Friday’s Favourites ~ 26July2013

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.

Favourite Comments. Enjoy!

June has a way to help her realise just how much clutter she has removed. Read about it here.

Sassy has an example of family members learning from one another no to burden those left behind with their clutter in this comment.

Melissa now realises how the little things do add up.

From experience Jen has learned that the best way to organise is to declutter.

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

Here is another collaborative consumption option ~ 

Wendy F sent in this link to give us something to think about when buying clothes. ~

And here is a link my husband suggested ~

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something your kids have grown out of, physically or intellectually. If you don’t have children declutter and old souvenir or home décor item.

Eco Tip For The Day

Using electricity off-peak doesn’t save electricity but it can lessen the strain at peak times which can result in a reduced necessity to  increase infrastructure.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Sharing others’ wisdom Today I just want to share with you a couple of post from other bloggers that I enjoyed, and a comment from one of your fellow 365ers. 1. A great article ~ For many people, gathering […]
  • Friday’s Favourites ~ 1Nov2013 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 […]
  • Friday’s Favourites ~ 25Oct2013 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Hi Colleen! I really liked the link about clothes and the conditions on which they are made. I have told you that, recently I bought a wool blouse from Hering and was disappointed at myself for not looking at the label BEFORE buying and I would have seen it was exported from Bangladesh and that I would have bought a local brand, produced here. On the other hand as the report says I am helping Bangladesh economy and from what I have seen in a documentary I watched in March, I might even be helping prevent young girls from marrying at the age of 13/14, because they go to work in the textile industry, become independent and therefore need not a husband to support them. And they even keep going to school. So, how do we work to have a win-win situation? For the environment, I know that buying less is the better solution. I know that buying locally is the best, because I am supporting my own economy, but should I want to buy a brand that has factories in countries like Bangladesh, I should ask for what? Certificates? Search the internet to see where it is produced? Complain on Facebook and other social networks for labours working conditions? These are some of the questions I have when buying clothing.

    • Andreia – about 7 years ago I met a lady who had a clothing factory in a particular country and at the time there was a lot of public outrage about work conditions. I can’t remember how we came to talk about it but she told me that it wasn’t quite what was portrayed in the media, the majority of her employees were wives or daughters who were earning extra money for the household, there was a waiting list for employment at her factory and the staff had built in their own ideas about extra renumeration which never got mentioned in the media. During the tourist season they would go on strike demanding a particular amount of bonus pay, and she said that at least a quarter of her stock would ‘disappear’ to be sold on the market. When she first shifted production to this country she offered higher wages all year to bypass the bonus payment and stock disappearing but they couldn’t get their heads around that arrangement and it was how they’d always done things and fit in with an aspect of their traditional system of money. They liked bargaining for a big bonus and they thought it was fair to putting in the effort to sell stuff at the tourist markets to earn extra cash for themselves especially as they’d made the items (never mind the fabric and machinery and wages actually paid to make it). So the owner/boss said she just goes with the flow now. I was obviously only hearing one side of the story and I’ve never visited her factory but it was another perspective. Personally I’d love to see more clothing manufactured in my country by people who live here, would pay tax here etc but I do I want to pay four times what I do now for clothing? Well, yes in principle but no in reality. It would have to be an across the board sweeping change for everyone but in reality it would mean some serious re-education on how we manage our wardrobes and clothe our families. And I have to admit that I would not enjoy paying four times the amount for an item of clothing and doubt the government would be willing to drop taxes (due to the drop in unemployment) as they’d be having to help the manufacturing businesses get things up and running. Its a tough one especially as food costs seem to rise every year (and its grown/raised here) and electricity costs seem to rise every year etc (and its generated from water which we have plenty of here).

      • I’d just like to add I don’t condone the conditions that the workers in the Bangladesh factory worked under, I understand the owner was aware of structural damage prior to the quake.

      • Hi Moni! I really liked your input. Costs seem to be a major problem when buying locally. Although we do have a strong textile industry very near to where I live, with the Chinese and other products coming into the market, our local cheapest is still twice as expensive as the imported one. Quality plays a big part in my shopping and I do find quality items, at a good price, produced here.
        I think that if you were to buy excellent quality pieces of clothing, I think you would pay more, but you would buy a lot less. We would teach ourselves to care better for our clothing and that clothing would last a lot more (and not look ragged after the first wash…argh!!!). I think it all comes back to how many pieces of clothing we (and our children) really need. I guess we could be more resourceful with our means.
        And speaking of clothes, I think the wardrobe is staying for a while yet. I have to be patient, because the person whom I sold it to still has not had time to come and pick the thing up.

        • Andreia – I’ve decided that I can’t save the world, but I can make my home as nice and well run as possible, and some days that in itself can be a challenge, so I’ll get on with that!

    • Hi Andréia, I have to admit I do not have the answers to your question. Personally I have never been one to read the labels on the clothes I buy except to identify if the fabric is Rayon or dry-clean only ~ those I will not buy. I buy so few clothes these days in comparison to the average women that I feel I am contributing so little to the problem that I am making a reasonable good stand just by doing that. I don’t look at clothes and think ‘Oh, that is so cheap I will have half a dozen whether I need them or not.” I consider what I need, choose items I think are well constructed and versatile and then wear them to death. Also half of what I do buy is secondhand. I feel I am doing the right thing by the environment while someone else might think I am damaging economies with my anti-consumerist stand.

      All that being said I will, from now on, make a point of reading the labels, as to the manufacturing country, and take that into consideration when pruchasing. And like you said there are two sides to every argument. Don’t buy from disreputable companies and the people don’t have jobs, buy and they are working in poor conditions, it is almost a lose lose situation. I watched a program once on the people living in the slums of Mumbai, they can’t possible be the safest of buildings either and the people were up in arms about the government trying to tear down their beloved homes. So I wonder, who are we to judge what is acceptable in other people’s countries.

  2. Thank you for the nice picks, Colleen!
    I especially liked the one suggested by your husband. A completely new-to-me blog and I like the writing style.
    About the fashion one: I see that fashion industry is a huge problem, but at least it is starting to get attention now. More and more brands use at least organic cotton (though that doesn’t mean no sweat shop, but it improves at least the health of the workers harvesting the cotton and the people living in that environment) and clothes production is getting a lot of attention in the media lately, as well as non-sweat-shop alternatives. I feel I’m at least able to choose ethically with a little research. There are complete other branches that haven’t come so far yet. For example the whole electronics industry: oftentimes there simply is no ethical choice. Actually I dread that I might need a new phone soon. There is one very new brand that tries hard for it, but even they aren’t completely “fair-trade” yet: As far as computers (or our beloved e-readers) go, there is nothing available or even in the making as far as I know.
    This is really bugging me.

  3. Colleen, some good stuff as usual. The one of clothes is very good and will help me think through clothing purchases more in the future. The one your husband gave you is really good. I think I will subscribe to the feed for a while. Thanks for another good week.

  4. I like today’s format, it seems less cluttered. 🙂
    Great comments again and easy to read links.

  5. I enjoyed the links, especially the one from your husband. Wouldn’t it be a leap of faith to live like that even for a year or two. It was interesting how the ‘loss’ cost was so much greater than the ‘purchase’ price. Good fact to keep in mind.

    I’m chipping away this week – its been warmer so it has been easier to feel more motivated. And today is the last day of the school holidays and Dayna has been helpful with progress. Today we were admiring how many empty storage bins we have stacked up in the garage.

    • Hi Moni, I agree, it would take quite a leap of faith. We took our own leap of faith today and put in a final offer on a two bedroom apartment in town. Yikes, lots of money. However, within a block of the building there is a cinema, a bakery, five cafés, a pub, a grocery store (actually in the same building) a bus stop that just about every bus in town goes by and the train station is just up the street as well there is a farmers market that sets up at least Fri and Sat that I know off. My husband will be working in Canberra next year, five hours away and he will be taking the car. I will be going car free, so that public transport and handy conveniences will be very helpful. I feel both excited and broke. 😆

      • Colleen – so you’ve decided not to move town?
        Apartment sounds fantastic, Adrian was just saying the other day that he would like us to try apartment living one day. Of course that would be after the kids have left home…….and the pets.

        • I wish I could buy an apartment just for me and retire to it. I’d find me a nice big studio and settle in with my few things. Ah! Don’t I wish.

          • Deb J – if it makes you feel any better, I wish I had an apartment just for me too! But that comes from living with a household of teenagers and it being the end of the two week school holiday………. 🙂

          • LOL!!! I so understand Moni.

        • I can tell you all one thing, I am up for a little more decluttering before Oct 14th though. One table, one outdoor setting, two Ikea tub chairs, a work bench and perhaps some clothes, some wall art and other odds and ends. But definitely not my swimmers.

      • Wow Colleen! This is great. By in town do you mean there in Newcastle? Will you be staying there then and hubby living in Canberra? Ugh! But you can always go see him and it will give you a nice place to retire too. I’m excited for you.

        • Yes, Deb J, in the inner city of Newcastle. Steve will go to Canberra but is working 4 days on 6 days off so can spend half his time here.

          • I’m so glad you are not moving cities. I think you really like Newcastle and with Steve’s schedule you have a great setup. I’m excited for you.

  6. Hey Colleen – really excited for you re the apartment: a whole new phase of your life together.

    I really enjoyed the link your husband provided. That level of minimalism has an appeal to me. I can’t imagine reaching that level of so few belongings and I am never going to be a traveller, but it certainly encourages me to keep chipping away at what I do own.
    I’m like you with clothes – I own so few compared with the average western woman it seems that it’s not a huge issue for me. I loved getting rid of 70% of my wardrobe 2 years ago – it has been a huge relief to just work with a few key items I love and be released form the tyranny of clothes shopping. We’ve just had a 2-3 week heat wave here in the uk and I did panic a little at the beginning, thinking I would have to shop for a few more things. But loathing of cloths shopping won, lol, and it never happened and I found I managed fine with 2 dresses, one pair of shorts and 2 tee shirts and one blouse for 3 weeks, for work and play.

    • Hi Doodle, I don’t think I could live permanently like the guy in that story. I like having a home base, hence the apartment.
      I can relate to what you are saying about your loathing of clothes shopping convincing you to manage with what you have during the heat wave. That is how I feel about my upcoming trip to the UK. I will just bring a variety of things that I can layer so I am prepared for all whether conditions, and just keep my fingers crossed that that is enough. If that fails I go looking for a thrift shop. Where do you live Doodle, perhaps we could meet up somewhere.

  7. I have been trying to ‘eat down’ the pantry and the freezer, but faced the irony that to use up some pantry items would require purchasing of other goods (ie in a recipe) and generally those goods come in a packet that far our exceeds what the recipe required. Today I discovered a store down town which sells every imaginable dry good, spices and general ingredients in bulk buy bins. My daughter’s friend works there and so we popped in to say hello and discovered this. They had the items I was on the look out for and they even lent me a measuring cup to get the right quantities. I think it will be possible to reduce my pantry dry-goods even further. I recently heard from an elderly couple that my hubby looks out for that they wish they didn’t have to buy dry goods in such large quantities, so I will be telling them about it. The store was surprisingly busy so I think it is probably one of those ‘best kept secret’ stores.

    • Lucky devil Moni, I wish we had a store like that in Newcastle. We had several option for this kind of shopping in the USA but not here is Newcastle. There are several organic food places opening up so I will keep and eye on them in case they adopt this idea. I do wish the organic didn’t mean three times the price though.

      • Colleen – yes I’m happy to discover this, there used to be a small chain store called “Bin Inn” here in NZ which was similar but it seems to have disappeared. I always thought of Bin Inn as in buying bulk but I can gear this in the opposite direction. As I said, I know some elderly people who would be happy to learn of this option, especially as pensioners have unlimited bus pass during school hours, so travelling across town wouldn’t bother them. What’s more it is a very picturesque part of town with lovely cafes. Next door to this shop was a butchers shop and it also looked busy, always a good sign in my opinion. They had a variety of ready for the crock pot stews and casseroles and they had ready for the pan meat dishes too. This particular part of town has the most high rise buildings and so I imagine it is very popular with the apartment dwellers.

    • Moni, I love those types of stores. We have one near us that sells a lot of things that way including spices. I nice way to try new recipes too.

      • Deb J – exactly what I had in mind. I always feel a bit unsure purchasing bottles of spices for an untried recipe.

  8. It is funny, since it seems that all things are just considered “small”, when in fact, the mental clutter/impact is huge! Usually, the little things are the things that “makes the bucket overflow”, as they say here.

    • Hi Dymphy, I can very much relate to your thoughts here. Those little things can very much weigh on your mind even when you aren’t consciously thinking about them. We know in the back of our head that they are there and need to be dealt with. I have several of those things at the moment. With the prospect of moving into the two bedroom apartment we just committed to buying I am seeing several things around here that just aren’t going to fit in. Things that have so far been kept because they are occasionally useful and because we had more than enough room to store them. Now they need to go and we have little time left to deal with that. As soon as the contract has been signed the purging must commence in earnest. In the meantime I will deal with getting rid of some of these items as I know I don’t wish to keep them either way.