Love it or heave it

Take a look around your home to find items that you have been using constantly for many years. Items that you would never part with although maybe are outdated, getting a little shabby or just aren’t particularly aesthetically pleasing in any way. These items will likely have to reach natural attrition before they leave your home. Of course they don’t have to be shabby, they may be standing the test of time amazingly well. And thank goodness for that if they are items that are useful and/or beautiful to you. Think about what is unique about this item that causes you to appreciate it so much.

Think about what led you to acquire these items in the first place. Perhaps it was that you had a need for the items. Perhaps the beauty of the object was what attracted you to it. Perhaps you searched and bided your time until just the right items came along to suit your need or desire. Perhaps it was a combination of all three. Maybe someone you knew had one similar and you decided it was so useful or beautiful that you wanted one for yourself. Or maybe it was sheer fluke that brought you and the object together.

I know I certainly have objects in my home that fit my needs so well that I have owned them for many many years. Among them are items that fit all of the reasons for acquiring them that I stated above. But one thing that is similar in each case is my appreciation for these objects. Every time I see them or use them I feel pleased not only with the objects but for my “clever’ choice of them in the first place.

Now take a look around your home and identify other objects that you neither use nor find aesthetically pleasing. Ask yourself why do you keep each items. Was it an unwanted gift? Can you not afford to replace it? Do you feel guilty for wasting your hard earned cash on it, so are determined to get some use out of it? It is a family heirloom that you don’t really wish to be the caretaker of? Perhaps these items cause too much upkeep. Or worse still you have given up maintaining them and they are sitting idol and dusty. Whatever the reason, if an item brings forth negative feelings when you encounter it then this a something you should consider decluttering.

Your home is your fortress, your place of tranquility, or at least it should be. There are many thing that lower the level of tranquility in a person’s home. One of them is being surrounded by objects that evoke negativity. Another is the felling of obligation to keep stuff the causes you work. There are only so many hours in the day, house that are better spent doing things you enjoy with people that you love. It is a shame to waste that time taking care of stuff.

So as you encounter these items that cause negativity ask yourself what is more important to you..

  • The compulsion to keep them regardless or..
  • To heighten the level of tranquility in your home.

Share a story about such an item you encounter in the comments below. Tell us what your decision is for keeping it or letting it go.

Today’s Mini Mission

Todays method of disposal is to put something into the recycling bin.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

When you are thinking about buying something new consider whether there is something already in your possession that would suffice instead of adding to supply and demand. I have been thinking of buying a mat for the floor in front of the kitchen sink, in the hope that I will be less likely to mess up the floor so much. Today while cleaning the house it occurred to me that I could just use the bath mat from the main bathroom. It only gets use by the occasional visitor so in the meantime it can act as the kitchen mat. Problem solves without an unnecessary purchase.

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

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Friday’s Favourite Five It was another big week for comments this week which makes it hard to narrow it down to just five but these are the ones I chose. Sorry if yours didn't make it but it was probably on the […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Five Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
  • Day 205 Back to the phone book issue Well who'd have thought that my little rant on Day 203 would get such a reaction. Luckily that means we have had some very helpful readers comment with some useful information on how we […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Hi Colleen! I have written a post about such an item just Sunday morning. What timing! I AM e-mailing it to you! 😀

  2. Hi Colleen,

    Having most of our worldly goods in storage for over 3 months will give plenty of time for us to really know if we love it, or can heave it, when we finally unpack. Some things I know I’ll welcome back like old friends, like our set of kitchen knives and winter clothing (as the mercury drops over here). Others I know I’ll be thinking “why did I ever pack that?!” I know I’m not alone in thinking those thoughts 🙂

    Moving … it’s a great opportunity to cull as you pack and cull as you unpack.

    After moving roughly every year or two over the past decade, we are finally putting down some roots … but the plan is to retire in 7 years and travel across North America in an RV … so we have an incentive to continue streamlining our lives!

    Reading your website gives me plenty of encouragement. Thank you!

    • Hi Kate, your situation sounds much like mine was seven years ago. Except that I, fortunately, never moved that often. But now living in our own place and putting down those roots you mentioned sure is nice. And like you we also started planning for our intended future well ahead of time. It is great to have reached our goal. I wish you success with yours.

      And you are right packing and unpacking your stuff sure is a good way to view each item individually and give thought as to whether you really need or love it enough to keep it.

  3. Oh I am so out of practice with this! The summer was all about being outside with the outside house maintenance and the garden so my inside home was in a holding pattern. The result is that “stuff” filtered in as stuff does. It will be a couple more weeks before I can even consider tackling it in a major way, but thanks to you, I am practiced at choosing one item at a time to remove. It is much better than nothing!

    • Hi Creative me, being outside for the summer sounds lovely. Just as the weather is getting nice here we are going to be trading Spring for Autumn. That is a shame but the payoff will be great.

      One thing that is interesting about your comment is how, when spending your summer outside working, does stuff still manage to come in to the inside. It is funny how we always write about this as you did ~ “… “stuff” filtered in as stuff does.” ~ as though this just magically happens without our involvement. It is also interesting how we seem to be able to find time to acquire the stuff but no time to deal with getting rid of stuff. Do you also find that curious?

  4. I have several very nice items that are from my mother, i.e., cut glass punch bowl with 12 cups, lovely figurines from Germany and the list goes on. My grown children have no interest in them. I am not experienced with Craigslist or EBay and I don’t know how to determine the value of these items….so I just keep keeping them and wondering, what shall I do.

    • Hi Nancy, not knowing the value of items is certainly an awkward situation to be in. When I put things on eBay I just see what similar items are going for. This subject is one that when I think of it I think about what will happen when the generation above me pass away. When left with houses full of stuff how will we know what is valuable and what is not. Personally I just don’t want to deal with it. That, of course, will be unavoidable so I will approach the situation with an open mind of what I don’t know won’t hurt me. So I am not going to waste too much time on the issue. It is more important to me to take care of the issue at hand and move on. The grief of losing loved ones will be enough to handle without worrying about what stuff is worth.

  5. Excellent title today 🙂

    I will mull over the question and if I think of something I will return!

    • Hi Jo H, I hope you find many things. 😉 Or alternately I hope that you are so decluttered that you don’t find anything. Either way that would be a great thing.
      I can think of something off the top of my head but it isn’t mine to declutter. What a pity. I am sure my husband would gladly declutter stuff of mine as well so fair’s fair.

  6. What I struggle with are things that are more functionary – like cables. We no longer need one or two since doing away with a gaming machine. However, I know if I give them away, and then have the buy similar for $20-$30 (which is daylight robbery), I’ll be annoyed. At the same time, I hate to hang onto things that aren’t used.

    As to beautiful things I keep, but wonder about… are a set of 5 plates I bought on my recent Japan trip. I could hang them on the walls… but I haven’t yet. I’m wondering (other than eating) how else I could get more regular enjoyment from them. Perhaps one as a laundry ‘catch all’ and another at the front door? Any other ideas for the other 3?

    • Sarah N, You don’t say how big they are, but here are a few ideas that came to mind: holding fruit on the table or counter (like a fruit bowl); holding pocket change on the bureau, earring dish, candy/nut dish. And don’t forget what Colleen has mentioned – just because they came in a set doesn’t mean you have to keep them all. That is an idea I struggle to carry out, but it makes good sense.

    • Hi Sarah, you can buy spring loaded holders for hanging plates on walls if that is your preferred option. I do like the catchall idea too. I suppose another question is do you really need to keep all five.

      As for those cables. It is my experience that when one acquires a new electronic gadget it comes with all the cords needed. That is why the build up so much in our homes. Therefore the chanced are that you will never need spares. However quite often these cords are sold at thrift and secondhand shops for very little and on ebay at a cheaper price than in stores.

      • I could… though that’s another thing to have 😉 I just am not confident I want them on my wall, but I could put the preferred few on stands? I could also get rid of the one or two I don’t like as much, that doesn’t worry me!

        This cable is a TV to ‘other thing’ one, and I suppose I can still recall recently buying one, which is why it stung. It’s in the outbox, it’s just not yet out of the house.

    • I have a dish in the bathroom, where I put hairbands and/or earrings etc. when I take them off to take a shower. However, if you haven’t found that necessary until now, there’s probably no reason for adding more stuff to the bathroom surfaces…
      I also sometimes use pretty small plates to put candles on. (I assume the Japanese dishes are relatively small)
      But eating is a great way of usage as well! 😉

      • Thanks for the time to comment – I did put one in the deep bathroom drawer today, so at least I’ll see it more often and enjoy it.

        It’s about sandwich size, but a little dipped like a bowl, but I could try using up some candles, and put them in one. It might encourage me to use some (though I am a little bit of a prepper and keep them for the inevitable black out).

        I agree – they are made for eating, but I’m all ‘they are too good’ – which is just silly! Crockery is tough stuff!!

  7. I am full of the flu and was wondering if someone could give an example? My brain isn’t working properly.

    • Oh, Moni – sorry to hear it – get well soon. I’m having to think on this as well and I don’t even have the flu 🙂

    • Get well soon Moni, sorry you aren’t feeling well. I wasn’t sure what you were wanting ideas for.

      • Colleen – the “Share a story about such an item you encounter in the comments below” part.

        • Moni, Colleen can say for sure whether this is what she meant, but I took that request to mean “share an item you kept because you love it OR an item you got rid of or should get rid of because it only invokes negative feelings”.

    • If Jo H is right then I pretty much love or use everything that is still in my home here are a couple for your entertainment. We have two particular art sculptures that I really love. One we have had for about 10 years and I never tire of looking at it. I love the trigger mechanism in my home mixed multipurpose spray bottle. It came in a bottle of cleaner I bought more than 10 years ago in the US and it is such a great design. It is still going strong after all that time and never leaves a drop of liquid in a bottle. I love any item of clothing that I have had for years and use over and over again. I also love $4 thrift shop clothes that get used over and over, there is nothing like a great bargain. I love my clothes airer that is also a good design and is in constant use as I don’t have a clothes line and refuse to use the dryer unless I absolutely have to. I have plastic storage baskets that I have had for the entire 27 years of marriage that continue to be reemployed in different areas of my home. Needles to say the kettle, teapot and coffee machine are a must that I use multiple times a day. I love the creativity that I enjoy from my craft supplies and equipment. And my plain white Corelle crockery that is simple but stacks so compactly. The list goes on and on.

  8. Hi. I just discovered your website and some much needed inspiration. One week and over 7 things gone from the clutter. I had a lovely set of wooden chopsticks given by a dear friend from China, but in reality I can’t use them to save myself. They have been sitting in the cupboard as the meaning of the gift meant I didn’t want to get rid of them.
    I decided that I needed to give them away and a friend who has little money, and likes things for her kitchen (and will use them!) has said she would like them. I’m pleased that a good friend will get the use of them.
    How timely your post was 🙂

    • Good for you Susan and welcome to 365 Less Things. the joy of giving sure makes up for a little guilt of letting go of stuff given by someone else. I certainly don’t waste time concerning myself over such things. If something doesn’t have a purpose or isn’t loved in my home then I just don’t have the space for it so out it goes.

  9. I love the title for this post! Not only is it a hilarious take-off on the love it or leave it expression, but is also what I aspire to — only having things I love around me.

    • Hi Sumarie, I am glad you enjoyed my little play on words with the title. I had originally called it love it or leave it and then I thought I might have already used that one some time ago so had a sudden brainwave to change it.

  10. Colleen, I am HEAVING alright!!!!! Still working on the yard sale project. And it IS work!!!
    I have to heave all the stuff upstairs for pricing and wrapping, then heave it back downstairs to the garage to await loading to heave down to my sister’s house for selling. I am trying so hard to include any and everything I want to get rid of, because I NEVER want to do this again!!!! I’m so sorry it took me almost 62 years to get to this point of freeing myself of excess!!!!! My original goal in life was to live simply, in the woods, Thoreau style. Whatever happened to possess me to collect so much I will never know!!!!!!!

    • Hi Brenda, it is better late than never and leaving the excess for someone else to deal with when you are gone. So well done you. How good is it making you feel to get it out of there though. That is certainly worth the effort.

  11. Wow Colleen, I found your blog back this May and started from the beginning and I now just finally caught up! Almost 4 years worth of reading in 5 months lol. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders to finally be caught up and actually talk to you all, I feel like I’ve known you forever haha. My name is Victoria, I’m 24 and living with my boyfriend and our cat. I started decluttering 2 years ago and I now think I’m at the up keep stage (I have documented everything I own and go over it every 3 months much like your moving list) now although I never had a lot to begin with and was always raised to be organized. I would say I’m a middle class minimalist because I have just enough to keep up appearances but way less than anyone else I know here in Ontario, Canada. I just love having less, less to worry about and less to think about. Some people may call our 2 bedroom apartment bare but I think it has just enough. Of course I could get rid of all my entertaining items and fashion items (not that I have a lot anyway) and other things those times I dream about having a bachelor apartment in Japan but I’m a British girl at heart so I have to find a middle ground. Thank you so much for all your tips, they have opened my eyes to see that I should keep what I love the most and donate what I can live without. I hope to read many more years of your blog : )

    • Hi Victoria and welcome to 365 Less Things. Sorry it took a couple of days to approve and reply to your comment. I get so much spam these days that I generally only sift through it ever few days. Hence why legit comments take a while to get sorted out and approved. I am so excited to see the you are making realisations about clutter at such a young age. That bodes well for your future.

  12. Love the title Colleen. We still have some things that Mom has been keeping. I asked if she loved them or just had them to “fill in the spaces. She has decided to heave most of them.