This post was inspired by Pamela from Magic Meadows. While visiting her blog the other day I noticed the following admission on her front page…

My word of the year is TRY.

I give up too easily,
I don’t start because I think I’ll never finish,
This year if it looks interesting,
if it looks worthwhile,
if it’s something I always wanted to do,
well, this year I’m going to TRY

My first thought when I read this is that ‘not starting because I think I’ll never finish’ is the way a lot of people feel when their homes get to a point where they can’t see the surfaces for the clutter. Giving up too easily is also an issue when you focus too much on the size of the job at hand rather than just steadily working at it. The job of decluttering reminds me of the songs lyrics – so high you can’t get over it, so low you can’t get under it, so wide you can’t get round it…The only approach left is to plough right through it one step at a time.

The task ahead may not look interesting but the end result is surely worthwhile. Doing the hard work may not be what you have always wanted to do but having a decluttered home is certainly something you want to have. It won’t disappear if you don’t try but once you start to see the results for your efforts it gets easier from there.

I don’t use a systematic approach because my clutter was hidden clutter but if your home has obvious clutter that is bringing you down then the best places to begin are the areas that you use the most and your area of rest.

I suggest you start with your bedroom so you have a haven for rejuvenating yourself at the end of a long day. You want to be able to rest peacefully which isn’t easy when you are surrounded with things that cause you grief.

The next area I would start on is the kitchen because it is the one area that gets used a lot and needs to be hygienically clean which is impossible if it is cluttered to a point where you can’t wipe down the surfaces. Wherever there is food preparation going on cleanliness should be a high priority.

Almost as important as the kitchen is the bathroom areas. These areas also need to be hygienically clean as there is no point trying to wash yourself in an area that is possibly less clean than you are.  As in the kitchen, this area can’t be cleaned properly if there is stuff littering the surfaces. Also like the bedroom, this is an area of rejuvenation where you wash away the grime and stress of the day. You will find that far more possible if this area is clean and uncluttered.

Remove all visible clutter from these areas as quickly as possible and then settle into and easier pace with the other the hidden clutterareas of the house. Trust me, so long as you add no new clutter you will start to see improvement quicker than you think.  If you get overwhelmed at times take a short break in an area of your home that you have already decluttered and look around you to remind yourself it is well worth the effort.

As the old saying goes

If at first you don’t succeed try and try again!

Today’s Declutter Item

Photo Frame 2 17FEB2011

I am grateful from anything that brings me joy. Below are five things that gave me joy today.

  • Getting that pile of ironing out of the way – I have been ignoring it for a while.
  • Coming to the rescue with an icepack for the builder that fell through my balcony today. – He didn’t fall all the way through only his leg but he sprained his ankle.
  • Liam (my Son) registered for his university classes today and has a job interview tomorrow – Not bad for a guy who only four months ago had a serious brain injury.
  • Finding something new to declutter everyday
  • Crossing the railway tracks five times today without a train coming along and making me wait.

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

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

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 ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more. With the holiday season here you will likely need every inch of spare space.
  • 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Wow! What an inspiration for decluttering!

  2. Great post.
    Glad Liam is doing so well. God is good.

  3. Well said, Colleen.

    Being a perfectionist, oddly enough, can also contribute to not starting. I spent years waiting for a block of time to tackle some jobs (so I could do a good job, by which I meant a thorough job from start to finish in one go), but now I find breaking the job up into smaller parts – and being willing to do a good rather than perfect job – is the only way I ever accomplish anything – whether it’s decluttering, housecleaning, reading – just about anything. Having blocks of time is a luxury not often found if you’re working long hours/have kids/have aging parents/have health problems.

    Glad to hear Liam is doing well!

    • Perfectionism is a stumbling block to lots of tasks Jo. Glad you recognized it and found a way to work around that tendency.

    • Hi Jo,
      you have inspired a post here because I don’t think I have actually written one on the perils of perfectionism which more often then you would think is the cause of clutter mess issues. I play the perfectionist game in my own way in different aspects of my life so I can relate. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Great post. I think it goes well with yesterday’s post about overcoming anxiety and overwhelmedness. (Is that really a word?)

    One year, two friends and I decided that instead of making actual New Year’s resolutions, we would focus on a word for the year. My word was “move.” I modified a lot of my less important passwords to include the word “move” so I reminded myself of this goal several times a day. (Ironically, of course, not while I was actually moving!) This same technique could work with the words “declutter,” “try,” “get started,” or “one thing”. I like it!

    • Hi Cindy,
      no I don’t think that is a word but that is OK we all know exactly what you mean.
      I like your plan with the subliminal messaging of including those words of inspiration in your everyday activities. I think I will put that into action.

  5. GREAT POST! (as always!).

    I’m so in the boat (totally guilty) of ‘not starting because I think I’ll never finish’ (or REALLY I’m afraid I might actually be SUCCESSFUL???!!!!!!)…

    ..and then the relief that I felt when I read, ‘plough right thru it one step at a time’. Fewwwww. TRY is a great word (thank you, Pamela), but I’ve got to make my ‘mantra’ for the year be ‘take it ONE STEP AT A TIME’. For me, ‘one step at a time’ makes ANY project come down to size and makes it worth the try!

    Thank you!

    • Hi Annabelle,
      good for you, you have found your own meaning in this post and how it relates to you. Make sure when you take that one step that you are conscious that you are doing it and revel in your success. Use the good feeling to propel you into the next step. Good luck!

  6. P.S., Colleen, so very lovely to hear about Liam’s progress; I’m tickeled pink with joy for his journey, ONE STEP AT A TIME! Yahoo!!!

  7. I’ve been reading your most recent posts with my heart in my throat because it’s as if they were written directly to me. THANK YOU so much for helping me to feel like I might be able to cope with our clutter. Your posts are inspirational. I’ve only been reading your blog for a little while so I didn’t know about your son’s brain injury but I’d like to add that it is so good to hear that he has recovered so well. Keep up the great work you are doing.

    • Hi Helen,
      I would like to give you a heartfelt welcome to 365lessthings it is a pleasure to have your voice added to those of our other generous and helpful readers.
      I am so glad the what we offer here in the way of support is being helpful to you and that it is just the approach you need to try to come to terms with your clutter. It is sometimes so easy to throw up your hands and give up before you begin but if you make your goals small and continually reach them the you will achieve your ultimate goal in the end. What you learn along the way will teach you lessons to live by and help you maintain your new way of living. Good luck with your declutter mission and I look forward to hearing all about your success and am here when you need help so please feel free to drop in any time with a comment.
      Thank you for the kind words regarding my son. I hope you will have the time to go back and read all about his remarkable recovery and all the wonderful support that my readers gave me during the hard times. The accident happened on the 20th of October last year, you can start reading there if you want to get updated.

  8. Thanks for the inspiring words.

  9. Hello Colleen and thank you so much for this post:) I’m glad I inspired you to write it and you certainly inspire me to drag myself out of the mire I’ve been stuck in for far too long! Great comments too! So nice to hear of Liam’s progress, particularly this week as I had to deal with an accident involving a child right outside my house.
    Hugs, Pamela xxx
    Oh, and I’m still blog-less at magicalmeadows because of my password bumbles unfortunately, but at least it’s given me more time to get on with other things;)

    • Hi Pamela,
      I am glad you enjoyed the post and thank you again for the inspiration. Maybe being blog-less for a while was divine intervention to give you a bit of a break. Thank you for your kind thoughts on Liam’s progress and a sincerely hope the child that was involved in the accident outside your house is recovering and the family are OK.

  10. Oh, and the builder – oops, poor guy. Taking it one step at a time……………outch:P

    • Hi Pamela,
      apparently the builder who hurt himself has only been working with this crew for two weeks and has managed to injure himself twice. A little clumsy it seems and the boss doesn’t want him back. Oh well maybe he needs a change of profession. I wish him luck and a good recovery.