Apartment Update

Our apartment deal fell through. Although the owner had accepted our offer and we were about to sign the initial contract, he received a last minute higher bid and reneged on our deal. So for now we are staying put. I prefer to be philosophical and say that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be and something better is around the corner. But really we are very disappointed and for the moment will just lick our wounds, chalk it up to experience and look forward to our seven week vacation. So I guess life isn’t so bad.

The premature excitement did however spur me on to getting rid of and swapping out  a few more items around the house. Some old towels from the second bathroom are off to the thrift shop. A framed caricature of my daughter is now at her house. My husband bought a “new” secondhand office chair which is better for his posture but also more streamline than the old one. The old one found a new home at my daughters house. We also downsized my husbands desk to an old recycled sewing machine table. Our daughter once again benefitted from this exchange and now has herself a very nice American poplar table for folding her laundry on. I have also set aside my electric trains to find a new home for, and some old broken silver jewellery that I will give to anyone who wants it at the lapidary club in my neighbourhood. I also donated some of my handmade jewellery to the thrift shop.

I remain optimistic that we will eventually find our new home but for now I will keep slowly reducing what we have so that we are bound to be ready when the moment arrives.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a piece of jewellery.

Eco Tip for the Day

When entertaining, rather than resort to disposable crockery and cutlery, use all the non-disposable items you have on hand, if necessary borrow more from family, neighbours or friends or get the guests to bring their own. I put on the occasional neighbourhood get together and all guests are instructed to bring their own cups, plates, and cutlery. They never turn down the invitations so I guess they don’t mind.

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. Once a year we have a very large block party. The girls and I distribute 50 invitations. The party is an ice cream social and is trash free – everyone is asked to bring their own bowl and spoon. I provide cones for anyone who forgets, and it’s very successful. For parties at my house, I use plastic silverware when I run out of the real stuff, but it gets washed and put away afterwards, and it’s plastic ware that I’ve accumulated from various eateries that don’t use the real thing. For a recent party, I use all my wine glasses, my mother’s, and my neighbor Amy’s. No need to rent or use plastic. We all have plenty.

    • This is good! I am torn because I have a LOT of dishes so we always have enough for company, however I’d like to have fewer dishes, and I thought we could easily fill in with paper when we need it. This is giving me food for thought. Perhaps I can get rid of just a few of the dishes. I need to think about this.

    • Hi Cindy, good for you. When I arrange a neighbourhood get together I do the same. It is BYO everything, including that everyone brings a dish to share.

  2. Colleen, it is refreshing to hear your great attitude regarding the delay in moving. I can’t wait to hear what is next in your story! Did I miss something about a 7-week vacation? That sounds amazing! 🙂 Enjoy it! I know you will!

  3. Again, Colleen, I’m really sorry the apartment fell through. I always look at this with the idea that something even better is out there and you will be much happier with it once you find it. The good thing is that you continue to plan for that future move.

    • Thanks Deb, I have my fingers crossed that you are right. Steve keeps telling me that it is fate telling us we should just up and travel. He would believe that. Perhaps he is right. But don’t tell him I said that.

      • He would say that. But that would mean retiring from his job wouldn’t it? He might want to think about that for a while.

        • Oh, he has been thinking about that a lot lately. That is why this sale falling through hit him hardest. Being set up for semi-retirement would have made pulling the pin far easier.

          • Yes, it would have been easier. I still think you will come back from your trip and find something right away that you like better. Hope so anyway.

          • Thanks Deb, I believe you might be right or perhaps we will go to Canberra as previously expected and something wonderful will become of that. We’ll will see.

  4. Aw, too bad. Ah well, everything happens for a reason. Perhaps it is the universe wanting you to dispose of some clutter you’ve been holding on to.

    • Perhaps you are right. Although I think that message is meant for my husband not for me. I’ll tell him you suggested it. 😉 Actually I have told him already but he keeps ignoring me.

  5. Colleen, So sorry your apartment fell through. You are right….something better will be around the corner.

  6. Please take your old towels, t-shirts and other soft, clean fabrics to your local vet, animal hospital or animal shelter. They use them as bedding!

    • Oh, and sorry about the apartment. I’m sure something better is just around the corner!

      • Hi Lori, I will do that. There is one just up the street from my house. I will take a walk up there and ask them if they want them. If not I will ask the doggy day care that is just a couple of streets away.

  7. Sorry about the apartment, glad you were so philosophical about it. Am surprised the real estate agent didn’t have blank sale and purchase agreement forms in his/her bag and get the deal in ink on the spot. Around here that’s how it happens, as money figures are being discussed, the real estate agent is hovering with a pen.

    • Hi Moni, this whole experience was just a little strange. We have learned a lot from it. Sadly the biggest lesson is that some people don’t understand the meaning of honour. We have bought two other houses before and the experience was nothing like this. Hopefully we will be wiser for it the next time. In Australia just about every other state has legal obligations on verbal agreements but not NSW where we live. Shame about that or the deal would have been sealed.

  8. Buying and selling property is always emotional. But, you know, there are so many properties in Australia. Another apartment will come up and you will find one you love.

    And, as you say, you did get some decluttering done which benefited other people. So good for you.

    7 weeks! Fantastic!!! Are you going to share where you are off to? I am going to have 4 weeks off work and am spending the time at home next month. I am looking forward to decluttering some stress from my shoulders, some weeds from my garden and some paperwork from the house.

    • Hi Lucinda, I hope you are right. It took about 18 months to find the one place we really liked and could afford so fingers crossed it won’t take that long to find another.

      We have bought two houses in the past and neither purchases were emotional for us because we bought them as investments. This one was very emotional because it was intended to be our home. Never mind.

      We are off to the UK. Travelling through England, Ireland, Scotland and a quick trip into Wales. We are excited. I have been to London three times but never outside of that in the UK. We are even going to stay in an ancestral home of one of the branches of my mother’s family in Ireland. It is no longer in the family but has opened as a bed and breakfast. I am particularly looking forward to that.

  9. Ah Colleen, how disappointing for you, know how you feel. The right one will come along in due course and you will be even MORE ready, decluttering-wise!

  10. So sorry Colleen !- of course you must be disappointed ! You need time to get over the disappointment before you can get excited about another place. Hopefully the holiday will help !

    • Hi Jez and thank you. We will keep on looking. There isn’t much out there at the moment though. I don’t know whether that is because of the looming election here in Australia but that will be all over and done with when we get home for the UK. Perhaps then there will be a glut of apartments to choose from. Interest rates have just gone down again to, so it is the time to buy.

  11. Colleen I agree with Jez that the disappointment will take time to abate. Although I’m sorry that your deal fell through I also believe a better place is in your future. I’ve known many people who have been in a situation of losing out on a property deal (including my daughter a couple of times) and the place they eventually buy has always been better than those they lost.
    The seven week vacation sounds wonderful – enjoy!

  12. Oh what a bummer about the apartment but these things usually happen for a reason so there’s sure to be something better around the corner and you have your lovely holiday to look forward to!

    Cheers Judy xx

  13. Colleen, I’m sorry to hear that your deal on the apartment fell through. What was that guy thinking?! Well, I believe I know the answer to that (money), but it’s a crappy, dishonourable thing to do.

    Like Jez and Megan said, it will take a bit of time to get past, but you will. You have shown yourself on this blog to be an optimistic and positive person time and time again.

    Enjoy your holiday; it sounds heavenly, and this is coming from someone who in general dislikes travel! Those are the countries I would visit if I were to win a vacation and got to choose.

    • Thanks Jo H, I appreciate your sympathy and your faith in me to bounce back. I am feeling better about it already because of reading everyone’s positive attitudes towards it. Thanks again. And yes I will make the most of the time away and am really looking forward to see lots of the UK.

  14. Colleen, so sorry about the apartment. Have you looked around the Charlestown area. Very central to everything, including beaches, the lake, lots of cafes, cinemas and is a transport hub to most suburbs. Have a wonderful holiday.

    • Hi Leah, we did consider Charlestown at one point. But the good thing about having looked for so long it has afforded us the time to consider exactly what we do want. Quite early in our search we weren’t even looking at apartments. We also rather liked the idea of being in Hamilton. But as time wore on and we looked and looked at different options we came to the conclusion that the downtown is where we want to be. Last years sudden return to beach going, as in actually swimming in the surf, kind of sealed the deal for us. We want to be within walking distance of just about everything so we barely need to use the car. The options for public transport are so much better in the city as well as it is the hub and there is a bus or train that goes just about anywhere.

  15. I am disappointed for you both because even I was getting excited for you, that what appeared to be the perfect spot was opening up for you. I believe that it just means that there is something better around the corner or perhaps it is not the right time yet. Perhaps it is time to start traveling on a more permanent basis :). Nevertheless, don’t be discouraged because things happen when and how they are meant to happen and we usually can see that after the fact, once some time has passed. On the bright side, it does give you more time to keep downsizing your belongings and time to enjoy that vacation.

  16. Sorry to hear the small apartment (I say small as a relative term to a house) fell through. Hard to deal with all the ups and downs with buying (or renting). It’s like job interviews, or dating – if you can remember that!

    I have stacks of crockery now – my set of 6, the BF’s set of 6, plus grandma’s old ones, that come out for big parties. It’s more than enough, actually too much (after packing and unpacking it all), but I do prefer it to buying paper or plastic plates…

    • Hi Snosie, we have bought two houses before with no issues what so ever but we never intended to live in them at that makes the difference. Ah dating, I do remember that, never really had a problem with it, found it quite exciting.

      Combined households are a problem when it comes to clutter. I never had this problem because my husband lived in defence accommodation and ate in the mess before we were married and I lived at home. So we started out fresh, and in most cases, cheap. Funny I still have some things from back in those days. That would make an interesting blog post.

  17. I’m sorry to hear about your apartment. While you are on holiday new ideas are sure to come to you about all sorts of things, including blog topics, more de-cluttering, and where you will buy your next home. Holidays are great for bringing a fresh look at things. I just hope that you don’t decide to stop the blog! It’s such a help to me and I check it every day for inspiration. I have sent literally hundreds of books to new homes, as well as clothes, crockery and pantry items. I have never followed your nudges about jewelry though – that’s for the future.

    • Hi Katy, I doubt I will give the blog up any time soon. But I will be taking a break from it while I am away. I have set posts in place while I am gone though so you can keep being inspired to let things go. You can’t get away from me that easily. 😉 As for an apartment, I am sure we will find something for us soon enough. Although my husband did just lean over and ask me would anyone notice if we didn’t come back form the UK. Can you tell he need a break? 😆

  18. It is nice to hear some good decluttering occurred in this frustrating and disappointing time.

    I hope you enjoy your fabulous holiday!

  19. I just wanted to make a suggestion about old towels. Most animal shelters would love to have them. They use them for drying the animals after bathing, giving them something soft to lay on and something to wrap them in when cold or hurt. Every year we donate our old towels plus a bag each of dog and cat food.
    Thank you for all your suggestions. I am a terrible organizer and decluttering a little at a time helps a lot.

    • Hi Linda, thank you for your suggestion. It is one that has been mentioned here many times before. You will find it among the recycling/donating guide. I little reminder every now and again sure doesn’t hurt. I have some towels awaiting in my garage for just this purpose.
      Don’t concern yourself about being a terrible organiser. Once you minimise your possessions the organising just about takes care of itself. Things end up in their most logical position, where you use them the most.