Why oh why!

We all have at lease one if not several “Why oh why!” items we have parted with or should part with. Michaela shared one such story with us last week. Here is her story to set the scene for today’s post.

Michaela ~ Kind of on subject here, but today I decluttered a (never worn) bra. I bought it probably 10 years ago, and when I purchased it I was on a visit (three hours away). It fit wonderfully in the store, but upon returning home I realized the sales clerk grabbed the wrong one and it didn’t fit me (and it was expensive = grrrr). So for whatever reason I held onto it, taking up space in my drawer, all this time – thinking maybe, someday, I could *possibly* squeeze my assets into it. Today I finally tried it on and lo and behold – ill fitting as can be. It was comical. So into the Goodwill bag it went. It feels great to look in my drawer and NOT see it. WHY, oh why did I hold onto it all this time? The world did not end . . .

I will admit I had some sexy lingerie that I hung on to for ages with the thought that I would use it at some point. But in reality sexy lingerie is usually uncomfortable, unflattering and impractical (even for the purpose intended). I held on to it for at least the first two years of my decluttering mission, like Michaela, mostly because I had paid a lot of money for it. Lets face it whose husband/partner ever needs any extra encouragement to participate in this kind of activity.

I am sure I could also summon up a few other examples if I put my mind to it.

The fact is that mistakes in purchasing, whether yours or someone else’s aren’t a reason to hold on to clutter. In fact these items are some of the worse clutter to hold on to because they make you feel bad every time you lay your eyes on them. Bad because you don’t want the items, bad because you are reminded of the money you wasted and bad because they are wasting space in your home.

So if you have any such item in your home right now, then let it go. Resell it to recoup some cash if you can be bothered but, one way or another, get it our of there. You don’t need the item or the angst that comes with it.

And one more piece of advise is, never buy items out of town at shops that don’t have a store in you home town unless you are certain the purchase is sound and transacted correctly. Returning items become near on impossible and, at the lease, very inconvenient under these circumstances.

Today’s Mini Mission

Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

Eco Tip for the Day

Carpool with friends when attending social events. Consider the possibility that you could compromise on when you need to arrive and/or depart. Sometimes we are a little too spoiled when it come to having things completely our way.

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. I de-cluttered (and sold at my garage sale over the weekend) a few ill-fitting clothing items, including a couple that were new with tags still attached. It feels good to have freed up some space and make a bit of $$ back along the way. What we didn’t sell was immediately taken to the thrift shop and donated. Ahh! So much more space in my home. I still have a long way to go (especially with clothes, shoes & accessories, and books) but progress is progress!

    • I bet that is a relief Shoeaholicnomore. When it comes to clutter there is nothing much worse than continually encountering items that were bad purchases. I hope your garage sale was a big success.

  2. Oh boy, this post made me laugh! When I get home later today, I’m going to do a quick walk-through the house and see if there is something that is my why-am-I-hanging-on-to-this that I can put in my yard sale this weekend. 🙂

    • Good idea Michelle. This was a very timely post for you.

      • Dang it! I’ve got a problem. *sigh*. I inherited a sterling silver sugar and creamer set from my grandparents who received it on their 50th wedding anniversary. G & G were never sterling silver sort of folks and thus, the set has resided in a box. It has almost always been in a box since I got it. I’ve polished the set a few times. I decided to put the set in my yard sale Saturday. Tonight as I said I would do, I ran around the house and found 3 (!!!) purses that were gifts that I have never used, another purse, a doily, several floral decorated plates, a bunch of knick knacks, and a box that had originally contained the silver sugar and creamer. It had a jeweler’s name on it. I googled it. I found out some kinda neat stuff about the jeweler,. Now I have a hitch in my giddy-up on decluttering this set. Thoughts from my decluttering pals, please?? Does anybody care since the family never used the set? ARGH!!!

        • Michelle – look on ebay and see if anything similar is listed and what the price is and is there much interest on the auction. If it looks like it could be a little nest egg opportunity list it on ebay. If it isn’t generating anything exciting on ebay, go with your original plan. I know someone who had the responsibility of selling her mother’s stuff – all the things that her mother considered an investment and worth a lot of money were selling for $10 – $20 on trademe (our equivalent to ebay). The market always gets the final say.

          Aside from that, if your grandparents were silver service kind of people, and they passed it onto you knowing you weren’t really a silver service kind of person, I’m sure they’d be happy for you to cash up and put it towards something more useful.

          • Thanks Moni. Yeah, I bet in the resale market, they aren’t worth a whole lot. It’s just that I hate the whole “is this valuable or not” feeling. I’ve told Colleen about selling a 1st edition Budweiser mug that was a gift when it first came out and now runs a value of about $200+. I think I sold it at a yard sale for about $3. I hate being ignorant. 🙁

          • Agree about ebay. My MIL gave us some old coral and yellow gold jewelry appraised 5 years ago at almost $5000. We’ve been trying to sell it on ebay now for over 6 months with some watchers but no buyers. Just yesterday we had an offer much lower than we wanted but we went ahead and took it. Way, way, way less than appraised value. Before we went the ebay route, I took the jewelry to a jewelry shop (that also does appraisals) and was told the jewelry was so old/unique that it would be hard to find a buyer. He did offer me $500 for it but I didn’t take it. Good luck with whatever you do!

        • If it is sterling silver do not put it in a yard sale. Take it to an antiques shop. It may be far more valuable than you think, and even the price the antiques shop offers you so THEY can make a profit will be much, much more than you would get at a yard sale. Get rid of true clutter at a yard sale but some items have real value and should not be discarded or given away for a song. Can you imagine the “seller’s regret” of the lady who sold a small side table for $20 US at her garage sale only to have it appear on the American version of Antiques Roadshow, where the appraiser told her it was an extremely rare antique, and that she should take it to Sotheby’s — where it sold for MILLIONS! Research any antique items you may have before yard sales or giving to the charity store. Some individual items are really worth the trouble. The same goes for collectibles — baseball cards, Lionel Trains, antique Coca-Cola items, beer signs, neons, very old books, certain vinyl albums like very old Beatles and Elvis …. some items are worth the research.

          • Thanks, Dez. Just this a.m. I decided that I am not presently prepared to part ways with it, although I did find some other stuff to go in for Saturday’s sale. 🙂

          • My MIL not too long ago got rid of a silver serving set… I forget where she took it, but they melted it down and I think she said she got like $200 for it. Sometimes it’s helpful to know where to take it, but I can understand the ease of “just getting rid of it” too.

  3. You nailed it!
    One of my biggest problems….if I bought it, paid good money for it (it was more expensive than usual) I have a terrible time getting rid of it. I am saving and printing out this post for future reference!

  4. The biggest “why oh why” for me was things I actually paid a lot (relatively) of postage for shipping from overseas home when I was abroad for three months (five years back). Almost everything from these parcels has since been decluttered. It was mostly little tidbits, books and other random stuff. I really can’t understand now why I thought it was sensible to spend money on sending such completely unneeded clutter around the globe.

    • Hi Sanna, we all make those sorts of mistakes at times. Things that seem important to us in the height of an experience soon become clutter once we have moved on. We simply get over it.

  5. Wow Sanna, I can relate to your story. Hubby and I have been doing some long-term planning for where we’d like to be in say 10+ years and we presently have a bunch of stuff that I can’t see hanging on to. We don’t want a larger home. We’d love to have a large shop to work on projects, him – cars, me – furniture. I still have so much that is, as you said, unneeded clutter. 🙁

  6. This is too funny, Colleen. This is exactly why Mom has a hard time getting rid of something. But she is SO much better at it than she was. I’m very proud of her. By the way, your advice about not buying something when away unless there is a local store where you live is spot on. I have to take enough back for Mom just here in the local area. I’ve learned to not order clothes from online too. Just doesn’t work.

    • Hi Deb, your mum sure has come a long way from the earlier days of you commenting here at 365. I would never buy clothes from an online store either simply because I like to try things on first. I have to tolerance for things that don’t fit properly.

  7. Colleen – this made me laugh! I took my donation bag with that bra in it to Goodwill today – so freeing! Good riddance! Its funny how I find items like these after all this time – I’ve been decluttering since late 2008. You would think I would be a pro by now, but I’m still learning after all this time. Sometimes I think these are some of the hardest items to get rid of. I literally was to the point I could not see it in my drawer, but I can’t tell you how many times it got tossed aside as I dug for more appropriate attire. I do now try to be more careful and selective when I am shopping. I just hope that inspires someone to get rid of something they have held onto due to guilt. Let. It. Go.

    Speaking of letting go, I took a step stool to Goodwill today too. I had been my grandma’s and had pretty much been guilted onto me by two separate family members. It was always in the way, odd shaped, and I am tall – so I have no need for it. I tossed it in the car and was (silently) thrilled to pass it onto the donation attendant. I have no intention of letting the family members know what I did. I offered it back twice before and no one took it – so again – GOOD RIDDANCE!

    • I’m glad that bra is out of there. I got rid of that lingerie a long time ago. The funny thing was that it was about twelve months later that it showed up in the thrift shop where I donated it. Most clothes go to the warehouse for sorting and these must have been stock piled for a while. It is unlikely that it was someone else’s as it was my size and from Victoria Secret which we don’t have in Australia.
      You are right about seeing past things. And then there is the old “I’ll just give this thing one last chance” scenario and then you ignore it for ages. Actually that would also make a good post. I’ll think about it today as I go about my business and perhaps write about it tonight.
      As for that step stool. Good for you! If you don’t want it and other family members don’t want it then they have a cheek expecting you to house it because they think it should be kept for sentimental reasons. I think that gives you the right to do what you want with it.

      • Colleen – I’d enjoy reading about “one last chance” – I have used that method and usually the item (usually clothing) is out the door pretty quick thereafter as I am clearly reminded why this item hasn’t been well used. Cut my loses and move on. It will look pretty on someone else.

  8. I too have a bra to go to a good home . Unworn.

  9. 4 bras got pulled out of my drawer this week-end. 2 because they did not fit right anymore and 2 because the clasp area irritated my skin and was uncomfortable. Other items decluttered included a 2 ring electric plate that we used during our kitchen remodel. I was able to send this to someone also doing a kitchen remodel in the next couple of weeks. The other item I had paid good money for, but never used – the pressure cooker. It went this week-end.

    • Well done Sheryl. What a load off your mind and out of your house.

    • Sheryl, so funny you mention the pressure cooker. I have mine sitting at the end of the counter deciding to donate on Saturday when I have the Salvation Army stopping by for a pickup. I have had it for many years and have used it during the course of the years but mainly for only beef stew and pork chops. The location in my kitchen cabinet for it makes it difficult to get to and I’m thinking that I could certainly use another cooking method for only these 2 recipes. Besides, the meat never turns out quite as well as the pressure cooker I had 30+ years ago that did not have all the safety features. Pretty sure my pressure cooker will be leaving the house on Saturday. Thanks for your post.

  10. Bra shopping is right up there with a GYN appointment, if you ask me!

    • Ha ha Michelle, I felt the same. A hysterectomy solved the GYN visits problem. But I can deal with the other better than the alternative. 😉

    • My bra shopping dread changd when I got professionally fitted by a bra expert (not VS). Now, I never have a bra that doesn’t fit, isn’t comfortable, or unnesscessary. Hihgly recommend this.

  11. Fine I got rid of most of my speedos from my twenties (alright it was my thirties) but still have the one that a friend got me in Mexico. I can almost fit into it… can I keep it? 🙂 Time to take another picture… sigh.

    • Hi Ron B, you are going to have a lot of photos by the time your decluttering goal is reached. 😉

      • Ron – made me laugh while drinking my morning coffee. 🙂

      • Right I’ve practiced my avoidance technique this morning but once again decluttering the junk drawer. I wonder if the charity shops really like to get assortment small bits and bobs? Must be a pain to decide how to sell them.

        • Ron, I had a similar thought with little beads and jewelry bits and bobs I had and then I realised that op shops often have things like buttons in jars, so I put mine in a nice clean jar and donated that – some magpie out there will spot some treasure (for them) I hope!

          • Hi Ron and Laura, speaking from someone who works at a thrift shop and can say we will accept most things and will find a way to arrange them for sale. I fix any broken jewellery that comes in and any that can’t be fix or aren’t worth fixing I disassemble and sell in jars as Laura mentioned. I save appropriate jars at home specifically for this job.

            Also quite often fiddly bits and pieces are things we can use at the thrift shop for one purpose or another so get used rather than sold. That saves us in running costs. We never have to buy pens, erasers, rulers, scissors, staplers, hole punches, magnifying glasses, plastic bags, thump tacks, paper clips, markers…

  12. I’ve just decluttered 32 items from my jewelry armoire! Going to my sister and if she doesn’t want it she can sell it in her yard sale. So freeing!

  13. Today’s post was very timely for me. I work weekends so my “weekend” days off are in the middle of the week. Today I was cleaning out my closet and I found a skirt — tag still on it — that I once bought on a super-bargain clearance. I hung onto it for years thinking that one day I would get it tailored to fit me, as it was two sizes too large. Now it is obviously out of fashion. I am bringing it, along with other items from that era, to the retro store, including a still-tagged but very daring bathing suit that I never worked up the nerve to wear, and other clothes in very good condition. I will come home with enough money to at least buy a large bag of pet food, and some college-aged customers will be happy at the retro store with their new fashion finds.

    • Well done Dez. I love that retro is the fashion of the day. It makes it so easy to resell it at thrift and consignment stores. We actually sell those items for more at the thrift shop than regular items.

  14. I always read but seldom comment these days – lack of time … but just wanted to say how I got a good laugh from a particular line today 🙂

    And you are so right that stuff isn’t just clutter physically; the mental burden is just as bad, or worse.

  15. I wasn’t going to comment on this, but I have changed my mind – just another point of view.
    I own some incredibly uncomfortable lingerie, and equally uncomfortable “decorative” shoes. Even though my husband doesn’t need any encouragement, the absolute joy at occasionally seeing these particular items gives him, far outweighs the space that they take up.
    Clutter? for me, yes indeed. Are they leaving any time soon? Nope.
    Sometimes a little sacrifice to make someone else happy is more important.

  16. Just got rid of 2 bras rarely worn – probably 10 years old! I was sure I’d decluttered them already, but they were still there. Thanks for the reminder!