no one else was buying the new releases and everyone was waiting for me to hand it around. Can’t borrow out digital books.

          I’m the first person to say that having over a 1000 books is ridiculous, and the majority of the books that we’ve gotten rid of went to a charity 2nd hand book sale for fund raising.

          Heaps are leaving in sets (I have this thing about collecting series) via trademe auctions – that’s when it got hard.

          I will always be a recreational reader, but I will never again buy a paper book to have sitting around in my home. I have friends who are also decluttering and it is really funny the things each of struggles to let go of, there isn’t always logic to it either.

          I do find it interesting how something is important, but with every re-visit (or as I like to call it “cull”) it seems to drop in importance. Like you said, one week it is important, a few weeks later it is gone. My hubby and I went back thru the bookcases on the weekend and was surprised at how many more books went into the box that’s going to the charity 2nd hand book sale. Its like I’m getting tired of reviewing their status!

          There is hope for me yet!

        • Hi Elspeth,
          this makes what you said even more relevant. There are a lot of lessons we learn from a young age that we don’t even question until one day some strange circumstance helps us see things from a new perspective. Your dream to join the Peace Corps did that for you. Life works in mysterious ways doesn’t it?

          • It reminds me of my younger sister going off on her OE thru Europe with 3 big suitcases and returning a year later with a half empty backpack.

        • This one hits home:

          “All of a sudden I realized too some of the expectations that had been causing me to keep things. I realized that the reason I kept every book I had ever read was because I had this romantic notion in my head that I would have a grand library someday. What’s more, it wasn’t even my notion! It was my mother’s. And very outdated, because I decided a long time ago that I would travel around a lot and not “settle” into a house for a long time. But I never really thought about it or questioned it until then because I was so used to it.”

          EXACTLY where I am too. My mum managed to collect all the books from our family into my dads old office. you believe there are rarities, old books about the region, old family pictures (starting somewhere in 1850s or so), all my mums travelguides (yeah I know there is no use in travel guide to mexico from 1970 – but it was one of her biggest and most adventurous trips), my brothers and my children books, a lot of non-fiction from our parents education, etc. etc. This library is bursting, I tried to talk her into decluttering it the last visit, but we somehow didnt manage to get it done. and then find a way to get rid of them…
          and although I “settled” right now, I cant really tell you for how long it is going to be. I get the urge to leave everything every couple of years…

          • High five, Lena.
            That also reminds me – there were some old books I had that I thought were potentially worth something (my mother tends to think EVERYthing is worth something). When I took them into bookstores, I found out that not only must they be in perfect or near-perfect condition to be worth even a few bucks, I also found that hardly any old books are worth anything beyond the bargain bin, if that. Most of them ended up at goodwill because no one wanted them. While my family (and others, I’m sure) finds value in the sheer age number of something, the rest of the world does not.

      • I keep books I actually re-read (and I’m re-reading Outlander for possibly the 10th time right now).

        There is absolutely no harm in having a hobby or a vice, as long as you are reasonable and don’t just keep any old thing related to that hobby. It’d be silly of me to keep a devotional on my shelf, for instance, because I’d never pick it up (not my thing). Instead, I have Outlander and Beautiful Joe and a few other assorted favorites. 🙂

        • OMG! I am such a Jamie and Claire fan! Have re-read dozens of times, and re-read just before a new book comes out.

          We know Outlander as Cross Stitch here, but I think Outlander suits it better.

          My daughters gave me book vouchers last December so I could re-buy the series in digital form. My paper ones really tatty, especially the earlier books, aside from myself, at least 10 friends borrowed them also – even my hubby and bro-in-law – though they weren’t so keen on the Lord John spin-off series.

          OK I have upgraded my policy – its ok to keep ones that actually get read, but the rest must go! Though I have to admit, I prefer reading on my kobo to be honest.

          • I have not actually read the rest of the series! It’s only just now available at my local library via e-book so I need to, but knowing what happens with Jamie and Laoghaire makes me not want to.

        • Keep going. This isn’t a series where everything always goes peachy, but is worth the read. Sara Donati’s “Into The Wilderness” (+ the other books in the series) is another great read. It is very cool that you can get e-books out from your library, we haven’t quite made it to that point here in New Zealand or at least not as far as I know.

          • Really facinating discussion on books. I too grew up in a family where ‘you never got rid of books’ though fortunately, my parents didn’t buy too many new ones so we were never overun. But you are right, it does leave it’s mark and it has taken me sometime to learn to let go of a book. But now I too have experienced peeling back the layers of ‘there is no way that one is going’ and finding a few weeks later, I can let go.

            Our minds and subconscious are amazing things are they not?

            I still have my Laura Ingalls Wilder though – I re read them every few years. I rarely buy new ones now, prefering to get them from the library.

    • We have a new rule at our house: my husband got an e-reader for his birthday and all “light reading” goes on there.

      Tangible book purchases, from now on, have to be either fantastic bargains in something we DO want to read (not just because it is a bargain) or a “keeper” book, like a reference book or a book we know that we will return to over and over, such as a book of magnificent photography, or a hardbound copy of a favorite read.

      We have five large bookshelves in our home. ALL of our books not currently being read are on shelves. If it were up to me, we would have half as many “keeper” books. Most novels would not be kept after having been read once, because I’m not going to read most novels twice.

      Unlike a music collection (record albums and CDs), books do not get re-read frequently. Our music colection is neatly shelved and is in alphabetical order. We usually have music playing in our home. Yes, I know that I could get all that music on a microchip and have no visible stored music, but I would have to buy it all again (IF some of it was still available), and there is no sense in that, but more importantly, the sound experience is different with real speakers and a turntable, and I enjoy revisiting album cover art and reading the liner notes. I would have no problem digitizing our CD collection, but I do wish to keep our albums. Having said all that, we have two large bookcases for books and a large, solid case for albun storage in our living room (CD’s are on a CD shelf), and a bookcase in each bedroom, so no clutter. Just neatly stored books.

      I love this blog. Thanks for your hard work!

      • Hi Dez,
        this comment just goes to show that one man’s clutter is another man’s treasure. We only have one 5’x4′ bookcase which now mostly houses baseball collectables with half of the bottom shelf dedicated to books. It used to be full of books but they have all gone to new homes. Neither of us are avid readers and we decided that we didn’t look at most of the ones we had and they were being kept for sentimental reasons rather than for usefulness. Now if I could just convince my hubby to narrow down that baseball collection a little more.

        We have a fair amount of music but we sold all the albums, digitised the CD’s, boxed them up (without cases) and hid them in the spare room closet. I have a friend two doors down who removed all his CD’s from their cases and now houses them in folders but has kept the case in the garage. It drives his wife mad. 😆

        • Hi – its funny that you mention boxed up CD’s because that is coming up on my To-Do list. Some of ours are boxed up, and some are still sitting on the shelf (and I really want that shelf back because then I could ALMOST get rid of another half size bookcase).

          As I have said, we digitised ours. I have noticed on trademe (ebay) that people sell bulk lots of cd’s. Obviously they’ve done the digitise thing too, but what got my attention, is that people are buying them in bulk lots!

          • The thing that concerns me with digitising your CD’s is that if you then sell them you really don’t have any proof that you actually owned them. So technically you could be sued by the music industry for having illegal downloads. I know this rarely happens and people illegally download all the time (not me by the way) and it doesn’t sit well with me. I wouldn’t want to leave myself open to a lawsuit.

        • That’s a good thought. I have a friend who is in insurance for total loss, and she suggest taking a photo of all our dvd’s and storing on a flash drive away from the house just in case we ever needed to make a claim, ie that would be proof. I wonder if a photo of the original cd’s would be considered proof of ownership? Must look into that.

          I too, don’t like pirating copies of dvds, cds or books – I have friends who think I’m crazy, butn I hate being ripped off, so do unto others……

          • Exactly Moni, do unto others…
            Have you ever wondered why concert tickets are so dear these days. You can bet it is because the artists aren’t making as much money out of recording because so much of what is acquired by people now is not paid for.

          • that might be true for many artists but not for all of them. I know a couple of artists that became famous via free songs on the internet, because: the more people can hear your music the more people will buy your music.
            this whole debate is really complicated, questions the idea of intellectual property (dont know if this is the right phrase), and leaves people confused. Everytime I think about this I end up thinking: what the **** is a ‘music industry’ anyway. its artist and audience, there shouldnt be a rich industry in between in the first place. but thats just my small opinion. 😉

            as for the CD’s – I decluttered a third of it, digitalised a lot and will try to sell them as soon as possible. The ones that I cant let go of (although I know I wont listen to them again) I will put into one of those folder books, less space and good for displaying.

            • Ah yes Lena, like so many other things modern society has complicated things beyond ridiculous. Everybody has to get their cut. When it comes to music I am sure the share system is insane ~ producers, agents, recording studio, image consultants blah blah blah. It all makes busking seem like the way to go, at least the artist can remain true to themselves and the audience gets the real deal.

              • and thats why I actually dont think its piracy if I watch a video on youtube or similar. I dont know how stricted it is with you people, but here in germany, every other video I want to see is not accessible because of laws and rights. sometimes I wonder whose rights it is, that gets protected if you make sure one country cant see what other countries can.

      • Wow – I thought I was a bookaholic.

        You have obviously thought thru your game plan – but just on a side note re: digitising music, my kids downloaded iTunes onto the PC (yes, doesn’t have to be Mac) and then proceeded to upload the majority of our CD’s onto iTunes, so didn’t cost us a cent. From the kids loaded what they wanted onto their iPods. And they discovered Bon Jovi, Europe, White Snake, Def Leopard & Aerosmith. Now when we (as in parents versus teens) get sick of each other’s music we have a happy compromise Playlist.

        I have been slowly replacing my “keeper” books onto my e-reader. It solved a couple of a number of issues.

        • I found a couple of years ago a credence clearwater revival cassette in my mums collection. we have a huge car ride every year to visit denmark again. if we cant decide on a radio channel, its that tape that is the compromise. we can now both sing along CCR

          • 🙂 For years and years on car trips it was Cat Stevens for us because it was always in the player ie hubby listens to the radio to and from work. Ironically we bought the CD late 90’s as hubby’s parents had a record that was damaged, but they beat us to it.

  2. I tell ya – we should have canceled our cable TV months ago. In the last week or so that we ditched the cable I have managed to accomplish the following:
    Purge my childhood storage box & reduced it from 2 huge Rubbermaid containers down to 1 small container. I’d say easily 75% of that stuff went away.

    Speaking of memory sakes….I managed to go thru ALL the digital photo’s on the Mac & edited down from a little over 12000 photo’s to just under 3000.
    No wonder my computer was bogged down & I had to use external hard drives.
    I alone had 445 photo’s of the wild deer that hang out in our yard. I’ve yet to go back & look thru 445 deer photos as it was just too much – but I will now that I have about 30 super awesome photo’s of the deer.

    I also culled all the “regular” photo’s & reduced that pile from over 1200 down to about 200. Then I took a deep breath & shipped them (insured) to a digital photo scanning company to let them do the dirty work.

    I also realized that the weather is getting seriously toasty here & it’s only gonna get worse – so I went into the attic & spent nearly the whole darn day just ruthlessly purging & re-arranging everything. I found a bunch more stuff to list on Ebay & even more to donate & trash/recycle. I reduced Halloween stuff down to about 7 items from well over 30 items. Christmas stuff I had already culled awhile back – but I checked again & managed to find 10 or so more items to ditch.

    I also took a bunch of photo’s of where & what still remains in the attic so I know exactly where things are at & won’t have to go searching aimlessly should I want a specific item. Really, I shouldn’t have to go up there again unless we need our diving gear as it gets so blooming hot up there come Summer – it’s best not to if you don’t have too.

    I also managed to reduce hundreds of useless computer files, downloaded junk, miscellaneous funnies & countless folders. I freed up over 100 GB of storage on my little Mac. It runs like new again!

    I say it again….I should have ditched cable TV months ago!

    • Alright Jane, well done mate!!!! Perhaps I will ban myself from television altogether for next week just so I can get my blog up to date for while I am away on vacation. Time is fast running out. Your situation just goes to prove that we spend and awful lot of time on mindless activities in our day. I am glad we don’t have cable and for the most part I am multitasking while watching TV but it is still a distraction and perhaps that eBook might actually get written if I removed a few distractions. Having coffee with friends won’t be one of them though. The TV never gets turned on in this house until my husband comes home around 6pm so it isn’t as though I am distracted by it all day.

      Double bonus for you is you are saving money as well. Woo Hoo!!!

    • Good for you Jane,

      I have been down the photo track so many times and I have heaps of Kangaroos that I have gone through and kept the best (these large files are no more!) It does feel good to go through it all and just do it.

      Now you’ve ditched the cable try and save the money (as if you were still paying for it) we did this when we dumped Fox years ago and the money we saved was amazing.

      Again ‘Congratulations’ and enjoy your ‘new’ computer 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Wow, so many amazing posts this week – I still haven’t got through them all.
    All of you sending me positive vibes at the end of last week – I am very happy to report that my lovely husbands 15+ year old long long unusued computer and huge old style screen, that has been on my dining room floor for two years has finally gone to the recycle centre: cue *happy dance*. Much dripping did weareth away the stone in this case :O)

    • Woohoo for you Katharine. I am so pleased, you must be over the moon. Happy finger dancing as I am typing this. I hope he was justly rewarded. 😉

    • Woo hoo to you both,

      The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step! Way to go! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • katherine, congratulations!! good for you! and your husband – and your dining room floor!! isnt the feeling of this area totally new again? 🙂

    • Oh that has got to be such a relief! The scary part is now there will something else that becomes the “elephant” in the room. It’s never ending!

      • Thanks everyone 🙂 I love walking past that empty space soooo much.
        And yes, Colleen, he felt the full abundance of my appreciation and was very justly rewarded.
        An enormous relief, and just one more major elephant to go and then it will be just ‘normal decluttering’, which will be a more long term ‘one thing at a time’ sort of decluttering but I won’t feel overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ in the same way.

  4. I, too, very much enjoyed the Paul Graham article. I was tempted to send it to my husband so he could “get the point” of what I’m always trying to tell him about “stuff”, but I controlled myself. He is a packrat; I am a tosser. We have some spirited discussions about “stuff” at our house, ha ha.

  5. I too enjoyed the paul graham article. I saw a yard full of old cars yesterday, adorning a run down house that had just sold. The multi axle garden feature as don Burke would say, horrid!

    I have gotten bogged down & distracted & now have piles forming thoughout my once tidy home….bother.

    • Oh I can so relate to the junk yard garden. There is a house on the way to my friends house that is just littered with junk. These people must have no respect for their neighbours because their mess is probably lowering the resale value of the neighbours’ houses if not every house in view of that one.

      Dig yourself out of the bog Karen and clear those piles of clutter. I guarantee you will feel better once the task is done.

  6. I really enjoyed Paul Graham’s article. I wish all my friends would read it. I swear that half of them think I’m crazy for getting rid of stuff. One friend asked if I was getting rid of stuff so that I could get new stuff. And it really drives my mom crazy. I’ve stopped telling her what I’m getting rid of because she actually had me ship some of the items to her instead.

    • Anita, I think we have the same mother 🙂

    • Hi Anita, I can imagine your irritation. I’m afraid I might be the annoying person at the reverse side of this scenario, I am the one saying do you really need to buy that or just get rid of it. My friends call me the shopping nazi.

      • lol – I heard that too. especially because I always have the “big picture” and I am not afraid to defend it in a heated discussion about consumerism, the planets environment and justice… people get super offended sometimes, but I do get people thinking once in a while. its good. it makes sense…