How To Equip A New Home

I got to the end of the day yesterday and realised at 10:15pm that I had forgotten to put a post together for today. Luckily for me Andréia had sent me another post she had whipped up this week. She has obviously been thinking a lot about clutter lately and likes to share her experience with us. She has titled this post “How to Equip a New Home” but she could just as easily have called it “How to Declutter Your Home to Suit You”.  Thanks Andréia. So without further adieu here is her post.

How To Equip A New Home ~ by Andría

I have been decluttering for a while and this question has always been on my mind:  What if I had known exactly what I needed when I was moving to my new home when I was just married? What would I have brought and what would I never ever had brought into my home?

These are very interesting questions. I have concluded that my house would be entirely different if I was setting it up now. It would put far less stuff in it than I did back then, 10 years ago. If I could go back I would be far more selective about what I would bring in so that my home would be less cluttered and easier to maintain.

I am not trying to tell anyone how to assemble their house, but these are the tips I would have given myself.

1)      Don’t buy loads of furniture. Work with the basics. You really don’t have to fill the house. No, really, just buy what you need. As time goes by you can make adjustment to suit your tastes but don’t waste money on things that just clutter up your space. For instance I had a big four door wardrobe, so did I really need to buy another 5 door wardrobe, or did I need less clothes? (I don’t think my old self would listen, but hey, I could always tell myself I told you so later… :D)

2)      How many kitchen gadgets does one really need? Looking back I would have advised myself to put to use all those nice gifts I got at my wedding instead of saving them for good. Many things I bought turned out to be redundant and had to be decluttered. I bought loads of stuff because I thought I needed them and because someone else had them and, in the end, I did not need them at all. They spent years in my kitchen drawers unused and wasting space. Again, work with the things you have, and buy only the necessary/everyday use items. So, as much as that bread pan looks great in the store, if you don’t like baking, don’t buy it.

3)      Return the wedding gifts you don’t want. Or exchange them for things you really need (that is especially useful if you got a whole lot of china as I did that ended up being decluttered years later without never being used). And don’t put in the registry stuff you are not going to use and is buying for someone else’s benefit (like the coffeepot I put in my wedding registry that got used like 5 times in 10 years, until I finally got fed up and gave it away to a relative who makes coffee every day). I love to drink coffee, but I never make it. Ever.

4)      Finally, I know we all have houses we look upon before having our own house, like our parents’ house, our grandparents’, but remember, this is your house and it has to look like you, to feel  like you, and not be a copy of someone else’s. I looked at other peoples’ houses and thought that a nice house had to have all the things I had seen somewhere else. Turns out I was wrong. Even if your Mom’s house is great, your friend’s house is cool, this house will be your home and it has to make you feel comfortable and look like you. If you like books, your house has to have a place for them (like mine should and doesn’t) and as I am not a really great cook, I should have a practical kitchen, for everyday stuff and not loads of different pots and pans I will never really use.

So, I think if I had followed these tips I would have a far less cluttered house than I have now. However I learned from my mistakes and I am working on having a dream house or a house that reflects who I am.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter two excess items from your choice of professional clothing.

Eco Tip for the Day

Decide what you need from the refrigerator before opening the door. Standing there with the door open while you think about what you want to eat just lets the cold air out. Then the fridge has to work harder and waste electricity to regain its optimal temperature level.

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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Continue reading with these posts:

  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
  • You just never know. Firstly I would just like to apologise for my recent extended absence from the blog this month. Unfortunately my mother took ill and I rushed off interstate to visit her in hospital and to […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Luckily for me having no money to buy lot of stuff and starting to read this and other decluttering/minimalism tended blogs, I stopped wishing for a lot of junk only 3-4 months after moving out of my parents’ apartment. So I can justify, that figuring out exactly what kind of furniture is needed and only then buying it, gives lots of positive emotions and no regrets/need to declutter later.
    And I suppose that works for other things too – if you feel that it would be used frequently – buy it, if not – work with what you have or borrow when needed. (For example, last Christmas when family was visiting, we asked them to bring their own pillows and blankets)

    • Hi Anda, I love it when young people realise at a young age that stuff isn’t the key to happiness. And good on you also learning to spend wisely and borrow. You are on the right path.

  2. This is a good post. I have been to 3 weddings and 4 baby showers recently. When I looked over the things on their registries they had way more than they would need. People get taken up in the things they see others have, the things that they see in magazines and the variety of things in front of them as they create their wish list. So many times they later find they have way too much.

  3. After having a couple of kids get married, I realized that I will just give gift cards and cash from now on. One of kids had their car so loaded down with presents that it had car problems. Another moved across the united states and only took what they could in their car and took the rest of the presents back. Not all wedding registries are created equal. Our Target gave us a lot of trouble when we had duplicates and even had a registry. I won’t shop their for gifts again, even though I like to go there for household items. Your tastes change through time, your values change through time and if you are in school for just a couple of years, it would make sense to just get used stuff or free stuff to furnish your home and save the money until you move into your real home. You can sell all the stuff or give it away when you move and then skip having to pay large moving costs. If you are worried about offending people, go to another location and take things back. We paid one of our kids the money would would have spent on a reception if they didn’t have one. It was great and they got cash instead of lots of gifts that they didn’t want or need. How can we teach kids not to have lots of clutter when that is the first thing we do when they get married – give them lots of clutter! As for me, I am going to stick to gift cards and money so they can think about what they really need and buy what they really want.

  4. Hello Everyone,
    I am loving my time in Germany! Having traveled here with a carry on bag, I have been able to purchase some beautiful new clothes and an electric bike! I will be able to return to Australia without going over my baggage allowance 🙂
    I know what Andréia is saying about having time over , to think about previous purchases.
    I like how now I think about my purchases in a more considered way. Just like I consider something to Declutter, I think about my purchases.
    I have been taking many photos on my iPhone , even of souvenirs , because in the end although I would love a coffee cup from Koln, I would never use it.
    I miss having constant Internet access, but tonight we are at my niece’s house and I can utilize her wifi.
    We are busy enjoying ourselves, and I love visiting the local supermarkets and hardware stores, browsing the aisles checking the different products. I have to say I love Germany, the people, the food, the place , it is wunderbah !
    Cheers from Tonsivorst Germany

  5. Now that I have been on my own for oh-so many years, yes, I would change how I furnished my first home. I began stockpiling things when I was just 13 years old in anticipation of living in my own space. I purchased so many kitchen things and I’ve donated a lot of them. I’ve mentioned that I’ve gotten rid of a ton of cookbooks. I ended up being a very basic cook. Recently I purchased a cookbook that I first borrowed from the library and really asked myself if I would regularly make dishes from the book. The answer was yes and I bought the book. I liked every recipe that I’ve tried so this was a good thing.

    My mom told me that she had seen a cookbook that she almost bought until she remembered how I had first checked the library. In fact her library did have the book and she will simply copy the one recipe that she was interested in. I told her she just saved herself $25 and the accumulation of yet another cookbook. Seriously, my mom was like, a cookbook hoarder, practically. Sorry Mom! She has recently begun decluttering her pantry and I am thankful for that.

    The other thing I had accumulated was a bunch of table linens. Good grief! Got rid of all that. I now have one set of placemats for everyday and one set for Christmas, plus a nice tablecloth for Christmas. I know. I know. Why do I need placemats and a tablecloth for Christmas? Heck, I don’t know! I suppose the tablecloth I use once every four years when we actually have company for Christmas. 😉

    • Michelle – ahhhh the glory box. Or did you call it a hope chest? I haven’t heard of those these days or at least not amongst my daughter’s friends. Most expect to go flatting as their first home experience rather than married and setting up housekeeping as a couple living alone.

      • Hi Moni – When I was young I had a fantasy image in my head of having fabulous dinner parties, blah, blah, blah, that this is so far from reality now. LOL

  6. “but remember, this is your house and it has to look like you, to feel like you, and not be a copy of someone else’s” – what great advice for anyone, at any stage of de-cluttering! I will never be a super minimalist, or have the kind of house that anyone would ever see in a magazine but it is comforting to look around and see things that I love and have meaning for me and NOT a whole lot of obligation clutter.

  7. Good post Andreia – yes I would change a lot of things about my first home and subsequent years if I had my time over. Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. Nevermind. I think you are correct that we emmulate our mother’s kitchens to a degree during the initial set up but each generation sees in a new way of doing things (for better or for worse) and something from the previous generation slips away. My mother was a firm believer in bottling and preserving fruit. Every autumn we’d spend hours and hours peeling, slicing and cooking the fruit for the winter. So when I set up my own home I bought preserving jars, the deep pots and gadgetry. What I quickly realised is that what you don’t enjoy as a kid/teenager you quickly ditch as a young adult because there is no one to force you to do it if you aren’t motivated enough yourself. Why would I spend the end of summer slaving over a hot stove? Especially when I could enjoy our (then) double-income-no-kids lifestyle. It was a no brainer. Fruit is available all year round, granted its more expensive in the winter but we don’t depend on bottling fruit to supply fruit to our families through the winter as our grandmothers (and back) had to. I do admit that the fruit that mum bottled is nicer than the canned stuff from the supermarket but unless they were side by side for a comparison taste testing, I’m just as happy with the canned fruit salad. Fast forward, and my daughters have never seen how bottling is done but I don’t think it will bother them too much. It makes me wonder what household practices that their generation will ditch.

    I was telling them the other day that when I grew up everything had to be made from scratch, there weren’t jars and cans and sachets of meal base or sauces or just-adds. Mind you, there wasn’t the diversity of meals or rather the average housewife wasn’t expected to have an extensive repetoire of meals. When I was a kid food was more traditional English fare in NZ and I remember the first time mum made a lasagne following the recipe from a cooking show on tv, we were initially unsure about it but quickly hooked.

    • The same goes for sewing too. You can buy things for about the price it would cost to sew them. If you garage sale, you can get great quality stuff for much less than the cost of sewing. I believe that the knowledge and ability to do those things is important, but doesn’t have to be done on a regular basis. It would be good to know how in case you need to some day or decide you want to.

  8. This is a great post. Although we’ve been in our home for years, I like the idea of looking at each item and thinking about whether we would purchase it again today for a new home. I’ve been asking myself this when deciding what stays and what goes. There are so many things I have that I wouldn’t purchase today – either it’s something that was used and loved at one point but my tastes or lifestyle have changed, or it’s something I bought by impulse and rarely used. I keep thinking, wouldn’t it have been better to have put that money on a wonderful trip or into the retirement account, rather than have this stuff I no longer want?

    And I completely agree about gift registries going overboard. I did it myself when we go married and regret it. The stores make it so easy (and tempting!) to add to your registry list.

  9. Excellent points, Andria! We would not have purchased the house at all, but since we did, I would have kept as much open space as possible and treated the home more like a hotel room or an apartment. Decor would never have become the focus of our existence. In fact, it may have been near last on our long list of to-dos. Have a marvy Thurs/Fri!

  10. Hi everyone! Thank you for your comments and I am glad you appreciated the post. I noticed on the comments that everyone was talking about how we change over the years. Yes I did change. But this post was inspired by my regret in not being true to myself when assembling my home. We get put into stereotypes, and that is what leads to clutter. I regret profoundly that I did not make a nice shelf for my books, instead of a big, monstrous china cabinet to store all sorts of glasses (whisky, wine, champagne, beer…) and liquor bottles, when we don’t even drink!!!! And for the TV. I think that I finally appreciated that we have to think a lot before buying such permanent fixtures as furniture.

  11. As we are working through a Social Enterprise course, our heads are spinning with potential crazy ideas. We are both loving it, and keep throwing these ideas around, mulling over the possibilities.

    My major challenge during this time is wrestling with my inner critic, who rips apart not only my ideas in my own head, but also rears his own ugly head whilst he attempts to shred Jess’s ideas to pieces as well.

    I know it is important to be open to possibilities, and focus on breathing life into them before tearing them to pieces or throwing them away, but that inner critic, who is a manifestation of my fear which lies in my lizard brain, is strong and nasty. I just need to remind myself that I am stronger and wrestle him to the ground for now.

    I know I will never lose him, but if I can wrestle him to the ground once, I can wrestle him to the ground a thousand times. Each time I do, I grow stronger and it takes less and less effort to pin him to the mat. This is a wrestling match I intend to win from now on.

  12. I definitely agree its important to live life, and fill your house, on your own terms.

  13. Actually, a very tight budget will “force” me not to buy unnecessary things when I finally move out. I think that I only buy a matress new.

    My sister started to accumulate china and such a few years ago (she still lives at home as well). I thought about it as well, but decided not to since I don’t have the space for it. I only asked for a sewing kit “for later”, which, instead, I started to use now as well.

    I loved this post Andréia!

  14. I haven’t been able to comment in a while but now that I am back in town, it is good to catch up on all the posts. If only I remained as smart as I was when I got my first apartment with my husband. We had all that we needed, and there was no room for extras, just the necessities. I am slowly getting back to the bare essentials and it is a great feeling.

  15. Oh, if we could only go back in time! What a great and useful post. We are working on getting our house back to basics, for sure.

    And Colleen, I just got back from a month off and there you go! Have a wonderful break. SO happy to be here reading this again :).

  16. I am a new subscriber. Your site was recommended to me. I’m 60 years old and my husband and I are going to be celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary next month. We have one daughter who lives nearby, who is 34 and married, with two kids of her own. Now we are grandparents. That sometimes seems shocking to me.
    Both me and my husband are “pilers”. If we can find a flat space, we will begin to put something down on top of it. Then once that is done, it is considered legal to continue to use that space to pile more stuff on. We have LOTS of flat spaces, and therefore lots of stuff piled there. I don’t think we are hoarders – I’ve seen that show on TV, and we are nowhere near that. But, we do need to declutter. When I saw the email to declutter a piece of furniture, it seemed almost too good to be true. – Because our son-in-law came over in the afternoon that same day and went down to our family room and came back up and asked me if I wanted the coffee table down there or could he have it? It is a glass topped coffee table, with curved iron legs. I really had no need for it, plus I really didn’t like it anymore. So I said please take it. It is now gone. YAY! One thing less!
    Both me and my husband are disabled. We live on our SS Disability payments. We try to live as simply as possible. I’ve been frustrated about one thing especially. And that is what about the technology? We have a nice big flat screen television. My husband loves it. He is news junkie. He will turn the TV on in the morning and tune in to CNN and will happily watch it all day long. Personally, I cannot stand to watch TV. But, I really don’t want to go to another room and do something else. My husband has cancer. I want to spend as much time with him as possible. He is fighting it, of course. He has been though radiation therapy and now receives some kind of injection every 28 days. When the news is on, I get very agitated by what I hear. I want to turn it off. I love the silence. I also love to read. We have 7 dogs. Most of them have special needs. One is diabetic and blind. He must get two injections of insulin every day, and must eat within 15 minutes of receiving his injection. One tends to form bladder stones. He has special food to eat and must only drink distilled water. Since we cannot figure out a way to have him only drink from one special water bowl, we have to fill all the water bowls with distilled water. Another dog is deaf and has a thyroid condition. She has very thinning hair and has lost a lot of weight. She has a thyroid problem and must be medicated every day. Also, she needs to gain weight, so she needs an extra meal each day. We adopted her, and she was obviously abused before she was first rescued. We have worked with her, and now she is a wonderful, loving dog.
    But, having 7 dogs to care for, is a lot. It does take time. And patience. We dearly love them. We bought a king-sized bed recently because most of the dogs want to sleep on the bed with us. Our double bed was not working out. I have Parkinson’s Disease. And it is progressing. But, I am dealing with it. It’s okay. I have meds that help me. Our house needs to be cleaned up and totally decluttered. We have WAY too much stuff. I noted the other day that I have 4 sets of measuring cups and 4 sets of measuring spoons. Why would I have bought all of those? I have no idea! Also, as Colleen pointed out, I have way too many purses. I cannot drive any more, due to the Parkinson’s. So, unless my husband drives me, I don’t leave the house. I have no need for multiple purses. So, tomorrow, I’m going to narrow it down to just one purse. Likewise with my shoes. I have shoes that don’t even fit me anymore. Boots with zippers that are broken and can’t be used. Why are they there? Time for them to go.
    So, I am inspired. My husband will work with me. We are going to clear out. Clean, Rearrange. then maybe paint.
    Thank you all for giving such inspiration to me.

    • Robin, I am glad someone recommended 365 less things to you and that you are already easily identifying things to let go. It seems you have the right mindset at this time to tackle this task and that is wonderful. I am glad also that your husband is willing to participate with this task. You have all the ingredients to make a success of this and I wish you every bit of that success. Cheers Colleen

  17. GracefromBrazil

    I loved this post! I have also come up with a short list to tell my daughters and son in planning their wedding. I mean there must be better ways to have wedding photos taken and stored. I have a huge wedding album that sits in storage. I will tell my children to not invest in huge albums. No need. Something smaller and definitely lighter. Also wedding china. Buy something you really like for everyday and don’t have dishes for just a few times a year. Your children probably won’t want it down the line. Don’t save your wedding dress either. It will not be in style. I really think the generation that my children are in are willing to listen.