Friday’s Favourites ~ 5Apr2013

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!

This was a nice way for Donna B to introduce herself to 365. Read her comment here.

Here is Sanna’s thoughts of gift giving and receiving. And Deb J has something to say in this subject too.

I loved that Angela did not live Deb J’s method of decluttering and wanted to share that with others who also might feel the same. Read her comment here.

Here are three great responses to my post Never Satisfied ~ Deb J, Andréia and Megan S

And here is an update from Lena C on her 365 days of listing her decluttered items. Give her a little virtual pat on the back.

Here is a great comment I received from Danni via email ~ “My husband says we used to play storage jinga – how much can I stack/move before it falls over on me. These days there is actually open SPACE in my closets – first time EVER! and I LOVE it!”

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

Loving Simple Living ~ Simple Living and Simple Kids

Here is a link that Leo Babauta shared with his readers recently. “Yet another number one company and clever marketing has done on us all.” ~ Diamonds are bullshit

Here is an oldie but a goodie from Leo Babuata@ Zen Habits

I would not encourage you to go adding stuff to your home but these tips give good clues as to how to use the already lovely stuff you already own to achieve a warm yet minimalist look. It is possible to remove the bulk of the clutter and still have a friendly, comfortable, welcoming home.

Here is the simplest decluttering advice I have seen so far. Substance Over ~ beginners-guide-to-minimalism 

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something made from fabric.

Eco Tip For The Day

Decorate outside the box with the stuff you already have rather than buying new.

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 have to disagree with the diamond post. Diamonds are important, but not as we think. My husband works in industry and as diamonds are very hard (I think the hardest rock) they are largely used for cutting and are very much in demand in tools. I don’t know about the prices because I don’t work in industry and I was never a jewelry girl myself, but prices of the machines are not associated with their diamonds as jewelry is.

    • The article isn’t about the usefulness of diamonds in industy it is a about the clever marketing scam that has people thinking that “diamonds are a girls best friend”.

      • Oh ok. I do have two very tiny diamonds, but I was never much into jewelry. So I’d rather have my friends in the flash and not as a rock, no matter how shinny they are. 😀
        Sorry for the misunderstanding.

      • And thanks for mentioning my comment!

  2. You know how it is when you are forced to do something? Well, no more waiting, no more dilly-dallying. Gonna have to have that yard sale and get all that stuff out of our attic. We decided to go ahead with the laundry room remodel and have to get everything out of there. We are going to purchase a new W/D set. I think I am going to get ruthless with “stuff”. The cost is a bit more than we had hoped, but this contractor does exceptional work. We used someone else for our one-and-only bathroom and I still frown looking at that crappy tile job! The anticipated start is early May. I’m excited to have a more functional room in the house.

    As always, Colleen & 365ers, you do good work keeping us all focused on the finish line of less cluttered/ more functional living spaces. Thanks!

    • How exciting that you are going to go ahead with the laundry room remodel.

    • Hi Michelle, I wish you a wonderful renovation of the laundry and a successful yard sale.

    • I am about to have my final sale. There is a place near me that offers free spots to sell stuff on the weekends, you just get there early to get a good spot. I don’t have a ton of stuff to sell but as I am decluttering I have kept back enough things to sell that I hope it will be worth my effort. Since I have started this decluttering journey I have donated more than I have sold, but this will be my third and final sale. Whatever does not sell this time will not come home with me, it will go directly to the donation center. Good luck with your sale and remodel.

      • Good luck with the sale Jen, I hope it goes well for you. The place you mentioned sounds a lot like the flea-markets I used to do near my mother-in-laws years ago. They have one up the street from my house but I never bothered to go there to sell things. What I didn’t sell on ebay I donated.

  3. I love the flow chart. Short and to the point.

  4. As always it has been a really good week for posts and comments. I enjoyed the links as well. The flow chart is a hoot. I wish it was that easy for some people. The diamond one is very good. While they are good for industry maybe I agree with the article about them as jewelry. I used to sell jewelry as a side business. It didn’t take me long to realize I was just adding to the shopping bug many have. I also realized that what I was selling was unneeded excess. I have given away all of it I can, used some to embellish cards and layouts, and we still have a bunch Mom won’t get rid of yet. I have always said that if I ever got married I didn’t want an engagement ring just a wedding band and instead of a big fancy, expensive wedding we’d stand up at the end of a church service and have the pastor marry us. Jewelry and weddings can be a real racket in many ways from my point of view. I’d rather use the money to buy a house or whatever. Leo’s posts are always good. I liked the decorating for a minimalist article too.

    • Hi Deb J, I agree with your choice of wedding arrangements. The simpler the better I say. Once again it is just a lot of expensive hoopla that we are all sold in order for other people to make money. I imagine that sound somewhat bah humbug to many people but starting out a marriage with a $20,000+ wedding debt or using up $20,000+ of your parents retirement savings isn’t the way to go if you ask me.

      • You got it. I just can’t see it. There are so many things like that in life where we buy into the cultural norm which was caused by clever marketing campaigns.

        • You’re right about buying into cultural norms (and I imagine I buy into plenty of others, but not this one). When my husband and I got married, we invited four friends (one of the couples brought their young child) and my parents. We were married outdoors at a national park on a sunny summer day, and then we all went out to lunch. That was my dream wedding. I can’t imagine the stress or expense of planning a wedding – even a smaller one.

    • That is some of the best advice to give to those who are going to get married, don’t go into to debt to do it. Don’t start out a marriage with a ton of debt, that will not make for a happy start. Loved your idea, Deb J, simple yet effective way to get married. It is possible to have a simple, intimate, and beautiful ceremony without a heavy price tag. Better to use the money like you said to get a place to live in or to buy items that one may need for a home or take a memorable trip, but not on jewelry or an extravagant ceremony.

  5. Thank you for the articles and comments, Colleen, I have really enjoyed reading them. The exchanges concerning gifts rang very true for me and I am pleased that two friends and I who have been exchanging gifts for years have mutually decided to stop. Everyone seemed delighted at the suggestion, rather than disappointed or offended. I hope to get to this agreement with various other friends.

    • Hi Christine, I got the same reaction when I suggested this idea to my parents and in-laws. We just send handmade cards back and forwards for birthdays and if we do get together at Christmas someone organises a Secret Santa so everyone only buys and received one gift. As I sit here now I am wearing the cut PJ set my brother game me a couple of years ago. Travelling to get to family at that time of year is expensive enough without buying a whole lot of useless gifts that we only think they might like.

  6. Couldn’t agree more with Deb J and Colleen about the diamonds/wedding thing. The diamond article reminded me of the wonderful Century of Self article Colleen posted a while back. Big businesses creating a desire for something and turning it into a cultural institution is so much a part of what’s wrong with our modern Western society in my opinion.
    When Tim and I got engaged 37 years ago (yikes!) I didn’t want an engagement ring as I always liked the simplicity of just a wedding band. Because his family came from Scandinavia where engagement rings were not an established custom he was not surprised by this. He was certainly happy to spend the money on something more practical 🙂
    With regard to your great eco tip: I have a friend in NJ whose decorating business is showing people how to use the things they already own to create a fresh new look – and a little de-cluttering always helps as we know 🙂 . Moving items to a new location within the room or to a different room can be enough and if one adds in Miss Minimalist’s decorating tips then no purchases are necessary.

    • Hi Megan, I like the idea of rotating favourite keepsakes. Have a special box for them but put one item on display in a prominent spot for a week or two and ten swap it for something else.

      That thought just gave me an idea. I have all my old drivers licences in my keepsake box and I have an empty three photo picture frame in a closet. I think I might just put them together and hang them on the wall for a while.

  7. I loved Andreia’s comment in ‘Never Satisfied’ – all comments were good but I enjoyed the way she explained it to her son.

    I LOVE Danni’s jenga description.

    Diamonds – I hear what he’s saying about marketing and consumerism etc etc BUT I think an engagement ring is very special and wouldn’t go along with a movement to stop the tradition. The same guys that complain about buying an engagement ring are the same guys at that buy expensive Boy’s Toys (tv’s, home theatres, sports gear, nice cars etc) – so no I think fairs, fair. I don’t think an engagement ring needs to be mega expensive, but it shouldn’t be, well, below par compared to the car he drives either. A ring is worn every day of her life, Boys Toys come and go.

    • PS love the flow chart! Have printed it out. And yes my engagement ring(s) apply. Yes I have two. The original one when I had tiny fingers and we had a small budget (my ring cost slightly less than the stereo system that Adrian had bought for ‘our’ home) and then at the 12 year mark I got a new set of rings (the kids wanted us to look married) which cost less than the dirt bike Adrian had just bought. Ironically, he remembers to the cent how much my ring cost but the price of his dirt bike is lost in the mist of time….. and as he promptly came off the dirt bike and broke his foot, I can vouch that my ring is a lot less dangerous!

    • It seems I have hit a nerve with the diamond article. Although I can’t see what that has to do with forming some sort of consumerist war between the sexes. Do you see the irony in this situation Moni. Adrian was the person who gave you those rings and yet an article I posted that he had nothing to do with has fired some resentment between his toys and your rings. His being the love that those rings represent. If you lost those rings tomorrow he will still be there for you, warts and all. So what is more important a tradition invented by a company whose only interest was their bottom line or the love or a good man.

      • Colleen – no nerves hit, just not jumping on that wagon – sorry if it came across as heated. I feel that engagement rings are special. Heck, once upon a time bride prices were paid and dowries provided. At least a ring seems a more romantic way of sealing the promise. Of course, if the woman absolutely doesn’t want one, that’s her business.

        I work with a lot of guys and I floated the topic at lunch – they all agree that they can’t see the amount of money in a little bit metal and stone but then they all agree that to not put a ring on her finger would probably be a bad idea. Was surprised at some of their reasons as most weren’t obvious to me.

        I asked them how much they would think was a reasonable amount to spend on an engagement ring, they talked amongst themselves – the married, engaged and single guys – and they came back with a 1/3 of the value of car they are driving or were driving when they popped the question. They all agreed it would be poor form to spend big dollars on a boy toy and then try to talk the love of their life into foregoing tradition. One of the guys, married two years now, said – quote, get this ladies – he personally designed his wife’s rings and wanted them to be as special as their relationship. Awwwww!

        If the house was burning down, would I go back for my engagement ring? No. People are more important and besides which that is why we have insurance. As for your question – well, duh, if I had to choose it would be Adrian, but I don’t have to choose. His thoughts on engagement rings? Well, he’s happy I love my one and as it gets used every day its had better price per use than his dirt bike and my ring costs nothing to maintain unlike his dirt bike even though he hasn’t used it since he broke his other foot snowboarding!.

        • Aside from that one sweetheart guy you mentioned do the guys think it would be a bad idea to flout tradition because they would never live it down and feel obliged to or because they like the idea of lashing out on a ring for their ladies. I agree though, spending more on their boy toys and then cheaping out on a ring is poor form but only on principal not because I think the ring is that important. Mind you I say that in hindsight, I wouldn’t have said so 27 years ago when my husband proposed to me. Mind you my ring has two diamonds in it that I already owned because I was friends with lapidary enthusiasts which I suggested we use in the ring when we had it made. Clearly the frugality in me was already in full swing.

          Help me to understand this. You were happy to up upgrade from the original ring to something better 12 years on rather than alter the original to fit. You would also happily claim a lost one on insurance and buy another replacement. Surely though the original ring is the only true symbol of the occasion of the engagement. Although still a symbol of love any subsequent rings are surely leaning more towards consumer purchases. I actually don’t like my rings much any more and haven’t for a very long time but I would never alter them or replace them with anything else because the replacements would just be rings not really a symbol of our engagement or marriage. Maybe the minimalist in me has just become very unsentimental towards material things.

          All that aside it wasn’t really the subject of engagement rings that I found disturbing about the article. One can easily use a different stone in their engagement ring if they wish. It was more about the brainwashing marketing that is continuously being done of people to entice them to buy products and to justify the pricing structure.

          • My diamond engagement ring is one of the most significant things I own, and one of the few possessions that would make it out of the burning house because I rarely take it off. But my ring is untraditional in that I picked it out (my husband’s band doesn’t match my ring because he picked his out and our tastes didn’t match), and it wasn’t very expensive. If a woman has one beautiful ring that she wears every day, that’s clearly a valued possession, and much better than many rings that are not worn.

            I think the important take away from that article is that traditions may have corporate or idiotic origins, and we should freely break away from the ones that don’t make sense for us. I do not like the engagement ring expense metrics, and I agree that wedding expense is out of hand. When I spent a summer in Spain, my host family explained that the Spanish wedding style was to have each guest buy a ticket to cover their expenses at the reception, but not bring a gift. In that way, the bride and groom don’t go into debt for the wedding. But trying to do that for my wedding would have been offensive to family and friends, so we opted for wedding frugality in other ways.

          • Hi Rebecca J. I like the sound of Spanish weddings. Makes a whole lot of sense to me. My wedding was pretty frugal too and intentionally so. Not because my parents insisted but because I perferred it that way. My parents had just sold their business and retired (my dad was only 50 at the time). I didn’t want them spending too much now that they didn’t have such a large income. Of course it was helpful that my mother is a dressmaker and made all the dresses etc.

          • Colleen – the main reason the guys I work with think engagement rings are a good idea is that it shows that their lady is ‘taken’ – also the single guys said that they don’t chat up a girl with an engagement ring. And to part with that kind of money he would have to be 100% sure. I almost got the impression they were going to break into “Single Ladies” by Beyonce!

            My ring? Adrian bought it in advance, and it was sweet but it wouldn’t have been my first choice. At his best friend’s engagement party he’d seen me making admiring the fiancee’s ring and didn’t realise that one should always admire the ring, and so he thought he’d fallen onto a sure fire method of picking one and got something similar. I was kinda impressed with how much thought he’d put into it and it wasn’t until some years later that he clicked that X and I have completely opposite tastes.

            One of the guys that I work with designed his wife’s rings and said it saved a significant amount of money to use a manufacturing jeweller rather than a retailer – handy hint for anyone heading towards the big question.

            Insurance of jewellery – my insurance company which is one of the main big ones in NZ, will use the valuation papers to give it a current value and give you a credit voucher to the current value with a particular retail jeweller in NZ (its a chain store) or for a pay-out cheque, to the original price. So most people go with replacing the ring with another ring.

      • Just a funny story from a friend – she has a friend whose boyfriend popped the question – 2nd time around for her, 1st time for him – anyway, she was umming and aahhhing over whether she wanted a ring as – don’t hate me for telling this story, its a true one – that amount of money would pay for half a boob job. My friend said “you’d look really funny with one big boob”.
        Gotta love her sense of humour. Anyway, this same couple, he wanted a wedding as it was his first and so they booked a church and arranged everything…..and the bride was going to walk down the aisle to Joe Crockers “This lifts us up where we belong” but instead of hitting track 7 to play that, the usher his track 11 which played “You can leave your hat on”. The bride looked a bit startled and decided what the heck and towed her very red father up the aisle. She got a standing ovation and even the vicar was laughing.

    • When I got engaged to my soon-to-be-second-ex-husband (marriage and I are not a good fit), we picked engagement rings for each other. I told him if I was expected to wear a symbol of our commitment, he was expected to do the same. What’s good for the goose….

      I also tried to convince to take my last name since he expected me to take his. That didn’t fly. Pffft.

      • My grandfather’s sons haven’t had sons, so my maiden name will die out after my generation, at least from this branch of the family. I tried to talk my husband into taking my maiden name, but then realized that was the sort of thing that would not endear me to my inlaws. 🙂

  8. Hi Colleen! I commented early, but I did not have time to read all the links. I really liked the flow chart. I had a similar one I picked at, but it was about shopping. I really enjoyed the article about kids. When I was pregnant with my first kid you can not imagine the price people want to charge you for decorations and the amount of stuff that we are told we “must have” for the kid. Luckily (and I feel very lucky about this now) I did not have a lot of cash at the time and made the simplest of decorations and bought just the basic. It was more than enough. Boy, was I glad latter on not to have money to buy “the complete set”… About the links to decorate I really liked them. I want to decorate my house and when I see some decorating shows they give the shivers, with all the stuff that is added to decorate. It is nice to know you can have a lovely space and it can be minimalist without being cold.

    • Hi Andréia, when my kids were babies I had mostly secondhand stuff except for the hand made items from the grandmas and me. Steve’s parents bought a new pram but off the top of my head I can’t think of anything else that was new. Even my nappy (diaper) soaking bucket was a commercial size mayonnaise container. I can’t ever remember thinking ~ I wish I could have all new stuff.

    • I too did not have anything but second hand until my kids were at least five years old. I cannot ever remember buying anything new unless it was the occasional outfit for a special picture taking appointment or something like that. They grow way too fast at that age and boys are too rough on clothing.

  9. If I have no time the rest of the week, I love to check in with you on Friday for these favourites, Colleen. LOVED that article on diamonds. How revealing. Good catch on that one.

    • Hi Willow, Steve sent it through to me I think. When you stop and think about it diamonds are all about the hype. The uneducated observer would be able to tell the difference between the real thing and a fake. For all I know the ones in my engagement ring may well be a fake but either way they are just nicely cut rocks.

      It is always good to hear from you buy the way.

      • Thanks, Colleen. I hope that summer will slow down and I will be able to contribute more here in comments and also contribute more to the local thrift stores 🙂

      • I have not read the article on diamonds, but just the comments here. I have a story: My hubby bought my ring at one jewelry store. I already had a diamond bracelet from a different store. To keep the warranty active on the bracelet, I would have to take it in every six months to have it checked. They always offer to clean my other jewelry while I wait for the bracelet to be checked. The last time I went in, the lady hustled me over to the wedding set display, pulled out a gigantic ring, yapping the whole while about how my husband would be proud to have me wear that ring. That ring was over $14,000! You all get that she is frowning at she looks down her nose at the ring I am wearing. I was freaking stunned. First, that she thought the ring my husband had bought wasn’t good enough and second, I would never spend $14,000 on a ring! Even if I had that money, no way!

        The bracelet was bought for $750. I sold it in a pawn shop for $200. I will never go back to that store.

        • Well, Michelle I was stunned as I read your story. However, I should not be surprised. When I was getting married my husband and I went to a store to get our gold wedding bands. I wanted a engagement ring, to go with the wedding band. It had to be simple and small, because I have small hands. I choose a very simple ring with a tiny diamond on top. It looked good on my finger and the price was affordable at the time (it was about US$ 170). The lady at the store said I should buy a bigger one, because it was so much nicer (!). I said no. She said I had no appreciation of a big stone. I told her I was buying a ring, not brass knuckles! My husband laughed and the lady was flustered. I bought my ring and wedding bands there, and the lady shut up. I agree with you, the price is outrageous for a rock.

        • Michelle – WOW that’s a lot of money to spend on a ring. Glad you didn’t. I was with a friend once who was looking at rings to replace ones she’d had stolen. Anyway, the lady behind the counter was being a bit pushy, doing the whole number on this one over here would be so much better than the one you are looking at routine (it is their job afterall) and my friend simply said “could you afford to spend that much on a ring? that would be a crazy amount for two shop girls like you and I, wouldn’t it?”.
          No more pushy sales lady.

          • Hahaha love all the comments, my darling was looking at rings for me when he asked about the price of one in particular. The saleslady asked him how much does he love his wife to be and he said to the moon, why??? Her reply, if you really love each other why go into debt and ruin it!!!! Haahaa I still laugh about it to this day!! So freakin’ true when you think about it. Her last comment was think about it kids, a whole lot of money down on a piece of pressurised carbon, sure it looks pretty but hey!!! I got the distinct feeling she hated her job or was recently dumped!!

            All that aside I ended up with beautiful diamonds in a beautiful setting which I absolutely love and cherish. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Hi Michelle. Sounds like a really charming saleswoman. I can understand you never going back, I wouldn’t either.

  10. Great comments and links this week. I really liked the Zen Habits link and the flow chart was great. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

  11. I loved the substanceoverstuff picture.

    Simple, yet powerful!

  12. Substance over stuff picture is priceless (and simple). The other reads are great and welcome! Have a wonderful weekend!