Simple Saturday – I little tidying goes a long way

Clutter has an effect on a space no matter how little or how much of it there is. It has a habit of building up over time  so you need to maintain the upper hand over it if you want to feel truly comfortable in your surroundings.  I am usually quite vigilant when it comes to clutter build up so things usually stay in pretty good shape. Below is a photo of my living/dinning area last Sunday morning when I got up. I know it looks in pretty good shape but clutter is clutter  and it would only take a couple of days of build up to become quite a mess. So I took action.

Before 200211 Edit

WatchBackpackBaseball DeclutterLiam's ShoesPatchwork Quilt

The offending items shown above are as follows…

  • Steve’s watch which he puts here when he is at home. I would prefer he put it in the basket provided for the car keys and his wallet but he is concerned it could get scratched up. Acceptable reason for positioning.
  • Steve’s backpack that he takes when riding his motorbike to work has a habit of  living in my dining room from Monday to Friday whether he is riding all week or not. I have spoken to him about this and we agree it can hang on the hook where his bike leathers hang in the upstairs closet. That way it will only come out if the leathers are out and can be put away when they are put away. Problem solved.
  • Baseball declutter items. These items were left here for me to process after Steve had another declutter cycle through the garage. He is getting more ruthless with every round and I love it. They have since been photographed and put back in the garage with some like items to be collected by a Freecycle customer.
  • Liam’s shoes. I despair of him ever learning to put his shoes away after him. There is almost always a pair sitting under my kitchen bench or near the front door even though there is a perfectly good shoe cupboard right in the front entry. They are now put away.
  • The patchwork quilt is usually draped over an armchair by the window but we had friends over about two weeks previous and needed the extra seating. The chair got put back but the quilt never did. I have now put it back where it belongs.

Tidying up this landscape took about 10 minutes which included a quick conversation with my husband about a solution for the backpack and taking a photo of the baseball declutter items. I was happy  with the difference it made to the look of the space even though there wasn’t that much clutter there to begin with. Below are the before and after photos beside one another so you can see the difference.

Before 200211After

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I love your flooring. I envy you your flooring. I swoon over your flooring.


    You’re right about the decluttering too. It makes a difference to have everything in its place. Good job negotiating about the backpack.

    • Oh, and it’s plain to see you don’t have two cats. Or even one. 🙂

    • Hi Jo,
      one would think that the white floors make it hard to keep clean but they really don’t and they clean so easily too. I wipe them over once a week with a damp microfibre mop and hey presto shiny and clean again. They also keep the house cool on the hot days. They are however unforgiving when glass or china is dropped on them but hey you know me I don’t mind a little natural decluttering every now and again.

  2. I have flooring envy too!
    This reminds me of how I used to chide friends of mine for making a big deal over trying to lose a measly 5 or 10 pounds. Only later did I realize they were the smart ones! Better to take care of the little things rather than procrastinate until it’s a huge chore.
    At least I’ve learned and I get this. 🙂 .. thanks for the reminder! I think I’ll go take a look at my entry now and look for the things I’ve been overlooking.

    • Hi pat and welcome to 365lessthings. Thank you for adding your voice to our community. I love this line from you comment – … look for the things I’ve been overlooking. That would make a great post headline. I will have to remember that for the future. I liked how you related this post the weight gain and you are so right about that it is easier to shift 5 pounds than 25.

      • Those wooden boxes are lovely! Do you have any tips on how to keep those little boxes clutter free? I struggle to keep mine clutter free and any tips would be more than welcome.

        Overlooking things… that hit home to me. I have been overlooking my sock drawer. I take out a pair of socks, realise that I don’t like the pair and instead of getting rid of the pair, I put it back in the drawer. My mini mission this weekend is to go through the drawer, take out any socks that I don’t like to wear and throw them out (or maybe use them to clean my bicycle and then bin them).

        • The box on the top has been adapted by my hubby to be a charging station for cell phones etc. All the cords are bundled up in the botton then there is a padded layer on top where just the ends of the cords poke out to plug into. I is neat and tidy and functional. The twelve drawer spice chest has enough compartments that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. The camphor wood chest at the bottom only hold keepsake items of the children and spare blankets and is rarely even opened so no problems there. So it is the same old store the key to keeping organised is to get rid of the clutter. You are doing such a great job of getting rid of your stuff and one day you will start to notice that keeping tidy is suddenly easy because you now have a home with only useful or loved items that have their rightful place and that is the key to staying organised.
          Cleaning your bicycle with old socks what a great idea. It would clean all the greasy spots off without fear of taking your skin off at the same time. I must tell Liam that little tip.

  3. No floor envy here, I have a very beautiful wooden floor here. But those boxes, how pretty!

    Decluttering is not going very well, I think I have the flu and my desk looks horrible again. 🙁

    • Hi Nurchamiel,
      I hope you are feeling better soon and can get back to the decluttering. Remember to try not to slip backwards during your down time. Keep up the fluids, stay warm and rest as much as you can.

  4. I got up this morning and saw this same type of thing here and am going to work today to get rid of it all. My biggest issue is that we have no space by the back door (the one we use all the time) to put anything for a launching station. So we use one end of breakfast bar. I hate that. I have to find a better solution. I’m just not sure what it is. I love your flooring too. We have some carpet and some wood laminate. Mom hates the laminate and I hate the carpet. Grin. Ah well. I guess I will just have to deal with it.

    • Hi Deb J,
      my launching points tends to be any vacant space on the pile of boxes in the background of my photos from this post. Hating to see stuff there is a good thing because then it will annoy me and I’m more likely to deal with it quickly. My husband and I went furniture shopping this morning – it was more of a scouting mission to figure out what type of furniture we would like in our living space – the idea of a console table near the from entrance appealed to both of us it would be a good launching point plus he can store his wallet etc in one of the drawers. We will be taking our time to decide exactly what we want because we plan on this furniture to last us for a very long time.

      • I like your console table idea. I would love to have something with one or two small drawers. Even our front door has little space by it. You walk right into the living room with no walls. We love the house for the most part but this launch point is not something we thought about when we bought it. Not that we would have not bought the place probably. It’s amazing how frustrating it makes me to have this issue. Grin.

  5. Hi Deb J, You may have already considered this idea, but I’ll put it out there. For a launching station by your back door, have you thought about using the wall space to hang a sturdy wooden unit with one or two shelves, with pegs underneath? The pegs could hold your purse or scarf or reusable shopping bags. Or a tiered pocket-type holder for mail, with hooks underneath for keys? It all depends on how many things you are trying to store in that area.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I so wish we could do that. We have so little wall space that if we put something up there the door would scrap it. We have a small space behind the door but that is already taken up with a skinny waste can and hooks for jackets. I have never seen so little space by a back door ever. I thought about trying to hang a set of step files but even that would get hit by the door. It’s driving me nuts.

  6. Hi Colleen

    Thanks for this great idea! I just did the kitchen/dining/living and found nailpolish, a bangle, yesterday’s paper still on the dining table with hubby’s glasses, a spare dining chair brought out from a bedroom as we had visitors, last night’s shoes, and some library books needing a home! It’s amazing what just gets dumped and left and takes just a few minutes to sort and put away but would take even less time if done straightaway! Love it!

    • Hi Judy,
      Right now I am sitting in the position I was in when I took those photos. I can see…
      1.] The library book Liam needs to return to uni-Library on Tuesday. Being as short term memory can be an issue due to his brain injury I think it best for it to be somewhere obvious. So it can stay there for now.
      My dirty dishes from lunch right beside me – I haven’t got up yet and will take care of them when I do.
      Steve’s watch is back on the spice chest – He and I discussed that last week and he prefers there so it doesn’t get scratched. So that is OK too.
      Not bad considering it is Sunday and we have had all weekend to mess the place up.

  7. Those insidious overlooked areas can really get you! (well, they get me) Almost every day, I see another spot I’ve overlooked for too long.

  8. Those bottom two photos are fun – like those games where you compare two photos or drawings and spot the differences.
    Your room looks very inviting. I love clean and tidy spaces!

    • Hi Eve,
      great minds think alike. When I took those photos I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to post a pair of photos like this each week and the readers have to spot the difference. Maybe I will do that every now and again just for a little light entertainment.

  9. Well it all looks fabulous, but you’re certainly right that a little clutter here and a little clutter there really adds up. Did you see on FB that I had my biggest declutter to date (and probably my biggest, period)? We decluttered a whole car and only have one now. Dan rides his bicycle to work, and we live next to my parents, so we could grab one of theirs in a pinch. Although we just sold it Friday, it’s been at the repair shop, just sitting, for a month, and so far, so good.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I am bit slack with facebook, too many other things to do on-line. Good for you though getting rid of a car. Wow! Just the saving on insurance, licence tabs etc must be huge. We decluttered a car in 2009 because we only needed it while Steve was living away for a year. We may have to buy another one next year depending on what happens with postings. Oh well, that is 10 months away yet and we will concern ourselves with that when the time comes. Make it up as you go along has been our motto for the last 24 years, it’s worked well enough so far.