Simple Saturday ~ A reader’s unusual declutter story

The following story was sent to me by Madeleine, one of our fellow long time 365ers from Guinea in Africa. I have written of many ways to decide whether to keep or let go of items in your home but this one is unique to say the least. Without further adieu please enjoy…

Madeleine’s Story

A few months ago, I decided to check if I could declutter something from my kitchen, I looked at the ustensils, and asked myself : do I really use this thing ? I answered yes for everything, but a long wooden spoon. I decided not to take a quick decision, but to wait a few weeks, and see if I would use it.

Some days later, I was cooking, when I saw something moving just near my left hand. A snake ! I jumped to the roof, wanted to run away, then thought better : if I had run away, the snake could have hidden anywhere in the house, what I surely did not want. So I grabbed the first thing I could find : the wooden spoon ! I chased the snake, and I could finally stuck it between the windows and the mosquito net. Then I could breathe, take some pictures, and fetch a neighbour who came with a bush knife and killed it. You guessed : the spoon stays. It could be one of the most useful items I have in the whole house. This day, I decluttered a snake. It did not take much room in the house, but it did take a lot of room in my mind !

In defence of the snake ~ it looks more frightened of Madeleine than she was of it.Â

The Weekend Mini Missions

Saturday – Something you keep for another’s benefit. This often happens with grown children. For example Dad has a bunch of useful tools that he no longer uses but his three sons often come over to borrow them ~ In this case divvy them up between the sons and let them borrow from one another. If they don’t want to do that then feel free to sell them or give them to someone who does want them. Once again your home isn’t a storage unit or a free hiring service.

Sunday – An item you keep out of tradition that you never care to use. This might be the usual stuff like the good china and crystal but it could be like my old BBQ ~ It is almost an Aussie tradition to cook lots of BBQ meals but if you don’t you don’t need to have a BBQ just because everyone else in the neighbourhood does. This also goes for a collection of tools when you really aren’t much of an handyman or a sewing machine when you send all your clothes out to be altered or mended. (Personally, judging from the price my friend was recently quoted to have the hem sewn up on an apron, I would suggest you learn to use it and save your money but that is just my opinion.) Some of these items actually seem to double up as aspiration clutter.

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Oh, Madeleine, you were braver than I would be! I’m glad you had a happy outcome!

  2. I shuddered just seeing the picture when I opened this post! I HATE snakes!!!

    Good for you, Madeleine, on keeping your wooden spoon. And good for you for not freaking out, but having the presence of mind to get the snake out of your house!

    I don’t know what kind of snake that was, but sure hope it wasn’t venomous!

    This was a great decluttering story!

    • I agree. That’s one piece of sentimental clutter I would be more than happy to keep around.

      I would be terrified if I saw that snake in real life, but when I first saw the picture I was all “He looks so happy!” It’s like he’s going ” 😀 Hi there! “

      • Amanda,
        I adore your description of the photo; but I didn’t see it as ‘he looks so happy’. You have a nice cheery outlook! 🙂

  3. This one made me think of one of my close friends who is absolutely terrified of snakes. Not an easy task to stay put instead of taking off, but the choice was a wise one.

  4. I agree with the other comments and add: Yes, it’s good to declutter the snake from the kitchen. 😉

  5. Holey Crap! I’d have died on the spot! No snakes in New Zealand so even the idea of one sends us into hysterics, let alone going face to face with one.
    Yes keep the spoon handy…..and a pitchfork……and a blow torch…..and a softball bat!

    • I will not buy the pitchfork (does not exist here), neither the torch, nor the softball bat (does not exist here). I just found the hole that allowed the snake to come in, and closed it.

  6. Oh. Madeline, you are one brave woman. We don’t have snakes in the Hawaiian islands. They were never introduced to the islands. I hope it stays that way. Bravo to your neighbor who assisted you as well!

  7. Oh my! You are brave Madeline. I hate snakes. Keep that spoon for sure.

  8. We have nothing but harmless garter snakes here on Vancouver Island, Canada… was that green one dangerous? Even if it wasn’t Madeline is one brave spoon-weilder!

  9. After finding a small rattlesnake in my back yard earlier this month (dealt with by our brave local firefighters), I’m thinking I need to BUY a machete and a hoe or pitchfork and keep them in the house as offensive and defensive garden tools.
    Well done, Madeleine!

  10. OMGoodness! That wooden spoon is now appearing to be your best new friend!!!! 🙂

    You are VERY brave. I screamed just reading the story.

  11. Great story Madeleine! I shall never look at my wooden spoon in the same way again!

  12. Great story! Your wooden spoon deserve a place of honor.

  13. Much as I wouldn’t want any snake in my house either a little green one like thats seems pretty harmless. Being as here in Australia we, arguably ~ depending on which list you read, have 10 out 10 of the deadliest snakes and the world I would have cause for concern if I found one in my house. That being said none of them, the deadly ones that is, are green and cute like that one. He would give you a nasty nip nevertheless and I wouldn’t be comfortable knowing he is there somewhere. Then again cockroaches are harmless too and I hate those with vengeance and I would be mortified if I had mice or rats too.

    • Hi there, Colleen! I hope this means you’re feeling better and recovering from the medical stuff.
      When we lived in New Guinea {just north of you :)} we stated that of the 100 kinds of snakes there, 99 were poisonous and the 100th would swallow you alive. Snakes are NOT my friends.

    • Hey, Colleen – good to see your comment here! I hope you’re feeling okay and recovering well.

    • Luckily, there are only three kinds of snakes around here and rather harmless ones as well.

      To be true, all those poisonous snakes and spiders make me not want to go to Australia. I’m chicken.

      • Hi Sanna – I’m petrified of snakes and there are none in NZ, but I have been to Oz a number of times as I have family there, and I can vouch that I haven’t run into a snake yet. If you get the chance to go to Oz, do it!

  14. Thank you for the comments, and thank you Colleen for publishing my story.
    There are two green snakes that look nearly the same. One is very venoumous, you die in half an hour if you are bitten, and there is no way you can find a treatment here. The other is completely inoffensive. I am not quite sure which one it was, but I would say the second one, 1m long.
    The funny thing is that now, I use the spoon all the time (for cooking, not chasing). It is still an ugly looking spoon, but it’s story makes me use it.