Share the joy while you declutter

About a month back Michaela, in response to the post Memeories Are Not Stuff,  left this comment…

“This week I sold one of my American Girl dolls. My grandmother had bought her for me, I had gotten different outfits with extra cash back in the day. I took good care of her, and then she stayed in my closet for years. The other day at work I overheard a lady I know talking about getting one for her granddaughter for Christmas, but she was sad how expensive they were. I immediately offered to sell her my doll. Yesterday when I took her in all the ladies fawned over what great condition she was in and all her little outfits. They questioned me getting rid of her. Like I told them, I have two boys and the thought of her getting a little girl to play with was a good enough reason to finally let her go. Plus I made some money LOL. Sure I could have gotten all sentimental and kept her, but there was probably an inch of dust on the box. While she held memories, she wasn’t being cherished or loved. It was time for her to move on . . . and me to grow up. I still feel pretty good about it, so maybe I’ll finally part with my other one too . . .”

What a lovely story. Thank you Michaela for sharing it with us.

Have you ever found yourself in this position like Michaela did where the opportunity spontaneously presents itself that helps you let go of a once loved item that you may otherwise have held onto. An object collecting dust in your home. It has happened to me several times during my decluttering mission. It is so much easier to pass an item on when you know that it is going to bring joy to someone else.

So keep your ears open for these opportunities and when they present themselves embrace them wholeheartedly and share the joy while you declutter.

Today’s Mini Mission

People collect all sorts of things and often when others get wind of this they gift you similar items . if you have such a collection perhaps you could stand to declutter some parts of the whole that you don’t particularly love.

Eco Tip for the Day

If you can’t resist the temptation for hanging Christmas lights use a timer to limit the number of hours they twinkle for.

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:

  • What is right for you? I often get comments from people contradicting my suggestions regarding what to declutter and pleading their case on why they keep certain items or collections of things. Avid readers […]
  • Stuff x Emotions ~ A guest post by Andréia It seems funny to talk about emotions and feelings when talking about inanimate objects that can be replaced, but we place emotion and feelings on stuff all the time. It can be good or it […]
  • Dithering? ~ By Peggy W I have dithered many times in my decluttering journey, unable to make a decision about my stuff.  Two of the “ditherees” left my house this morning because I needed soft fillers to […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I did a similar thing recently. I have gained weight over the last few years and got rid of all my skinny clothes except a gorgeous red Jumper which I always wore at Christmas. I always hoped I would slim back into it (ha ha ). A couple of weeks ago I met up with a friend and suddenly realised how nice it would look on her, so I spontaneously offered it to her and she was delighted. She is going to wear it to a family get together on Boxing Day.

  2. I find it much easier to get rid of something if I know it’s going to a good home. It short circuits a lot of my mental issues with decluttering!

    • That is great Kayote. Finding any way to help let go is a good thing. Finding good homes isn’t all that hard I have found. Making a few dollars on something is also helpful.

    • Kayote – I love that “it short circuits a lot of my mental issues with decluttering” – I hear ya!

  3. Colleen, this is good. We have done this with a number of handmade stuffed animals, decorations, scrapbook supplies and books. I agree with Kayote that is is easier to give away something when you know it is going to a good home.

    • You and me both on the scrapbook supplies, Deb. Which reminds me I have some to give away to day. I’d like to get them out of the house before packing day tomorrow.

      • Good luck on packing and moving Colleen.
        A few years ago I had some Wedgewood pottery items and a couple of pieces of furniture that used to belong to my parents. Although I loved all of these items, they did not fit my style and were not used to their best advantage. I was able to gift all of these items to a co-worker. After a conversation at work one day I showed her the items. I knew they were her style and would look perfect in her home. She was very excited and was able to get some things she had wanted – I was able to let these items go knowing that they would be more appreciated and loved by her. If and when the time comes for her to let them go, they will at least have been loved for a few more years.

  4. A few years ago I cleaned out my fabric boxes of extras and scraps of fabrics. There were a lot of memories of things I had made for my daughter. I could have thrown everything in the trash but because there are some good usable pieces I offered them for free on Craig’s List. The bags of scraps went to two sisters who were learning to sew and quilt. My best memory of all was seeing two delighted faces as they explored the colors and shinny fabrics and ribbons. Priceless!

  5. Hi Colleen, lovely to meet you yesterday, I just wanted to say that in my recent monster declutter (in preparation for my move to a two bedroom apartment) I found that many of the things I got rid of were unwanted gifts given because I “collected” stuff.
    I am resolved now to let people make their own choices (in the after ChrisMESS sales) so I will be giving money or gift cards this year plus a little something to unwrap for the kids.

  6. Today I realized I was going to make someone very happy with my decluttering efforts. I hang on to every xmas ornament given to me, especially handmade. I LOVE xmas ornaments, very sentimental about them, but after downsizing to a smaller, slimmer tree, I knew I had no room for every decoration. I had already donated the larger xmas decorations last year.
    A work friend of mine recently lost almost everything in a house fire just last week. Everything she owned was damaged by flames, smoke and water. Her husband has sunk into a deep depression over the tragedy and is having a hard time adjusting to the loss. My friend, who has adopted her grandson(4 yrs old) finally convinced him to buy a xmas tree for the little one. He refused to buy ornaments. Yesterday , while decorating my tree, I went thru my ornaments and decided to keep the only the ones i truly liked and a small representation of the other handmade ones i had been clinging to. The castoffs were destined for charity. While talking to my co-worker, she talked about how her husband refused to buy ornaments for the tree and voila! My ornaments had a home. She was so happy to have even a few for the little boy. I am so glad to give the decorations to that baby, it makes MY tree look so much prettier knowing i will help make new memories for him.
    Not that this has anything to do with making someone else happy by simplifying my life, but he thought he had burned the house down. It was actually a squirrel chewing on the wiring. Broke my heart. He was so sorry , he had been trying to be a good boy, but the house burned down anyway.

    • Hi Nanette and welcome to 365 Less Things. That is a perfect example of how decluttering becomes so much easier when it shares some joy with someone else. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sad for the dad and for the little boy who thought he was to blame. I hope that a little more joy comes there way over the Christmas period to help them to recover from their experience.

    • Nanette, that is so wonderful that you were able to help that grandma. So sad that the husband is depressed. Maybe this will help him too.

  7. Today’s mini mission made me smile, as just last week I was talking to a friend who shares my interest in decluttering and she was telling me about the vast collection of model frogs that she has. Apparently when her husband was born a visiting uncle remarked that the baby looked like a frog, the story took hold among family and friends and her husband has been receiving frogs as gifts ever since. As he is now in his 70s you can imagine the clutter. People are well-meaning but things like this can so easily get out of control.

  8. Last week I was able to share our grain grinder and various grains with an acquaintance. It was well-loved during the time when I made homemade bread, however we’ve changed our eating habits to remove such things from our diets, so it was stored in the garage. It cost a pretty penny when it was purchased, but I figure in the grand scheme of things we bought it to share with their family, and we were able to use it for awhile until the right time came to pass it along to them. That’s how we get the lovely items we buy second hand, so it only makes sense that sometimes we’re the ones who add to the circle. I love to keep things in use rather than covered with dust.

  9. Colleen – all the best for the shift tomorrow!

    Dropped off three boxes to a charity store this morning and had three pick ups from Freecycle.

  10. Giving can also have a boomerang effect. I cross-country skied to the Senior Centre a few weeks ago and a new friend said she’d love to try it. I now have one fewer pairs of unneeded skis … and an enthusiastic ski partner. Decluttering at its best.