Get set for success

I have had a couple of conversations lately with people who are struggling to gain momentum with their decluttering. They are making fitful starts here and there but get frustrated. I have discovered through these conversations that the main underlining theme behind their difficulty is that, once chosen, they don’t have a plan in place as to how to get rid of the clutter. As a result all they end up doing is moving it around the house.

Most of my regular readers have this situation well and truly in hand. So much so, that they can also easily investigate and discover an outlet even for those odd items that don’t fit with their usual system. This comes with practice and experience of course. For those starting out though it is better to keep it simple and grow from there.

With a little forethought, a few phone calls and maybe a little leg work anyone can set themselves up to be successful declutterers from the start. The fact is, that knowing how to get rid of the stuff is equally as important as being willing to let it go in the first place.

So here are my suggestions for what to do to get yourself set up for declutter success…

  • Keep it simple. Choose a few methods for getting rid of your stuff that will make it easy to achieve success. You can always get more imaginative with your disposal methods later when you have worked out how to really flex your decluttering muscle.
  • Let your fingers do the walking. Use google or your local phone directory (online or off) to find where the thrift stores are in your area. Phone them and enquire what items they are willing to receive. Many such organisations have web sites these days that give all the information you will need. Choose the one that receives the widest range of items because that will make it easier for you to get rid of lots of things at once and will save you a lot of running around. Better still, choose one that will come to you if that is an option.
  • Make your new best friend. Listing stuff to give away on freecycle is a great way to offload things that are still good but not accepted by your local thrift stores.
  • See if curb-side decluttering will work for you. Just put something out with a FREE sign on it and see if it is taken. Please don’t leave things out overnight though.
  • If you are feeling adventurous and think you may want to sell some things through online selling sites like ebay, Trademe or Craigslist etc, investigate how that works and do a trial run with an item you have chosen to send on its way. Talk to a friend or family member who has used these sites for advice on how to go about selling and what strategies have worked best for them. My suggestion is to keep it simple to begin with; don’t worry what day or time your auctions begin, just get them up there. Limiting yourself with best times can have the effect of slowing you down. I find it makes no difference as to how my auctions perform so long as the auction ends at a reasonable hour of the day.
  • Consider having a garage/yard sale. This way you can put the stuff aside for a while until you have enough items for the sale. What isn’t sold at the sale can then be donated.

Once you have yourself set for success that is exactly what will ensue.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something used for food preparation.

Today’s Declutter Item

I have a timer on my oven, a timer on my microwave and a stopwatch on my cell phone so why do I need this old fashioned egg timer. I don’t! So out it goes. I can’t imagine how I have missed decluttering this for so long.

Old Fashioned Egg Timer

Eco  Tip for the Day

 Avoid using throw-away items where possible. Eg. paper napkins, batteries, paper cups etc. Instead, replace these with reusable items to reduce on waste.

“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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  • Disposing of this weeks mission yields In a post a couple of weeks ago that asked a range of question about your clutter issues and my blog. One of the readers asked for more information on how to get rid of the clutter that […]
  • A collection of thoughts I've been racking my brain today, trying to come up with an idea for a blog post, without success. I thought of a few experiences I have encountered during the week in reference to […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. My Aunty set a cabinet on the curb with a sign that said “FREE” and it remained for several days. She changed the sign to “$25” and someone stole it!

    I am just in the beginning stages of decluttering. I just bought a house (my first). It’s too big for just me but the property (I have horses), price and location were ideal. I’m determined not to fill it with unnecessary junk; I will make space for “space”. As I’ve unpacked, I keep a “trash” box and a “donate” box handy so nothing comes out of any box that doesn’t have a purpose and a place. I’ve not found time to get the decluttered stuff out but it has a dedicated place in the corner of my basement and nothing that’s been 86’d has made it back into general population.

    My office is my hardest space because it was a mess before I moved and I ended up just moving the mess. Ugh!

    • That’s hilarious Lisa. The next time I have trouble getting rid of something I will put it out on the street with a price on and hopefully have the same luck as your Aunty.

      Happy house warming to you and welcome to 365 Less Things. I have been looking to buy a home myself recently and I know how hard it is to find just the right one. Sometimes you just can be forced to buy something a bit big on order to fill your other requirements. I am sure that you will be able to resist filling yours up with stuff. Good luck with the office. Just keep the toss and donate box handy when you set it up and try to avoid keeping those “I might need it someday” kind of items.

      • I read somewhere about the “just in case” stuff and my remedy is my new 20/20 rule. If I can get it for under $20 within 20 min of my house, there’s no need to keep it “just in case.”

        • Lisa – you are correct. A 365er commented once about the under $20 (but the within 20 mins is an evolutionary step forward to the concept) and it was a lightbulb moment for me. I was explaining the concept to a friend the other day and I saw the lightbulb go on in her head too. But I really like the 20 mins addition to the idea. Thank you, you have actually given me a shove in the right direction with that idea for today’s effort with my decluttering.

        • Great idea Lisa! I like that 20/20 rule 🙂

    • Lisa that is soooooo funny about your aunty!

    • Lisa, we used to do this back in Indianapolis when we lived there. If we wanted to get rid of something big just put a for sale sign on it and it would disappear.

  2. A great post, Colleen. Just what starter’s need. 🙂
    I still rely mostly on one charity/thrift store, recycling facilities and one homepage for selling books. Only occassionally do I need and use different options.
    That one charity/thrift store handles about everything that can fit in a grocery bag, so I don’t worry too much about other options.

    Today, we tackled boyfriend’s wardrobe. I think last time we did that was a year ago. I was amazed again how easily he lets go of his old clothes. Bunches of T-shirts and socks are ready to be taken to the container. Only two items are in good enough condition for the thrift store. The rest has been worn to pieces – which makes me happy actually, so it will go to the recycling.
    As I declutter my own wardrobe more 365lessthings-style, I seldom have that feeling of accomplishment there (as only one or two pieces leave at once). Today, I really had a blast. (and bf as well, he is always happy, if I make him declutter once in a while. 😉 )

    • Sanna, I know what you mean about the feeling of accomplishment when you declutter a lot of stuff. But, it is almost as good a feeling when you help get rid of another persons things, too, isn’t it?

      • It really is!
        And I get the benefit of not having to see him in his worn shirts any longer, as he is now actually able to find his good ones. 😉

    • Hi Sanna, did it take you a while to find that one thrift store in the first place or were you already aware of its existence when you first began earnestly decluttering?

      I understand what you are saying about feeling satisfied decluttering your own wardrobe and only finding a couple of things. I am glad to say that my wardrobe is also at the point where if I decluttered too much I wouldn’t have enough to wear.

      I am happy that your boyfriend is cooperation with the decluttering. Cooperation makes the job a whole lot easier.

      • I already knew of that charity shop and I already used it for decluttering once in a while. I think I stumbled upon it while shopping and was fascinated by the idea (coming from a rather rural area it was the first shop of the kind I saw) and by the easiness of getting rid of stuff that way. I used it to drop of books, clothes etc. a couple of times a year and when I started decluttering in earnest I became a weekly visitor. My visits have dropped to about monthly meanwhile, but it’s still my favourite place for decluttering. It’s near to my home (even nearer after I moved three years ago) and I am always happy to see my stuff on the shelves there: I can see that they actually sell my things, which makes me happy.
        It’s also one of my favourite places to shop when I need to shop. Unfortunately they don’t have many men’s clothes there, which is why my boyfriend unlike me never found any replacements there. I guess this is partly due to the fact that most men really wear their clothes to pieces and don’t buy so many fashion fads in the first place, which is after all a good thing. Still waiting for the day when I’ll have a hard time to find some women’s shirt or skirt second hand! 😉

        • You are so right about the men’s clothes. The thrift store I volunteer at has about ten or more racks of women’s clothes and only two for men’s clothes. When I go in for my shift on Wednesday I always tidy the racks of my size clothes in the hope of finding something nice. If I do I buy it, take it home and then bring back something I am tired of in my closet. No extra clutter but a little style refreshment.

    • Sanna, it think it is great that your BF gets excited and participates in getting rid of clothes.

  3. My challenge at the moment is camera equipment. Years ago I loaned my uncle my film camera and attachments and this trip we came home with all of my stuff and all of HIS stuff. In the basement we have all of Ian’s and possibly his father’s as well. With everyone into digital, I have no idea what to do with film cameras, lenses, etc. (I think of you, Moni, and your daughter’s photogoraphy class!!) I don’t think there’s much of a market and one just cannot throw it in the garbage…

    Anyone had success with this? W

    • Yes, I had 2 old non digital camera and put tthem up individually on ebay 2 years ago and to my suprise they both sold: not for loads but it felt good passing themon to where theywas wanted. I think there is a ‘collectors’ market out there for all sorts of camera’s.

    • Wendy B – have you thought of asking the local High School or I don’t know what you call Polytech over there? (Its tertiary education but more vocational than career).

      Or a local camera club? My dad hasn’t gone digital yet with his camera, as he is now 70 I think the priorities are to get the house all repaired and maintenanced at this stage, and he’s on the prowl for a new lens.

      You could always put it on ebay for a very low reserve or freecycle it, if you aren’t seeking a profit but rather an exit.

      • Thanks for the idea of the High School. I donated a box of stained glass there a while ago. I’ll check to see if they have a photog course. No interest at the camera club when I enquired before but if I have a list, they might want some parts.

        • Wendy B – apparently the following year of photography they have to take a photo using a film camera that the school provides, as a ‘one-shot-chance’ exercise or in other words, how we used to take photos!

    • Wendy B. Send me a list of the cameras that you have. Liam is constantly adding to his collection because that is his intended career. I wouldn’t be surprised if you own something that he might want. He just bought himself a medium format film camera from the UK and is looking at buying a large format film camera from a friend of a friend so as you can see he is always on the lookout. He will be in the US at Christmas time for a month, if you have anything he wants you could mail it to where he is staying. He has money in his bank account for just such purchases.

    • Hi Wendy B,
      I did a google search and found this interesting article. See below.
      I have donated remote contol cars to the local high school, maybe the art classes at your local high school could use the cameras?
      Cheers Wendy F

  4. Grace from Brazil

    I think we need to be open to different ways of getting rid of stuff that may be out of the ordinary that come along unexpectedly. Yes, that is hard to plan for but it does help to get rid of hard to place items. Recently we had a group visiting us from Canada. I had just read two books about some brilliant and outstanding Canadians so I asked if someone would like them. Yes! Then I heard one of the group was a writer and liked old things. I had a 400 year old ink well that came from a Dutch ship off the coast of British Guyana and asked her if she would be interested. Yes! Then I had some wonderful art from Brasil that I knew would not make it in the cut when we move in a couple of years. One of the group admired my art. It is now hers! I was lamenting later that I had taken in 2 gifts from them until I realised I had gotten rid of 6 things!

    But unforeseen catastrophe from the gravity gods really shook me up the other day. Not a recommended way to get rid of stuff but nevertheless works. I am limiting everything in my house to what I love so when a very much loved item hit the floor the other day I was crushed. My precious family tried to piece it back together and I even looked up how to glue the pieces when I realised that I was being given a gift of letting go…even IF I loved the silly thing. I think something I need to work through is as I work to have less and less I mustn’t become super attached to those few things. So even if I chip away at my possessions I don’t want the things I keep to take on undue importance. I want a heart that becomes unattached from any of my stuff, no matter how much I love it.

    • That happened to me Grace – avase I was very fond of (I had decorated it many years ago slipped off th table and broke (because I had too much clutter on the table, so it was a bit like a penny push machine). It hung around for 2 yrs with th promise ‘I was going to glue it.
      I finally glued it earlier this year. It didn’t look as good and when I eventually used it, didn’t hold water well. A few months ago a accepted its happy memory that would be for ever with me, them put it in the bin.
      To my suprise,I’ve not regretted this, as this was definitely an item I never thought I would be able to get rid of.

    • I agree Grace, we do need to be open to all sorts of inventive ways to get rid of our stuff. I give and sell stuff to friends because I know them well enough to discern what I have that they might have a use for. I use freecycle to give away things that need repair. I am up front about what is wrong with the items and there is always someone out there that can use the parts, can repair the item or just loves tinkering.

      I like what you say here about becoming too attached to the objects that are special enough to survive the cut. I hadn’t thought of it this way before. What’s more, I am not sure I am particularly precious about anything that is left even if I do like it a lot so maybe this isn’t a problem for me.

    • Hi Grace!
      I can relate so well to both your stories. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to pass something on directly to a person who appreciates it. Just a week ago, I was visiting a friend and noticed a vase and a casserole there in action which I passed on to her. They were just “second favourites” in my home and hardly ever got used but in her home they have become much used and appreciated items.

      Also I have had this phase in the early days of decluttering, where I wanted to have only “perfect” things surrounding me. I also daydreamed about new perfect china, new perfect clothes, new perfect whatever to replace my not-so-much-loved assortments. I dismissed this idea soon though. I’m living with what I’ve already got. Should I really need a replacement when my clothes/dishes/whatever really wear out, I’ll get something I like, of course. If I already own something I like, that’s fine as well of course. But much more than hunting for “perfect” I find myself striving for detachment of things generally and appreciating even the less perfect things in my home. When my favourite mug broke, I started to use my second favourite more. I could get an exact replacement of my favourite mug, but I won’t buy one until I really don’t have any mugs anymore, and this could take a few years. I like those I own now well enough.

    • Gravity gods! Love it! I have concrete floors with vinyl tiles on them, so anything which hits the deck is liable to explode into dozens of fragments and skitter under furniture and appliances.

      I also have a cereal-type bowl which I bought from a craft pottery in Greece about 11 years ago. It’s in use daily, sometimes more than once a day (it’s about to have it’s second outing this lunchtime) and sooner or later the Gravity Gods will claim it. I only could afford the one bowl from that pottery and really like looking at it and using it, even after 11 years of constant service.

      I felt a bit sad about the inevitability of it’s eventual loss until a pal reminded me of something that I’d heard years before, and which I had forgotten until then; the cup is already broken. I think it’s a Buddhist principle but I may be mistaken in that.

      I find it an excellent concept to avoid attaching emotion to inanimate objects. This oft-used bowl of mine WILL be broken one of these days and that will be OK; it leaves a space for another bowl to enter my life.

      • So while it’s still in once piece take a photo of your or a family member using it and you can keep the memory instead of the broken pieces when it breaks 🙂

    • Grace from Brazil, you have found a great way to declutter some or your things by giving them away like that. I think I have Mom to the point where she would gladly give away some things if I find someone who really wants them. That’s a big step for her.

    • I love it when a visitor to my home admires something, and I can give it to them right then and there!

      • Grace from Brazil

        That is THE best, isn’t it, when you know that they like something and then you get the fun of blessing them with it!

  5. Hi Colleen, My mini mission for today I did a few months ago. I finally stopped buying cases of individual water bottles. We never recycled these and I think just from not buying and throwing these bottles away I’ve reduced my garbage in half. Anyway, that’s my baby step for becoming a little greener.

    • Hi Jennifer L,
      that is such a big improvement on your carbon footprint. Good for you!!!
      I am however curious as to why you never recycled the water bottles? It is a big leap going from buying water in bottles (which are really quite unnecessary when water comes free from out of the tap) to eliminating the need to recycle them by not buying them at all.

    • Wow great work Jennifer L! It’s nice to have less garbage to take out, isn’t it. I hope one day, I’ll so seldom do it I’ll almost forget where the bin room is!

      • Thanks Colleen and Snosie, It does feel a lot better taking out the garbage. The reason the bottles weren’t recycled is that they stopped doing the recycle bin in my area and I just never researched to find a place to drop them off. One day I had a revelation. It was my errand day and these chores were at the end of the day: a case of water at grocery store, 2. stop at hardware store to buy a 5 gallon jug of water for my water cooler, 3. stop at gas station to buy a bag of ice. No, we weren’t having a party, this was for every day use! I know, this was INSANE. Yes, it was. I was tired and all this running around was awful. Then, I realized, I get water FREE from the tap. What?! Why am I doing this to myself. Our water at home isn’t that bad and truth be told the water we buy turns out to come from the cities of the companies that are selling it and probably worse for me than my well water. I’m just being honest, putting my flaws out here for everyone to see. This water situation was not my finest moment financially or environmentally. But, at least I’m learning. Sometimes the hard way. P.S. I sold the water cooler so no more sucking up energy wastefully that way. And I started making my own ice at home.

        • I never have really bought a lot of bottled water (maybe 1-2 bottles a month, usually because of traveling) but I would then reuse that bottle and just felt that it wasn’t a good idea because of the plastic issue. So as much as I am trying to not buy more products to fill my life I did purchase a really nice set of 6 glass water bottles from Amazon. I actually got them for free because I had done some surveys and received an Amazon gift card and used that. Now I have nice, cold water to take with me to work.

        • Good for you Jennifer. I am glad you are making great strides in being more environmentally friendly. Unlike your towns local government who are obviously taking strides backwards in the war on waste. Fancy them removing your recycling bins, what a shame.

  6. One of the biggest challenges for me is to not bring new stuff back into the house. When this happens progress starts to become somewhat 🙂 noticeable.

    • Hi Lisa – I read an example recently that touched on this – if you don’t mind me putting my two cents worth in. The writer said that if the bath had overflowed and was flooding the bathroom, there was no point mopping the floors until the taps had been turned off.
      I don’t know if that helps but I really liked that example.

      • I like that analogy Moni. And Lisa, it is absolutely right. At best you are only maintaining the clutter status quo if you are bring in as much as you are sending out. That isn’t decluttering it’s just making room for more consumerism. However it is better than bringing stuff in and not getting rid of anything.

      • Grace from Brazil

        What a vivid illustration. That will stick with me for sure.

  7. Tick to the eco tip – bought fabric napkins on Sunday from my local op shop man (in exchange he got a wine rack and $8).

    It’s weird to realise (again and again) that not everyone reads things like this daily. I was out with close friends, and they were like ‘how can you throw clothes out’ (donate etc) ‘they have feelings’ to which I said ‘no they don’t, only teddy bears have feelings’ (Don’t worry, I only have one of those despite once having more). Alas, said friends did take my ‘outbound’ water proof pants… which is not helping their cause, but is mine! (and as they rationalised, saved buying some).

    • Hi Snosie, people have feelings towards memories of events where we wore certain clothes but “Clothes have feelings” that is a new one on me. 😕

      I am glad at least that you benefitted from this exchange. One less piece of clothing in your closet at least.

      • It was interesting (esp hearing siblings and their similarities!) There was also the ‘waste you money’ argument and that keeping them makes it better ‘cost per wear’ – but as I refuted, if you’re always passing over your second favourite, and can’t find that great retro outfit you kept, what’s the point?!

      • Hi Colleen and Snosie (again!), Napkins are my next green baby step that I’ve been thinking about. But, I’m wondering what kind of fabric to use? What do you use? What about those micro fibre cloths that you talk about. Also, my family and I entertain quite a bit sometimes larger crowds like 20-30. So, what do you do then?

        • If I may: I have different cloth “napkins” in my kitchen. There are some woven linen/cotton ones which we use at the table. They are soft, nice at your skin and do just what classic napkins should do. We own eight of them, which covers our needs for guests as well.
          We also have a few more cloths though which replace more or less the kitchen roll. They’re used for spills etc.. I made them by cutting up and hemming excess towels. They absorb spills really well. Microfiber should work well for this as well, but I personally would have problems with using microfibre on my skin. It’s rather rough and I easily get irritated skin from it (I did once try a special microfibre face cloth with devastating results).

        • Hi Jennifer,
          I don’t use napkins when I am at home because there is always a sink nearby to wash up in so I don’t see the necessity. If I were to buy washable ones I would most likely buy linen.

    • I feel the same. Especially my (rather far away) family. Although neither of them is a shopaholic, they so often go for the “easy buy” when they desire something without asking whether they truly need it. And what’s more, they don’t really understand why you shouldn’t. As I really have a smaller budget than most of them, I am in a weak position to defend my lifestyle, as they all assume, I wasn’t able to afford more. However, even if I earned MUCH more a month, I wouldn’t change my life style very much. And that’s something I know. Because I think, it’s a good thing to not overindulge every day, but have a “sunday roast” so to say. To limit yourself to your needs mostly, and indulge in “wants” only rarely, because I think you can get lost in wants.
      However, of course they won’t believe me voluntarily “depriving” myself (I don’t see where I am coming short, I have shelter, I have food, even tasty food and I have leisure), but “know” that I would rather spend money daily on unnecessary thing if only I had it. Oh well.

      • You aren’t coming up short Sanna, the rest of your family just don’t know how lucky you are not to be a slave to the desire to acquire. I pity that in other people now and revel in that fact that I don’t fall prey to it.

  8. When I saw your egg timer, I knew I had one exactly like it on my stove. My salt is pink and I don’t think I have ever used it. Don’t even know where it came from. Out it goes to the recycling bin. This is one of those things that I have looked at and over for years.

    • Who’d have thought I would choose just the right thing to inspire an easy declutter for you. Like I said, I have no idea how this one has escaped my notice for so long.

  9. The sooner you get rid of it, the easier it is to let go. I try to zero in on 2nd hand stores if I want to try to get some money for it. They are in town and easy to get to. I donate a lot. Craig’s list might be a better choice than E-bay or Amazon to start with since the people are in the area. Most of the time, I just donate what I have. But, for some people, they feel better if they can get some money for it. It softens the sting of buying it and spending too much. Whatever you decide, the sooner it is out of the house, the better in my mind.

    • The people that inspired this post today were ones that don’t even have access to the internet but do want to get rid of their stuff. They are older and a little old school. That is why I also suggested garage sales. I am lead to believe that garage sales are becoming less popular here in Australia possibly due to the availability of on-line selling.

      • Colleen – I just had a friend here and she mentioned garage sales and she felt that car boot sales and flea markets were better, only from a security perspective.
        I found these links:

        • Thanks for those links Moni, I will add them to next weeks Friday Faves. What troubles me about them though is that, although many of the tips are just common sense, they make it all out to be quite sinister. I fear that people stop doing a lot of things these days because the danger factor is so exaggerated.

          • Colleen – I have never held a garage sale and have a tendancy to be a bit trusting and while I have a reasonable amount of common sense, a few of those on the list I wouldn’t have thought of. My friend is a garage saler and told me that there have been some very unscrupulous people in recent times and not the fun mutual win-win that it used to be.

            I’d be surprised if you could find it in your local video store, but if you could lay your hands on a NZ low budget movie called “Second Hand Wedding” – you’d probably enjoy it. Its rather Kiwiana but I’m sure you’d enjoy the outcome of the story.

  10. I have a few techniques that work for me in trying to get rid of my items. I keep a box or bag constantly available so as I go thru my day, I easily have somewhere to gather items that I am decluttering. Once the box or bag is full, into the car it goes. If it sits in my garage without an intended purpose, I will likely forget about it, or worse yet, start rethinking some of those items. I know that at least once a week I will go into town, so I keep that bag or box visible in my car, not in my trunk. It helps me to remember that I need to drop it off at my local donation center. Luckily, my town has several donation centers, so there is no shortage of where to drop them off at. I have had a few yard sales, which helps to recoup some of the money that was spent on items. As well, I have sold a few items on e-bay. In many communities, there are churches or schools, that will take donations when they are doing yard sales for a way to raise money. Most larger towns or cities will have centers that are willing to come to your home to pick up items, especially those that need items for less fortunate people. I find that getting the stuff out of the house, in whatever way possible, really does a lot to lift the burden that clutter can cause.

    I am always excited when I can find someone who can utilize my children’s clothing and I am giving several items to a friend tomorrow.

    I also went on a recent short trip with some family members. One of the trip’s outings was to visit a massive store. I was so proud that I only purchased two post cards and a consumable item. Normally I would have come away with much more than that. It really helps to think about and look at what you may want to purchase in a different light.

    • Hi Jen. I will add my two cents worth if you allow me. I always make lists of exactly what my children need before I go to a store buy them anything. They grow so fast that the clothes they used a month might not be fitting three months foward. And I count how many of anything they have so I don’t buy in excess. It is tiresome, but it pays so they always enough. I donate all they outgrow (the younger one uses up what the older left 😀 ) And you were great going to a big outlet and buying nothing!!! I would be tempted. Way to go! 😉

    • You certainly have it all worked out Jen. Good for you.
      I started out, when I first arrived back in Australia with a garage sales and some large items being picked up by charities. Then I let my fingers do the walking to find a thrift shop to take the smaller items to. Once I began this thing a day mission and became even more conscientious about rehousing every little thing I began investigating more option. I started using ebay, Freecycle and other online options as well. To this day I am still investigating and finding new options all the time. No longer do I through batteries in the bin like I used to, they go to the recycling box at the library, certain clothing collection boxes recycle much more of their donations than others, the back takes donations of foreign coins and my optometrist sends on old glass to charities that distribute them to those in need.

      There are so many ways to make use of what is no longer useful to us and it is out duty to make use of those options.

  11. Hi Colleen! Great post. Contrary to some of your readers I seem to be surrounded by declutters. My friends are more tending to minimalist than to clutter so they come to my house and always aprecciate my declutter efforts. Sometimes it is hard to continue, so I imagine it must be doubly hard to start. I have, in these last weeks, decluttered cups, lots of them. I donated them to an acquaintance, who had very few and had no money to spend buying cups. I always try to donate and give an appropriate destination, but it is hard sometimes. I mean there’s garbage pick up, but they don’t pick up some itens that are hazards to the environment and I keep them in the garage waiting until I can go somewhere and dispose of them properly. I think this is what makes decluttering difficult sometimes. But we got to keep going.

    • Hi Andréia,
      I know it can be hard to dispose of things responsibly especially when you are trying to run a home business and raise two small children but it is our duty to do so. This post was all about finding out where these best drop off places were so it is easier to incorporate them into weekly routines. Tasks are much easier to accomplish if your know the goal or destination and coordinate them with other tasks such as drop the kids at school and swing by the recycling depot on the way home etc. Good luck my friend and happy decluttering. Let those friends of yours be a good influence.

  12. My favourite outlets at the moment: Ebay and freecycling via putting it in front of the door with a „free“ sign on it. Ebay actually is painful and I again know why I put it off for so long but with some things in the boxes actually worth a little money (at least when you add things up) and all the upcoming expenses for the baby I do feel more motivated to just do it. Also I know that there (realistically thinking) won’t be too many fleamarkets in the near future.
    The curbside decluttering works like a charm round here (as long as the weather is nice and the stuff doesn’t get spoiled – I always get mad if I see people not paying attention to this one basic rule and let things that usually would be taken sit in the rain).
    Maybe I’ll manage to go to one more flea market this year for selling …
    But what I am really looking forward to: My give-away sort of Christmas party is starting to become a little bit of a tradition in it’s third year and though it is not mainly about getting rid of stuff, it’s fun. I am absolutely planning on doing it again at the end of november or beginning of December.

    • Ok I have clearly missed something recently. This part of your comment came as quite a surprise :…upcoming expenses for the baby…”. Am I the only 365er who didn’t know you were having a baby. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! How exciting for you.

      I love the idea of your Christmas clutter parties. I have noticed recently that a couple of people that are involved in some online local communities around me are starting to ask if they can borrow things from other community members as a “try before they buy” plan or as an “I need it as a one off” rather than buy situation. I love it that they are doing this rather than just running to the shop. There are so many ways to get rid of and avoid clutter altogether.

    • Ideealist please tell me more about this christmas party-it sounds interesting?

  13. Jennifer L,
    Don’t beat yourself up about the water bottles. We all do things that make sense to us but over time don’t work anymore. Your eyes are open now and you are making progress. For a long time, our county did not have recycling and we used to have to drive our items to the local grocery store and divide them by color, type, etc. Oftentimes, it was just easier to put them in the regular trash. Now, that our county recycles, we have a small bin on our back porch which is transferred to a larger bin in the yard on trash day. The county has made it easy for us but don’t know how I would do it they didn’t. So, you are making an effort to change your habits and this is what this website is all about. Friends helping others to make better choices. Good luck.


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