Friday’s Favourites ~ 29Mar2013

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!

Jen sums up the problem with being owned by your stuff in this comment.

Melissa gives us an update on her decluttering efforts with the ten casserole dishes.

Jenny knows her weakness when it comes to finicky little chores and has put strategies in place to avoid avoidance. Read about it here.

Fruitcake gives us her take on deprivation in this comment.

This comment from Deb J is short but so true.

A couple of weeks back Cindy was chasing a link which Jo. H ended up finding for her. Her comment had a couple of other links she wanted to share with you. Thanks Jo.

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

Here are two short articles from the guys at The Minimalists that I enjoyed this week ~  It’s Complicated  &  Never Happier.

And here is a post about escaping materialism from Tony over at We Only Do This Once.

Tohami from Midway Simplicity brings us the latest edition of the Midway Decluttering Show this week, featuring  Lorilee Lippincott of Loving Simple Living.

Cindy sent me this link she found with some great ideas on using up leftover vegetables from

This last article has got me stumped and I almost didn’t include it here because I thought the message may not be congruent with what I advocate here at my blog. It was sent to me by Clare with whom I have discussed it with via email. I can’t make up my mind whether the author and I agree on nothing or whether we agree on more than I think but he is coming from a different stance than I. In the end I have decided to share it with you all for no other reason than for your opinion.

Today’s Mini Mission

We all have clutter we would be happier to give to a family member or friend rather then sell or donate. Do this with such an item today.

Eco Tip For The Day

Clean the filters in your home air-conditioning system regularly so it runs efficiently, saving energy and cost and possibly reducing allergy problems.

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. On the last article – I kind of agree a little with what he is saying. What I (personally) got form it was that an over-crowded house can be unmanageable and make you unhappy…but so can minimalism if you are set on cleaning absolutely every little thing to perfection constantly. I feel I would lie between these two extremes..I’m decluttering a lot which is making things more managable and easier to organise, but I’m not overly obsessed with it – the room is a little dusty but that’s not going to keep me awake at night!

    I also agree with the last part of the article – if we need our homes to be 100% perfect all the time in order to be happy – we’ll be just the opposite – unhappy – because they’ll be that smudge on the fridge door, that piece of thread lying on the carpet, those crumbs from that biscuit etc. So I guess our homes should make us happy, they should be pleasant – but it shouldn’t be the only source of our happiness and a little dirt here and there shouldn’t put a dampener on whatever it is we’re doing – i.e not enjoying a film because the room is a little dusty. We should also be wary of believing that if we buy XYZ for our homes, that somehow they’ll be magically pleasant or happier places. In fact I think the best way to a happy home is probably to make happy memories in it, and that is something you just can’t buy.

    That’s just my take on the article, it’ll be interesting to see what other 365’ers have to say on it and compare ideas 🙂

    • Hi Jane that is the messages I thought he was trying to put across. I just found that the way he wrote made it sound like every aspect of the subject was a negative and I wasn’t sure what he was for and what he was against. I am glad you read it the way you did. Did you find his style of writing a little confusing or was it just me.

  2. Colleen,

    I am beyond flattered you mentioned the post!

    As for the last article, I will have to dwell on it a little more as well. Was the author insinuating that minimalism is more labor intensive? Perhaps it is during the purging phase while you are in the midst of changing your behaviors and habits. I’ll ponder it.

    Your posts are so thought provoking, which has perpetuated my thinking and subjects to write about. For this, I thank you!

    Have a great day…

    • Hi Tony, while reading that last article I got the impression that he was associating minimalism and cleanliness with OCD. It read to me like he thought that minimalism was the opposite reaction to the same mental illness that causes hoarding. OCD, I believe, can certainly manifest itself in both over cleanliness and hoarding. The hoarding and dirtiness can results when a perfectionist gives up trying to achieve that perfect result. Perhaps thought he was just suggesting it doesn’t take much to fall over the edge to these issues. Either way in the end, for me, as I said to Jane, it all sounded very negative.

      I read it four times in the end and kept coming up with the same question ~ “What was the message here?”

  3. Another good week for comments. So much good stuff.

    The links were good too. I especially enjoyed The Minamilists article Never Happier. Things just do not buy happiness. Your home can create a setting conducive to happiness by creating an atmosphere where happiness can thrive. I know that for me when I was growing up it wasn’t what we had but the things we did that made me happy. I have a few flashes of pictures in my mind about what our homes looked like but what I remember as being do good were the things we did there and elsewhere.

    The Sunday Times post was, in my opinion, a very wordy way for this guy to say that even trends like minamilism or any other can become an expense or time intensive. If you think that you have to get a bunch of things to be or do anything then you are buying into materialism. The point is that whatever you decide is your style needs to be driven by what makes you feel at home not by what others are doing. And whatever your style is it should be accomplished with good stewardship.

  4. About the last article: I think, all he said was that interior is neither source of nor solution to our bigger life problems. There are bigger questions than what wall color looks best in our living room.

    However, I find he has a funny conception of minimalism.I didn’t really get it anyway. In my mind, “spotless clean”, “minimalistic design” and “decluttering” are only loosely connected.
    Utterly minimalistic Bauhaus design e.g. isn’t any less colourful than Victorian style – it’s just less fluffy and more streamlined. That said a typical fisher’s cottage in the Victorian age wasn’t fluffy either. The early minimalist design for me has always had a simple, democratic approach, it was supposed to be a design for everyone, so it was anti-luxury and designed for workers rather than aristrocrats, but that doesn’t mean that it was supposed to be spotless, shiny or anything in that regard. And I guess there was more than just one Victorian mistress that expected her extensive property to be spotless clean, fluffy cushions, porcelain figurines and all.
    Decluttering is something else altogether as well. It’s just about taking the unneeded away, so it’s just about taking stuff away that bothers you. It doesn’t mean that you have to be bothered by dirty dishes. However, most people are bothered by dirty dishes anyway and decluttering excess can help (and has helped me) to keep this bothering clutter better in check (and makes it easier to keep it in check), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a lazy TV-evening next to a pile of dirty dishes any more. It just means that I own less dishes therefore I’m forced to clean earlier and that pile can’t grow as high anymore as it could a few years back. 😛
    (I am typing this with the dirty dishes still on the dining table – we ate 4 hours back and a used glass right next to me on the couch table. And that doesn’t bother me in the least, as I know I will get this done easily in my daily rhythm and it will take me no more than five minutes either).

    • Hi Sanna I like your interpretation very much. you pointed out a lot of the areas in the article that I had a problem with. Thank you for that as I thought I was reading things into it that weren’t there. I particularly like your statement “And I guess there was more than just one Victorian mistress that expected her extensive property to be spotless clean, fluffy cushions, porcelain figurines and all.” I also found it a bit strange that he seemed to think that Victorian style meant accepted uncleanliness.

  5. Great comments and links this week as always, Colleen, and thanks for including my comments. As far as the last article is concerned, this is my take on it. Having a house is just shelter, but having a home is different. A home is more than just a structure and the items that occupy it. No matter where the home is, no matter the size or type, it is the people and memories that it contains that is important. Some people are happy with many things and some are happy with less, and I am one of those that is happy with less. Once all of the useless things are removed, a person can still be unhappy and could find that the things were just a band aid covering up what really needs to be dealt with. A house or possessions will not bring happiness, happiness comes from within.

    From The Minimalists, what I loved beyond the words, is the picture, it is priceless, because I understand from where his happiness comes and it is from contentment, not from material possessions. Funny the word possessions, although it is a word for things that we own, we find all too many times, that they own us.

    I did today’s mini mission yesterday. I had lunch with some dear friends who were passing through town. I had a rectangular basket (which was going to be donated to Goodwill) that I gave to them in which I put snacks to enjoy for the remainder of their trip home. They were both excited, not just for the snacks, but the wife was already saying that she could use the basket and the snack canisters for food storage as she does not have a lot of cabinet space in their new home.

    It is funny how my attitude towards things and shopping is evolving. A wonderful person in my life bought a gift to me the other day out of the blue. When I saw that I was about to be given something, I cringed (but only on the inside) because I thought it would probably end up being donated eventually. However, it was a useful item, but when special occasions do arise, I will insist that we share time, not more stuff.

    • Hi Jen, that NY Times article and all the interpretation here today just cement my thoughts that it doesn’t clearly state anything as everyone seems to be finding all sorts of meaning in it. That is exactly what I found. Every time I read it I thought he was saying something else. The article reminds me of the feeling I have that contradicts each other. I love to create but in order to create one needs an outlet. That requires either displaying everything I make in my own home, giving it to other people who may or may not appreciate it (cluttering up their homes) or selling it ~ which then makes me a maker/marketer of my stuff which is in itself perpetuation materialism. Perhaps as a designer this man is torn himself but who knows.

      • Oh Colleen, you have brought up an issue I have struggled with for months as I have been decluttering my home. I am an artist who makes items for myself and to sell. I have boxes of finished goods to sell at shops or at shows. My dilemma is that I feel like a hypocrite. I am making things for others to fill their homes with as I fill mine with supplies to make them. I am trying to be responsible and get only the supplies I need and not overbuy, use out of the house what I can, then buy locally and used at yard sales, thrift stores, antique shops and flea markets. I used to do many other types of crafts that created clutter (or what I thought was decoration) but am finding joy in art journaling(for myself, not for profit) and at least, it uses very few supplies and I take months/years to fill one journal. My justification for making art to sell is that someone sees my work as: reusing found objects in a creative way, making something beautiful and/or useful, supporting an indie artist and keeping the purchase local. Is that logical thinking? Does anyone else struggle with this? I just know that for me to be truly happy, my hands need to create art in some way every day, even if it is only a collage in my journal.

        • Kim I can relate very well to what you are saying here. A world without art would be a sad place in my opinion both for the artists and the viewers. So keep on doing what you do.

  6. Responding to the last article: I feel more at peace in spaces that are uncluttered. After I’ve done a big clean-up of an area, it makes me happy to just stand in the area and look around. I am happy that I’ve made a lifestyle change toward keeping things tidier everyday, so I don’t have to panic clean before somebody comes over. I prefer to live this way. At the same time, the effort I’ve put into decluttering and maintaining a higher level of housekeeping could have been put into other areas of my life. Over the last 6 months, I’ve spent a lot of time decluttering and a lot of time thinking about decluttering. I’ve now changed to a slow and steady approach that isn’t taking up a lot of time, and shifted that self improvement energy toward losing weight. Both of these good pursuits have been competing with the energies focused on finishing my degree, on maintaining friendships, cooking good meals, and other good things.

    I think we all have to find our own life balance. Sometimes I find myself delving into one good pursuit as a procrastination tactic for a more important good pursuit. But that’s certainly better than delving into something useless as a procrastination tactic. Somebody following Colleen’s approach would avoid this potential life balance issue, I was just impatient for a while.

    • Fabulous comment Rebecca J. Instead of dissecting the article you have translated it and explained how elements of it fit the life you are living. Wonderfully tying together your own contradictions, achievements and future goals and how they don’t always seem to coordinate with one another. Yet among it all you are exploring your own existence making changes in an attempt to mould your life into the best it can be. Instead of hiding behind stuff you are questioning everything and adjusting as you go.

      Even those procrastination tactics can be learned from. Perhaps there is a reason we follow certain pursuits to avoid others. Perhaps in that case we need to question the pursuit avoided to see if it is really what we want in life or just what society makes us think we should want or maybe it is a fear of failure we are avoiding. And as you say, it is better to follow good pursuits to avoid other good pursuits than to follow useless ones. Materialism, to me, is a quite futile pursuit indeed.

  7. I loved the little “It’s Complicated” article. My husband and I drive each other nuts and bicker all the time – but we also love each other like crazy and wouldn’t change a thing about each other. It is frustrating and wonderful at the same time, and yes, it can be complicated! We’ve been married for nearly seven years and I still learn new things about him every day.

    My most important goal, and something that is more difficult than I expected, is to treat my husband with the same respect if we argue as I would treat a friend if we argued. I wouldn’t dream of bawling out a friend or screeching at them like a harpy because they didn’t do something the way I wanted them to, so it’s not okay to bawl out my husband who is the most important person in my life. But isn’t it strange how we so often think it’s okay to behave at our worst with the people we’re closest to?

    I’m not sure what this has to do with the declutter theme but it was interesting all the same 🙂

    • Jenny, I think it is neat that you figured this out about how you should be treating your husband. I think the reason we treat those we love sometimes worse than those we don’t is because we know they love us enough to put up with us. But like you say that doesn’t make it right. We need to learn a new way of ridding ourselves of that aggressive behavior. I think it is great that you are trying to do that.

    • I guess it’s also because we expect much more from the people we love.

    • Hi Jenny, you are right it is interesting. Perhaps that is something you could work on with your husband. I think you should still be able to say to one another what you are finding annoying about them at the time but perhaps you need to practice doing it in a gentler, less confronting way.

      I think getting things off your chest (being honest) with people you are in a relationship is a good thing, even with friends. How else are people to know that they are doing things within that relationship that is not good for each other. Holding things has the potential to destroy relationships every bit as much as arguing.

  8. Thanks for the mention, Colleen!

  9. Just wanted to thank Deb J. for the following comment she made a couple days ago. “She never realized the amount of books she had until she started gathering them all in one place.” I gathered up all the blankets, quilts, and coverlets from the linen closet and from the guest room and put them on my bed. With them all in one place, I could clearly see I had too many, so a few of them went to the donation pile.

    • Anita, isn’t it interesting how bringing it all together in one place can open your eyes to how much you have? I’m glad it helped you.

    • Hi Anita, so many of my readers are decluttering linen at the moment. It is like some sort of tease for me as I need a duvet for my spare bed so my son can take his duvet, to his new home, that is on that bed at the moment. I will likely be able to use the duvet from what is, at the moment, my daughter’s room once she leaves in possibly a couple of weeks. She intends to take her bed so I won’t need an extra duvet. In the meantime my sister is coming to visit so I need my son’s duvet for now. As it is my son will just have to wait until my sister leaves but I could borrow or buy used in the meantime but I don’t want to.

      That sounded like a big whine didn’t it and it was. After reading all that I think the solution is that my son and I just need to be patient for a couple of weeks.

  10. Wow, great comments on the article I sent. I am glad you posted it, Colleen. I really agree with Jane’s comments and that was my interpretation, too. I also like Rebecca’s comments on procrastination, and Sanna had a lot of great points. The author was tying together so many things. He could have written his whole article just on the differences between architectural styles and how they’ve reflected our ideas about cleanliness, neatness, etc. Instead, he briefly contrasts two very opposite styles, Victorian and Minimalism, while throwing in Le Corbusier, Ikea, and Martha Stewart to boot. At the beginning of the article he wonders “when” people started equating domestic perfection with the good life, but then further into the article, it’s more about “why” than “when,” and he makes generalizations that don’t fully answer the question. I’m not sure he meant to sound so negative about decluttering, cleanliness, and minimalism, but he still comes off that way. The most clear messages that came across to me, and which I agree with, were that our state of mind should not be dependent on the state of our home, and that sometimes obsession about our environments might be a symptom of deeper problems we have but are avoiding. But I think that can also work the opposite way, and that clearing up and working on our environments can help us to think more clearly. He also brings up how marketing promotes concepts about home improvement in an unhealthy way so we’ll buy more things, which is true. The article did generate good discussion and thoughts, so in that respect, it was definitely worth a read. Thanks again for posting it.

    • Hi Clare, thank you again for sending me this article. It sure did get me and subsequently our readers thinking. But as you say it is full of confused messages. I agree wholly with your interpretation.

  11. On the NY Times article, I think he meant don’t get confused about what your problem really is–like the last sentence that the guy didn’t need a new house, what he needed was a divorce. I didn’t feel he was really talking decluttering though, but more extreme minimalism. I have noticed on the few times I feel a little down, just getting busy and straightening a closet, etc. does help, so if that is confusion about any problem, its a lot cheaper than therapy. I have known only one “perfect housekeeper” and she didn’t seem particularly happy–much less her husband and kids. When our kids were at home, we managed to keep the house fairly orderly (at least before the teen years) and since the children had different hair coloring and complexions and physical builds, we mostly did not do hand me down, but had 2 garage sales a year at get rid of it prices. Right now the decluttering efforts are mainly stuff that has just accumulated–aspirations and useful at one time but not anymore type stuff. Or like having too many blankets, like was mentioned. It is hard to know how much you have when it is in different places, and it has been fun to find something which I had forgotten I had, and which I have a very current need for. And of course there is that lost weight feeling when stuff goes to the thrift store–maybe that is confusion therapy, too. So maybe we are not decluttering, but are confused about our real problem, LOL.

    • Hi Nana, once again a good interpretation of the article. I think perhaps it was what he didn’t say in the article, as much as what he did, that left me confused about his message. As I have said in the comments previously blaming one’s clutter while ignoring the real problems in one’s life is certainly a possibility. What the author of this article doesn’t mention is that the clutter may well have accumulated for the same reason. Buying stuff to bring joy to a life that is otherwise unhappy for one reason or another. However continuing to buy can cause problems like debt, clutter and environmental repercussions while a turn towards a more minimalist lifestyle is likely to reveal the real problem making it hard to ignore and forces you to deal with it. Speaking from my own experience, the act of learning that stuff doesn’t make you happy can help one to reflect on themselves which can improve ones relationships with not only oneself but also with those around them.

      You and Deb J are so right, bring like articles together, so one can see how many they have, can certainly induce the realisation that too much is the answer to that exercise.