Simple Saturday ~ Decluttered Things of 2011 Collage

Looking at this huge collection of stuff one would think my house would be empty by now but it isn’t. Where on earth was I keeping all that stuff? Better question still ~ Why was I keeping all that stuff?

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I love your pictures – how clever. I am throwing out one thing a day for the year 2012. I don’t think I have enough to make it through the year, but I am going to give it a try.

    • Hi Spendwisemom! Sorry to butt in, but I have found out we ALWAYS have more than enough stuff to declutter. As you gothrough your things you will start to wonder how did you manage to have so much stuff 😀 ! Good luck on your decluttering and Happy 2012 to everyone who reads the blog.

      • Hi Andréia, sorry I didn’t have more time to chat yesterday it was one of those Hell in an Handbasket kind of days for me. Too much to do too little time.

        As for spendwisemom she is very on top of the declutter thing so finding 365 things might actually be a bit of a challenge for her. Mind you I thought that too two years ago but she has come to us in a better state than what I started in.

    • Spendwisemom, considering what I have learned from you about how decluttered you already are there is a good chance you won’t have enough and that is better than reaching the goal.

  2. Wow! What a collage. What a collection of stuff. Doesn’t it feel great to have it all gone? I’m like you in wondering where it all was. this is what happens to me. I look at all I get rid of and then wonder where it all came from, where it’s been hiding, and why I had it. I also wonder how much money I spent on things I have never used or used rarely. Have a great weekend.

  3. WOW! I’m such a visual person. This speaks volumes, although I’ve followed your blog for quite a while Colleen!! Seeing it all at once is a real eyeopener. I think, we simply get so used to the clutter around us, we don’t see it anymore, until something like your blog or other inspiration jolts our eyes open. Once we see it, then we can take steps to do something about it.

  4. That picture really makes the point! Good work. Your blog is inspirational.

  5. What a GREAT visual you have provided! And I think I will use it as inspiration! Not only day-by-day but as a way to showcase my decluttering accomplishment at the end of the year! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Vicky,
      may I extend to you a warm welcome to 365 Less Things. I don’t believe you have commented before so it is nice to meet you. I took a look at your blog and I wish you luck in your quest to declutter a thing a day. It isn’t hard so I expect you will succeed. I also hope your daughter’s husband find a good job and you darling daughter can realise her dream of staying home to raise her children. At least in the meantime they are at home with their dad. I was fortunate enough to be able to be there for my children as they grew up and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

    • Hi Vicky,

      How awesome to find you here my friend! This is a fun, inspiring, supportive place, with like minded decluttering friends.

  6. Excellent illustration!
    Thank you for everything. You blog has been pivotal to my successes and my acceptence of setbacks. I am more at peace with my decluttering pace. Even one thing at a time is success, right?

  7. WOW! What a visual reminder. I tried to make sense of the overwhelming visual assault 🙂 and reminded myself that you had/have four people living in your home, so I divided the photos into fourths and that helped a little. But I’m sure that we all have at least that much and maybe twice that to declutter over the next twelve months. Perfect way to make your point.

  8. WOW! Now I wish I had taken photos (probably not really). i’m so impressed! And inspired!

  9. Wow, great picture! So satisfying to know that it’s gone. When we had our garage sale I looked at the stuff and thought ‘who brings that into my house’ and then realised, oh yeah, that would be me! But no more! I set myself a challenge of 15 things this month, currently at 50+, on the list to do 10 things today. Feeling great about it all!

  10. Deb J, Betty Jo, Juhli, Creative Me, Willow and Ann,
    It really is incredible to see it all in one picture. And that is only last years stuff, there was even more items the year before. And that doesn’t include necessity items that have worn out and been replaced, not that there have been many of those. My cupboards must have been bulging at the seams.

  11. Gosh, your amazing collage makes me think of Dora in Nemo…”Keep swimming, just keep swimming!”
    Well I’m still inspired to “Keep decluttering, just keep decluttering!”
    Thanks Colleen…..what would we ever do if YOU run out of clutter??

  12. That is an amazing collage Colleen. I feel the same – where did I keep all the stuff I have got rid of! Though of course it is slightly different for me as the last couple of years has seem me and my now husband joining two households together, with most of his stuff arriving a year ago.
    The charity van came yesterday and I can now see my dining room carpet for the first time in a year (having cleared everything out over xmas but immediately replacing it with furniture and boxes of stuff to go to the hospice shop)! Woohoo! It feels so great. It felt wonderful hanging out the washing to dry in there and not having to squeeze round loads of boxes and a couple of bikes.

    • Katharine, you dining room sounds like my garage. It is the staging place for items that have to go and where I put things that I think might go. For a long while it seemed to be constantly full of one thing then another but now most of the staging happens on just one shelf. There is still stuff out there though that I wish would leave but aren’t mine to dispose of. As space opens up I move other things out there that I don’t want inside.

  13. Wow that’s a pretty motivation picture! I’m getting very good at throwing things out but I find the faster they go the better. If I took photos it might give me time to re-think.

  14. I was just thinking since our garage sale and since Christmas, (where as l mentioned l didn’t ask for anything and didn’t get anything) l really think l haven’t accumulated any further clutter.

    I’ve only been making grocery purchases (well the odd That’s Life magazine! but after reading they go to the recycling bin).

    Okay so that’s life isn’t a necessity but l’m pretty happy that l don’t have to keep going over things to declutter.
    Although l always feel the urge to get rid of stuff – just l don’t need to get rid of anything – at the moment.

    • Good for you Felicity and it isn’t that you don’t need to get rid of stuff but you don’t want for anything material either and that is fabulous. Your transition is complete.

  15. Hi Colleen, do you or any of your readers (in Australia) know where I can get rid of some overseas coins? I have some money left over from Canada and USA from our holiday in June, plus a small amount of Hong Kong money (presumably from my daughter as I haven’t been there!). I did google it and came up with a charity in Queensland that took the coins, so I emailed them but haven’t heard back from them (perhaps they are closed for Christmas/New Year). Anyway just thought I would ask if anyone had any ideas for it? We’re not talking big $!

    • If you don’t really care where it goes, why not ask your travel agent to pass it on to someone who’s traveling? It’s always nice to have some change when you arrive in a foreign country.

    • Hi Judy,
      are you likely to go on another overseas trip or know someone who is. The overseas fights nearly always ask for donation of any currency to help starving children. That is a great way to offload the coins. I am going to america in April but posting them to me would cost more than they were worth most likely so ask around of people you know and try to give them to someone who is going on an overseas trip soon.

      • I love collages like this! It looks so colourful!!

        Re:coins – I agree, try to give them to other people travelling if you can, or any of those charity bins at the airport take any currency (cause lions etc have a worldwide network). Now days, i work HARD to spend those last nickles and dimes!! hahaha trashy food, gum, whatever gets my wallet empty of coins as I leave a place… Works well. Otherwise, my brother has a tackle box with odd coins.

        • Hi Colleen, I’m not likely to go back there myself and don’t know of anyone who is going. If I don’t find a home for them, I might just have to post them to you, it would be worth it just to get them out of the house – I must be getting obsessed with my decluttering ha ha!
          @Snosie – I did try to get rid of some of them but by the end of the holiday I was just ready to come home and so whatever was easy (ie paying with notes/card) was the best thing for me at the time! I found some of the coins a bit confusing for my poor old brain 🙂

          • I hear you Judy, I’m one of those annoying finicky people who waste effort spending the last weird coin, and making a fool of myself when it’s smaller than I think…. alas, can’t take the ‘poor’ student out of the girl. Other things though, I’m totally in the ‘can’t be bothered’ pile!!

          • Hey if all else fails mail them to me if you want. But like snosie says even if you are going somewhere domestic there is always a donation box somewhere at the airport.

        • Big bars of dark toblerone are always one of our airport coin user-uppers when leaving London.

    • Hi Judy, I work for the Bendigo Community Bank. We have a money box in the bank that we put all the unwanted foreign coin into….I’m pretty sure it goes to Unicef or one of those charities.

  16. >>Looking at this huge collection of stuff one would think my house would be empty by now but it isn’t.<<

    That's the scary part, isn't it? I had a similar thought when I checked my sales shelf at the local "Citizen market" this morning (that is a kind of flea market in form of a shop btw, where you can rent a shelf for a certain amount of time, fill it with stuff you'd like to sell and they handle the selling).

    With all the things I already sold there over the last 18 months – and this is already the 4th time I have rented a shelf there – my folks also expected that my place would be completely empty by now or that I would at least *finally* run out of things to sell. – But although I do admit that I also started selling stuff from my parents house this time (after "infecting" my mom with the unclutter virus some time ago 😉 … ) I realized that I *still* have enough clutter supply myself to extend the rental period for my shelf until the end of January 🙂 … and somehow I'm sure this will still not be the last time that I rented a rack there…

    • Never fear Toffee this is probably a case of, as you declutter you grow more ruthless about getting rid of stuff. That just means that you have not just purged things but have truly changed your lifestyle. From wanting stuff and keeping stuff to letting go of more and more and not replacing it with other stuff. Who cares when you will reach the end of what you want to purge so long as you are happy living with less and never go back to the way it used to be. Being free from the desire of forever wanting stuff is a beautiful thing.

  17. Thank you for the inspiration!
    I started decluttering on December 28th (not many days ago) and I have been going great guns – we are talking 36 things already. What is freaky about this is that my husband (a proper “just in caser”) has also joined in. While we can’t actually see any difference yet, because all the things were relatively small or crammed into cupboards, it still feels so good to be taking back control!!

    • Hi Tracey and a very warm welcome to 365 Less Things to you. I am so pleased you and your husband have already embraced the idea that you are taking back control. It doesn’t matter that you don’t see a difference yet, that will come in time. I was like you, my clutter was all neatly stashed away so I didn’t really see much difference to begin with but now we have less or smaller furniture than we used to because we don’t need it to house stuff. The garage is clearer no these days and there is space in all the cupboards. Just knowing that space is there and that so much stuff has gone back out in the world for someone else to use makes me feel pretty good. So enjoy the space no matter where it is appearing and relish the feeling of freedom that will also build up over time. Being free of that feeling of always wanting more is wonderful on its own never mind the other benefits.

    • Tracey,
      “Can’t actually see any difference yet” – I know what you mean, have been there – the world probably wouldn’t realise how much emptier our house is, even now, but oh, the joy of putting something into it’s drawer or cupboard, and being able to see it again when we open them! Gradually, gradually, if you keep at it, you’ll see massive changes, and the best thing: they stay changed!!

  18. Awesome collage! What a great dose of Motivation! I’m doing a get rid of 100 things challenge for the month of January on Motivation Monday at my blog. Hope your holidays were great. Here’s to a wonderful year!

    • Hi Martha, I wish you success with your mission to get rid of 100 things this month. That really only calculates to just over three things a day, that shouldn’t be too hard unless of course you don’t have that many things left. I would hate to guess how many individual things the overage Western household contains. I bet it is a phenomenal number.

      I did have a great holiday season but tomorrow hubby goes back to work so I think that brings it officially to an end for me. My son is going interstate for a week too so things will be quiet around the house for a while. That just means more time to go out to coffee with friends. It’s a hard life but someone has to do it. 😉 I hope you had a great holiday season to and your year ahead brings nothing but joy and happiness.

  19. Hey Colleen,
    awesome collage, I think you should print it out and mount it on the wall for daily reminders to never ever do it again!!! From a distance it will look like a colourful abstract piece of art and up close you can have a laugh at spotting things out. Imagine games night after a few wines, spot the balls!! LOL!

    All I can say is wow I just wish I’d thought to photograph everything when I started to de-clutter, I so reckon I could have filled a wall with pictures and then some!

    To answer your question from other night I have no idea where we are moving to! It’s in the hands of the real estate at the mo, I’m making them earn their money! I do know this much though, I and my family will be in New York for Christmas this year and Whistler, Canada for New Years and onto Europe just for fun! That’s my plan!

    Now look above my comment: Do you really want to have coffee with fiends!! 🙂 🙂
    I so love your blog keep up the fan-tab-u-lous work.

    Enjoy the moment, Enjoy the ride, Enjoy Life!

    Dizzy:) 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy,
      actually I might just do that. I will put together another collage includes the 2010 stuff as well make it a 20in by 10in, have it printed and put it in one of those frames cluttering up a box in the garage.

      We have also started looking at real estate lately. We aren’t sure whether we really want to buy but if we thought we might start really looking, as in actually viewing a few places and then decide whether to go with it or just wait until hubby retires. Perhaps we might actually live in the third property we buy.

      I hope you realise your dreams to visit NY, Canada and Europe, they are all great places. The kids and I have never been to NY or the greater Europe in the Winter but I was just saying to Hubby the other day that it is time we did Europe in the Winter. We have been in London for Christmas but nowhere further afield than that. Canada we have been to lots of times because we lived just below there.

      As for living life, you bet I am on to that. Just about to go out for coffee with a friend right now. So see ya later.

  20. Colleen, so glad to have been led to your blog today! I just finished a decluttering marathon over the Christmas holidays with the goal to get rid of our storage unit. The goal was met with five loads of stuff donated to a local charity. I think the concept of a small declutter project each day will help me continue the fit to regain control of my life. Just as the other Ann commented, it is so nice to open the pantry, or a cupboard and find exactly what you are looking for, or to empty the dishwasher in a matter of minutes putting everything exactly where it belongs. A neighbor called to borrow something and I knew exactly where it was.

    Three years ago I started a new job as the librarian for a junior high and have been decluttering there, too. There is actually an official responsibility that librarians have to “weed” the collection. It is documented that when a book collection is carefully and properly weeded that the patrons can then find the books that they would like to read.

    Looking forward to the encouragement that comes from reading inspiration from others.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Ann,
      may I extend to you a very warm welcome to 365 Less Things. I always forget to ask people how they found their way here so now that I have actually remembered to ask please let me know.

      I am so glad you managed to rid yourself of that storage unit. They are such a waste of money. Cindy (My Wednesday writer) wrote a post about it here which received many interesting comments by our readers especially this mind boggling one from Dizzy. I think storage units are useful on a short term basis when necessary but to store things in them on an almost permanent basis is such a waste of people’s hard earned cash. The money spent hiring them often far excedes the value of the items in them.

      Funny you should mention decluttering your work space. My husband has just returned to work after the Christmas break and spent most of yesterday doing just that. Because the people rotate through offices every few years and sometimes sooner stuff tends to build up. Paper records can particularly get out of control. He found one paper that had his own signature on that had been there (and survived the move from the old building to the new one) since 1997. He had moved away for 8 years in between. I understand what you say about weeding out library books having worked as a volunteer in libraries for many years off and on. Some books become so out of date, out of fashion and worn that they just become clutter.

      Anyway Ann, I hope we hear more from you in the future. Maybe you should write a post for us sometime about weeding books as I have many readers who would love some advice on that. Let me know if you are up for the task.