In Denial

Have your ever been or are you currently in denial about the state of the clutter level in your home? Do any of the following scenarios ring true for you?

  1. I am happy with the clutter level in my home. ~ While at the same time you wish your home was easier to keep tidy.
  2. I am comfortable with the level of clutter in my home. ~ But what you really mean is ~ you feel more uncomfortable with the thought of letting go of more of your precious stuff than you do of living with the resulting discomfort of keeping it.
  3. I am more careful about what I bring into my home. ~ But really you’ve merely lengthened the time it takes to satisfy your desire to buy things. Taking longer to acquire but all the while still bringing in just as much. You think you are more responsible but in fact it only seems that way because you feel like you have deprived yourself by waiting.
  4. I don’t care what other people think about what I own. ~ When in fact you are still struggling to keep up with the Joneses. Needing this fashion item, or that decor item or jewellery… , when you have perfectly adequate numbers of all of these things.
  5. I need this item or this number of items. ~ When in reality it has simply become habit to provide for unlikely scenarios where you will need such things. Habits of a lifetime, or indeed previous life situations, are hard to break if you don’t realise they are a habit in the first place.
  6. I can buy happiness. ~ Happiness never has and never will be dependant on how much unnecessary stuff you own. Trust me there are a lot of very rich unhappy people out there.

I am sure there are many more scenarios that I could add to this list but these are just a few that I encounter at times. Don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting all or any of my readers to live a minimal lifestyle. I don’t believe even I live such a  lifestyle so why would I expect such things from others. But I urge you to really search inside yourself and be honest with yourself about what it is you want out of your mission to declutter. You might find that one of these scenarios matches your situation well. Or even once confessed to yourself you decide you can live with that. But please don’t continue to live in denial of  being in a situation that has a negative effect on your life and possibly on the loved ones around you

Today’s Mini Mission

Take a look in your closet. Take out the three least used items of clothing. Declutter the least likely ever to be used again.

Eco Tip for the Day

It is possible to live without cling wrap. Put a plates on top of a bowls or use existing lidded containers to store things in the fridge rather than cover food in cling wrap. I haven’t had a roll of cling wrap in my house for some time now and I have never missed it.

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:

  • Love it or heave it (Revisited) As you may have guessed, due to the lack of them, I struggle to come up with new posts these days, mostly because I declutter much less now, therefore the inspiration for posts isn't […]
  • The endless to-do list Isn't it baffling that no matter how much you reduce your belongings and simplify your life, there still seems to always be an endless to-do list. I think it is highly possible, at least […]
  • Large area declutter ~ Minimal disruption This post is all about breaking down, into steps, the task of decluttering a large cluttered area of your home without causing undue disruption. I am going to use the kitchen as my example […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I’ve decided to get rid of my bread machine. I don’t remember the last time I used it, it may even have cobwebs all over it. It is on such a high shelf I need help getting it down.

    Husband and I talked about getting rid of stuff (we have a pile) and I mentioned this item and he can’t remember when I used it last but when I said our daughter would be taking it, do you know what he said? “I didn’t know you were getting rid of it” grrrr

    I know it isn’t much and it certainly isn’t visible but it is a start.

    end of rant

    Thanks, I feel better now. Daughter will be by tomorrow to pick it up (I can always borrow it)

    • Tina – I had a similar story with our bread maker, occasionally I have thought since it would be a nice idea to be able to provide hot fresh bread on a whim, but I have a friend I can borrow hers anytime I want and so far to date I haven’t.

    • There are so many quick ways to make good fresh bread by hand, you don’t need a machine for it – especially not one you use only rarely anyway.

    • I too have a bread machine and I think I should get rid of it. Being a single person, I never make bread and if I did, I couldn’t eat it all anyway… maybe I’ll take it out this weekend and try it out once to decide for sure if I’m keeping it or not…

    • Hi Gina, don’t you just go crazy when this happens. Mind you I had a very different scenario happen the other day. My husband and I were chatting with someone and my dear darling said, “Colleen made me declutter…”, I can’t remember what the item was. I quickly interjected that I have never forced him to declutter anything. The very idea of forcing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do is laughable. Obviously sometimes my opinion must tip him over the edge which makes it my doing in the long run. It is nice to know he goes above and beyond to please me at times. 😉

      But back to the bread maker. Get it out of there quick. Ha ha.

  2. Hi Colleen, yes I’m still somewhat in denial, but is it denial if I know I’m in denial? 🙂 It’s certainly a work in progress!

    • Love this – I recognise myself in a couple Colleen’s scenarios (and they’re so insightful, Colleen, great post) but like you Shoeaholicnomore, if I know I’m in denial, I can’t be in denial??

      Or is this more sophistry to avoid decluttering?

    • No Shoeaholic…, I don’t believe it is denial if you know you are doing something. I think you are in full control of what you are doing. Like I said the other day, we are all entitled to enjoy one indulgence.

  3. Colleen, I have heard all these reasons at some point in time. As for me, I still have some more to declutter but am waiting to see if I can find a desk to replace this conglomeration of pieces I am using to make up a desk. Once I have one then I will be able to declutter all of these various pieces of furniture. I am looking forward to that.

    • Deb J – is this your craft room you are wanting a new desk for?

      • Moni, yes. Right now I have a long slice of melemine covered board sitting on two multi-drawered craft storage units. It’s way too much now that I have gotten rid of so many of my craft supplies. I need to find the time to go to a few of the second hand shops and see what I can find. I have a specific type in mind.

    • I can relate to this Deb. Our new apartment has been slowly morphing to a point where we are satisfied with the layout. Now that the kitchen is sorted we will soon be measuring up the laundry for the wire shelving which will enable me to reshuffle items from all over the house. Hopefully finding the odd thing to declutter along the way. But as I am sure you are doing, it pays to be patient and wait for just the right piece to be found that best suits your needs.

      • Colleen, I just filled out the paperwork for Mom to move into a retirement housing apartment. They have a 16 month waiting list so wanted to get her on that. I can’t get on the list until the end of August when I turn 62. We will have separate units due to cost. With this in mind, I am trying to work on making decisions for decluttering based on what we will need once moved. I am praying for a studio unit as I really don’t want the care of anything bigger. I will have a cabinet unit made where I can shut it up and make the room look like a living room. I want everything other than the kitchen things to go in that one unit. We will see how it works.

        • Deb J – well a lot can happen in 16 months but you are wise to plan for the likelihood of a retirement facility. If you don’t mind me asking, is your mum happy with the idea? My husband did some work recently down at one of the local retirement villages (putting up street signs and assorted directional signs in the main complex and apartment buildings) and he was totally impressed.

          • Mom is not real excited. But I have found that she is never excited about change. She hates giving up her house with all the light and the great kitchen, etc. I do too. But we can’t continue to keep it up and that means putting out money. I think that at 86 she is blessed to have been in her own home all this time. By the time her number comes up I think she will be glad to go there. It is based on income, requires you eat at least one meal a day in the dining room, and all maintenance and utilities come with it. I, for one, will be glad to move there.

        • Good luck Deb J. Have a distinct goal sure makes it easier to let things go.

  4. A few years ago I could have been the poster girl for any of the possibilities listed in your post. Fortunately I don’t really identify myself in any of those these days – am I in denial about being in denial? LOL no seriously, apart from the odd emotional attachment here and these, I think I’m doing pretty good.

    Early last week we heard we were hosting a Pre-Ball party (Ball = Prom) and I announced to the family we needed to get the house clean and tidy. My son who had just returned home from flatting with a bunch of similar age guys, looked really startled that the house wasn’t classified as extremely clean and tidy already. Makes me wonder what state he has been living in.

  5. Colleen, great post today. We should all take time and consider why we are in the clutter situation we are in and where we want to be in comparison to that and how we plan to get there. I am still finding stuff to declutter and will be taking a bag to the donation center tomorrow :).

    • Hi Jen, you nailed the intention of this post. And well done with the bag of clutter. I am off to the thrift shop for my shift tomorrow. I haven’t put anything aside to take there this week. I might take a quick look around in the morning before I go.

  6. Which am I in these scenarios? Not really sure because I know I still have clutter.

    At times I lay awake at night going through each room in my mind wondering what needs to go next. And yet I imagine just the things I need (and want) in a new smaller space and can’t imagine I’d really need that much stuff at all.

    I’d need a bed, a desk, maybe a chair or two… not a lot. Yet I wonder if I’ll ever allow myself to get to such a place. We’ll see. 🙂

    • Perhaps this post wasn’t one you need to read Ron B. You seem to have a very good understanding of your goal and are constantly considering how you are going to get there. So I would say you are on the right track.

  7. Sometimes I look over my room and am content of the amount of stuff I have – but those moments are rare since I usually don’t tidy up my room. I want to become in a state of mind/room in which I don’t have to clean up if I just pick up after myself. I’m a bit stuck decluttering. I can’t imagine what I should declutter next. So, at the moment, I’m digitizing my college notes (just the ones I want to keep) so I can throw away the actual, paper version. I’m also currently busy finishing craft project, so that kind of clutter is gone.

    However, my biggest culprit is not bringing in new stuff. I find it difficult not to shop. I’m already trying my best by avoiding the shops.

    Yet, a possible move is on the horizon. I’m looking forward to it, because then I can critically go over all my stuff, and declutter stuff that isn’t working.

    So, I’m still working toward my goal, steady and slowly.

    • Hi Dymphy, they are some slow and major decluttering challenges you have set yourself. I wish you success at getting through them. It will be a load off your mind when you are done.

      I am glad also that you are trying to avoid the shops in a bid to bring more in.

      Now is as good a time as any to begin keeping your room tidy. My kids never did understand how much it bothered me that they had to be continually told to clean up their rooms. It wasn’t just that the rooms were a mess but also that as a parent it made me feel like a failure that I hadn’t, despite trying hard, managed to raise them better than that. Laziness isn’t an attractive trait. Also I found it upsetting that they didn’t care enough for my feeling to just keep their rooms tidy for my sake. Perhaps that all sounds a little pathetic but mothers will be mothers. And kids will be kids.

  8. I really laughed when my slobbiest teenager of the 4 griped about her kids’ rooms. I could just stand so much before I raked it out–then I was accused of “snooping”–my reply–if you don’t want me to “snoop” keep it clean and picked up. I think snooping consisted of looking at a piece of paper picked up off the floor before deciding it was trash or not.
    Back on missions, as they say, Denial is a big river and we are all probably in it sometimes. So I am still culling videos, CDs and DVDs, so there must have been a lot of denial for that many to accumulate. Except for the CDs that I do listen to while doing bookkeeping, the other stuff may never get used again. But having had my better half buy back some videos I had donated the week before, I guess I will let some of these age some more Sigh