Simplicity the payoff to decluttering

When I began decluttering it was all about downsizing to fit into a smaller home. However it didn’t take long to realise that decluttering resulted in simplicity. Here are some ways in which my life has become simpler due to my decluttering.

  • Decluttering displayed items means less dusting making housework simpler.
  • Decluttering items inside cupboards and drawers makes it simpler to keep them organised and tidy.
  • Less stuff in general makes it simpler to keep an entire home tidy.
  • And when the house is tidier it is also simpler to clean the surfaces because there is less stuff to move out of your way.
  • Simplifying your housework means it is simpler to find time to do other things you enjoy more.
  • The less clothes I own the simpler it is to decide what to wear.
  • The less stuff I buy (because I don’t want to become cluttered again) the simpler it is to save money.
  • The less stuff to choose from in any category the simpler it is to find the items I need when I need them.

And now that I have reached my goal of living in a smaller place in a wonderful location it is…

  • Simpler to keep fit because it is a delight to go out for long walks and enjoy the scenery and atmosphere.
  • It is simpler to get from A to B because most of what I need is within walking or cycling distance which means no getting the car out and trying to find parking spots. And public transport is in abundance here also.
  • It is simpler to get to a cafe that sells good coffee because there are so many handy to my location.
  • It is simpler to go to the movie theatre, the beach and restaurants because they are also within walking distance.

I am sure I could go on but I will leave it at that for now.

What have you found to be simpler in your life because of your decluttering? And what possibilities or opportunities have opened up in your life for the same reason?

Today’s Mini Mission

Make the effort to list an item for sale that you are been wanting to rid yourself of but haven’t mustered the effort to bother with.

Eco Tip for the Day

If you are one for ironing just about anything ~ sheets, underwear, pyjamas, tea towels etc ~ do yourself a favour and give it up for the sake of the environment. Electrical energy won’t be the only energy you will be saving.

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:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, I like your list. Another thing I have found is that the simplicity of being decluttered makes it easier to keep things clean. By that I mean that if your counters are decluttered a quick sponging after use will keep it clean and that means you don’t really have to scrub it once a week to get it clean. For example, I have a small square of microfiber cloth that I use in my bathroom. Every time I use the sink I wipe up any water that I might have splashed. It usually isn’t much because I am pretty careful but if there is any it is wiped up right away. When I change hand towels (daily) I dust off the countertop too. It means my countertop always looks clean and dustless. So much easier than cleaning once a week because it would mean scrubbing to get the scummy “dust”. We also wash up behind us in the kitchen. And we have a place for everything and put it back there when we are done with it. Nothing sits out for days.

    • Hi Deb you make a good point. there. Keeping things clean saves on a bigger task later on. And having those countertops clear sure does make them easy to clean. Next week the carpenter is going to start on fitting drawers to may pantry and one of the under bench cupboards. My bench tops will be clearer then because one of the drawers will be a utensils drawer. I can’t wait.

      • Colleen – I would love a utensil drawer. I turned our second cutlery drawer into a knife drawer and I love that. I have wondered if I could have our drawers reconfigured and an extra one created so I could have a drawer just for the utensils that hang over the stove. I would have to make enquiries as to how shallow a drawer can be. I have seen one before that was for baking trays and oven racks (beneath a wall oven) that was quite shallow but it was in quite an expensive kitchen. Guess there is no harm in asking.

      • Colleen, I would be excited like you if I was getting things like that. Thankfully, we have 2 utensil drawers as well as the one for the eating utensils. We have a great kitchen. The only thing I would change is to get rid of the dishwasher and put in two freezer drawers. But we can’t afford to do that so have left the dishwasher where it is.

  2. This is a great reminder! I am not the neatest person in the world, but I think a lot of that was because it was too much effort to put things away! As I’ve gotten rid of things, it’s so much easier to put things away properly, making life much simpler!

  3. Excellent list!
    I noticed the other day that I could open cupboards without having to put my arm up to catch falling things! Everything had a firm spot and I could see the back of the cupboard (that is a first for me!)

    I love the way you have described your new simplified location. I would love that. Unfortunately my husband’s ideal location is a lot more isolated than mine… (think 4×4 to get home and only a monthly trip into town for supplies) we compromise by a semi-suburban, semi-rural home on a large lot. In my ideal life, I wouldn’t even need a car. I would live close to the quaint old shops for food and entertainment, I would have a tiny home and an even tinier yard/patio space for container gardening some herbs, strawberries and tomatoes.

    Alas, I really love my husband and he needs lots of space to breathe and play, so here we are (with our big yard, 2 cars, 1800sqft house and garage full of things) for now and the forseeeable future.

    • Hi Creativeme, it seems I am living your ideal life. However home is where the heart is and as my husband says ~ “I’d live anywhere so long as you are with me.” and it is the same for me. He probably needs his space while you can live without your ideal but so long as you are happy where you are together that is all that matters.

      I am glad you are enjoying stuff not tumbling out of cupboards at you. Well done on achieving that.

  4. I love your list, and it’s the same for me. Partly my decluttering makes it possible to live in the inner city. Sure I don’t have every ‘toy’ but I have so many things in walking distance, or a bus or train ride. And because of that, I don’t have the huge expense of buying and maintaining a car.

    I also wanted to stop by and talk about how last night, the use of my ‘declutter box/bag’ worked well. A friend’s school is having a jumble sale, and she needed donations. It was great to know by the slow and steady thinking and decluttering of items, I was able to quickly reach for two dresses, and a handful of other saleable odds and ends I had in my front closet. Sure, the declutter space isn’t empty, there’s old boxers and a oven rack there at least, but it was nice to have things to assist her school. Now to find a good home for an oven rack (I took it from an oven on the kerb, as I always like to have more racks than an oven comes from, for baking. Alas, it didn’t fit, and the oven’s since been cleared away)

    • Hi Sarah, haven’t heard from you in quite a while. It is nice to know you are still out there. As the kids song goes ~ “Living in the city is hustle and bustle, living in the city is fun…” And it really is fun.

      I wish someone would ask me for stuff for a jumble sale right now. It would save me having to drive the car to the thrift shop. I have borrowed my son’s fiance’s bike to see if I would actually use one. I am loving it, not wasted petrol and feel 21 again. The problem is I have a huge bag of the same fiance’s clothes to drop off at the thrift shop. Oh well, I’ll take it next week.

      • Congrats on the engagement and growing family!! I do read daily, though the email, but miss the comments, which is really where it all happens in this blog! Shame work banned your site, it used to be the first place I visited daily 🙂

  5. What a great list! I love how much decluttering can improve your life. I really enjoy the calm of our lounge with its empty mantle and tidy bookcase and getting dressed is so stress-free. To me decluttering just lets me really live my life by decreasing the time I need to spend doing chores or everyday tasks. Reading, walking, writing and taking time out with loved ones become the priorities and I can truly focus on those. No object is worth more than that!

  6. Less stuff in the kitchen – easier to prepare meals.
    Less clothes – less washing.
    Less stuff on the desk – easier to work.
    Less pot plants – less watering.

    There are SO MANY benefits, I can’t believe everyone doesn’t live this way!

  7. I’m having trouble with today’s mission. I have a box of vinyl records from the 80’s. Should I
    – photograph them and list them on ebay.
    – donate to Life Line
    – give them to someone who wants them that I know
    – decide what to do another day
    Just writing down the options has assisted me a little in my decision.

    I like today’s Eco tip. I would love to declutter the iron and ironing board from my house.
    Less stuff is so liberating!
    Your lifestyle is to be envied Colleen 🙂

    • Hi Wendy F

      I’ve got a pile of vinyl records too which I’m itching to declutter. I’m somewhat leery of selling fragile items on ebay in case they get damaged in transit, which has happened to us both buying and selling, despite extremely careful packing. I’ve been surprised lately to find that there seems to be some resurgence in interest in vinyl records particularly among young people. Apparently they like the fact that it sounds real unlike the perfect sound that they have grown up with, so I think that when I’m ready to part with mine I’ll check with a couple of friends in case their kids want them. You might try a high school music class to see if there are any vinyl aficionados.

    • I would probably choose to give them to “someone who wants them that you know”.
      Any time that someone I know wants something that I am decluttering, I can’t get it to them fast enough!

    • Hi Wendy F, I see further down in the comments that you decided to give the records to your friend. Well done.
      I’d love to declutter the ironing board too but I only use it about once every three weeks and I can live with that. I don’t want to live in all knit materials or crinkled cotton so I will happily do my little bit of ironing.
      And thanks I love my lifestyle too. I went for two walks with Steve today and a ride on my bike.

      • I would love to have your lifestyle. I would love to be able to walk to everything and not have to have a car for much. Would love to live on the ocean again too. I miss that.

  8. This is such a wonderful benefit of decluttering. Another motivation for me is to leave as little as possible for whoever eventually has to deal with my belongings, and for what is left to be as well-ordered as possible. Perhaps it’s morbid of me, but it gives me peace of mind to think that I won’t be leaving a huge and potentially embarrassing mess behind me.

    • I don’t think it is particularly morbid. It’s great to think about what people will have to deal with once you’re gone. They’ll be grieving so why not make it as simple as possible for them at a hard time?!

    • Not morbid at all! Just very practical !

    • I think that is a wonderful reason to declutter. It hasn’t been mentioned here for a while but I know it has been the catalyst for several of my past and present readers to reduce their stuff.

      • After cleaning out a very small place my mother lived in made me realize even more as I age I need to get rid of things. I thought I was doing a great job until we downsized! Not!!! We have given and given and given away things. I couldn’t bear to part with my antique dressers until recently. My latest granddaughter is a mover and a climber and I have a small TV on the dresser. The 4 year old granddaughter has never bother it but this new well who wants to take a chance. A friend had a small but tall TV cabinet with 3 drawers. I bought it from her and it works so much better than the dresser. We gave away two dressers and a stand really made for scrapbooking that I was using for quilting things. One piece of furniture has totally changed things for me. Better use, less space and safer for the 9 month old crawler! Now I can get rid of more furniture. So in a year and a half over 300 garbage bags of things given away and still working!!! Thank you for the encouragement.

        • Wow Wanda, 300 bags, good for you. And it is amazing how just the right piece of furniture can make a big difference to the space. Having two of my kitchen cupboards made more functional, I am sure, is going to make a big difference to my space. I am hoping I can move my most used craft tools into one of the pantry drawers. I craft on the kitchen bench and they would be so handy to me there.

  9. Love this post Colleen! I’d add it’s so much easier to host guests now I don’t spend days sweating and swearing to get the house clean and tidy. We’ve had 5 lots of houseguests in 2 months with another lot coming today. And it is so easy!! The spare bedroom is always neat and the bed is made up, and we have a big upstairs room with a queen bed made up and a fold-out couch. This house is HUGE but there isn’t alot of ‘stuff’ in it, so it’s easy the run a vacuum through and no tchotckes to dust 🙂

    • Hi Loretta, that is a good reason and I am glad you mentioned it because I am going to Sydney tomorrow to spend the day with a friend and then she is coming back to stay at my place for the weekend. I haven’t made the bed yet so I had better get on to that before too much longer.

  10. I have been giddy this week – seeing more and more space on the shelves in my garage as I let things go. Slow and steady works! Next week when my children come home from college there will actually be space in the garage and NOT in the house to put their extra stuff.

    • Well done you Vicki K. I am glad you are seeing the results of your efforts. You are right, the slow and steady approach sure does work. I hope you have a lovely time with your kids while they are home from college.

  11. Records delivered to friend who likes records , he is happy! I am happy!

    • Good for you Wendy. I have a problem where I want to ride my bike to the thrift shop now so the clutter (not mine) is leaning against walls, sitting on the floor and filling our my handbag. I should have thought more about this on Wednesday because now Sandra is coming for the weekend and there is a big bag of clothes from the kids in the spare room. Oooops! I’ll hide them in the bottom of the closet.

      • Next time I pick you up, throw them on the back seat and I will deliver them to the thrift shop on my way home :).
        Ps (If I write this down, one of us might remember to do it ;).

        • Hi Wendy F, thanks for the offer but I have taken care of it including some things of my own and another bag from Liam’s place. That boy has everyone decluttering over there. Chip off the old block. Poor boy 😉

  12. I’d add that it’s simpler to have a “cleaning day” as well. My home still gets messy, especially when bf and I are both very busy at work. Dishes and laundry still tend to pile, I have to admit. However, a few years back it would take hours – or even days – to get everything back into shape after some busy weeks and even then there would be piles left, stuffed in cupboards, under sofas or in the bedroom, just because we would be too exhausted to manage getting through all at once. Now, the mess is just superficial, which means that even if we feel we drown in chaos, we usually can achieve a tidy and clean home in just about two hours (including laundry and dishes), without hidden clutter left.
    Also, for me it has become simpler to share with others, simpler to give away freely and simpler to let others “intrude” my privacy (like let people open my cupboards or using my computer etc.). I have less to hide and am less attached to my possesions, worry less that they might break etc. It’s not that I was particularly greedy or so, but I’m getting less and less so and I’m happy for it.

    • Good comment Sanna. I like the part about being simpler to allow others to intrude on your privacy. That is a good point. At the moment I wouldn’t want anyone looking in my laundry because it is a bit of a shambles due to the fact that I haven’t had any shelves installed yet. So as the ironing pile builds slowly other stuff gets displaced. I really must do something about that soon.

      By the way I am curious. I often wonder how, when people are busy at work, they managed to get their homes in a mess. It always seems to me that they aren’t there most of the time so why does the mess happen. You prove that having too much of everything could be a big part of the problem because when the excess is eliminated suddenly the biggest part of the mess is eliminated as well.

      • Colleen – re: messy house. For me it happens if something happens to disrupt my usual routine and I fall behind on a few minor things and within a day or two it seems to gain momentum in the wrong direction. I find that untidy seems to give license to other people in the house to drop all efforts too. If my morning goes awry, and we have to get out the door to school and work, leaving it untidy is better than being late but then it is catch up later on.

      • I agree with Moni. The biggest problem now is being tired whenever I’m at home. I can’t seem to bring up the energy to clean up after myself right away (putting laundry away, washing the dishes…) – or I’m just too much in a hurry – and of course once there is already a pile of something somewhere, motivation doesn’t exactly rise.
        However, having a lot of clutter is part of the problem, because even though you’re busy, you might need some specific item from your home. And when there’s a lot of clutter, that means searching. And searching for something in a hurry can lead to an enourmous mess-explosion. Add to that the tiredness when you’re finally home and you have the prettiest mess you can imagine. 😉

        • Hi Sanna, I can imagine how this can happen. I have been feeling a bit that way myself this week and I don’t even go to work. I force myself to do it though before it gets out of hand whether I want to or not. I guess I hate a mess more than I hate dealing with it. Mind you, you should see my kitchen bench right now. It is covered with craft stuff. I must get of my bottom and finish what I was doing and put it all away. And then I must clean the shower and mop the bathroom floor. I did the rest of the house yesterday but I had a hankering to do other things rather than housework before I finished. Not to mention my boy asking me to come over and help him with something. I love to help out my kids so I dropped everything and ran. Some days I wonder how people even find time to go to work. I should really count my blessing that I don’t have to.

  13. Great list Colleen! I am working toward simplicity. It sounds amazing 🙂 I never gave simplicity a thought until I found and 365 less things. These are my 2 favorite blogs. Thank you thank you for continually reminding us how simplicity has changed your life and how it can impact ours lives as well!

    • I just wanted to say thank you Shoeaholicnomore, for mentioning
      Wow. I just got started reading her blog backwards from the beginning, and am about a year in.
      If she can do it, anyone can.
      I did the same with This blog when I found it, and enjoyed Colleen’s journey so much.
      I still feel like I am at the beginning of mine, with a long way to go to my goal of a newer, more zen-like place by the ocean.
      But I WILL get there. Even though I am a quilter LOL

    • It is my pleasure to spread the joy, Shoeaholicnomore. It is best to dwell on the benefits than the process I think. Because if you think about the possibly wonderful outcome you will be more inclined to keep at it. And even better still if you don’t think of the process as an effort but as means to an end that can be enjoyed for what it is. I have to say I have mostly enjoyed my decluttering process. I rejoiced with every little thing that ended up in the discard pile and celebrated again when they actually left the premises. I didn’t much enjoy selling but I sure did enjoy sold. 😉

  14. Less stuff = less cleaning = less freakout when family calls to say they are 5 minutes away and will see us momentarily!! 😉 (If someone already said that, I’m sorry.)

  15. Hi there, and love your decluttering article. I agree with decluttering displayed items means less dusting making housework simpler.

    I purchased a curio cabinet to put all of my glass trinkets in one place and it’s really help get rid of rust, not to mention made my allergies much less!

    I also got rid of 95% of all my books as they were just taking up space and collecting dust as well. Kindle is so much easier and I can read a ton of books that way.

    Thanks so much for sharing! Kim

    • Hi Kim, less dusting sure does make housework a whole lot easier. I am glad you have come to that realisation. Like you, I also suffer from dust allergies and the more I can eliminate it the more comfortable my life is. I rarely suffer from it a home but when I visit other people’s home I make sure I pack my allergy meds.

  16. Colleen, this is truly inspiring. You have come full circle and are now reaping fully the benefits of decluttering and it sounds so fun. I hope one day to experience the same, until then I will keep plugging away at getting rid of the items that I don’t need. We were discussing decorating the other day at work and I thought I would take some pictures of my decorations. Once I started to take a few pictures, I quickly realized that I have so few decorations now and it helped me realize how far I have come in my efforts to declutter. That made me pretty happy. So many benefits come from having less, there is less to clean and maintain, and once your mindset changes there is less time spent shopping for useless items. Saving time and money to do things that really matter, that is what is important.

  17. I too love the simplicity that has resulted from decluttering.

    And for me, the sense of calm that has resulted from that too.

    • I am with you on the calm. Mind you, now that I am in a smaller place I would be happy to create a little more calm. Where as my old place had space everywhere this smaller place was a little overfull when we moved in. We are, once again, slowly whipping it into shape.

  18. Simplicity would, I’d like to think, help me keep my place cleaner and tidier.

    Mum says I suffer from bacheloritis but I think I am just lazy fifty-something.
    Decluttering will help my cleaning efforts… I hope.

    • Hi Ron B, Have less stuff sure does make housework easier, I can attest to that. What used to take me about 7 hours now takes me about two. Granted I did declutter so much that I moved into a house half the size but even when we were still in the bigger home I must have cut about three hours off the cleaning time by having less to dust and rearrange each week. Not only that it became easier to keep tidy the rest of the time too. Cooking became easier also because it was easy to get at the items I needed because there wasn’t useless items in the way. Same too with putting away washing and even deciding what to wear because I had less to choose from.

      But even an uncluttered home can become a mess if you are too lazy to pick up after yourself. Just remember a few seconds or minutes here and there saves you hours later on. Not to mention the time not wasted trying to find the things you didn’t put away. It is always easier to face putting away one or two things than to have to face the idea of hours of picking up. It literally does only take second to put stuff away after you finish using it.