Try before you decide


One jar of beads ~ destination thrift shop

Last night I was browsing through, as I often do, and I stumbled across a cute piece of jewellery made from seed beads. It inspired me to dig my seed beads from among my craft supplies and have a go at duplicating the design. I took me about ten minutes to realise that I have never had the patients to work with such tiny elements. I much prefer the speed at which one can create a beautiful jewellery piece from larger beads and findings.

As a result, ten minutes of faffing turned into an hour of going through my beading supplies and separating out all the beads that I didn’t care much for. Including those seed beads of course and several other less attractive or cheap beads that had survived previous culls. I now have a hug jar of beads to donate to the thrift shop and almost two empty containers in my craft drawer which I can used to better organise the paper crafting supplies that I do use.

So if you have something that you think you might use one day, get it out and have a play with it. You may not want to make a snap decision but continue to use the item for a week or so to be sure. However it you are left feeling frustrated or uninspired then perhaps it is time to let the item/s go.

Today’s Mini Mission

 Declutter excess plush toys and then wash and air out the ones you keep. This is probably more than a mini mission but it is a job that needs doing occasionally.

Eco Tip for the Day

Check to see if something can be repaired before writing it off. My old sewing machine recently had an issue which I thought would be its death null. As I scoured a local selling site for a replacement secondhand machine I came across a seller who repairs old machines as a hobby/pocket money earner in his retirement. Although I was so tempted to buy a new modern machine I took mine to him to get the verdict. As it turned out the problem had, in a fashion, fixed itself. A part that wasn’t necessary had caused another problem but in my attempt to solve it via another means actually blew up the faulty part bypassing it and solving the issue that had rendered the machine useless. The sewing machine guy charged me ten dollars to do a quick service on it and I promised to alert him to any cheap machines that come into the thrift shop where I work. Therefore saving my machine and potentially more machines from the scrap heap in the future. All round a very satisfying experience. He also assured me that no better machine had ever been made than the one I already owned. An opinion that had been verified in the past by other sewing machine service people.

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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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, this is so funny because Saturday I realized I still had scrapbook cardstock I no longer want. So I am working through it and have someone I am going to give it to. Isn’t it great when we realize that something we have is not what we want?

    • Hi Deb J, I am also discovering that as I work through my cardstock, while making cards to sell, that I am finding I have used up much of the shades of colours that I like and am being left with ones I am not that fond of. They would have been fine for scrapbooking because photo matching calls for many different shades. However my preferences are quite different when making cards. I might find myself decluttering some of it as time wears on and I keep passing over it and wishing I had better colours.

      • Colleen, that’s what happened to me. Plus I have a lot of white and black that I used for mats and frames. So I will keep a little of it and get rid of the rest.

        • I use a lot of black and white for making cards. I have had to replace white and the black, which I stocked up in from America some years ago is quickly running out. So long as I am still making and selling cards these will be replaced. I will try to avoid replacing any other colours but I am finding the I am running out of pinks and reds that I like. However I will improvise.

          • I wish I could afford to send this to you. Bazzill Paper has a yearly sale of paper and other stuff they make. You can get around 120 sheets of paper for 20 dollars. I filled one box with half white and half black. Then I stopped scrapbooking for the most part and now the church is changing the way we send cards so I am not using it much at all.

            • That would be lovely Deb J. In fact I was trying to convince Steve to go out of our way when we travel between Vegas and Anaheim and visit you in Arizona but it really was a long way out of the way. Never mind, maybe next trip.

          • Would love to see you sometime Colleen.

      • I’m having problems posting from my work computer but am hoping that ‘reply’ will circumnavigate whatever issue my pc is causing.

        Yup its true, sometimes a ‘definately-maybe’ can turn out to be a ‘definately-no’ while sitting on the shelf out of sight.

    • I find I’m the same with beads… I always seem to have *far* to many. While I like using them in many things, including sewingg them onto clothes, decopage and 3-D art, I find I don’t have patience to use the smaller ones. They can also be a nuicance when they spill… So I don’t have nor collect tiny ones anymore. I’m also not found of huge gaudy or cheap plasticky looking ones. Nowadays I collect interesting ones in ny favourite colours, stone, interesting porcelain and wooden beads or ones that look special or different. Beading brings back fond childhood memories. I do have a fondness for sparkly ones 😉 Though I do pace myself better nowadays!

      • Hi Titania, I also decluttered some of the large plastic gaudy ones. They quickly freed up a bit of space.

        • Yes they do take up a lot of jar space don’t they! I had the odd blessing of an impromptu visit from my neighbour’s brother and his 9 year old niece, who was helping him move house (which looked like it would have made a great episode of “Hoarders”) lol. I felt sorry for the poor man so I helped him de-clutter for 9 days solid! And I made him recycle all his old bottles. cans & paper, I’m a Eco-De clutterer, lol! It was fortunate for him that he realised there was a problem – that’s the first step in the right direction! So, I babysat the delightful niece who asked if she could have some things and promptly helped *me* de-clutter some of my craft supplied and incense, heee! If I can be accused of hoarding things it would be art & craft, vintage scrapbooking stuff, interesting shaped, vintage bottles & boxes, new age stuff, and books (mainly fantasy, sci-fi & new age) I’m getting better though! I find audio books are great – I can borrow them from the library, and add them to my ‘music’ library. And I had a great deal of fun doing housework whilst “reading” The Clan of the Cave Bear! 😉

  2. Good idea – I have to reduce my craft supplies, so will keep this method in mind for the things I thought I might use but somehow never did.

    I find I also have to be mindful of how I have changed over the years, when I’m deciding on what to keep/discard. I had much better eyesight, coordination, and patience for fine work when I was younger. Not just my interests but also my abilities have changed, thus changing what I find possible and enjoyable. My declutter choices should be reflecting those changes too.

  3. Hi Jo H, I used my craft supplies as an example but the same method can be utilised for most things. Kitchen gadgets, sporting equipment, makeup, clothes are just a few that quickly come to mind.

  4. I have done that with clothing , put something out to wear before I finally discard it. Wearing it that last time usually confirms it’s fate.

    • Hi Wendy, I did this with my last bicycle and then I decluttered it. That was back in my first year of decluttering. And before anyone asks ~ No I don’t regret it. I found that bike to be uncomfortable to ride. In fact the only regret I have is buying it in the first place. Now I have done the reverse of this post by borrowing my, soon to be, daughter-in-laws bike to get a feel for whether I would ride of not. And the answer is an resounding yes. Now I just need to get an appropriate bike for myself.

  5. A timely post! Just yesterday, I dusted out a beaded candle holder I got as a gift years ago. I’m not using it as a candle holder though. I’m using it now to keep my everyday usable things like my favourite lipstick, lip balm and hair scrunchies.

    • Way to repurpose Saigeetha. I am reusing take-out containers as little rubbish bins while an craft. I also use them of offcuts of cardboard. The more something is used the more I feel I am justifying its existence.

  6. Exactly Colleen. That candle holder is a beautiful decorative piece. So instead of letting it collect dust, it is being put to use and I can also enjoy looking at it every day.