The joy of decluttering

When does the joy of getting rid of stuff ever wear off. I suppose when there is nothing left to get rid of but, for me that time has still not arrived yet.

Last night my husband showed me a pile of stuff and told me I could give it away. I almost did a happy dance.

Then this morning I broke up some styrofoam from our television box that we have kept for seven year in anticipation of another move. Now we have the made the move and, although I dare say it won’t be our last, it is a more permanent situation than military life has been for the last 27 years so out all the boxes go. The satisfaction I received from breaking it up and tossing it in the bin was out of proportion to the unimportance of the object itself.

My soon to be granddaughter spent the day with my husband an I on Sunday. Together we wrote a list of the things we did so she would remember to tell her mum and my son all about it. She asked if she could keep the whole notepad and when my husband said yes I thought ~ Yay another notepad out of the house. I still have two others to use up but I use them so infrequently they seem to last forever.

So you see, decluttering doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a real delight to see the stuff leave and have space open up in the home. I delight in every little thing that goes out the door. You can too.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something that is too hard to clean ounce you do use it so it is easier to use something else. Garlic press and pretty much any kitchen device you can use a knife instead of.

Eco Tip for the Day

Take the first car park you see when you enter a shopping centre, even if it is far away. The walk will do you good and you will save petrol by not trolling around looking for a closer one.

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.
  • Mini Mission ~ Wednesday 20Dec2017 Declutter by recycling some items. That mound ofused takeout containers, old newspapers and magazines, paperwork that needs shredding, glass jars you set aside in case you have a use for […]
  • Mini Mission ~ Tuesday 19Dec2017 Start a trial separation on an item or two that you are on the fence about letting go. Put this/these items in a out of the way place where you won't encounter them on a daily basis and […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I absolutely agree with this. My living room is pretty much as far decluttered as I felt needed to happen. However inside the stereo cabinet is where I store the music CDs and movie DVDs. Last Thursday I was looking for a particular CD and I accidently pulled out a Led Zeppelin CD that I may have listened to just a few times. Sure, a CD doesn’t take up much space, but I don’t think I have ever listened to that CD in our current home that we have been in since 2000, so I tossed it in the donate pile. It felt good. The CD should go to someone who really likes it.

    One item that has been rolling around in my brain is that we need a new stereo system. We have one of the big, old systems with large speakers. The system is still reasonably good, but those speakers! I use them for plant stands and the room (which is on the small side) would look so much larger if they were gone. For financial reasons, this is not on the immediately buy list. It’s waaaay down the list. I don’t download music, no ipod or mp3 player or whatever the new electronic trend is. I still have some cassette tapes and we have a lot of CDS, so I’d still need something that can play those. Thoughts? Or I wonder if there are smaller speakers that are compatible with our system. Hmmmmm. Have to look into that.

    • Michelle, I bet you will find that there are smaller speakers you can get for your system. I don’t have any music system other than my laptop. I can get speakers for it if I want.

      • Thanks Deb. I really should follow up on this. Smaller speakers are probably not super expensive and the extra room would sure be a benefit. 🙂

        • I’m having the same debate…I have a big old stereo with huge speakers. It still works, but I would like to replace it with something smaller.

        • I’m sure you would probably find someone with a small set to give away. Just ask around. We have had some that go on the desktop computer, they sound pretty good and we’re not expensive.

          • I agree with WendyF – my bedside alarm clock has an iPod dock and it has really good sound, I thought it would be really tinny sounding. Apparently we have ‘gamers’ to thank for the advances in audio technology.

    • Hi Michelle, there are so many slimline speakers around these days that work wonderfully. Although digitising the music and reducing to the smallest system possible would be the biggest space saver. We have a iPod dock that takes up so little room.

      • Thanks Colleen – I will investigate this. 🙂

        • Michelle – my kids and I went digital music some years ago, alas my husband can’t get his head around the idea and stubbonly refuses to learn. He recently got a smart phone and is finally coming over to the dark side. Or rather he is coming out of the dark age.

  2. Colleen, don’t you just love it when someone else besides to gets into the decluttering act? I find it a joy to see more things going out of the house too. It means we/I don’t have to get rid of it later. It means it is easier to store and get to those items we do need to keep.

    • Absolutely Deb J. This goes especially for me at the moment because we have things stored under beds right now and I am not pleased with that. We have plans to deal with that but it is taking time because it requires hardware. Meanwhile it makes me feel like we are making progress every time some other little things leaves.

      • I hate having things under the bed. I don’t know why but I do. We do have the extra laminate floor pieces under Mom’s bed because we can’t put it in the hot shed. I’m working to find another place to put it.

  3. Colleen, I’m so glad you still can find little things here and there to declutter as I am wondering what will happen to this blog when you don’t. I only found you about a year ago and get so much help and inspiration from you and the readers. After hearing of your move, I wondered how many things you would have left to let go of, downsizing as you have. I also, just recently moved…..and have plenty more to declutter, even though much has gone already. Motivation to live with less and your challenges make it fun. 🙂

    • Thank you Kim. I am glad that my blog is being of such a help to you. I have no plan to quit the blog as yet so don’t worry. As for how much clutter do I have left ~ not too much. Mostly too much wall art and framed photos. We have a plan for that. We also have a secondhand 70s sideboard arriving on Friday to use as a TV / display unit. We will know what memorabilia of my husband is going to fit once that is here and then he may have to make some decisions. It is slowly coming together.

  4. With so many moves at the moment, I wondered how I would do meanwhile. I probably won’t be moving within the next year, but most probably within the next five years and maybe even internationally then. I trial packed what I would take with me and found that it would all fit within a really huge box (the maximum parcel size over here, which is 120x60x60cm), sans furniture of course and sans stuff I don’t care about but my boyfriend might take with him (however, I’m quite sure he would easily manage with the same amount, as I already included pots and other shared items in my count).
    Although in ordinary moving cartons that would be quite a bit more than just one box, I’m really pleased with this count. (plus I realized I could ship everything via mail after all and quite cheaply as well)
    I still own more than I packed though, partly because some things come in handy in this apartment, partly because we still own some “use-it-up”-stacks which I would toss when moving, but partly because there are a few things that I could as well declutter now.
    Thank you all that you kept me company in this progress so far and made the whole process fun indeed! 😀

    • Sanna, I think it is great that you trial packed things for a move and you were pleased with the results. We are now talking about the “what if we had to move” idea and weeding accordingly. Oh happy day!!

      • It was a fun thing to do. 😀 I realized that there is still a lot of media (books, CDs, etc) that I don’t really care about taking with me. As my boyfriend still hangs onto a lot of his stuff in that area, it seemed as if I had done quite a lot in comparison, but actually I could declutter easily more. So I already removed some more books and will drop them off at the thrift shop right now. Also, I should really go through my sewing supplies again. I have been using up some lately, but there seems to be too much still…

    • Wow, well done Sanna. I can live overseas for months on end with only a backpack but to move overseas I think I would be taking more than one box.

      • It would be a huge box after all. In most cases I’d probably split it up, too. 😉
        However, it was a fun experiment.

  5. I can cross off mini mission for today, do a happy dance, and check off the box that says to throw out something that is completely unimportant. I tossed four plastic eating utensils out from my silverware drawer.
    I never get tired of decluttering; I just get tired of the mess I still have to declutter.

    • I am with you on that Willow. I generally have the patience to wait until the most appropriate time to organise or declutter things but there is the odd thing that just irritates me to have around and can’t get them out of here quick enough.
      I am glad you are rid of something today that falls into that category. I am happy dancing with you.

  6. Good post – I have noticed on another site that lately there has been a theme of decluttering is hard – well, yes it can be but it doesnt mean it can’t be fun along the way.

    • Exactly Moni. I have to say although there has been the odd frustration along the way I have really enjoyed my decluttering journey. I hope that shines through on my blog.

  7. I know I know *jumping up and down*!!
    I started a chain again. a couple of months ago, I got a beautiful new “media” shelf in the living room with my speakers and CDs (with the last 100 CDs out of 350), games and puzzles, DVDs, the stereo and speakers. one thing led to another, rearranging started. so my old bookshelf was sort of empty and I could bring a lot of old and beloved books back from my mums house into my own home. only to realize then that they wouldnt fit… And the ones I like least are the ones that dont deserve the space and they have to leave. I just sold a really nice book that was a gift of a friend via amazon to someone. I used up old cartons and filling material, and got 3 different things out of the house. and money in my account. LOVE it. I totally understand the joy of decluttering big old boxes, I done the same shortly after new year… congrats Colleen!
    with the new furniture (got a new pull out couch) there is no need for one excess chair that I dont use, which is sort of too big for the room. A friend of mine jumped right in, as her exact same chair broke the week before and she wanted to have a replacement anyway. books in, books out, shelf in, chair out, and over the time and the decluttering focus back on, I am actually seeing again a lot of progress…

    good news on the family side: my mother started to work voluntary in a home for asylum seekers. This led her to not only change her idea of international politics and discrimination, but of wealth and abundance. She gave away almost all of her towels, bedlinen, bags, rugs, vases, pots, and all of the excess household items. I can tell you that was a lot… I am so proud of her. My family and also her friends are now very good in questioning their own possessions and the “need” of certain things.

    • Great to hear your story Lena.
      Wealth and abundance , different things for different people . I often hear people who earn good money say ‘I wish I was rich’
      As Thomas Fuller says ‘ a rich man wants for nothing and a poor man wants for everything ‘

    • Wow Lena, great stories all round there. I love it when one action begins a snowball effect. And wow, how about your mother. If I remember correctly you didn’t think she would ever catch on to the decluttering thing. It is amazing how the really of others lives “less fortunate” than oneself can help realise how unimportant most stuff is and how good it feels to share it with others.

  8. I find decluttering to be not just a joy but also a challenge. I get joy from every item that goes out the door because more items go out the door compared to items that come thru my door these days. I can certainly see how it all adds up to more space in my home. It is taking longer to fill up a donation bag than when I first started decluttering but once I start the donation bag I don’t stop until it is full. That keeps me motivated, and the fact that I wish to live in a smaller place with a lot less stuff once my children are on their own.

    • Hi Jen, your situation sounds much the same as mine used to be. I can assure you the realisation of that dream can be a wonderful thing. Enjoying the journey makes the whole process a great experience. Good for you.

  9. Hi Jen – Thank you for sharing your story. I had a similar experience yesterday. I experienced such joy when I learned my donated items were realizing a greater calling than sitting in my closet gathering dust. I donated a bag of yarn to my friend, a Kindergarten teacher. She used some of the fancy yarn to make medals for the 100th day of school yesterday. She sent me a picture of the medals. It re-energized my determination to help my clutter find it’s higher calling.


  10. Colleen! I’ve loved seeing your new home and hearing how you’re getting everything set up and still decluttering! I also wanted to tell you how I loved hearing you talk about your soon-to-be granddaughter. I am a step-child (though happily we do not use that word-my new parent adopted me) and only my grandmother made me feel like a step-child. Much as she fought it, she came to love me in her own way, but she caused a lot of hurt and she openly prefers her real grandchildren. I don’t blame her, but as a child it hurt a lot, and it still stings if I allow myself to dwell. So I don’t. 😉 I just want to share what a difference your love will make in this girl’s life, and I have no doubt you know it. It made me smile. 🙂

    • Hi Angela, thank you for your nice thoughts on my new home. We are very happy here.
      You need not worry, I will not be using the prefix of step either. As far as I am concerned once my son and his lovely lady are married later this year her daughter will be my grandchild. She already feels that way to me. I suppose I am only protecting myself at this point. Thank you for sharing your experience with me though because as it is a good thing to hear going into a relationship such as this. I will make sure to keep it in mind.

      • Colleen – a guy I know quite well, married an older solo mother and has been very very happy. He is a great dad to her, but as her biological father lives literally down the road, has to step back when appropriate, pardon the pun. Likewise she is allowed to call him whatever she wants ie dad, stepdad or by his first name as sometimes she doesn’t want to explain her family situation to outsiders or needs to acknowledge her biological’s father’s place in her life, but they just roll with it and she knows he loves her as much as anyone else. They have the greatest relationship and we all agreed he was the ultimate dad when he bought and took her to the Justin Bieber concert. What I admire is that he always gives her special consideration with every decision, especially as she has two homes, so that she always feels included in their lives or part of the continuity of whats happening while she’s at her other home.

        • Just to clarify when I say he is a great dad, I mean to his wife’s daughter……not to his wife.

        • Hi Moni, age is no barrier that is for sure. We don’t even see the age different when they are together. Although we do rib her about it occasionally but she finds plenty to rib us about too. As for Liam, he is already being called dad and from what I see, he is doing a mighty fine job. I told him that one day and he said “That is because I know all her tricks because it isn’t that long ago that I was her age.” I had to laugh at that one. Amazing how quickly they learn to apply the rules to their own children when, judging from their behaviour sometimes, you would be forgiven for thinking they never knew them themselves.