Some decluttering opportunities conveniently present themselves

Last week I wrote a post called Get Set For Success about setting up your opportunities to declutter before actually starting to choose the items. That is, finding a good thrift shop, exploring ebay etc ahead of time so you are set for success. Sometimes however the opportunities for decluttering present themselves without you even having to try.

A couple of months ago we eliminated our home phone line to go completely mobile. The phones we had been using were originally purchased in the US and we still had the US power cables. Although we had purchased new cables when we arrived back in Australia they were not quite right making it difficult to position the smaller docking stations. These phone had been sitting in the transition point in my garage awaiting a solution as to how best to get rid of them.

Then the week before last I received in my mailbox an invitation to a going away party, to be held at the end of November. The party was for one of our neighbouring families who are moving to the US (lucky ducks).

The next link in this chain of events was a social engagement I was attending with a group of people also belonging to my neighbourhood, to which, at the last moment, I didn’t have transport. I posted a request on our community Facebook page for someone to possibly give me a ride. Coincidently enough the lady, let’s call her Kylie, who is moving to the US was the first to offer me a ride and I gladly accepted. The stage was set for a potentially difficult declutter to suddenly become very simple.

On the ride to our destination we had a lovely chat about what preparations she needed for her move. She asked lots of question and I shared with her my knowledge from my time in the US. It then occurred to me to offer her the set of phones and she happily accepted. Mission accomplished, or at least it was last Friday when I dropped them of at her house.

The icing on the cake, when it comes to this story, is that the new phone/internet plan that we signed up for in order to eliminate these phones ended up costing us $60 less than what we were paying a month previously including much more call time.

Today’s Mini Mission

Gather up a group of similar items, decide which ones you really do need/want and declutter the excess. Kitchen items are usually a good target for this type of decluttering.

Today’s Declutter Item

Here are the phones from the story above. I didn’t realise until a went to add this photo that it doesn’t include the power cords and extra docking station. So there was even more clutter than this that left on the day these were passed along to their new home.

My old home phone system

Eco Tip for the Day

When soaking dishes in the kitchen sink ,don’t waste fresh water to fill them. Just leave them in the bottom of the sink and allow them to fill up with water from rinsing the dishcloth and other wet tasks.

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. Today’s mini-mission applies to my nemesis: KEYS. We have a huge number of keys, some of which actually end up on the board by the door where we’re SUPPOSED to put them as soon as we come in the door. Others, like the key to my mother’s house in a distant city and the spare car key, are simply in storage until needed. What’s left is the pile of keys we cannot identify but don’t dare throw out in case we find what they belong to only after the key is gone. So far I’ve dumped some craft stuff out of a large compartmented box, sorted and labelled the keys I know and tagged the unknowns for a search and destroy mission. A few have actually made it into the bin, including the rusted padlock Ian had to cut off the canoe because he couldn’t find the key (it was in the key box!!). I’ve also started a spreadsheet with descriptions of the individual keys so I can identify their use when I find them, or we can replace them when lost. The actual physical clutter removed is minimal but the mental clutter reduction is HUGE.

    • Hi Wendy B, Ian and the keys, now there is a familiar situation. Although I have to thank Ian because he and his key and wallet problem is what got me putting my handbag away properly every time I come in the door.

      I loved this statement ~ “The actual physical clutter removed is minimal but the mental clutter reduction is HUGE.” This is so true, it matters not how small the item or task is, it can still play on your mind when left unattended to.

  2. Colleen, I love when I can help someone out like you did by giving your phones to “Kylie.” I’m finding I get much more satisfaction out of giving things to people who need it than I do just taking it to Goodwill even though I know it will go to someone who needs it there too.

    • Hi Deb J, I feel the same way.

      • I had a great experience like that a few weeks ago – we had found a Blu-Ray set of Harry Potter movies very cheaply, making our HD-DVD/DVD combo version of one of the films redundant (it had come with the player). The old copy was virtually worthless for re-sale, and I offered it up to my friends via Facebook, because although no one has HD-DVD players, the disc is double-sided and will also play in a regular DVD player. Within an hour, one of my co-workers was happy to take it because her DVDs had been stolen a while back, and it made me really happy to see it go to someone who really wanted it instead of languishing at Goodwill or Half-Price Books.

        • Hi Andrea and welcome to 365 Less Things. Well done finding a good home for your Harry Potter DVDs. It must feel especially good to be able to help out someone who has obviously just been through a bit of an ordeal. Even if they weren’t home when their stuff was stollen I imagine they still feel like their lives have been violated.

  3. I love that you were able to hand off these items to someone that will actually get some use out of them. I try really hard to find homes for my items, but when I cannot, just like Deb J, I opt for the Goodwill store and I know there it will go to someone who needs it. I love it when I can find someone who can use my kid’s clothing, that really makes me happy. I recently had a few select home decor items that I will mail to a relative. They have never been used, but it will work well for their decor. I know that it will take extra effort to mail it, and cost a little bit, but since it is only a few items, it is worth it to me. I recently was able to give away some other home decor items to a friend whom was very thankful to receive it. We have also been able to give away furniture items to a family in need who unfortunately lost their home to a fire. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort, or just paying a little more attention, but there is usually someone around that is willing to use what you are not using.

    • Hi Jenny,
      It is particularly nice when you get to see your decluttered items going to homes where you know they will be appreciated. A lot of my stuff goes straight to the thrift store but because I process it and put it our for sale at the start of my shift I often get the joy of seeing it bought before I leave.

  4. See my soak stuff is always the last stuff to go in the sink – but I’ll keep your idea in the back of my mind.

    I have a few too many utensils – some have been relegated another drawer, and see little use, but I’m just not ready to part with them… sigh…

  5. Alison@streetfood

    I have been having a massive declutter and had a pile of stationery items. I decided to take them to my work. I thought of the irony of all the bits people probably ‘borrow’ from the work stationery cupboard and the idea of donating back made me laugh!

    • Hi Alison and welcome to 365 Less Things. I understand your amusement about your stationery declutter. Is it at all possible the you “borrowed” them in the first place too. I am pretty sure most of the pens in our house and many of the ones I have donated to the school up the street and the thrift store were not purchased by my family. I have mentioned before that I think there is a pen kleptomaniac living here.