Guess who’s back.

Well hello folks, it’s nice to be back to chat with you all again. My vacation was wonderful and as usual on my return my house seems so big. After living in B&Bs, AirBnBs and motel rooms for seven weeks having all this space around me seems a little excessive.

I have to say that after wearing the same limited items of clothing for that length of time I am glad to see my closet again. And it is a whole new season here so a whole different set of clothing is called for. Thank the heavens for that because I am so over the ones I took with me. They did serve me well though and I chose well when I packed. Even with only one backpack weighing less than 7kgs (15.5lb) I was never hot, cold, wet, uncomfortable or short of clothing. I did get close to falling short of garments at times when laundromats were few and far between but a little hand washing took care of that issue.

I have confirmed one thing for sure from my time away, and that is that I could easily live in a smaller space with less stuff. Life is complicated enough at times without cluttering it up with unnecessary responsibility. Responsibilities like cleaning and keeping tidy space one doesn’t even need and working long hours in order to afford to buy stuff one also doesn’t need.

Today’s Mini Mission

Return to your chosen room again and pick another elevated surface to clear off and declutter. Once again put everything away in its proper home and move any unwanted clutter to your clutter departure points. 

Eco Tip for the Day

Eat more whole foods. That is food that has received no or very little processing such as raw fresh fruit and vegetables.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

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

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Welcome back, Colleen! Hope you had a wonderful time. Will you be telling us a bit about your travels?

    Thanks to your planning, and Cindy and Deb J’s posts, we haven’t gone into complete withdrawal, but your voice has been missed 🙂

    • Thanks Jo H, I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with you all. Nothing shuts me up for long so get ready for my usual words of wisdom, jolly banter and the occasional stubborn resistant to excuses not to declutter. 😉

  2. Welcome back! Hope you will share some of your holiday experiences with us. Glad the packing was successful and you are back safe and sound

    • Thanks Moni, I am sure I can weave the occasional story into the fabric of a post every now and again. The vacation was wonderful. I learned a lot of history, saw some wonderful sights (some that make the pyramids seem like a recent addition.) and met some very nice people. We had a blast.

  3. GracefromBrazil

    Yay! It is great to hear from you again. I also missed your comments but everyone you left “in charge” did so great. Even though you stepped out of the conversation it was obvious that it kept going. You have started something really worthwhile here. I think the success of this website is in that it can keep going if and when you need to leave for a bit. But I am so glad you are back!

    • Hi GracefromBrazil and thank you so much for that warm welcome. I am glad the conversation kept going in my absence and that is thanks to wonderful loyal readers like yourself. Thanks again.

  4. Welcome back!

  5. Welcome back Colleen!! Glad you had a good trip and things worked out well for your clothes. Glad you came home feeling good.

    • Thanks Deb J, I was sorry to hear your mom has been unwell and hope she is feeling better soon.
      We have already been out looking at an apartment and put an offer in. We will see how that pans out. Steve has gone back to work today so I will have a little alone time, something I haven’t had much of for a while. I am looking forward to catching up with friends in the next couple of days.
      I will spend a little time contemplating a bit more decluttering.
      Thank you again for writing all those posts for me for while I was away. I hope you enjoyed responding to all the comments.

      • You don’t let the grass grow under your feet Colleen!
        Feels like a welcome back and a farewell for me 😉

      • Wow! You have already found an apartment and put an offer on it? You sure work fast. I hope it works out and you are real happy with it.

        I did enjoy answering the comments for my posts.

        I just got home from the hospital where the doctor canceled my Mom’s procedure and told her that the stress test didn’t show any blood flow problems so didn’t think they needed to do a risky procedure when it would have no benefit. So he will keep her in the hospital a couple more days while he works to find a good medicine combo to stop her problems. I think I’m really over this. I’m tired of the back and forth decisions.

        • Thanks for the update, Deb J.
          Good to hear your Mom won’t need to undergo the procedure & hope they
          get her stabilized & comfortable soon!

        • I hope the doctor succeeds with finding the right meds. The waiting seems interminable I bet. My dad has some health issues too at the moment, but I am confident that his doctor will get him sorted out. Fingers crossed for both of them.

          • I hope so too. I’m tired of all this experimenting with meds and things like that. Hope thing get straight for you dad too. We just don’t like our parents having health issues.

  6. Welcome back Colleen! Looking forward to hearing your travel stories and glad to know that the travel wardrobe worked out well.

  7. Yeah! You’re back! So good to hear you had such a great time!

  8. Welcome back! I read above that you enjoyed yourself a lot. Well, while you were away we all behaved ourselves :D. I did a lot of decluttering and I am contemplating decluttering a few items of my untouchable box.

  9. So glad to have you back, Colleen, and thank you for the response to my comment yesterday. I thought you had answered me “from the road”….only to find out today you’re “back in the saddle”! Love this week’s mini missions as I feel that my only trouble spot in the house that I can’t keep uncluttered, is my craft studio. Can’t blame hubby, this is all me! Need to figure out why this is so…..

    • Thanks for the warm welcome back Kim. I am sure you will get the craft room sorted soon enough. Just be ever observant of what is and isn’t working in there and you will have the problem in hand before you know it.

  10. Good to have you back. Deb J. and Cindy did an awesome job, as they always do. I was intrigued by your comments upon returning home to your larger space. I have always felt that my best clutter clearing came after being away on holiday/vacation. Even the choices were easier to make. Getting away from it all, then getting away from it all by giving it all away. Does wonders for the soul.

  11. Glad to hear Deb’s mother is doing ok and that her dr. is being conservative, since the procedure might have left her arm bruised and painful for a while. Colleen, we are glad you are home and refreshed. I can understand your being tired of the same clothes. When we would visit our sons to help with tax paperwork, I would usually buy a thrift shop ” new” shirt to wear because I got tired of what I took for the trip. I still wear one or two acquired that way.

    • Hi Nana, I did drop into the odd thrift shop while I was away but didn’t find any clothes to tempt me. I may well have succumb otherwise. I would no doubt have ditched one overused piece to make up for it rather than add weight to my backpack.

  12. Welcome back, Colleen, so glad that you had a terrific time. Nothing like time away to give a renewed perspective on things and put a little pep in your step, not that you needed any pep :). I look forward to hearing about your experiences and glad to hear that you are on your way to fulfilling the dream of a smaller place. Can’t wait for that to be my reality, but it will be some time before that will happen. Until then, more decluttering :).

    • Hi Jen and thank you for the welcome home. Oddly enough I don’t feel all that refreshed. Sightseeing is hard work. I do hope this apartment purchase goes though this time because then I will certainly have some current hands-on decluttering experience to talk about. I am quite content to move everything we have and work out what will fit and what won’t once we get there. This apartment has a storage cage in the garage which gives us a few more options for making things fit. However of things don’t fit, are overfilling the space or aren’t being used enough to warrant keeping then out they will go.

  13. Good to have you back!
    I love travelling (and camping) to really put it into perspective how excessive my belongings are. And to really appreciate the freedom and ammenities that I enjoy everyday.

    My simplifying mission is going well. Things I couldn’t get rid of last month, I easily let go this week. I realized that even though I pared down quite a bit when I moved, there were still things that I kept “just in case” for the new place. Now, a year after moving in, I can be honest about what the house needs — and what it doesn’t!

    This blog is as necessary and my morning coffee right now. Thank you 365LT for the daily encouragement!

    • Hi Creative Me, I imagine I am going to find myself in your position very soon. Decluttering excess items that don’t really fit into our new home (providing the sale goes through this time). I already have my eye on a few things.

      • Hope it is good news on the apartment, we have been here in Honeysuckle for three weeks and we are loving it! Carole.

        • Hi Carole, we will have to get together for coffee in the hood once I move in. I see you are an artist/crafter. We could have some fun together with that. We could teach me stamp carving skills.

  14. Hi Colleen! So glad to hear you are back and that you enjoyed your travels. I just got back from my mom’s yesterday – was there for 5 days. We had a good talk and have determined that it would be best if she sold her home and moved to CO. We would plan on this for next Spring. It was nice to see her. I can tell you that she is going to have to declutter in a BIG way. LOL Welcome back!

    • Hi Michelle, and thank you for the welcome home. I am so glad your mother has decided to move closer to you. It will be better for both of you I am sure. It will be a big job sorting things out at her end but it will be so worth it in the end. I hope you have given her some tips on how to get started with some manageable decluttering on her own.

  15. Welcome back!! I love that your trip solidified your calling to a smaller space. We went on just a one-week trip while you were away, and I was excited to come home and declutter after the sparsely decorated and easy to clean space! I even felt the walls smothering me with their tidy clutter; so I relate a bit to what you might have felt, although you are much more ahead of me down that path. There are also five of us…one just a baby, and I know you know the battle of keeping clutter down with several children. I would love to have more encouragement for balancing all the fun “things” of childhood and yet the lack of clutter. 2 of them recently had birthdays, another is just ahead, and then Christmas. We are coming up with more FUN ideas and hope they will also be pleased with that instead of a lot more stuff.

    • Hi Angela, thank you for the welcome. We hit the ground running by travelling for 30+ hours, going out for a decent coffee and then viewing an apartment. We have since put in an offer on the apartment. It was accepted and we are moving ahead. I hope we don’t get gazumped this time. Although the last deal that fell through has potentially saved us $100,000 and lower strata fees. Fingers crossed.

      As for balancing the fun things of childhood without the clutter, her is my advice.
      1. Set a spending limit for birthdays and Christmas. We did this with out kids. If they wanted something extra expensive they had to earn the rest of the purchase price themselves. The beauty of more expensive gifts is that they usually end up only getting one (clutter eliminated).
      2. I have found the kids nearly always prefer to spend quality time with you doing fun things rather than sitting around playing with toys or electronic devices. Go to the beach more, the park, fishing or some other fun activity. A pack of cards and appropriate game can keep them entertained for some time.
      3. Involve your kids in the decluttering process. Set aside a time to go through their things with them. Encourage them to relinquish thing they no longer use by either suggesting they donate them to less fortunate kids and helping the sell them to earn a little pocket money. My kids used to love me having yard sales where they could sell their toys and earn a little cash. Once some money had passed through their hot little hands they would be running back inside the house to see if there was anything else they could happily live without.
      4. Encourage family members who buy for them to give them gifts such as tickets to movies, theme parks or even cash in a back account. See my Uncluttered Gift Guide for Kids for more ideas
      5. Don’t overbuy for them. They only need so many clothes, so many toys, so much furniture, you need only so many gadget to cater to their needs etc.

      Hopefully these ideas will help you on your way.

      • Congtatulations on the new home, Colleen! I know this is a dream come true, and I really look forward to hearing all about the new place, the move, and all that good stuff! Thank you for the great tips!

    • One tip I read Angela, is in the week or 2 before a birthday or Christmas, get your child/ren to declutter their room of stuff they have outgrown so there is space for them to have new things… with the slight hint of ‘no space…no new things’ 😉 It could set a good habit of an annual ritual of clearing out and acknowledge growth and development.

    • We had 4. A friend had 5 and told me hers had a minimum of clothing. That seemed like a good idea and made it easier to sort socks, etc. since we washed daily. As far as toys, we mainly bought things that could be shared such as Legos, building blocks, balls, puzzles, books, coloring books, art supplies, Sesame Street sets (a school, a neighborhood). The boys shared trucks and tracks and accessories; the girls shared dolls, tea sets, doll furniture, etc. And sometimes the boys played with the dolls and the girls played with the trucks When they were very small, some toys were stored in boxes, and when they quit playing with some, they were stored and a different stored box brought out which was like new to them. Later we had two garage sales a year and any money from a particular child’s toy was that child’s–this encouraged decluttering. Basically large toys like a bigger bike was bought any time of the year that the need arose, but smaller toys were generally acquired from garage sales or at Christmas and birthdays, and when school was out we made a round of garage sales and got some “new” to them more summery toys since all brithdays were in winter or spring. We just had family birthday parties since two had a birthday near a holiday and the weather was often bad on any of the four’s, so we did not have the avalanche of toys that happens with a party.

      • This is beautiful! I think I will especially benefit from the rotating toys and yard sales. My oldest 2 share everything, then there is a big gap between them and the baby. I think my problem is that we’ve pared down to only the loved toys and the quality toys I will want for the baby; so when I ask them to declutter more, they say all they have left is what they love and use, and it is true, but to me it is still too much. I like the idea of them getting $ for some things so they are more willing to let go. And I have realized I can let go too because the baby will not need ALL those toys even if they are just the quality fun ones left.

  16. I never cease to be amazed at what we can do without when we need to. Welcome back.

  17. With kids, I find that forcing them to de-clutter is met with resistance. I find that encouraging them to release old toys and books, clothes/shoes they have grown out of and donate them to charity to kids that don’t have the luxury of toys. A lot of kids I find can be very generous and find things they want to donate to charity. With broken/ripped toys and books, I also find encouraging children ot recycle is a fantastic thing and a great habit to teach them, so then later they can teach and encourage their kids to be generous, clutter clear and also more eco-aware in their clearing 🙂

    I find that when many people clutter clear, throw a great deal of good things (such a books/magazines, kitchen/bathroom items, furniture, glass items, electronics,) are thrown into the trash. It’s sad to me when cutter goes into landfill and clutters the Earth 🙁 Things such as out of date computer books/manuals and old glass things (such as bowls with chips on them) etc can be recycled. Also some things such as old books, old watch parts, and wares can be made into recycled (up-cycled art.)

    I’m writing a book, on clearing external and internal clutter, making it fun and eco-aware. I adore the 365 things site! It’s so thorough and inspiring! 🙂

    • Your book sounds like it willl be a good read! We usually donate their toys and clothes, and I thought they were doing well with it. The problem now is that they need to also pass along the things they still like to play with sometimes because even though all we have left is the really nice stuff that they love, it’s too much of a good thing. Really, there are specific toys they play with nearly every day, and the others are played with when they finally remember them, but they could be having just as much fun without them.

  18. It is wonderful that you have returned to our shores, and I look forward to catching up sometime soon.

    I love the idea of decluttering responsibilities. That is one thing I truly believe in 🙂


  1. […] comment from Creative Me puts into a nutshell the situation I am likely to find myself in real soon if our acquisition of […]

  2. […] comment from Creative Me puts into a nutshell the situation I am likely to find myself in real soon if our acquisition of […]