From the archives ~ Key #2 to simple decluttering in 100 words or less

Key #2 -Start with the easy stuff

When it comes to decluttering there are always those items that are easy to part with and items that for one reason or another you feel more attached to. My advice is to start with the easy stuff. Things you know for sure that you no longer want or need. Once you start to see and feel the benefits of your decluttering I am sure you will become more ruthless at parting with stuff. By the time you are done, you will wonder why you were ever so attached to those “hard to get rid of” items in the first place.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something from your garage, basement or attic ~ These areas are often holding places for all sorts of things some useful and used some forgotten and unnecessary. Time to clear out a few of those unnecessary items.

Today’s Declutter Item

Slowly but surely I am decluttering our photos. Poor quality shots, duplicate shots, pictures that mean nothing… are all being reduced from out collection.

Decluttered Photos

Eco Tip For The Day

Use less laundry detergent. The amount the manufacturers suggest is often more than you need. Try cutting back a little at a time. I am doing this, not only is it better for the environment but is also better for my bank account. Win Win.

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“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

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

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Manage your time (From the archives) As I am on vacation in New Zealand for some time I will be republishing old posts from the archives to keep you all entertained and motivated while I am busy. I hope you will enjoy the […]
  • Dithering? ~ By Peggy W I have dithered many times in my decluttering journey, unable to make a decision about my stuff.  Two of the “ditherees” left my house this morning because I needed soft fillers to […]
  • The key to action is enjoyment I received a comment from Bernadette on the 365 Less Things Facebook page this week that said... "I enjoy getting rid of things. It is so liberating. Got rid of a bunch of old photos […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Now is the time for me to look in the old Christmas ornament box. We seem to use 2 boxes every Christmas and the old battered brown box just stays on the shelf. I am going to spend the next weekend (for us in the U.S., it’s Labor Day Weekend) going through that huge box and saving the ones my son will want and donating the rest. The box will clean off an entire shelf in the storage part of the basement. Also, my husband has a kid’s bumper pool table that is always in the way. I will need to convince him that someone will really use this – just not us. That will make a huge dent in that little room. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. Colleen, this is a great point. I’m way past the easy stuff but was thinking as I read this that I am glad to be past it. Though I am delaing with the harder stuff that means I’m further along and that makes me very happy.

  3. Going through the easy stuff first helps you get over the emotional block that some people have about decluttering. You realize that it doesn’t take much time to make things look much better. It also motivates you because it looks so much better without a lot of effort.

  4. I totally agree with getting past the easy stuff first. It was also surprisingly applicable to cleaning up the boyfriend’s wardrobe. Previously, everything was just lost in the hard-to-tackle mess of EVERYTHING he’d worn in the last 5 years. Anything that he wore that I suggested we get rid of (due to holes or fit) was never gotten rid of because he wore it. We finally just sat down and agreed to make piles. “Keep” – Clothes that fit, had no holes, and were in good condition – Plenty ended up here, but I’m fine with that, because he’ll wear them now. These were then divided into work appropriate and weekend wear.
    “Conditional” – Clothes ONLY kept for yard/farm/painting work (and he does quite a bit)
    “Toss” – Old socks mostly, but some underwear too, stuff that is beyond use as even a rag
    “Get rid of” – Anything with at least SOME life left in it, but not for him. A bunch of ill-fitting jeans and holey t-shirts ended up here. We’ll deal with actually getting rid of it later, right now it’s in an annoying pile, but it’s NOT in his wardrobe, so it’s a step in the right direction.
    “Keep?” – Clothes that were inbetween the first two categories, and could go either way depending on number. This category was added in the middle of decluttering, for a few pairs of underwear and a shirt that were a little off in size, but still comfortable and clean. Most of these ended up in either conditional or get rid of.

    Overall, it was SO nice to spend a couple hours and clean it out a bit. Now of course, with the easy-to-toss stuff gone, it’ll be a simpler task to clean it up even more, as things slowly migrate from “work” to “weekend” to “work-work (yardwork)” and then out of the closet. Fortunately, we’re broke college kids, so new clothing is few and far between, so use-it-up will be applied here. Each of the categories is reasonable right now (He has two weeks worth of clothing in everything but “work” attire, though we’re trying to bump that up – we do laundry once every 1.5-2 weeks).

    Reiteration: I’m SO HAPPY 😀 😀 that his wardrobe now (almost) looks like it’s owned by a mature college student.

    • Amanda, you are doing such a great job. I can imagine how glad you are to have it all cleaned up and knowing he looks good now. You have inspired me to talk to my mother again about her clothes. She has a bunch of them hanging in her closet that she either can’t wear or doesn’t wear. We need to clean them out so some one can get some good out of them.

      • I’m glad I could be an inspiration! I’m definitely a fan of the “just pull everything and sort” plan. We actually did ANOTHER go-through last night once all of his clothes were washed and culled another 3 t-shirts, (plus picked out six shirts and three pairs of pants and shorts to go to his parents house) and when we finish fleshing out his wardrobe on Saturday (5 thrift stores to hit), we’ll do one more cull.

        • I suppose I should add – his parents have a very large house on a very large plot of land, and they have a room for both him AND his older sister, as well as a guest bedroom. They don’t mind him leaving stuff there as long as it doesn’t overflow his room. (We’re not cluttering his parents house with our decluttering). He and I decided it would be for the best so that when he goes home for a weekend, he wouldn’t have to pack more than an outfit and toiletries. Makes it simpler all around.

  5. I agree. Start with the easy stuff and then, because you will love the results, the harder stuff becomes the easy stuff and then the REALLY hard stuff becomes the easy stuff as well.

  6. Another washing tip, is to do a really hot wash occasionally and leave machine open so air can circulate. Bacteria builds up and creates an odour.
    My beloved House and Garden Magazines are in my sights this week. With access to digital magazines and Pinterest they no longer get looked at so I think I can finally part with them. Also a queen sized wooden bed base can find a home somewhere other than my laundry. Cheers

    • I love pinterest! I am sure it is going to be a great de-cluttering resource for my recipes and just a generally good way of keeping “notes” on visual things…

  7. I agree, as well, that starting with the easy stuff is the simpler way to get going. I am currently in that stage and am culling through most of my things with ease. I have taken numerous full bags to my local donation center and feel lighter each time I do it. However, the part that will be really difficult for me, is decluttering special items that have been given to me by loved ones that have passed on. It will be hard for me to be ruthless in those areas. I guess I will cross that bridge when it comes. However, like Maggie mentioned above, I will be looking through my holiday decorations in the near future. I am excited that I will be freeing up space in that category.

  8. Great point. I have to agree. And it’s also easier to get other people started on THEIR easy stuff; learned that from doing it the wrong way 🙂

  9. Another benefit of reducing your laundry detergent can be increased washer life. I was told by a washing machine repairman to never use more than 50% of what the package recommends. He said that you never want to use so much that it produces more than a few bubbles as trying to drain soap bubbles will decrease the life of the water pump. After experimentation I found that 25% of the manufacturer’s recommendation works just fine. It also eliminated the need for fabric softener as most of what it is softening is detergent residue.

  10. Wendy F., I used to get upwards of 10 – 12 magazines a month but as I determined which ones I never read, I began to let them expire and not renew. I got so many offers and discounts, it was unbelievable but I stuck by my guns and did not renew them. Good Housekeeping I subscribed to for 40 years or more but I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. I would just send it to my daughter. Finally, I cancelled my subscription and sent it to her as a gift. Saved postage and someone else likes it. My husband is delighted to see that most of our mail is what we need to see and not magazines. The ones I now get are ones I read from cover to cover immediately and then give to a friend at work. Two quilt magazines and Ladies Home Journal. Progress is being made.