The Garage Shelves

Last Tuesday I featured my garage shelves showing you before and after shots. The empty containers have since been delivered to the thrift store and hopeful I will find they have been sold by the time I go back there this week.

I am sure though that many of you were thinking that for someone who writes a blog about decluttering there seems to be a lot of stuff stored on those shelves. And you would be right. Below is a rundown on what it all is and below that I will write what I would like/will be doing with it all.

The Christmas decorations, including the nativity scene and the tree are definitely on the list of items that may not be around for much longer. I will consult the family on that one once again and make a decision possibly before Christmas comes around this year.

The Snoopy collection is on the short list of things that are going very soon as is the Coca Cola collection. I might give them one more chance on ebay and if that is unsuccessful they will be going on Freecycle or to the thrift store. The box of possible eBay sale items will also be listed soon and if not sold they also will go to the thrift store. And when that exercise is complete the rest of the eBay packaging items will go in the recycling.

My son’s skateboard collection is near and dear to him so it will stay.

Of course my husband’s work items will be staying. I look forward to his early retirement so we can finally get rid of them.

My daughter’s “moving out” homewares ~ I am sure that I have mentioned several time on my blog about how I  would like to see the back of those. I have learned my lesson about planning too far ahead with that exercise. If she ever does really move out (not just to Grandma’s) I will personally deliver them to her. She will be every bit as happy with the situation as I will be.

That box of picture frames were bargains I couldn’t resist when working at a craft store in America. Now I am reluctant to get rid of them because my son is doing a fine arts degree and they might come in useful (ever heard that one before). The jury is still out on this one.

There are a few other items there that aren’t on the possible declutter list such as the bike parts, the motorbike seat, the esky (cooler), the Husband’s motorcycle magazines. For now anyway! The baseball collection and the husband’s and son’s keepsakes may be subject to further culling.

The only definite stayers I can see are the empty suitcases and the toolbox.

Spare Storage Containers are forever emptying around here but my intention is to repack all my daughters stuff into ones that she can keep when she takes them away. This way they will all stack neatly together in the meantime while awaiting this happy event.

Once a few of the above items are gone I can start the next round of reshuffling. These shelves will probably never be empty but hopeful they will eventually house everything that lives in the garage and we will be clear in every other corner. That will make sweeping out and vehicle parking a whole lot easier. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Since I started writing this post all the items destined for ebay have been listed. Fingers crossed they sell but either way they are out of here.

Today’s Declutter Item

This is my mini mission declutter item for today. These items have been tucked into the corner of my linen closet and have been lingering in my home since some years before we left America (4 years ago). They held the last remnants of Christmas gift wrap that has been slowly dwindling over the years. I finally folded up the last little bit of paper and put it with the rest on the gift wrap supplies in a drawer in the spare bedroom. At last I have freed up the corner in the linen closet. Yay!

Empty Gift Wrap Box & Roll

Something I Am Grateful For Today

It’s 5pm, the house is spotless and I am sitting comfy on my sofa with a glass of wine at my right hand. It is just hubby and I for dinner this evening and for the rest of the week. (Our son is visiting with his sister interstate). The evening’s dappled light is shining through the windows next to me and the only sound is the keyboard tapping as I write this. Ahhh, what a great life. What’s not to be grateful for.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. You gave me a good laugh when you said you would deliver your daughter’s items to her once she moves to her own place. When my younger son finished grad school and moved to a new town for his first career job, we drove over for Thanksgiving. Imagine his surprise when we opened the trunk and presented him with his childhood collection of baseball cards, etc. His reluctance to part with those earlier means that they now clutter his apartment and not our home. He did have a good laugh over it as I had probably asked him 50+ times to deal with them.

    • Hi Juhli,
      oh yes! I can imagine the joy in that. When my daughter comes home for a visit I usually get her the go through a portion of her stuff in an attempt to cull it down a little . Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.

    • DH’s mom gift wrapped a box of his childhood “toys” ie.mostly broken crap and presented it as a birthday gift. We had never told her to keep that stuff and we didn’t want it. I thought it was a bit of a cruel joke. She should have just tossed it.

      • Ahhh, don’t be too hard on her – she may have had her own issues about getting rid of it without his permission – and might have thought he would get a laugh out of what she did … and she may not have realized otherwise until she saw the looks on your faces. At least, you and he can declutter it with no hesitation!

      • Hi Cat’sMeow,
        I am sure your mother-in-law had all good intentions. Just don’t feel obliged to keep it because she had gone to the effort of saving it for him. Some people place far more importance/sentiment on these things than others. My mother-in-law handed down my husbands old leggo to our son when he was younger. She would probably be appalled if she knew that he has since sold all his leggo including his fathers to some friends with young kids.

  2. Thanks for the revised page design. I now read the whole column every day again, now that the Mini-Monday column is not always at the top (sorry, can’t remember the real name of the column).

    I too laughed at the comment that your daughter would be happy to receive her things she left home when she finally moved. I imagined her smile and thought that it could easily be hiding a grimace. Why? Because it means that she’s a grown up and has to handle her own stuff. Hope she’s better than I was when I moved out, 40 years ago.

    • Hi Janet,
      I am glad my page change has renewed your enthusiasm for my daily post content. I always had my doubts about that feature bos myself.

      As for my daughter, when I said she was going to be excited about the the situation herself I didn’t actually mean she would be glad to have her stuff back. I meant she would be stoked about being in a place of her own at long last and not living at Grandma’s any more. It’s bad enough living with your parents at 22 but living with your grandparents, OY VEY!

  3. We had a wonderful weekend of decluttering. A friend had given us a load of stuff to put in the church yard sale and we took that to church with us yesterday and gave it to the head of the yard sale to store. Mom found a small George Forman grill that we took to the pastor’s son–he just bought a house. I had an old laptop. I had a friend clean off all the old files and stuff as I didn’t want to take the time and he likes to do that kind of thing. Yesterday I took that to church and gave it to a lady who volunteers at a Women’s Shelter that can use it. In trying to get rid of a bunch of Christmas scrapbooking embellishments I made a bunch of cards. I took 30 of them and gave to a lady who is collecting them to be sent to our military personnel overseas. We also started on decluttering the jewelry Mom has and the shed. The latter will take a while because it is still hot here (107 today) so we are putting the hard part of it off until it is cooler. It felt so good to have the car full of stuff going to church and coming home with it empty.

    • Hi Deb J,
      wow, great strides made there. How did your mom feel about it, was she excited to be helping others with her stuff? I hope so, it may spur her on to the next round. At 107 degrees I would be leaving that shed for cooler weather myself.

  4. Colleen, how wonderful that you are down to those few items in your garage!!!! When you think about it, it really isn’t very much.

    I noticed you said your Christmas tree and the decorations might go soon. Now, for all I know, you may have a huge tree stored somewhere else. But, I can tell you for myself, it was very liberating when I quit decorating for any holidays!!!! Not only did I free up all that space (I didn’t have a basement, so it was in a closet), I freed up the time it took to put it all out and take it up every year. I know some people love doing that, but for me, it was a load off my busy shoulders!!! As Elaine St James said in her book Simplify Your Life, bow out of the holidays!


    • Hi Brenda,
      no there are no other decorations or trees I am just considering, like you, to bow out of the holidays. The kids are grown now, we haven’t bought gifts for the last two years (We give the kids money) and after 24 years of being married and living out of state and even out of the country I am tired of the pressure of being expected to “come home” for the holiday season. I would rather visit with family when there is less stress, less expectations and less hustle and bustle. You know where you can just sit back and enjoy one another’s company. How much better does that sound?

  5. I love what you have done here, you’ve justified everything and making it earn it’s keep. So essentially it’s stuff you will or do use and that can’t be counted as clutter. Good Job!!

    Our christmas decorations need scaling back drastically , i need to simplyfy it this year, i usually spend a whole weekend decorating but this year i am allocating 1/2 a day concentrating on a tree and decorating the fireplace, that will mean a lot of decorations going out the door. Today we did a little christmas shopping, it practically brings me out in hives at the thought of bringing stuff into my home lol!! We have for the past couple years limited the kids to 5 presents each and a stocking with mainly sweets etc in so it’s not too much clutter coming in. Would love to hear what other people do at such a consumerist time of year?!! Or you can all scream at me to shut up, it’s only bloomin September….. 🙂

    Sharron x

    • Hi Sharron,
      trust me I haven’t justified some of that stuff, most of what is left except the suitcases and toolbox is clutter as far as I am concerned. It is other members of the family that are justifying it. And that is OK too, just because I am a freak when it comes to decluttering doesn’t mean I have the right it impose it on other members of the family. They have been quite good about it all and decluttered more than I ever thought they would so I am happy. My clutter specialty, craft supplies, is taking up an equal amount of space in the office/craft room so who am I to judge.

      Good for you scaling back on your Christmas decorations and all the effort they entail. I like that you have also put a reasonable limit on the number of gifts you buy for your children. I think overloading them with stuff every year sends the wrong message not only about what Christmas is really about but also about that stuff is where happiness comes from. I like America’s Thanksgiving holiday better, there are no gifts, it is all about being thankful for what you already have.

    • No Sharron x, DON’T SHUT UP!!! We are also starting our christmas hunt for goodies (at thrift stores) to give the kids. We give them 2-3 gifts each, and then a stocking (stuffed with little stuff…).

      This took many years to achieve, but now for both sides of our families, we just donate money to a cause that is close to our interests/heart (and they all do so, also). The amount is never disclosed, it is just the act of charity, vs having to shop (GAG!!) and wrap (GAG!!!) and mail (GAG!!!!) and hope they like it (SUPER GAG!!!!).

  6. Hey Colleen,

    Haven’t commented for awhile, but I’ve still been reading. I just haven’t had the time or the energy for decluttering with my mom’s medical situation.

    I was also wondering about the Christmas tree and decorations. Are you not planning to decorate for the holidays? Decorating our tree is a much loved family tradition with my boys and I couldn’t imagine giving it up. But I suppose once they are out of the house on their own, they will have their own decorating traditions and I might not want all of the fuss and bother. Right now though, it’s definitely not a fuss or a bother!

    I am storing a box of White House Christmas tree ornaments that we do not use, but that my mother has been buying for the boys. Every year, they come out with that year’s edition and my mom has been buying each of them the current edition from the year that they were born. The one box is very full and I will be starting a second box, but those are items that I would not part with because they will go with my sons when they start their own family traditions.

    I also have mint (coin) sets for each of them from my mom that she has been buying for them every year since each of them was born and those are housed in another box which is getting full. Again, something that will go with them and hopefully they can use it someday for something they need. When my husband and I got our first apartment, my parents sold my half of the coin collection they had been gathering and gave me the money to use as a deposit and to buy furniture. The money was much appreciated. It’s amazing how much value those things gather over time.

    I don’t have much for my kids for when they move out, but those are definitely items I know they will cherish, since they are from their grandmother.


    • Hi Chelle,
      I am glad you are still out there reading. I hope you mother is copy OK with her health issue and you as well.

      Yes we are considering doing away with decorating for Christmas altogether. Those decorations have hardly seen the light of day in the last 4 years, 2009 and 2010 we weren’t at home for Christmas and maybe 2007 and 2008 we probably only put up the tree. With no fireplace and no gorgeous internal stair rail any more here is nothing much to hang them on. I don’t however think it is an awful tradition that everyone should give up, I am just personally past bothering. Through years of internal struggle and external pressure I have really come to view Christmas in a different light to most people and would rather just pass. When we lived in America we loved it, being the first time celebrating in the winter added to the fun but probably the part we enjoyed the most was not being under pressure to travel a thousand or more kilometres to go “home” every year. It is a bit of a love hate thing for me really, I would prefer to be with a large family group at Christmas but at the same time I don’t like the pressure of the consumerist side of it or the expectations of others.

      What I am saying is enjoy your traditions and ignore my bah humbug attitude. If my family lived close by I would probably love it too.

    • Chelle,
      Sorry to rain on your parade, it all sounds great and all, but what if your boys don’t want those things that have been bought for them? Why not just have the G-parents put that amount of money into a growing mutual fund (or something) so that they can have a nice chunk of money down the road (like you mentioned half the coin collection was sold and you were given the money, you would have quite a bit more money if that money had been invested and allowed TO SIT over time and accumulate!!!!).

      • Hi Annabelle,
        being as Chelle lives in America and taking the number of finance institution that folded in the WFC those boys would probably have nothing now if it wasn’t in the form of coins. 😉

        • Oh yes, what a blessing!!!!!

          Thank you! I certainly didn’t mean to be so harsh on Chelle (Chelle, please forgive me!!!). As I don’t collect anything (well, dust bunnies under the darn couch!), I am not up to date at all as to what those kinds of things have as far as a return on value and growth over the years!!!!

  7. Wow, great shelves! I have culled my Christmas decorations down to two little boxes and a nativity scene AND I am refusing to listen to any pleas for a “real” tree this year. Last year’s real tree toppled over and soaked the carpet! I remember being on my hand and knees mopping up thinking to myself “I paid $80.00 for this?”. I kept an eye on freecycle and scored a very nice small artificial tree a couple of months ago. That’s my advice for anyone who still wants to decorate and is on a budget – put a request out. There are a lot of people like Colleen out there who will be only too happy to hand their decorations over!

    • Hi Calico ginger,
      even though natural trees abound in America we were never into that. I am sure I would have been allergic and spent the whole season sneezing. I did however love the big tree sale lots in the shopping mall car parks. I took lots of photos of a particularly good one one year. Clever idea putting an wanted add out on Freecycle to acquire a small artificial tree. I have considering down scaling rather than doing away with the tree altogether so maybe I should do what you did and downscale the Freecycle way. Good idea.

  8. Thought I would comment on the Christmas decorations. I like to have some decorations for the holidays but as with everything else I am more of a minimalist there. We had a huge artificial tree for years but with our disabilities it became hard to put together and then decorate. So finally Mom agreed to getting a small tree to put on a table. We last year she insisted she wanted a big tree. Since it always falls to me to do the work I decided it was going to be one that didn’t have to be put together and that had the lights already on it. But it also means getting more ornaments because I gave all the old ones away. I have been making some (painted, orogami) so that I don’t have to spend money on them.

    • Hi Deb J,
      good idea making the decorations yourself. We have some decorations that I am not keen to part with from our USA days so a small table top tree would be a good idea for me.

  9. I just LOVE when you give us photos of your house/spaces! And with the writing telling us what everything is. Just great. I love this post!!

    Alas my mother has 3 christmas trees (they all go up! in our essentially two bed house for 5 adults), and I have one inflatable one to take when we’re travelling overseas. Small concession to my brother who was mortified we rode elephants on CHRISTMAS day in Thailand!

    • Hi Snosie,
      I will make a point of including more house photos in future.

      I rode and elephant once in Singapore. You don’t realise how much they slope forward until you are up there. I thought for sure I was going to slip off and end up crushed under its feet. I am glad I did it though. I bet that was a Christmas you never will forget, how special!

    • Hi Snosie, it’s funny that your mom has 3 trees, so do I and I try to justify it this way. I live in Michigan and I hate the snow and the cold (go figure) so at Christmas time I try to make the house look festive so I can pretend it’s not freezing outside. It is also the only holiday I put any decorations out. My mom loved all the holidays and did them all way over the top and after she passed away, we had all that stuff to get rid of. I do have a grandson who is 7 and he loves helping me put them up. I’m sure when he is older I will discontinue this practice. One of the trees is his, one has ornaments from all the places we’ve traveled (my favorite), and the other one is just for everything else. Geeze just writing this makes me think I will surely get rid of some stuff this year. Well that was good therapy. LOL

      • Hi Colleen,
        I can understand your theory of the three trees making the house look festive in the bitter cold. I love Winter Christmas so one tree was enough for me even then. Mind you it doesn’t get as cold in Seattle as it does in Michigan. Now we are living back in the Summer Christmas zone and it just isn’t the same. So long as you don’t mind doing all that assembly and decorating and you love your tree filled Christmas then it isn’t clutter to you and that’s OK.

  10. I’m quite thankful after seeing this that we don’t really have any collectors in our household…so far! I too am one to save containers because I always have the thought that they could be useful in the near future. As for the items for your daughter, my parents had a lot of our stuff, and now that I’m trying to get rid of some of mine, they want it back!

    • Hi Megyn,
      we have the opposite going on here at times. Our daughter looks at my blog occasionally and sees things we are getting rid of and calls me and says “I want that”. I say “Too bad you have enough of your own crap without adding ours to the mix.” What an awful mother I am, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

  11. I love this post!

    Years ago, when my daughter was little, I didn’t understand why my mother in law didn’t decorate or put up a tree. We put up a large, real tree, and had decorations through the house.

    Fast forward to the last few years…I’m in my mid-fifties now, with the aches and creaks that go with it, and I now understand why my mother in law didn’t put up a Christmas tree.

    I used to think it was a sad thing, but not any more. Now I’m all about the simplifying.

    My husband agreed that he didn’t want to do a big tree every year any more either, so we’ve been passing along the ornaments that have been collected, and getting rid of decorations we no longer care about.

    I find that a couple of pointsettias, a fresh wreath, and a festive tablecloth are just enough for us.

    If my grandchildren will be here for Christmas, I might put up a tiny tabletop tree for them.

    It is so refreshing to celebrate the holidays without dreading a big clean up job afterwards.

    • Hi Becky,
      it is amazing how we change our ways as we age. A little wisdom (and aches and pains) go a long way to changing attitudes doesn’t it. And I agree, it is refreshing to celebrate the holidays without dreading a big clean up job afterwards. Give me a roast meal (even in the middle of Summer), a Christmas pudding with hot custard and cream and someone to share it with and I am happy, anything more than that is just hard work and a lot of expense.

  12. The first thing I thought of on reading this post was ‘oooohhh, I want that nativity scene’! For a few years I’ve been searching for the ‘perfect’ wooden nativity scene, until just last year I realised I didn’t NEED one, as we had a lovely tradition at church with their hand made nativity. So why did I need to replicate it at home?
    The kids and I have a tradition of putting up the artificial tree on the 1st Dec with all the handmade decorations (which fit into 1 tub). We put on cheesy Christmas music and dance around and have a great time. It takes about an hour, as we don’t do any other decorating, apart from cutting up a heap of paper snowflakes (which they love to do in complicated designs). I also have a tub of Christmas books that only come out in December and we read most of them over the month. It’s all very simple but it’s something we look forward to every year.

    • Hi Loretta,
      I love the sound of your Christmas tradition with all the cheesy music and dancing about. I hope your children will still want to do that as they get older. The older you are the more cheesy and fun it is right? One of my husbands family traditions is to receive a mango in their stockings (pillowcase) my kids still like to get their Christmas mango. I used to do money treasure hunts for my kids too. I would sit up late on Christmas night devising complicated clues that they had to decipher in order to find the money. The older they got the trickier I had to get with the clues in order for it to be a challenge for them.

  13. Not to double post, but since my last post I’ve been in hospital for 4-5 hours, as i came off my motor scooter! How is this relevant? First I thought of your son. But secondly, I thought, I’ve ‘minimised’ my wardrobe to favourites, and when they wanted to cut off my clothes I was adamant they were NOT going to!! I walked into emergency (having got my scoot off the road, onto the footpath, hailed a cab etc. I even remembered to take the keys, stow my helmet… such a creature of habit!) Anyhow, the two women nurses/radiologists empathised more than the one male nurse, and wriggled me out of my jeans (half taking my underwear with it), but I’m thankful to have had them to wear home and evermore…

    I have chipped my shoulder and am now in a sling. All things being equal, I’m doing pretty well! I should have stayed at work though, not skipped off on annual leave when I got a call that an out of town friend was around! She was a gem, she just came to me in the hospital with her 5 year old!

    • Oh Snosie, I am so glad you are alright and that the doctors managed to save your jeans. 😆 Ouch for your shoulder though. Liam lost his favourite T-Shirt in his accident. I can just see you in the emergency room begging them to save your jeans ~ “I have a minimalist wardrobe, doctor doctor please don’t cut off my jeans!” One would think that if you managed to get to the emergency room under your own steam that they wouldn’t be so dramatic as to want to cut you out of your clothes. Did they save your shirt or did you have to abandon that.
      Look on the bright side if you had just left work you will be covered under workers comp. How is your scooter by the way? i don’t suppose you will be able to ride it for a while until your shoulder heals. Take it easy and look after yourself for the next few days because you have had a nasty shock and the shoulder will probably get sorer before it gets better.

    • Snosie,
      We haven’t talked, but I thank God you came to no greater harm. Had to smile at you “saving” your jeans; my mother always told us to see our underwear was in good condition “what if you were run over by a bus” – well, I was in a car accident, taken to hospital – my undies had been impeccable, but by the time the road had finished with them, the top half had no lower back, and the pants had no upper back! Nothing was fit to be saved! Sorry for your shoulder, but thank God it was no worse! (Jeans aren’t THAT important.)

      • Wow Ann,
        I hate to think what your back looked like after that accident. They must have been picking gravel out of you for days. OUCH!

        • Yikes Ann, you were really in the wars! I only have a grazed knee and a crack in my shoulder at this stage – not even seen any bruising yet! I was wearing my ‘good undies’ though taking off my jeans made them less ‘off’ than ‘on’ I later realised when I had to stand for some x rays!! No time for modesty, hospitals!

          Sharron – I can NEVER find jeans that fit my lack of a bottom, so these ones get worn always, and the other pairs mainly languish. I was also worried if they cut them off, what would I wear home!? Alas, the top (for the recent US trip) was pulled over my head (by a male nurse who seems to have never taken someone else’s clothes off – no wonder he kept proposing scissors!!). Anyhow, I’m thankful my clothes were saved, and I wasn’t more seriously hurt. As I went to bed last night, i realised, I could have been SO mush worse off!

          Thank you all (Deb J included) for your kind thoughts…

          • Hi, no, they got all the road-dirt out over the next two days, but the fist-sized hole in my (lower) back took many weeks to fill and heal – they also stitched my scalp back together, and I had to heal a cracked hip and broken tailbone, along with all the pulled ligaments and muscles. I had been knocked out in the car, thrown through the windscreen, bounced on the road, and ended up in a ditch! Things still play up because of it.However, you can see I was incredibly lucky to come out of it as lightly as I did. And through it all, I also learned a number of “life lessons” that have been useful to me.

    • Haaa, a true minmalist!!!! Hope your okay snosie!!

      I’m ashamed to say that my inner consumerist would be sayin ‘Okay cut the jeans off….. I can go and buy a new pair, any excuse to go shopping…….’

      My minmalist voice would(and should) have been saying ‘ oh well something else gone through natural selection’…… 🙂

    • So sorry you had the wreck. Glad you weren’t hurt worse.

  14. Colleen, your garage looks great – everything categorised well – nice and neat. One essential in all Aussie garages – an esky. 🙂

    On a slightly different topic – talk of the Christmas decorations made me think of it.
    I watch the movie Four Holidays last night. I hadn’t seen it before – but l laughed so hard…….it was hilarious.
    Especially when they went to the first house and there was a $10 cap on presents and everyone started fighting because some presents were more expensive. Ahh Christmas………….l’ll be down the beach that day! 😉

  15. I love the Aussie words………..;)

    Like l just bought some new thongs…….they were cheap at Big W.

    Thongs = Flip Flops

    And l love a good soft lamington!

    • Hi Felicity,
      It is also very Australian the way we shorten things and add a Y or and O like Breakfast = Brekky and Afternoon = Arvo and Brisbane = Brissy.