Mini Mission Monday ~ A little kitchen declutter

Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

One of the key features of the holiday season is food. Lets face it, it would be just another day without all those special foods that we break out just for this occasion. So what makes preparing food easier? That’s right a decluttered kitchen where the things you need are easily found because they aren’t hidden under clutter. So this week we shall do just that, a little kitchen decluttering.

Monday – Start doing a use it up challenge in your pantry. Eat your way through all those double ups and food from the previous season. Or better still donate any excess canned food to a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

Tuesday – Go through your utensil drawer and eliminate any items you never or rarely ever use. There aren’t many jobs in a kitchen that can’t be achieved with a sharp knife, a fork or a spoon, you don’t need fifteen single use gadget to achieve the same result.

Wednesday – Do you have any small appliances you rarely if ever use. How much easier would it be to store the ones you do use if these were out of the way. Store them in the garage, attic or basement for now and if you don’t bring them back during the holiday season then sell them. They are just getting in your way and taking up valuable space.

Thursday – Do the same with excess crockery as you did with the small appliances. Store them out of the way and if they don’t come back in over the holiday season get rid of them in the new year.

Friday – I know I mention this last week but by now it could well be a mess again. Clear off your kitchen bench. You are going to need that space for food prep and serving. And really, isn’t it time you quit using it as a catch-all for things you are too lazy to put away properly. Find a place for everything and make a habit of putting everything in its place.

Saturday – Herbs and spices get used now more than ever. Throw out the ones that have been sitting unused for months. Try to set up a share arrangement with friends or family members for the holiday spices you know you won’t use all off. Between you you might have just enough and none will go to waste.

Sunday – Check out your serving dishes do you have enough to serve an army. Consider decluttering the excess. You can always borrow from a friend or neighbour if every you do have a large group to serve. It makes more sense than cluttering up space with items you only use rarely.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

I am pleased to say I no longer need this once handy item. Once upon a time it used to be jammed full of plastic bags from my grocery shopping. Now I have been reformed and have no further use for something that holds and dispenses something else that not longer enters my home. Even if the odd plastic bag does sneak in via those less vigilant than myself, there are certainly not enough to require a plastic bag holder/dispenser.

Plastic Bag Holder

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I am glad we made it home from Sydney even thought the car was having some overheating problems. I think that airconditioner that we had repaired recently is not as repaired as we thought. We had a lovely time with nearly all my siblings and parents together to celebrate my brothers birthday. 

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, seeing the photo of your plastic bag holder reminded me that I have one that I don’t use either. It’s now on its way out of our house. Thanks for the daily inspiration.

    • Hi Anita,
      I am not only glad to have reminded you of something that can go but also that you no longer need the bag holder. One more person who has giving plastic bags the flick.

  2. I was sitting here writing (only in my head at this stage) Monday’s post and was thinking of doing it about the kitchen pantry. Two great minds thinking of the same room of the house! Awesome post Colleen.

    • Thanks Betty Jo,
      I am looking forward to reading your pantry post. Actually it is just good to see you out her more again. I hope life is going well for you, it has certainly been a roller coaster for some time.

      • LOL Colleen, I do love a good typo!!!! Warmly meant, I hope you know 🙂

        • Oh Jo, will I never learn? I have fixed that blooper but a panty post does sound very interesting. I might just write one now for your entertainment.

          • It could be done, I think – aren’t undies one of the things we are often guilty of using WAY past their discard time?! I know you’ve mentioned this before – but a whole post – they are worthy, I just know it!!!

            • I know I am guilty of that, but if they are still doing the job why not keep using them. Although my husband keeps telling me to lash out and buy some nice new ones, so maybe I should take the hint. There is probably more to what he is saying then suggesting to spoil myself a little.

  3. Will be participating in the ‘use it up’ to clear the cupboards and freezer ready for christmas goodies. There will be some interesting combinations of food on the way!

    Took my eye of the ball last week as i was really busy and guess what i have LOTS of plastic carrier bags, i swear they breed.

    Sharron x

    • Hi Sharron,
      being busy can be distracting when it comes to trying to do the right thing with bags. Although I am pleased that even with my parents here I have managed to share my reusable bag with my mum and we still haven’t brought any plastic in. Mind you we haven’t done much shopping either.

  4. Grace from Brazil

    The decluttered item made me wonder about the plastic bag battle. I strive to use re-usable bags but still end up with bags, but I do re-use all the plastic bags I get. I was wondering if in other countries if people re-use them like they do in Brazil. Here I find the plastic grocery bags a big help. If I did not have them I would have to buy trash bags. In our part of the world you can’t flush anything down the commode so waste baskets must be lined to make things easy to keep clean daily. Is this only particular to Brazil? Although there is not the same need in Austrailia or the U.S. do you line your smaller trash cans with anything just to make cleaning easier?

    • Hi Grace,
      no, people use the same practice throughout the world. I do in fact buy bin liners (I don’t use that many though) for the simple reason that the plastic bags they give you in stores are usually very weak and by the time you get home with them they have holes in the bottom or tears in the sides. This renders them useless for kitchen and bathroom waste. I would assume that one should never flush feminine hygiene products down the commode even if they say on the packaging that they are flushable. I saw a show once about how much havoc these cause at the sewage treatment plant.

      • Ladies,
        Check out your local health food shops for compostable hygiene (bladder) products – I’ve tried them and they work (both to wear and to compost). Or use microcloth (doubled) to make reusable items (shaped according to winged items, with domes on the wings) – they wash up beautifully.) Also check the internet for other monthly needs – they have something (a cup?) they sell (I don’t really know much about them, as that need has passed me by. I never, ever flush!

        • We have talked about cups before but I am yet to find them in the stores here.

        • A gentle suggestion: If you make your own pads using micro-fiber, have another layer of something between your skin and the micro-fiber (such as velour). Micro-fiber is such a good moisture wicker, that it can irritate your skin with prolonged contact. Same thing if you use micro-fiber in your cloth diapering.

        • Does that last sentence of mine need explanation? Now I read it (as I have written it), my mind just boggles!

    • I use the grocery bags in the bathrooms and this has given me the idea to consider reusable bags when we get the the stage where we have enough bags. I could use the plastic bags just for meats I suppose (sometimes they leak).

  5. Grace from Brazil

    Ugh I forgot to hit the “notify me” button. Sorry.

  6. Church just mentioned they needed more canned goods, and I was like ‘yay’ somewhere to get rid of those last winter soups – I mean, with mum and dad shopping this week, I think we now have 8 tins of tomatos (I agree it’s something we should always have on hand, but I think a lesser quantity would be ok!!). So I just need to sneak away the excess cans when no one is looking, lest I get questioned. It’s not like they’ll notice they are missing – I seem to be the only one that has any idea what our fridge & pantry contain sometimes!

    • I have designed a few meals around what I have in my pantry lately. While my mum was here we made fritters with Devon, tomatoes and a can of corn that had been loitering in my pantry for a while. They were yummy and there are a couple of them left over for my lunch tomorrow.

  7. Hi Grace from Brazil,
    I think not flushing TP down is very special, at least I thought so when I was so lucky to visit your wonderful country for a whole month ten years ago. I find that even if I don’t take plastic bags to carry things I end up with bags that I can use to line the trashcans. For example the tenpack of TP rolls comes in plastic that I open carefully on top and use it in the trashcan and it works just fine. I think it is worth looking at every plastic packaging that cannot be avoided whether it can work as a trash can liner (of course sometimes lining is not really the right word if the bags are smaller than the trashcan) and thus reduce on the carrier bags.

    • My, that IS special … we don’t realize our luck in so many other areas of the world. I too use the plastic grocery bags for trash liners especially in the kitchen and also for kitty litter; otherwise I’d either be buying bags or else using a lot more water, soap and bleach to clean the trash cans and litter boxes.

      That being said, when I notice I have an excess, I make an extra effort to use only my durable shopping bags for awhile until the plastic ones are getting low.

    • I did not know you could not flush TP down in Brazil. You could look into re-usable cloth TP – at least for number 1.
      Regarding feminine hygiene, I use a diva cup and I love it. There is no waste, no smell, you just empty the cup in the toilet and then wash it.
      I also reuse plastic bags as lining but found out my trash is getting smaller and smaller. I am down to one bag every two weeks and hope to reduce it even more. Composting really helps, as well as not buying food that comes in a box/package, and getting the rest second hand.

      • I’ll admit, I’m not in love with my Diva cup. I don’t find them quite as convenient as advertised. However, I DO love it for lighter days, when my period seems to go on and on in drips and drabs. So I’m using a combo system – disposables for the initial days of my cycle and the cup for the last several days.

        • Cindy, that is what puts me off getting one because my heavy days require heavy protection and one never knows when that will be. Who’d be a woman? Menopause, bring it on I say.

        • Cindy, I love it for very light days, especially in the summer when wearing a swimsuit. I don’t need to worry about it for 12 hours! But I also love it during my very heavy days, where I can empty it every 2 hours. I would go through a pad or a tampon in 30 min to 1 hour, so 2 hours is a long time for me.
          Colleen, I sometimes put the cup on preemptively. It is not like a tampon, you can wear it anytime. Just don’t forget it’s there…
          Bought them at First one lasted 3 years. I am on my second one.
          Can you tell, how much I love it? LOL

  8. not in this week’s mini missions, but I just posted on freecycle two bags of my clothes. And a pile of kids books is going to the used bookstore this week. Now, if only I could actually keep my kitchen counters clean!

    • Doesn’t it feel GREAT to free space for yourself while sharing with someone who will actually enjoy those things you no longer need or want? GREAT!

      • Hi Angela, it is a great feeling isn’t it. We have discovered so many Win Win situation during our communities combined journey to declutter.

    • Hi The Other Lynn,
      well done with the decluttered items but I think you need to focus on the kitchen benches for a while. Pay attention to where you are going wrong or what is dysfunctional about your routine or surroundings that cause this problem to continue to occur. Then put a plan in place to avoid the problem in the future.

      • Oh Colleen, those last two sentences are my WAKE UP PAMELA call, thank you! I can apply them to certain other areas/aspects of my life for sure, but I’m heading straight for the kitchen, right now!
        I can certainly identify a couple of my issues,
        1. i avoid putting things away under the worktop to avoid bending
        2. i avoid putting things away above the worktop to avoid stretching
        3. i avoid putting the shopping away for the above two reasons
        Result? a very messy and dysfunctional kitchen!
        Now for a plan…….:)

        • all due to back pain obvio;P

          • Would it help to think about the weight of the items in question? The heavier items to stay on the counter top and the lighter items to go away if possible? Or think about the frequency of use, where everyday items (such as dishes) stay at counter top height and less frequently used items go up or down. This might not be the “usual” way of doing things but it might be the “better” way for you and your situation.

            Good luck with this issue; I have counter issues of my own although they revolve more around keeping track of paperwork by having it out in sight, but no matter what the underlying problem is, Colleen is right that it takes identifying it in order to reach a permanent solution!

            • Good advice Jo! Sometimes we have to operate outside the box to suit our own unique circumstances. I agree that putting the frequently used items at the level that is best for Pamela is a good solution. Get a little stepping stool also to get to the higher items that there aren’t room for at bench level. Use the lower storage area only for things that are used infrequently and focus on that area for decluttering. I always arrange my home to suit me not to comply with conventional.

  9. I’m grateful for this reminder. When I think I am done with the kitchen, I still see I have more to go, and that is a good thing I suppose. I can feel the push to donate more especially things useful for Christmas so others can enjoy them this time!

  10. Colleen,
    Your timing on this weeks mini-missions is perfekt! We’ve received ‘move’ orders, from one side of the pond to the other, so pantry items need to be used up!

    • You’re leaving Germany? But how will we get the German weather report??

    • I was wondering how much longer you would be over there Annabelle. How exciting

      • Exciting, yes! It certainly makes a difference on the moving front to have a DECLUTTERED home!!! 🙂

        We’re (one day at a time) going through the house, room by room, to make sure, that what we currently do have we really need to have go with us, OR, can we sell/donate more stuff!!! Yahoo!

        • Annabelle, I’m excited too, to see someone else benefit from their decluttering work!!! Great job, and good luck moving!

        • Hi Annabelle,
          do you have the list of how many cartons etc it took to move you last time so you can compare it to this move when it happens. I am keen to see the comparison with my next move. I assume that, like mine, your husbands work pays for the removal and do you have to write a detailed inventory like I do prior to the move for insurance purposes?

  11. An interesting article that was just published in many newspapers in the US. The bottom line is taht giving money to food banks is vastly more efficient, in terms of feeding people, than is donating the remnants from your pantry.,0,2767459.story

  12. Any suggestions on my dilemma: While, my kitchen counter is not clear at this time, when it is, the one object that I can’t seem to find a home for is our loaf of bread. I only have four actual “drawers” in my kitchen–of those, one is for cutlery and one for utensils. The other two drawers hold various food products. When I have tried storing the bread in one of those drawers, it gets squashed. Stored in my refrig. and it gets dried out. Help! How do others store their bread?

    • Hi Deb, I just put mine in the pantry in the bag it came in. Sometimes I split the loaf in half, because we eat so little bread these day, and freeze one half so it doesn’t go stale before we eat it. Is there a convenient cupboard near where you mostly prepare sandwiches that might have something in that doesn’t need to be in such a convenient place. More that item if there is one and put the bread there instead.

    • I’ve never found a good place for ours either – it stays out on the counter, I admit, unless we are having company; then it goes on the lazy susan in one cupboard. People used to keep their bread in a bread box that was kept on the counter. It keeps everything tidy and out of sight – except you have to have plenty of counter space. I like that idea and may go that way. Commenters on other blogs have said they keep their breads in a basket or dishpan-type of container on a shelf somewhere convenient in their cupboards, top or bottom. The basket or container is to keep the crumbs contained.