Friday’s Favourites ~ 2Mar2012

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!

Here is a comment I wouldn’t want anyone to miss from Julia St. Charles. I particularly loved the last paragraph.

Lena gives some great advice in this comment about offloading CDs.

Becky has a tip for gardeners and using old tatty sheets in the comment.

Here is a clever tip from Anita that might be useful if you need a little help weeding out your unused linen.

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

Here is The Minimalists opinion of DVD collections ~ Letting go of your DVD collection

If you don’t meditate it is high time you started. Read up about it, the more you learn the more likely you will find the information that works for you. That might seem an odd thing to say but I have found personally that some explanations on meditation didn’t gel for me but the more I read the more I understood how to switch myself off. The practice is different for everyone I think. Now enjoy this link with good reasons to start. Jeff Munn Coaching ~ How-to-start-a-meditation-practice

This article from ~ How-selfishness-ruining-society-turning-children-monsters is sad but true. The author (Sue Gerhardt) and book they mention is the one I am reading at the moment.

And just for a laugh to lighten things up after that last article here is the latest Unitasker offering from ~ The Shirt Shuttle . Seriously!!

Here is a little credit card advice from Spendwisemom ~ Reduce the number of credit cards you have. And here is some extra free advice from me on the subject. If you can’t afford what you want don’t buy it.

Today’s Declutter Item

Is it any wonder my daughter decluttered all this stuff. At 22 she has surely matured past wanting any of it. Four years makes a big difference in the lives of the young.

More of the items my daughter decluttered

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Finding time to rest my mind. It has been a busy week for me and I needed a little brain space today. I sat and meditated for a while with some soothing music. Even a small rest can make a big difference when done properly.

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

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Friday’s Favourites ~ 16 Dec 2011 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 […]
  • 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Well, the husband surprised me yet again. I washed every single bit of linen and all the towels in the house and left them on the bed and said he could look through them when he wanted (which meant sometime before bedtime, since it was covered, but that’s my secret), and he put over 60% of it in the giveaway pile for the animal shelter. I was a little confused when he split up sets and decided my good towels could go, though, so we made some compromises (‘I’ll get rid of this if you let go of this’). It was actually pretty fun. Now we’re down to 6 towels/3 hand towels and 5 sheets (not complete sets, and this number makes sense since he likes to change them often), 3 fitted sheets and 8 pillowcases.

    • Good approach, faith. You must be quite pleased with the outcome!

    • Well done Faith and hubby. I wrote a short post once about communication called Don’t Assume take a look at it as it is related to your situation. Never assume things are sacred to someone else when decluttering because that assumption may simply be all in your head. I have made this mistake before. As you progress through your project and the people around you notice how pleasing it is to you and realise the benefits of having less clutter around they can automatically become less attached to their own stuff. So it pays to pass things by them that you think they aren’t prepared to part with as they may well have changed their attitude towards it.

    • Well done.

      Here’s our secret for minimal linens:

      We only buy white hotel-type towels from the hotel and restaurant supply outlet. We buy white sheets there, too.

      If we get a set of print sheets as a gift I return them to the store, if possible, and exchange for white or for a solid color that goes with our home wall colors (greens, blues, ocean colors). That way, if it doesn’t “match,” it coordinates, and as sheets and pillowcases wear our, solids can be mixed with whites or other colors in the same range (blues, greens) and still look nice.

      The top quilt or blanket provides color in the bedroom, as do curtains and the throw rug.

      If we get nice towels as a gift they go in the half-bath for guests to use.

      • Hi Dez
        when we shifted into this house about 5-6 years ago, my sis-in-law insisted I replace all our linens which were tattered and tired looking, and she insisted on white towels and face clothes, and white sheets. We bought bathmats and hand towels to coordinate with the colour scheme, so there isn’t a major expense if we want to re-decorate.

        At the time my protest was white is such a bad colour with kids, and she came straight back with the answer of bleach. I’ve only had to bleach one so far. It is sooooooo easy, because we always have a matching set, if I need to buy replacements, they match.
        And it makes our laundry cupboard look so un-chaotic.

        Makes it easy with sheets and pillow cases too. Everything matches, no scrambling around trying to find the matching pillow case or top sheet.

        • I like this idea Dez & Moni. I will do this the next time I buy new towels. Right now I am stuck with towels that are in too good a shape to get rid of. BUT, the next time I need them I will get white. Same with sheets. I had a set and when they got ratty I got rid of them and bought navy blue ones because there was some bits of navy in the quilt on my bed. Wrong move. Next time it is white all the way. I’m like you about being able to bleach them.

  2. I remember reading Julia’s comment and thinking how true it was; she really captured some good advice there for parents with kids of any age.

  3. “The Minimalist”‘s take on a DVD collection is not sitting quite right with me. Granted, I own about five DVDs – all of which are favorites that I have watched at least five times each. I don’t see that as limiting new experiences, but rather a small collection designed to pick me up when I’m feeling down. They are a wonderful safety net if friends are unavailable, and in no way hoarding.

    There is a danger to espousing one’s opinion about the nature and benefit of collections as universally applicable. I felt that their article crossed that line, even though I completely agree with the sentiment of living for the future and not wasting money on *unwanted or unloved* collections.

    Similarly – the phrasing of the link made it seem like the opinion of the bloggers stood for minimalists everywhere. That certainly isn’t the case. (Bad minimalist PR is a bit of a sticking point for me – trying to dispel the notion that minimalists all couch-surf, live out of a backpack, have <100 belongings, and love white walls!)

    • Totally agree. That site in particular is a little confusing at times–they switch from “we’re not perfect minimalists, and neither do you have to be” to “It’s absurd to not think this way, this is just common sense” (when it usually isn’t). It’s hard to find a minimalist website that doesn’t have a touch of arrogance about it.

    • Hi Aurelia, I agree with you entirely about stereotyping minimalists. I am not even sure I would call myself one but they certainly aren’t all the same. To my consumerist friends I probably am a minimalist. The phrasing of the link was not intended to mean all minimalists had this opinion on DVDs you will notice the The Minimalists is written with a capital T & M because it was meant to refer to the blog The Minimalists. I have now added a link to the blog over these words so it is more obvious that the opinion belongs to them and not to the entire minimalist movement.

      I don’t thing they had people like you in mind when they wrote this post. I think they were really referring to people who have large collections who spend many hours on a regular basis with their eyes locked on their television. Or at least that is how I read it. Sorry if you found it offensive.

      • I promise I didn’t find it offensive!! (Now I feel bad . . ) Just thought it was a little misleading for those unaware of the minimalist movement and the variety it encompasses. Adding a link was a great idea, and definitely clarifies that it is a blog rather than a spokesperson.

        • Don’t feel bad Aurelia your opinion wasn’t in anyway uncalled for. I can’t deny there was a certain element of arrogance about the article. I have to admit also that there are a lot of minimalist blogs that I don’t read because I don’t believe in their unique philosophies on living with less. Particularly the ones where they seem to spend most of their time trying to sell you their eBooks rather than write thought provoking or helpful articles. It seems that some people have just jumped on the bandwagon in the hope to profit from the movement but don’t really believe in it and will soon move on if something better comes along. Some already have, moved on that is.
          So please don’t feel bad. But do ask yourself why it made you feel defensive ~ if that is the right word ~ in the first place. I would love to know where that train of thought takes you.

          • like the 100 thing challenge guy. I just love the idea, but there is not one single great post/blog entry on his website, but you have to buy the book. whats the point?

            thats why I love it here. you are providing a platform, where not just you and Cindy spread the word, but also other people. I learned so much from this community.

            and as for the DVD collections, I agree. I will never ever give up my disney movies, because I need them to make me feel good and happy again, when I have a really bad day. But I do have movies I for sure wont watch again, so there is a point to it too.

          • Well there were two things that made me defensive

            1. When writing descriptors for the links, The Minimalist sentence was the only one where the fact that it was linking to a blog was unclear. Combined with the name of their blog (which, although capitalized is easy to mistake as ‘this is the minimalist opinion of’) it just stuck out to me. Totally unintentional on your part, hence my horror that you thought I found it offensive! I choose the minimalist label partly to dispel the stereotype and get people thinking about their belongings – it has definitely had an impact. I think words, and the subtleties between them, are very powerful conveyors of ideas and group identities. Stereotypes are powerful mechanisms for maintaining an ordered view of the world. They can also hinder social movements and negative ones induce knee jerk reactions against the idea or lifestyle – which is why I pointed it out.

            2. The article itself was indeed judgmental. You have written about similar themes (keeping only as much as you need and love, looking at unused collections critically) much much better. Defensive isn’t the right word with the article, something more like offended and skeptical (scoff in verb form). I can guarantee you that one or both of “The Minimalists” have a collection of something, which another blogger would find ridiculous and unnecessary. Hence the abrasive reaction: not once did they say that a DVD collection was something that others might find useful and meaningful. Decluttering/minimalist/voluntary simplicity looks different for everyone precisely because it is about finding what is important in your life and cutting out that which isn’t. For some, a large DVD collection is extremely important. The article failed to address that point. Because of that failure they turned a good idea – look at your large collections and really think about why you need all of it – into “having DVDs is bad and limits you from creating new experiences”.

            Hopefully my train of thought is illuminating!

    • Very much agree with both Aurelia and Faith. I read some minimalist websites that I don’t feel are arrogant at all (Becoming Minimalist is one, Minimalist Mom is another), but The Minimalists definitely has a grating tone at times. A lot of times.

      • Hi min hus,
        I must admit I only read the post from The Minimalists that I find interesting or relevant to something I have recently written about. I included this post this week because the mini mission were centred on digital clutter. Sometimes it is a fine line between encouraging people to declutter certain things and sounding too judgemental about it. Please feel free to let me know if ever I cross that line. That is what the comments section is all about.

  4. Those were some great comments. I think we are on a roll here with good comments to great posts. I saw that Shirt Shuttle in an online add and couldn’t believe how odd it seemed to me. I have packed a weeks worth of clothes in a carry on and didn’t have to iron a thing. Why would I need a Shirt Shuttle? Weird. I think that article about Selfishness was great. I have shared it on Facebook. Thanks for the great favorites links.

  5. My younger daughter 13 nearly 14 is more reluctant to get rid of items that she is sentimental about – her ‘treasures’ are quite ecletic but should fit in her storage bin, but for her, DVD’s are what she’s reluctant to let go of. We have weeded out half that she was happy to let go of, but there is still a good 50-60 she was prepared to fight to the death over.
    I have offered to replace as a digital version thru iTunes, but she’s not convinced. I don’t want to push the issue too much, as I reason that the 17 year old and 15 year old got to live out their younger years in our cluttered memorabilia. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

    I have a buyer lined up for the cabinet the DVD’s live in, who is prepared to wait. I thought about maybe I could put the disks in flip-folders or ????
    In case you’re wondering, she’s a very active kid, and doesn’t seem to spend that much time in front of the TV. What do you do when someone digs in their heels. Retreat? Live to fight another day?

    • Moni,
      my advice is that it is her stuff and it is up to her to decide when she is ready to part with it. Store them in her bedroom somewhere and sell the shelf you are wanting to sell. Not only does she have the choice to keep her stuff she also should have the responsibility to store and take care of it in her space. This is good training for her. She may not be willing to part with the boxes and covers so using a flip folder may not be an option but it isn’t a bad one to reduce the space they take up but once again that should be her decision.

      I am sure that at 13 going on 14 she didn’t acquire all those DVDs without help or permission. So you can’t really turn around now and say she must part with them. Even though it is admirable and you are setting a good example by reducing your own clutter and getting you home in order the other members of the family can only be encouraged not forced to do the same. As I said though, her stuff her responsibility, let her know that they will be stored in her bedroom in the future and make plans with her as to how you will go about that. Perhaps if she doesn’t want them taking up her space she might be willing to part with a few more of them.

      • Moni,
        My tip as a mother of an ex-teen (who still is prepared to talk with me) :- keep your battles to the really important issues – then make sure you win!

  6. Oh, I have to disagree with the minimalist DVD guys. I don’t have a huge collection but I do have movies that I love and watch over and over. Maybe 5? That I never get tired of. I also have a few seasonal favorites that I will watch every year. Still the total “collection” fits in a space next to my viewing system. If it ever expanded I would just decide what had to go because the space is the limit.

    • Hi Delores – the minimalist dvd guys probably were talking about people like us – our insurance rep suggested laying out all our DVD’s and getting a photo for proof in case of a claim – we covered the lounge floor – 100+ totally ridiculous, we had no idea that we had that many! Ironically, that is what flicked the switch in me to start decluttering. Am working on weeding down DVD’s but our youngest doesn’t want to get rid of her favourites from childhood so we still have 50-60.

      • Moni, I am slightly amused by the fact that you are the one reader admitting to have over 100 DVDs and yet you seem to be the one who didn’t take offence to The Minimalists point of view. My husband has had a pile of DVDs on his desk with the thought to declutter them for about two weeks now, I must do a little encouraging to let them go. He was going to try to sell them but after a little investigation he discovered there was little to be gained from that. He is probably now thinking he might as well keep them.

      • I love the suggestion from the insurance rep. I’d hate to replace everything I own, but then again maybe I wouldn’t replace it if I didn’t know I owned it.

    • Hi Delores,
      I am sure the Minimalists aren’t talking about people who have just a few favourite DVDs like you. Even so perhaps they were being a little harsh and judgemental and forgot they weren’t preaching to the converted. Insulting people isn’t the way to get them to think differently about their way of living. There is a big difference between decluttering and becoming a minimalist with plenty of comfortable middle ground in between. We should all be content to find our own middle ground. I think mine keeps shifting but that is OK too.

  7. I really like your blog, Colleen. Your comment about meditation is spot on. There are many different ways to meditate, including some that can fit into the busiest lifestyle. For example, I practice mindfulness meditation, but not all that often as a “sitting practice”. Instead, I practice being aware and present during small, discrete activities during the day, such as a conversation with my children, or a run. Much more achievable, and makes me more likely to practice!

    • Hi Kim,
      thank you very much and welcome to 365 Less Things. That is exactly right you can spend just one minute a day meditating and it makes a big difference. Being aware and truly present in something you are doing instead of concerning yourself with the next task is just as therapeutic. I will have to read that book you mentioned in you blog post. Here is one for you to consider reading if you haven’t already. Awareness by Anthony De Mello. I love it and it is the only book I keep on a continuous basis and reread passages. Although I thought my mum and my sister would benefit from reading it so I gave my copy to them. My daughter has a copy I gave her that she has never read so I will have to get her to send it back to me.

  8. I cannot believe the credit card/credit rating story! It seems like blackmail to me – and I would be really angry about it if I was in that situation.

    Just another example of this crazy upside down world we live in where mindless buying (preferably on credit) is seen as a good thing and aspiring to live simply and debt free is seen as subversive.

    Aussies – see this example for us:

    • Hi Calico ginger,
      I am so glad you pointed out that Gerry Harvey story because I was about to respond to your comment asking if you had read it. There is a counter argument to everything he states in that article. I know that people stand to loose their jobs, heck half of my friends worked for Sleep City Holdings that he mention has just gone bust but we can’t keep the money going round by polluting the planet. There has to be a better way. And people can’t keep living on credit in order to purchase stuff they don’t even need. Oh I so want to call him and arrogant ass but perhaps he actually believes the bull he spins. Well he’s not convincing me that’s for sure.

    • the credit card story was really strange. I do NOT understand how it is normal to have more than one credit card. and how it can be actually harming, if you get rid of the excess ones.apparently the USA is even more in “debt is good” lifestyle than we are here in Europe.

      I started writing down my daily cash spending. and oh look: once I realize I have to write down: “sandwich – 3,50 €” I dont buy it anymore. Because I am really not that hungry, I can wait until I am home and make my own low fat sandwich, etc. I try to buy as little by card as possible, because I lose the feeling for the value of money if I do not touch it somehow.

      • I started writing down my cash spending too. It was a bit like the diet journal. Too embarrassing to read that I had three cookies, after one Hershey kiss, handful of almonds and three cheese and crackers instead of a real lunch at work.
        My sister did joke that I would record what I spent on a parking meter. Just decluttering the small change, I guess…

        • haha. I actually would write it down. you know, half a euro here, and half a euro there and suddenly you lost 5 euros without getting where to, and as a student I really cant afford that. I declutter the change into a big jar – and once its full (its going to take me a year I guess) I will spend it on something truly luxurious.

        • Hi Eileen – what you are doing is actually the first rule from the book “The Four Laws of Debt Free Prosperity” by Blaine Harris and Charles Coonradt. Its an easy and quick book to read if you ever get the chance.