Have faith that you won’t need it one day

As the saying goes ~ “Believe and the Universe will provide.” Whether you are religious, spiritual or neither there is a good chance that this saying is true for you. It sure has been true for me, and that is why I never worry about letting go of the things that I don’t use. I hold on to very little in the way of things that I only think I might need some day because I have no doubt that…

  1. …I probably won’t and never did “need” it in the first place and…
  2. …and anything I do need want can be easily replaced at a later date.

One of the reasons I believe these this is that I am very good at improvising so can often do without things by coming up with ingenious ways to make do. And that so often, for me, when I “need” something it has a habit of “miraculously” falling into my hands. I’ll give you some examples.

My daughter has always wanted a Magic Bullet Blender  (Too much exposure to infomercials on television in America). I have often thought of buying her one as a gift but never did for various reasons. Last week my friend Wendy was about to take one to the thrift shop but when she found out Bridget would like one she gave it to me to give to her.

A while back I was in want of some double sided scrapbook paper to make pinwheels for my handmade cards. One day I went to a yearly huge car boot sale (flea market) and, lo and behold, one stall had some offcuts for sale which were reduced to half price. I have since used it all up and made some nice pocket money in the endeavour.

Some months back my son mentioned that he would like a handheld vacuum (dustbuster, whatever you like to call it). The very next time I did a shift at the thrift store one was donated which I bought for him for a mere $5. My daughter also mentioned she wanted one of those plastic kids sandpits to use as a dog pool. The very next day I picked one up for nothing from a bulk rubbish pile on the side of the road. The same thing happened when she mentioned she wanted a clothes airer.

This kind of thing happens to me all the time and sometimes with the strangest things. But even if it didn’t I am confident that I would either, never again need an item I have decluttered or I will be able to afford to replace something should it be necessary. Luckily that has rarely happened. I don’t know if this is because the Universe truly does provide if you believe it will but either way I am content to believe that there is nothing I need be afraid to let go of if I am not using it.

It always intrigues me that among a community of people with an abundance of items, that we are all endeavouring to declutter, that any of us could possibly believe that one day life is going to come to a standstill because we might have to go without items we never really needed in the first place. So please don’t hang on to trivial unnecessary stuff in the fear that you might need it someday. Have faith in yourself that you will always be able to provide, even if you don’t believe that the universe will, and just let go of things you haven’t used in a long time and probably never will.

Today’s Mini Mission

 Declutter five food items that have been in your pantry for a while by making meals out of them this week.

Eco Tip for the Day

If you see things going to waste, rescue them and find them a new home. I do with from the recycling bins at our apartment all the time. It is amazing when perfectly good items people through in the bins. I take them to the thrift shop where they are sold on.

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. An excellent post Colleen!

    • I am glad you think so Moni. Has it made you think about some stuff in your house that you are keeping just-in-case?

      • Colleen – sorry nothing in particular. There are items which have been given an expiry date whereby the likelihood of it being used again drops from 50-50 to zero – these items are too expensive or too time involved to replace, so they get to stay a bit longer. Most are within the next 6-12 months and usually something to do with seasonal sports or extra-curricular activities re: kids.

        Aside from that I usually apply the 20-20 rule: if it would cost under $20 and less than 20 minutes to replace – out it goes.

  2. Colleen, this is an excellent post. I have another example. Our blender died. I put a post out on our church facebook group asking if anyone had one they no longer needed and would sell. Someone who had two gave us a really nice one that had only been used once and wouldn’t let us pay for it. We have had a number of things like this. We have a newly married couple whose rented house burnt down friday night. By the end of the day Saturday people from church and other friends had completely furnished their new rental and provided groceries, clothes, etc. I think many times we are just too proud to look at seond hand items or afraid to ask for things. We need to think of having swaps among friends and family.

    • Great comment Deb J. I love the idea of real community groups, such as church groups, neighbourhoods, hobby clubs etc where one can request things as well as request help for others. Individuals or the whole community can then get together to help out. Much of society has lost the ability to come together like this. You are so right there should be more swaps, giving and helping between, friends, community and family. I would really like to encourage that here in my apartment block.

  3. Hi Colleen! I was looking over at stuff I have saved for when I have another baby and this thought came to mind: if you really want to save something, have a plan of “when and how” exactly you are going to use it. I mean, I saved that stuff over 3 years ago, but I had the plan to have another baby. I know when I am using the baby stuff, and that when I am done using it, it will all be donate or sold. On the other hand, saving stuff that you never know when or even if you are going to use, is a sure way to collect clutter. So, good post and let´s not worry about problems that may never arise.

    • You are so right Andréia, have a plan or let it go. You certainly have a sensible plan with the baby stuff. If more children are planned in the near future then keep it for then if not let it go. You have done the right thing. While keeping things out of just-in-case fears is and act of negativity.

  4. Great post, Colleen. Andreia, I love: “Let’s not worry about problems that may never arise”. Excellent!

    • Hi Michelle, if we could all convince ourselves of that one statement there would be a lot less depression in this modern world.

      • Ouch – I’m close to a sufferer of depression and can’t really agree with that perspective. Maybe there would be less stress and/or anxiety (which are considered two different things in the MH world), but depression that’s a more clinical kettle of fish.

  5. So true Colleen!
    What a good feeling it was for me to recycle !
    Deb J ‘s comment shows the power of community and how wonderful it can be.

  6. For today’s mini-mission I tackled food gifts. I prefer food gifts over ‘stuff’ but I don’t always share the taste of people who give me food and they tend to get stuck in far corners ‘for later’. A package of microwave popcorn that came in a goodie bag with Ian’s hearing aids (if there’s some connection between hearing aids and popcorn, I’d be happy to have someone let me in on the secret!). It has been lurking in a corner so long that it went in the trash. Someone gave us a bottle of honey mustard sauce that we both hate. It was open so I dumped it and recycled the bottle. Maple syrup from a friend’s trip east. Hate maple syrup. It goes to a friend. Birch syrup from a friend’s trip north. Same stuff, different tree. Also to a friend. And mulling spices. I don’t generally use potpourri but this smelled nice so I put it in a bowl on my bookcase to enjoy the scent (what’s left of it) for a few days. At least I don’t ever get stuck with gift wine — I open it right away and serve it.

    • Hello Wendy, I was enlightened by one of my patients regarding the connection between popcorn and hearing aids- he was so excited to be able to watch and hear his favourite movie without relying on the subtitles (or have the upstairs neighbours complaining about the tv volume) for the first time and was able to go to the cinema which I always find better with popcorn 🙂

    • Ah Wendy you haven’t lost your sense of humour. Interesting that you don’t like maple syrup though. And sorry I don’t know the connection between hearing aids and popcorn. Or perhaps it is that with the hearing aids a person can enjoy movies again and here is the popcorn to go with that. That’s my best guess anyway. And well done with that decluttering effort.

  7. Colleen,
    Your post reminded me of two quotes from Karen Kingston’s book on keeping things just in case….
    1. “If you have lots of clutter you are hanging on to because you think like this, you are sending out a message to the universe that you don’t trust it to provide for you and you will always feel vulnerable and insecure about the future”.
    2. “When you decide to let things go, you either never need them again or, if you do need them, similar or better things will somehow turn up in your life at the right time. There’s a certain knack to this, it’s true, but anyone can learn it. The more you can learn to trust that life will take care of you, the more life will take care of you”
    I can still remember a sermon that our pastor/minister gave in the early 1980’s that was on this topic as well. I remember it like I heard it yesterday. It was brilliant.

    • Hi Kimberley, I think Karen Kingston and I have much in common when it comes to our ideas about clutter. And even if the universe doesn’t provide at least with this attitude one can spend a lot less time worrying and that is certainly worth the possible unfounded belief. I personally prefer to believe it is true.

  8. Such a good reminder Colleen. While I’ve gotten pretty good at letting things go, I still play the “what if” game to some extent. The more I’ve decluttered the more I’ve learned how true it is that we really don’t need much of what we hold onto. I’ve also observed how well stocked our local thrift stores are. I feel fairly confident that if I decluttered something I later needed, I could easily find a replacement at one of the many local thrift stores. AND, I can’t think of a single thing I’ve purged that I later needed.

    • I am with you on this Barbara, the local thrift store has everything one could possibly need, maybe not in stock all the time but it will eventually show up is patients is exercised.

  9. Colleen…..this lesson is actually something I learned from my husband. It is trickier to find things he wants “his way” as he looks at thrift stores and yard sales. Eventually, he gets them. One time, it took him two years to find winter boots at the thrift store which meant he didn’t have them for one season. He just made due with what he had until then. I admire his patience as he is never in a hurry for anything. He has an ongoing “wish list” of things he’d like to have, and buys when he finds them for the right price. His doesn’t want to buy new, which is fine by me. I am learning to take my time and things are starting to “appear” for me, too.

  10. This is the exact thing I’ve been trying to express to my mom for some time now. Most likely if you haven’t “needed” it in the last 20 years, what makes you think you’ll need it in the next 20? And if you do, you will most likely be able to buy a new one for not too much expense.

  11. I loved this post, too. I think it’s because I have had similar experiences to you, Colleen. For example,
    at the exact moment when I have a true need for a pair of pants, I’ve had uncanny “luck” in going to a thrift store,
    finding one pair of pants that is perfect, and renewing my trust that I have no need to “stockpile”. This has happened for me
    time after time.

    Interestingly, I’ve noticed that this “doesn’t work” when I used to want to just shop & see if anything tempted me to buy it.
    During those times there were no pants that fit, or that were unsatisfactory in some way. This has served as a good reminder
    that “the Universe” is telling me this is not a true need. The true needs get provided for, in my experience.

    • Hi Sumarie, I am glad you experience the same sort of good fortune as myself. I am often amazed at the obscure things that I or someone I know have a need for that then just full in my lap. I like to think the it is karma for all the community work I do out of the goodness of my heart.

  12. I found this true this summer. I suddenly realized a lot of my shirts were more or less out of style, and I would find one of the newer just-below-the-elbow-cuffed style which actually fit me pretty good without being altered. Then a trip or two later I would find another one, until I now have 5. I had one from last summer in that total. They all looked new. I don’t worry that much about style, but I think some of the ones I was still wearing were teenagers, lol.
    In the buying for others direction, I have found it also true, and quite often when thinkmg of birthdays or Christmas presents for the grandkids will find something brand new at the thrift just right for one of them

  13. I don’t know if it’s worth much to comment, as this post is a few days old. I just wanted to testify that this happens to us all of the time, via my husband. On top of the sole income he provides for our family while I stay home and school the kids, he does side work with that amazing gift of handiness and mechanical knowledge that he has (we don’t know many younger guys like him that have those skills). During side work he is often given things from homeowners into addition to the payment he receives, a few items off the top of my head are an oven/stove combo and fridge that we left in our old home for the next owners, a high quality fridge that we used for four years and recently sold, high quality fixtures and faucets, a free projection tv that sits in our living area right now, and today two very nice backpacks that he brought home today from a lady donating anything that didn’t sell in an estate sale (I will use these as those 72 hour emergency kits and I was thinking yesterday we would need two, no need to buy them!)
    At his work the tech department was throwing out two Macs, he asked if he could have them instead and the lead said that was fine, he frankensteined them together and now we have a wonderful computer to use here.
    I think this has also enabled us to donate things he is given that we have no use for that otherwise would have been thrown into the trash, and we have sold nice things on Craigslist here that people are so grateful to find for such a reasonable price. since they were free in the first place we also sell way below value. I could go on and on, but I will shut up now.

    • Hi Jean, I dare say that is Karma. He is a good man working two jobs to allow you to be there for your children. I would say you deserve free things for that. It is just payment for being great parents.

  14. Jean, I loved your comments. I often go back a week or so later when I might have more time and see if there are new comments, and if I have time I even read the first comments again. We all stay busy, so just comment any time and someone will read it an appreciate it. And being resourceful goes a long way for providing for anyone’s family. These opportunities may show up for other people, too, and they just don’t recognize them–even the opportunity to donate or to give things to someone.