Friday’s Favourites ~ 30Nov2012

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!

In this comment Rachel W. tells us about some unintentional decluttering she has done at times. Funny how it all seems so tragic to us when this happens but later we realise the stuff didn’t really matter at all.

This comment from Jen has examples of problems turned into opportunity to me.

Here is a great tip from Dagmara on allowing “Natural Progression decluttering” to take care of the constant influx of kids art projects.

Dagmara also left this comment telling us how she get her husband on board with the decluttering. How clever is she?

Favourite Web Finds. Happy reading!

It is nice to finally see an article out there that takes on the subject of the prospect of a green economy in out future. Not too distant future I hope.

This link, kindly sent through to me by Nana, tackles the subject of how we are coerced into parting with our hard earned cash in the stores. Fortunately it comes with tips on how to avoid the con.

What kind of clutterer are you? Read this post which outlines five types of clutterer according to Peter Walsh (Aussie Clutter Guru) Shared with us by Andréia.

In an attempt to locate an article whose link was not working I found this article about compulsive hoarding.

Today’s Mini Mission

If, like me, you are decluttering your craft supplies now is the time to make your holiday/Christmas cards if you haven’t done so already.

Today’s Declutter Item

Oil Painting

Eco Tip for the Day

Use the stairs rather than the elevator. This of course has the added bonus of a little impromptu exercise.

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

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Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Digitising User Manuals Today I thought I might bore you all with how to digitise your user manuals rather than allow them to take up space in your home. Feel free to disagree about the sense of digitising if […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Eco Tip update: Though the information is hard to calculate, I actually did a report on this: Every floor that the elevator travels (eg from 2 to 3, one way) uses as much electricity as a “normal” 60-75 watt bulb running overnight (~8 hours), or a CFL/LED equivalent running for 24 hours! (The numbers are a little vague because the numbers for elevators vary a bit and are hard to calculate, but they are approximately accurate)

    • So by being claustrophobic (and also just mildly terrified of elevators) and usually taking the stairs (climbing 23 flights of stairs is not exciting, let me tell you – I’ve done it), I’m being a bit eco-friendly? Cool. Maybe it helps balance out my having to sleep with a light on due to night terrors.

      • Hi Rachel W. You poor darling. I think when it comes to elevators I would op for not exhausting myself over the environment if I had to go 23 flights. In fact I think I would if I had to go more than three flights. So I have to say I feel your pain over choosing to do so for phobic reasons.
        Have you ever tried hypnosis to try to recover from these issues.

        • I’ve never tried hypnosis. Maybe I should. It is a thought.

          Ah. The 23 flights of stairs wasn’t due to fear but a power outage caused by a fire in an office building where I worked. We had no choice but to take the stairs. Honestly, it was the people stuck in the elevators I felt bad for. Dark, enclosed space? No. No. No. But I will willingly climb 5 flights of stairs to avoid being in an elevator. For example, I had a hairline fracture in my right foot so I was hobbling, as you can imagine. I walked upstairs at university rather than taking the elevators. I figure my phobia has the add benefit of forcing me to exercise. Haha. That’s my silver lining anyway.

    • Thank you for that info Amanda. I also would imagine that the more people (weight) there is in the elevator the harder it has to work the more electricity it uses. So even using the excuse of ~ Someone was using the elevator anyway so I jumped on. ~ wouldn’t really be valid.

      • From what I could gather, it’s mostly the moving itself, rather than the weight, so if you happen to know where the people are going and are going to the SAME floor, then the hopping on is negligible. If they are going elsewhere, then you are using your own energy. I just make sure to time leaving work to go with a group of people so I can feel less bad about taking the elevator down from the fourth floor. (I always climb UP stairs, but always feel like I’m going to fall to my death climbing down them, so I try to avoid that if possible)

        Obviously, the exercise benefit is excellent for many people though, so from a health standpoint, taking the stairs is the best choice.

        Side note: Escalators are only power efficient compared to elevators if 200+ people/hour use them, and are actually terrible energy hogs. Though it’s a sunk cost, so using an already running escalator is better than using an elevator.

        • I hadn’t mentioned escalators because they are operating all the time whether you use them or not so you might as well make it worth the energy and hop on board. That being said the elevators at one of the shopping centres not far from me actually slows down when no one is on board and speeds back up again when the next person walks on. I was pretty pleased when I noticed this because I assume this saves energy.

          • That is good 🙂 In the US, we have regulations that say escalators cannot change speed. I’m glad that other countries aren’t as silly as we are.

  2. As usual some great comments and links. I think my friend, S, is somewhat of a hoarder. Both she and her husband can’t seem to get rid of stuff. An example, if you have 20 throw pillows to put on the beds but you have them stored in bags in the top of your closet why keep them? If you have the old cupboards from your kitchen now in the garage full of things you can’t get to why have the things in them or the cupboards? It bothers me to know that she is still struggling with so much.

    • Hi Deb J, I understand your concern. I have a friend who takes stuff home from the thrift store every week and to my knowledge she hasn’t dropped off the stuff she had set aside to donate yet. She had it in the trunk of her car but put it back in the house because she had to pick something else up. At least that is the story she tried to spin me. It is a worry.

    • I am sorry that your friend is having a hard time letting go of things. How much easier it would be if at least one member of the family were willing to let go of things. That person could help encourage the other reluctant one. I am sure that your encouragement will help them, hopefully sooner rather than later. It is hard to know what can be the break through moment for each person, but until they realize that it is okay to start letting go little by little, it can be a struggle. My mother was somewhat of a hoarder, but in a slightly different way. She grew up during the Great Depression and during her adult life she did not have alot. Whenever she did receive gifts from others, she would never use them. They would remain in boxes. I never understood it. Instead of using the items she was given, like new clothing or new dishcloths, she would continue to use the same worn out/stained items instead of using the new things that she had. Later on in life, she did start letting go of the old things she had and enjoyed using the newer things. I think she finally understood that she didn’t need to save it and wait to use it later. Anyway, good luck and I hope that your friend comes around.

    • As she has been able to declutter just a few weeks ago and is still willing to declutter, I wouldn’t think she was a hoarder. She probably had “hoarding tendencies” and never really thought about decluttering before you came along.
      There are so many people who only know the solution “storage” when it comes to unneeded items so that’s just the natural solution to them and the thought of doing otherwise needs some kind of trigger.
      I think a resolution to declutter one thing a day would be good. Sometimes you’re not up for big decisions but just getting ONE thing out of these old kitchen cupboards might over time have great results.
      Most of the time I’m working this way. That way I fill a smallish grocery bag of donations every week — maybe you could meet up each friday or so(or every second week) to bring that donation bag to the thrift store together. Don’t know whether that would be an encouragement.
      What I find helpful in that regard as well is to realize that these donations aren’t just “getting rid of your stuff” but are actual donations which are going to help others in need – whether directly or indirectly through the money they generate. It may be an encouragement to not just think “might I need that deco item again in 20 years, if I redecorate my house? It doesn’t hurt anyone in the garage, does it?” but think like “this item will generate the money to pay someone’s meal this very week”.

      • Nicely put Sanna. Feeling good about donating is great inspiration to hand on unused stuff. I get the added pleasure during some of my thrift shop volunteer days of seeing the things I have donated go straight out the door the same day. I am happy, the customer is happy and the store has made much needed funds. Those funds pay to keep available suicide help phone lines which I dare say have saved countless lives over the years.

        • Jen & Sanna you both have good input. I think the problem for S is that she was totally open to getting the craft room decluttered and then organized but she still struggles with a lot of other things. The idea of getting rid of one thing a day doesn’t work for her. She will tell you that only when I am there will she do anything. She does want the house to look nice but she doesn’t want to put out the energy to do anything about it. She has some hoarder tendencies yet was very open to getting rid of all of those clothes and stuff. Right now she is not in the mood for anything but reading. She hasn’t been out of the house but twice since I was last there on the 15th of November. Something more is going on with her and I’m worried about her.

          • Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
            This really doesn’t sound good and that’s not so much about the decluttering, but about the not going out and reading only.
            I hope you can at least motivate her to get out or get a little crafty this december.
            If she made some christmas cards using her supply or passed some of the books she reads on after she’s finished, that is at least a little decluttering as well – and might her make feel good. Even if she doesn’t dare to tackle the big projects on her own, she can at least take care of the current ones (craft supplies, books she uses at the moment and clothes that tear etc.) while she’s obviously not in a good mood altogether.

          • I pray that your friend will want to get out or perhaps do some other activities. So many times we know that clutter can be the expression of deeper issues that people are dealing with.

          • Hi, sorry to hear about your friend. Unfortunately it sounds like she could potentially be suffering from depression (or sad if its winter with you – sorry, can’t remember where you are) or possibly a very strong fear of change – many folks can’t cope with change including letting go of stuff so will offer resistance after a short while. Many people hoard when they are unwell. It can all be linked – people are so complex.
            I’m at the stage where I’m really fed up helping others with their stuff – I quite fancy going to live in a but ‘n’ ben (tiny house) with bare minimum sometimes, lol. It’s hard enough stopping the flow of things in here. – I must learn to say ‘no’ more often! Even if the stuff is only here temporarily cos I have a van and can move it easier than the folks I am helping. Think I’m having a ‘tired’ day.
            Good luck with your friend – S sounds like she has a true friend in you Deb J.

          • Fruitcake, you are right. I do think that S has some definite depression problems. I think I am going to urge her to go see a doctor about it. It saddens me greatly to see her this way. I have known her for almost 40 years and this is so not like her.

        • Ladies, thanks so much for your caring about S. Just knowing that others care about her too is a help. I think I will use this as a way to help her move forward. I will keep you posted.

          • Hi Deb J,
            as great as it is of you to help your friend don’t be too disappointed in her (or yourself) for not “getting her on the bandwagon” though everything looked so good in the beginning. Just remember how many things you (I just assume everyone does that. At least, I do …) have started with great enthusiasm and energy and then just did not pursue. Sports, hobbies, diets … sometimes we just stop. I helped two people with decluttering so far, went through stuff with them, asked them “the right” questions and physically helped them to get going. But guess what: After initial and successful purges (starting with the obvious to up their self esteem and strengthen their ability to make decisions) nothing or very little else happened. They did not regret the purges either. I had not talked them into it but rather assisted. But I think the key is not only wanting A change. There needs to be the wish TO change.
            I hope S feels better and more cheerful soon. Maybe then some of the enthusiasm for changing her ways comes back. But if not, I think it neither means you failed nor that she necessarily must be a hoarder in a pathological sense.

          • Ideealistin, thanks for your words of wisdom. I saw S at church this morning. She came up to me and said, “I don’t know what is wrong but I just don’t have energy and I want to just hide my head and cry. Something is wrong and I am going to ask the doctor what it is. This just isn’t like me and it has gone on too long.” I don’t care if she does another thing to her house as long as she is well. Knowing that she sees what is going on is really an answer to prayer because we have been really worried about her.

  3. I enjoyed the post today, especially the link to Peter Walsh’s article on the different types of clutterers. I had read this article before, but it was fun reading it again. I have known for many years of my life that I fall under at least two of the types, knowledge clutterer and sentimental clutterer. I don’t usually have an issue with closet cluttering. I try to not let them get stuffed to the brim because it makes it really hard to move around in them. I think what Peter wrote that is most important, is to set limits on things. It is also important to use up what you have so it does not go to waste.

    • Hi Jen, I enjoyed the the clutterer categories and tips of Peter Walsh also although it wasn’t actually his article. His description of the knowledge clutterers sheds a little light the obsession of owning books for me.

  4. I always enjoy your Friday articles Colleen.

    Just found this while reading today’s Age online. I think it’s quite amusing:

  5. I definately came under the heading of closet clutterer. Only one more week and my work sewing ballet costumes is over for the year, I can’t wait. I am surprised at how much I have missed daily decluttering.

    The November keep tidy challenge has taken some effort, especially with all the sewing and no dedicated craft room, but I can say that it has made me very effecient about getting things finished and back out the door again, plus no storing things for other people awaiting dress rehearsal etc. My computer desk does need some attention and the garage floor needs some minor work. On the other hand my friends and the other ballet mothers cannot believe how nice and tidy my house has remained thru the concert season as usually it looked like an explosion in fabric store by now.

  6. Great links. I am always interested in how advertising makes us buy stuff. I read yesterday that the leading retailer, Gerry Harvey is hoping for a very hot summer here in Australia. If its hot, people will buy fans and air conditioners and be in the mood to spend more money. If its not, retail will be really struggling.
    This weekend is supposed to be very hot with the start of summer.

  7. It’s the end of November and I wanted to report on my Challenge. I am happy to say that I have been able to finish all of the projects on my work table and was able to get everything off of my desk too. Also while my friend was here for Thanksgiving she helped me take a big load of books to the Christian Bookstore where I traded them for some books I wanted. I got $22+ for the books and the ones I wanted (Bible Commentaries) were only a few $’s more than that. I was pleased. I think the challenge went well.

  8. totally unrelated to this post, but:
    I just got my christmas decorating done, and I went BIG this year 😉 while I even decluttered my small box beforehand and now still have stuff left in it. How?

    Straw stars taped to two windows and hung as a mini garland from one ceiling lamp (15 in total), the mismatched candlesticks and tea light holders I own anyway (silver, black, wood) placed decoratively on table and two windowsills (6 in total) equipped with white and red candles, some tchotchkes I have anyway and that can pass for christmassy (1 small wooden dala horse from Sweden, some matrioshkas, one little moose) displayed in groupings, 1 strand of small lights hung casually from a bookshelf, about 4 m of white pompon yarn used as a garland around one window, one favourite tree ornament (mexican crib ornament, sentimental, bought myself when I was abroad one christmas as a teenager) displayed on a windowsill next to a candle, other favourite tree ornament (antique clip on bird made of silvery glass) clipped to a big house plant that also got a handful of tiny shiny glass balls in red and gold.
    I also got a beautiful red flower and some twigs as a gift that sit next to the candles on the table that I might replace with a tiny living christmas tree once the arrangements withers.

    I feel I’ve done LOTS but really all the real christmas stuff fits into less than a shoebox. Get a big shoebox and the candlesticks and tchotchkes would fit, too – but I like to use these year round (though then not all of them at the same time, I like to swap them out, but it is amazing how grouping regular items with “theme” items makes a whole arrangement seem “themed” e. g. the tiny crib ornament next to a candlestick that holds a red candle (picking up one of the colors from the ornament) = regular candlestick suddenly looks like Christmas, too).

    Okay, sorry for the long, misplaced musings, but I guess I just feel so cheerful today, I wanted to share! Happy 1. Advent to everyone!!

    • Happy 1st Advent!

      Lovely to read that, my decoration came together “naturally” as well. I put a few tree ornaments (straw stars and a few others, about 10 alltogether) at windows and a lamp as well, at another lamp I hung a larch twig (no needles on it, but cones), then I found two little fir twigs, opened my mail box and found inside a lovely little greeting card – advent calendar from a relative. I put a regular white tablecloth on the table, the fir twig and the advent calendar on it and placed my regular candle holders with regular candles nearby. It looks very much like christmas.
      I focused on making cookies this weekend and now have tons of cookie tins to accompany the decoration. 🙂