Simple Saturday ~ Just for a laugh

You get a call that you need to go clean out Aunt Martha’s storage garage because she died.  And, you are told to bring a trailer.  Sounds like a pain in the rear but out of respect for your Aunt Martha, you comply.  Later you send the following letter to your boss.

Dear Boss,

I’m resigning effective immediately!

The reason for my resignation is that I cleaned my aunt’s garage this morning before coming to work, and realized I don’t feel like working anymore.

See for yourself…


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I only wish my readers had such happy stories of clearing out after losing a loved one. Perhaps one day.

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Wouldn’t that be nice! Most people who get a lot of money at one time end up wasting a lot of it by bad financial choices. If you were wise with it, it could be such a blessing of freedom to live your life the way you want. I don’t think I would change a lot of what I do. I don’t enjoy cleaning my house, but when it is over I feel a great feeling of satisfaction. I think we would still work if we were rich, but we would choose the kind of work we want to do. Work helps you to feel good and productive.

    • You are so right about that Spendwisemom. Many lottery winners end up with nothing because they get carried away spending to begin with and have no idea on how to invest. Like you I would keep cleaning my own house, it would still be small. I would perhaps risk a little money to start a simple business perhaps combining coffee, food and creativity. And travel will definitely be on the agenda.

  2. haha – my first reaction was: “I want to jump in – it looks just like a mattress”
    my second reaction: “holy shit – now thats some clutter you want to have digital”. really honestly: what the heck would you do with that amount of CASH? open your car and just shuffle the bills in to bring to the bank? buy 100 suitcases and pretend to be one of oceans eleven? leave it and live the next 30 years of this stash? fire? flooding? panic! no!

    • Once you fill the car with it you had better not be speeding. Try explaining that to the cops if the pull you over. There wouldn’t want to have been a bank robbery going on at the same time. 😆

  3. Don’t we all wish?! Pay off the medical bills. Buy a house and then put the rest in savings to live off of.

    • God bless Liam, all those accidents and we haven’t had to pay for one medical bill ourselves. Definitely buy a house (small) and live off the interest of that savings account.

  4. No need for a trailer. A wheelbarrow would do. Perhaps just the brightly-colored ones in the front row?!? Hey, I’m not greedy!
    Thanks for the laugh out loud moment.

  5. Hihi, I came here smiling (just sold my armoire and a set of four antique chairs) and now you got me laughing.
    Have a great weekend everyone … I’m off to more shuffling and (hopefully) some decluttering, as the big move (in) is only 10 days away.

    • Good luck Ideealistin both with the decluttering/reshuffling and the big move in day.

    • yeah good luck and have fun! and please keep us (me) updated how it is going. 😉
      congrats to your sale, isnt it amazing to get rid of things AND see money coming in? I just love that!

  6. Ha! I wouldn’t mind that kind of clutter! 😉

    • Hi Kalista and welcome to 365 Less Things. Cute blog you have going there. I liked your take on valentines day and your died yarn is fun. As for Aunt Martha’s money I too wouldn’t mind that sort of clutter.

  7. Oh, if only!…

  8. Oh Aunt Martha, you will be missed. Oh empty bank account, you will not.

    Love it!

    • Hi Ben and welcome to 365 Less Things. Good luck with the launch of your new blog and with your aspirations for the future. I hope fear has cleared out its desk and handed in that keycard to HR on the way out. Aunt Martha’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect. (Oh if only that part were true hey!)

  9. Rebecca B. A. R.

    Wow! Wasn’t expecting that laugh out loud moment! I’m guessing that being a sweet little old lady worked out great for Aunt Martha at being a drug dealer–the cops never suspected!

  10. Looks like I have the wrong relatives.

  11. Good one Colleen

    Now you’ve blown my cover and shown my stash! And to think I was gonna give you half! Hahahahaha.

    Honestly if this happened to me on any given day I think I would keel over with shock and some passer by would have a great time clearing it all out!! Man wouldn’t you just love it! Okay funs over back to work everyone! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. Y’all are cracking me up! Much more than the picture did, in fact!!!

  13. Hi Colleen
    I lost the link to get the Clutter Reduction Guide – could you please resend it? Much obliged. And have you done a forum on books before? I’m actually making good headway, donated hundreds to an annual local charity 2nd hand book sale, and am totally converted to my Kobo e-reader for any new books (and have put it out there to family that I’d prefer Kobo book vouchers for any future gifts so I can gradually replace my top 100 books onto my Kobo – and yes I do re-read my top 100 books every year – books are my vice) – however, the momentum of getting rid of books seems to have slowed despite my best intentions and would like to read something motivational, if you have it.

    • moni, books is a topic that gets touched at least every other week. stick around or start digging in colleen archives, she basically covered every aspect of decluttering in the last two years! just type in books in the little search bar at the right side, and you will find the posts about it!

      congratulations on your hundred books, I am really impressed that you actually ask for motivation if you already managed a step like THAT! one of my problematic attachment is also to books, but I started with 4 to give away 😉 (and I tried to not bring in any new!)

      • Hi Lena, thanks for pointing out the search bar, I completely overlooked it and have been going thru the archives one by one. This is great. Yes books were painful for me. Sold a set recently on an auction site and had trouble letting go of them to the lady who picked them. Getting rid of books has been hard for me, but it was a must-do. Anyway, I’m making progress. YAY for e-readers. Before I de-clutter something, say, the pantry or the wardrobe, I google “how to declutter the pantry” to get myself all psyched up, pick up any good advice, so was delighted to find 365 less things, as the advice and techniques here is a bit more advanced than ” 4 boxes – throw out, give away, repair and keep” – and I feel “normal” here when you consider the number of pack-rats that I know and am related to. 🙂

        • Speaking of e-readers, my brother and his wife decluttered their DVD and CD collections and traded them in for 2 Nook simple touches, from a site called The website looks a little rough, but I have it on authority from my brother that it is legit! For a few hundred dvds (including original artwork and cases) you can get your own eReader, or iPod, iPad/tablet or iPhone. I have a Kindle myself, and knowing I can still read the ebook versions of my favorite novels has helped me let go of my physical book collections.

    • Hi Moni,
      if you are ever want to see what has been mentioned on a certain subject just open the web site, scroll down and in the right margin you will find a search bar. Just type the subject in there hit search and below that will pot up a list of options. Ignore all the ones in the white box that appears first and scroll down to the ones below that are all post or comments from 365 Less Things.

      Books tend to be a big stumbling blocks not just for people decluttering but even some seasoned minimalists have issues letting go of these. I personally don’t understand the need to keep them once I have read them unless it is a very special book that I refer back to over and over again. But I am not an avid reader either. And there in itself is the issue. Avid readers are the ones who tend to want to keep the books, so reading lots means keeping lots. To me the words are the important part and I can borrow them from the library or read them on an eReader so I don’t feel the need to keep them. If only it were this simple for everyone but it just isn’t.

      • I guess books are costly, and for me I spent year’s saying ‘books are friends’, if I hadn’t of discovered e-readers, I doubt I would have made the in-roads I have – we had 3 full size bookcases and 4 half size book cases plus up in the ceiling we had boxes and boxes of books plus 4 half size book cases. We are down to 1 full size bookcase and 1 half size bookcase in the house and no boxes of books left and only 2 half size book cases in the ceiling – my goal is to get down to 1 full size bookcase. Will review that again in the future when the kids are no longer at school.

        My kids joke that if I take a photo of one of them, I’m probably putting them up on e-bay too.

        • Wow Moni, what an achievement that is a lot of books let go off. Well done you! I have a question that you may be able to answer for me. Aside from them being costly (keeping in mind there is always the option to borrow rather than own) why do/did you feel compelled to keep all the books you read. This is the part I don’t understand. Sometimes I wonder if they are almost like a trophy that says look at me I read all these but I have no doubt it goes a whole lot deeper than that. Dig deep and try to explain to me the emotion behind it for you. Maybe it is time I wrote another post on this phenomenon it might answer some questions for me and help others ask some questions of themselves. Ann from NZ would have some strong insight on this subject I bet.
          Once again though, well done you!!!

          • Its a tough one – as I said, to me books are friends, yes I do have human friends, but possibly books became like a security blanket to me.

            I’m a bit like someone who watches their favourite chick flick over and over again, except for me I’m happy to read the same books over and over again. If there is a new book in a series coming out, I’ll re-read the entire series in preparation.

            I tried using the library but I clocked up heaps of fines as I didn’t want to take back books. Next I moved onto book exchanges which was awesome, because I could easily afford several each visit, and there was the idea I could take them back for exchange. The reality is that I very rarely traded in a book again.

            When I went thru all the boxes of books I found I would get a favourite author and I would collect all of his or her work. The bizarre thing is that when I looked at some of the backs of the books, I’d think yeah there was a bit of a theme with this author and it wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I’d doggedly keep collecting and reading their work. On the other hand there are other authors who I consistantly enjoyed, but as of now, I feel I’ve outgrown that stage.

            So to me, those books served a purpose, they were read and probably re-read, but would I pay to buy a digital version on my kobo? No. Time to let them go so they can entertain someone else. So before I could get attached again, I closed the lid and sealed them up. All of the boxes of books were taken to the local Lionesses Club who do a massive annual 2nd hand book sale and donate the proceeds to community charity.

            All I can think is that it was a combination of me being a recreational reader, I love a ‘happily ever after’, I enjoy clever use of words and my little obsession with collecting sets, that all came together.

            I also think I enjoyed hunting down the missing book from a series, and I enjoyed how some authors have characters from previous books pop in later books.

            I’m sure a therapist could have a field day with this one, but it is my only vice, and given the number of chain smokers and addicts in my family tree, its a pretty good vice to have. 🙂

            • I am enjoying this conversation Moni and I have another question. What was the catalyst that finally got you to start parting with the books. Because we aren’t talking about letting go a little at a time we a talking huge book purge here. Surely the Kobo wasn’t the only thing that got you letting go. Actually I have another question and please don’t be offended. Do you think that your home ended up cluttered because you spend so much time reading. I ask this because I have a lot of blog readers who are either avid readers or avid crafters and I often wonder do we spend more time doing the things we enjoy and not enough time on things we should. I am a crafter so to some degree I am speaking from experience. Or do you think it is that most of my readers are women and as women we tend to wear a lot of masks, wife, mother, worker, volunteer, housekeeper, washerwomen, friendly sounding board, child activity taxi driver… at some point we need some downtime so something else has to give.

              • Sorry my reply is above, I must have hit the wrong reply button. One last thing, do I think my home ended up cluttered because I’m a recreational reader? I don’t think so. I think we set out to make our nests cosy, and end up with a rats nest instead. We have so many demands on our time, and frankly are expected to be Fairy God Mothers (minus the wings and wand) that we overlook what is happening beneath our very noses.

                I sew costumes for a ballet school – that is the ultimate generator of STUFF. But I enjoy it because it is very satisfying making something pretty or glamorous. And it is very hard to part with the left overs because we feel an emotional connection/affection to our projects because of the effort and skill and love we have put into the final product. Have since learnt that Kindergartens LOVE left over craft stuff. I find that if I feel left overs and surplus stuff is going to “a good home”, I don’t feel so bad about letting it go.

                Does that make sense?

  14. Finally, “good” clutter! I wish I had an Aunt Martha!

  15. Hi – I might end up answering this in different parts – actually yes a purge would describe it – why did I end up so cluttered? Good question – I was NOT going to be a packrat when I had my own home. I left home Oh-So-Over Clutter. I swear I developed an aversion to ornaments thanks to having the chore of dusting hundreds every week. I was going to have a home oozing contemporary zen.

    Early marriage years we had to shift a lot and we ditched stuff each time and became very effecient, could shift in 4 hours towards the end. We bought our first home which was a do-upper and had 3 children, and I realised my interpretation of contemporary zen was actually blank and bland (have since realised you need a professional to achieve the designer zen look you see in magazines). And I decided to make the place look more home-y, and it began from there. I also think – this might sound crazy – but you know how elderly people who went thru the Depression and WW2 hang onto everything? I think our early years, young family, one income had a similar effect on me as I seemed to hang onto everything.

    Eventually we shifted from our first little house, it took two days and about 9 of our friends. The house seemed bare now that we had 3 times the floor space, and as I had all this fabulous storage space, the clutter seemed to breed!

    So what happened?

    Well. I read a quote somewhere “organised clutter is still clutter” – and I realised my talent for storing clutter neatly boxed and stacked up, only meant I was a slightly more evolved packrat than the genus of packrat that my parents are. I was the streamline futuristic packrat but still a packrat.

    Then, a guy I work with, met a lovely girl, they got married and combined households. She is a minimalist because she works in insurance for total loss. If a house burns down or is flattened in an earthquake, it is her job to nurse people thru the process of remembering what is in their houses. She told me that 95% of people don’t know 50% of what is in the houses. Dealing with this every day is frustrating and made her the anti-clutter.

    Then my workmate and his minimalist wife shifted into their new house not far from us, and we offered to help shift, but by time we all arrived ….. they were already shifted and set up in 3 hours. This rang a bell as once upon a time, we could shift in 4 hours easily. As they showed me around their new home, I realised this was what I had always intended my home to look like and where on earth had I gone wrong?

    Later that same day, she was told us the 95%-50% story, she suggested that we all keep digital photo records of things we have, such as DVD collections on a memory card kept in a safe place, in case we ever needed to make an insurance claim. So we went home and opened the cabinet that the DVD’s are in, and started pulling them out, and pulling more out, and still more, until we covered the floor of the lounge. I was shocked. (there’s actually a bit of a story behind the quantity of DVD’s – it is probably the only justifiable immoderation in the house) but WHO HAS OVER 100 DVD’s AND DOESN’T EVEN KNOW IT?

    And so from there, my decluttering began as a trickle, and then it gained momentum, and its almost become my new hobby.

    Before I work on an area eg pantry, I google how to declutter pantry to get psyched up and any new ideas – and in I would go. And slowly I went around the house, and then I went around again. Still didn’t look like the picture in my head. So back around twice more.

    I wish I had thought to keep an in/out log – that would have been brilliant. At the time I thought it would be cool to weigh stuff as it left the house, and at the end tally up how many tonnes we shed, but I didn’t get around to it.

    I have got a couple of friends into decluttering, and we agree that it feels empowering and when we have times when we don’t feel in control of our lives, for whatever reason: teenagers, work, economy, family crisis – then the best cure is to rip apart some poor unsuspecting cupboard and slaughter the clutter devils.

    I still have a lot of work to do, before my house looks like the picture in my head, but its not going to do it itself.

    My short term goal is to have all the valuble clutter listed on Trademe auctions and gone to new homes. It served its purpose, now it needs to go somewhere else to serve its purpose.

    My short-medium term goal is to have a place for everything, and everything in its place.

    My medium term goal is to be able to pack the house up in 5 hours if we had to, and without it being a stressful exercise.

    My long term goal is to retire in a minimalist appartment overlooking the harbour.

    • Hi Moni,
      thank you for sharing your story. It is probably familiar to many people reading 365 Less Things. Stuff just slowly builds up over time until suddenly some ah ha moment makes you realise how deep in it you are getting and how restricting it is. I am glad you had your ah ha moment and are well on the road to recovery. I like your goals too, they are much the same as mine.

  16. I have a comment about “book clutter.” A long time ago I realized that if I considered a book a “good” book, it almost always had a “message” or an opportunity to learn something or offered pure enjoyment. Why would I keep all that value to myself sitting on a shelf? I seldom actually re-read books. So I give all these great reads to friends, family and organizations. Then I realized this was also true for many things I own…so I am mostly organized and clutter-free. I intend to send some purging photos but haven’t gotten to it yet……”Fairy Godmother”, indeed! Thanks to Moni for her story.

    • You have the right attitude to make decluttering easy Connie. I feel exactly the same way. Why not release the stuff to enrich someone else’s life and so that it is utilised as it should be. That is the logic that makes it easy for me to let go of stuff as well.

      • This logic was a light bulb moment to me when I read it on your site a while ago. I think it gives us the mental kick to help with our purging. RETHINK a word and it helps to get rid of all our stuff.

  17. Thanks Moni
    Very inspiring. Love the 95%-50% comment.