Mini Mission Monday ~ In The Way

mini-logoMini 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.

So this week the theme for our mini missions is “In The Way.” I am sure we all have clutter that is getting in the way of life. Use these mission to identify a few and get them our of the way. It never ceases to amaze me how a few little tweaks can make such a large effect on efficiency.

Monday – Declutter something that is in the way, resulting in adding an unwanted degree of difficulty when housecleaning.

Tuesday – Declutter something that is in the way making it difficult to shut a cupboard or drawer.

Wednesday – Declutter something that is constantly in the way when you are trying to get to something else more useful to you.

Thursday – Declutter a few of something that you have too many off causing decision making to get in the way of getting ready for the day. Like clothes, cosmetics, perfume, shoes, accessories…

Friday – Declutter something that is getting in the way of your happiness. Perhaps some obligation clutter.

Saturday – Rearrange a small area of your home where disorganisation is getting in the way of doing things efficiently. Perhaps you will find something to declutter in the process. Perhaps a shelf in your pantry or linen closet, a drawer in your kitchen, wardrobe or desk…

Sunday - Sunday is reserved for contemplating one particular item, of your choice that is proving difficult for you to declutter. Whether that be for sentimental reasons, practical reasons, because the task is laborious or simply unpleasant, or because the items removal requires the cooperation of another person. That last category may mean that the item belongs to someone else who has to give their approval, it could also mean there is a joint decision to be made or it could mean that the task of removing it requires assistance from someone else. There is no need to act on this contemplation immediately, it is more about formulating a plan to act upon or simply making a decision one way or another.

Random Acts of Miscellaneous Kindness

(Little thoughtful acts for no reason but to make a complete strangers life a little easier.)

Let a random stranger go ahead of you at the register in a shop if you aren’t in a hurry or if they only have a couple of items to pay for when you have several.

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  • Mini Mission Monday 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 […]
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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Monday – broken baby wipe box won’t stay closed, baby wipes dry out. I had a spare box, so technically this broken one was replaced but now there is only one box!
    Tuesday – t shirt that I tried to wear to work. It was too tight around the biceps, causing me not to be able to flex my muscles, haha
    Wednesday – My husband mentioned that we had too many kitchen utensils, so we went through them together tonight and pulled out only what we wanted to keep. The others are destined for other homes 🙂

    That’s all for now 🙂

    • I like that your husband is so on board with the decluttering. You seem to mention him often of late stating that certain things could go. Have you been flexing your muscles with him? Hee hee!

      • Hi Colleen,

        My husband is a lot bigger than me so probably he wouldn’t even know I was flexing LOL

  2. Friday – How could I forget? My broken space heater (it had been slowly dying and now is completely dead). This had to go in the trash.

    • I can relate to this Peggy. We had a broken fan at my art space. It wasn’t mine but it was cheap and nasty and dead so I took the initiative and tossed it in the bin.

  3. Good missions, but fortunately I only have three day’s of decluttering I can fulfill
    Thursday, too many
    Long red vest, print jacket,white long sleeve shirt, turquoise/brown sweater, Brown shell
    Fri, obligation clutter
    The following gifts, white sweater, compact, corn husk doll from Russia
    Sat, small area reorganization
    Found the following to get rid of when I redid a small area
    Pink/brown table runner, tall metal stand, medium mesh basket

    Another great week ahead, at least 11 items heading out the door. Yay!

    • Hi Calla, I think you managed to cover about two weeks worth of mission with the threes mission you could you. Well done!

      • See what happens when my car is in the repair shop for two days & I keep myself at home. Lol

        • Being home really kicked my decluttering into high gear. I’ve added the following: 3 books on tourist sites in China, ladle, fancy program from Vegas, pottery serving bowl, 6 soft cover travel books + 6 folding maps, plus used two canvas box totes to wrap graduation gifts in.

          Can’t wait to do a thrift shop drop off!

          • Colleen Madsen

            Well done Calla. My car is in the repair shop all this week but I hardly notice because we try not to drive it much anyway. To bad because, if you are anything to go by, I could have got a whole lot of decluttering done. Hee hee!

  4. Hi, Colleen. This is a really good theme. Clutter gets in the way not just physically but psychologically as well, whether it’s a project long-abandoned but still lingering in the home or unfinished business that hangs like a millstone around your neck.

    • Exactly Nicole.

    • I know what you mean Nicole.

      It is true that you get older and hopefully you have more wisdom, so I have been disposing of items that were once connected to interests long ago. Craft items, etc etc.

      Used to do Line Dancing when my knees were younger, but now have come to terms that I may not do this again, so got rid of my Steps sheets. As I am a visual person, I found a lot of YouTube Line Dancing videos, so if I need to start again, and can practise with these.

      Getting rid of jigsaws (we had too many). Now the children are grown up, we don’t need so many to enjoy.

      Also gave to Vinnies, so clothes, including a Flamenco skirt and shawl, which I have been hanging onto perhaps for my niece, but IF she DOES take an interest in dancing, I can make her another one. You should see the waist of the skirt!! (did I really have a small waist once) 🙂

      Recipes – well I am now diabetic, so I got rid of all the Sweets recipes and a lot of the Savoury ones. The internet is wonderful for recipes, don’t take up room and saves paper.

      For me it is an ongoing project, but if I had to bring back all the stuff that I gave away I would need a mansion to keep it all in 🙂

      • I enjoyed reading your comment, Katherine. 🙂 You have been able to declutter mindfully – olé! You must have looked absolutely stunning in that flamenco dress, which you can wear “inside yourself, the whole year”, to paraphrase the quote.

        • Thank you Nicole 🙂

          I have a photo that was taken at the “gig” our small class did so I can remember it that way. One girl chickened out and left 2 of us and a teacher to perform. What a harrowing experience that was 🙂

          Keeping my life simple has been my new motto for a while now. Being a sentimental person it never ceases to surprise me that so many things have actually gone out the door.

          Freecycle and Vinnies (Charity Shop) have been a great help.

          If I can do it, you all can also.

          • A photo and the memory of your performance … that’s as uncluttered as it can get, Katherine. I like your motto and the decluttering journey sure does teach us quite a bit about ourselves.

      • Good for you Katherine. It sounds like you are getting into and letting go of things you possibly never thought you would. I love to hear stories like that.

  5. Saturday – I went through a free standing cabinet in our bathroom (dental, hair/make up, bandages). Got rid of a few opened bandaids (unsanitary) and unused face wash samples. Will give away moisturizer. Tossed 2 old eye creams. Set aside dental appliance stuff for married daughter. Consolidated packages of new toothbrushes.

  6. forgot:

    Thursday – pulled out 4 mugs from our kitchen cabinet and set aside to ask my husband. I’m ready for them to be gone because we never use them and have plenty of mugs we like and use 🙂

    • Hi Peggy, mugs in my house only multiply because other people give novelty ones as gifts or well meaning people think my “ugly” brown mugs should be replaced with something prettier. Both end up at the thrift shop. I love my ugly brown mugs.

      • Hi Colleen,

        That is funny about your “ugly brown mugs”. I’m with you: If you love something, you love it 🙂

        We don’t have any matching mugs! We get mugs from people at holidays and some we like and use. Others… well, we are donating 4, 2 of which were gifts 🙂 I have a couple of favorites that are shaped very roundly so they fit my hands well and warm drinks in the mug soothe my achy hands. We have a tall mug that our daughter likes. My husband has medium size ones he likes. So the ones we kept all have their uses 🙂

        • Your comment was beginning to sound a little like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears there for a moment. All jokes aside, I know exactly what you are saying. Cup are either ergonomically right for you or not. Fortunately hubby and I both like these cups so all is good. And the best part is that when they get broken I can usually find replacements at the thrift shop.

          • Cups: I have a full set (8) of Corelle cups that match my dishes. Haven’t used them in years. We have Tupperware cups that we like and use instead. I noticed recently that most of our TW cups are getting a little worn and ratty (nothing is worse than ratty Tupperware!) so I’ve discarded quite a few of them. We decided to begin using the Corelle cups again…but they’re not comfortable and neither of us liked them. Need to find a replacement! Uncomfortable cups are the WORST!

            • Colleen Madsen

              Yes Deanna, ergonomics is important when it comes to cups. Also other design elements come into play. My mum has Corelle cups, the lovely tea cups the nest beautifully inside one another. The only problem is that their brim is too wide which make for a big surface that makes your tea go cold quickly. I notice she doesn’t use them anymore either.

  7. “In the way” is a good theme Colleen. Right now I have too many boxes in the way. I stacked them so they take less space. then all of the empty ones I have waiting so I can pack up the things I am actually using right now I put in an empty closet. Now the only things left are two chairs I have not taken over for the church yard sale becuase they have no place to store them. I think I will see if they will fit in the storage unit of the person in charge of the sale. I’m also working on finding a way to get the last of the items to my friend who is buying two scrapbook cabinets and a garden hutch .

    • Hi Deb, at least your “in the way” is temporary and you have a plan already. I am sure the pieces will all fall into place for you. You are a born organiser.

      • A repurpose? A few months ago, I told my hubby I thought I was ready to get rid of my treadmill. I used it 5 days a week for quite a few years, but not lately. I suggested donating it to a local children’s orphanage. Hubby reluctantly agreed. But…THEN HE STARTED USING IT!!!!! It’s a heavy duty commercial piece of equipment and it resides in my office. I had thought if I donated it, I would have room for a rebounder without putting it in my bedroom (a small trampoline which is supposed to be very healthy, especially working on the lymphatic system.) I didn’t want to PURCHASE a rebounder because I wasn’t sure I would use it (my balance is not very good) and I didn’t want to be stuck with something else in the way. So I’ve been thinking about it off and on for a few months. Yesterday I had an epiphany!!! …wondering if I could use hubby’s BIG exercise ball to bounce on. I tried it several ways, and I think it might work by putting the ball on the treadmill and sitting on it backward to hold it in place. That way I can hold onto the treadmill handles, sit on the ball, and push with my legs. It seems quite a workout. I’m going to try it!!!! I’m so excited…I want to be healthier.

        • Colleen Madsen

          Nice repurpose Deanna, well done.
          My thinking when it comes to exercise equipment is to hire before you buy. So much of it never gets used once in ones home. Just like gym memberships.

  8. My eldest son moved out on the weekend, unfortunately he didn’t take all of his stuff BUT I did find it difficult to provide any excess plates or glasses that he requested.

  9. My husband (reluctantly) and I went through our Pyrex type baking dishes tonight. We found 4 items we could do without. Now the shelf they were on in the garage looks much better 🙂

  10. I havent been doing much decluttering at the moment as my daughter has been home from uni – goes back tomorrow – and we’ve got a landscaping project on the go. However, it sounds like Im going to have the house to myself this weekend, so Ive got a few places I can tackle without distractions.

    • Hi Moni,

      Isn’t it great when you can work without distractions?! Since my younger daughter married and moved out, I have had a much easier time decluttering and organizing! Today I’m donating 2 special hanger thingies, 2 pair shoes, a belt, & 3 purses (all were my daughters, she said okay to do whatever with her stuff).

      I also found a strainer type thing on the garage shelves and it’s going.

      • Well done Peggy. And if your daughter ever calls to ask if you still have her ______________ (fill in the blank), don’t feel guilty, she gave you permission and even if she didn’t your home isn’t her storage unit. I am glad that is seems that she doesn’t see it that way. Good for her.

  11. I have been reading and enjoying all your posts Colleen, but I have been so busy that somehow several weeks have disappeared and I haven’t gotten around to contributing any updates! Day 2 of being sick at home, and of course as we all know when you are stuck in the house suddenly all sorts of things jump out as needing to be decluttered, that previously flew under the radar.

    In my new apartment there are less shelves etc than what I was used to. So the only place for books and DVDs to go is in the one small bookcase. Not everything fit, but I have finally gone through and weeded out several books and a movie that can go, meaning everything else fits nicely for now.

    I also used up another household cleaner, hooray! Still quite a few there.

    With the change in climate my skincare needs have changed. I had a few items (face cleanser, moisturisers) put aside for ‘travel’ as they don’t suit me here – used them up as shower gel and body lotion instead! They were perfectly good so I am happy I didn’t throw them out in a pique or let them sit there indefinitely.

    Also I noticed I hadn’t worn some items of my work wardrobe since I got here (over 2 months ago). On Tuesday I had come up with an outfit to incorporate one of the tops. Put it on, didn’t like it, put it aside for donations. Quickly thought of another combo using a different top I hadn’t worn, put it on, didn’t like it, put it on the now pile for donations. Ended up going with a tried and true outfit! That evening I scanned my options and added a jumper and cardigan to the pile too (they were some of the few cold weather options I had – except now I need cold weather options, I don’t like wearing them! They’ve gotta go. Although I will likely replace them with something as I have minimal knitwear and it is rather chilly here! But still, better than buying new and keeping the old anyway).

    I will have a think about your Friday mission, it is a good one! Will be taking it easy for a few days but I feel there are probably some more paper-based items I can chip away at for this one.

    • Well done Amelia, you are my kind of declutterer 🙂

      In my paper-based items, I add to that computer files. View the list as “date wise” and you will be surprised how many years have passed without looking at a particular file – so out it goes.

      • That’s a great idea Katherine. I have no idea what date would be on some of those files, the thought is quite scary! But as you say, if that long has passed without looking at it, what need is there to keep it?!

    • Hi Amelia, I hope you aren’t too sick but glad you are getting some decluttering done.
      It is interesting how people buy clothes and then decide later on that they don’t like them. I wonder what we were thinking at the time that we bought them and thought they looked good on us. This rarely happens to me these days, probably mostly due to the fact that I don’t buy many clothes and also because I am very choosy about what I buy in the first place these days because I hate the senseless waste of buying and later rejecting items such as clothes. More often than not a buy secondhand clothes too so not much guilt involved if I do decide to change things out.

      • Clothes: I’ve bought very few clothes the last few years…mostly from thrift shops. The last year I think I made 4 purchases. One was a pair of shoes which I like. The second was a really cute scarf at Pier 1…wasn’t as cute when I got it home. Third, a pair of boyfriend jeans that I ended up returning…I have to admit that I knew I would return them when I bought them…there was a problem with the fit, but I just loved them…returned. Fourth, I ordered a sweater and a blouse from Coldwater Creek. I loved both of them, but the sleeves were too long…and I knew I didn’t want to try to adjust them. I returned them both and had to pay return shipping!!!!!! I hate that! Haven’t bought anything since except at our local thrift shop where I can trade out with the owner. I hope I’m making better decisions now. Mostly I’m just not shopping.

        • Colleen Madsen

          I am glad you had the sense to return the items that didn’t work for you Deanna.
          I see so many people, when I am out and about, wearing clothes that don’t suit them or fit them properly. It is all very good to see an item on a mannequin and think “Oooo I like that!”, buy it regardless of better judgement only to leave it unused in their closet until they finally have to a admit it was a bad purchase and give it away. So I am glad you had more sense than that.
          And what is it with women who think leggings are outerwear.

  12. Yesterday my daughter agreed to declutter a couple of pillows, sheets, baby blanket to the pet shelters. Today she agreed to donate 2 jackets too small for her kids! Yippee!

    I found some Agar-agar in our cabinet that I know my younger daughter bought. We won’t use it though. 2 packages of white rice which we won’t use either. I’m going to “donate” these at work. 🙂

  13. A little off topic, but still related I think:
    Being a little more flexible money-wise than in the last months, I decided a week ago to finally try a new challenge: to massively reduce buying packaged goods. I have been playing with this idea for quite some time and as this year two new shops opened in my town that provide bulk shopping possibilities and I also have that little more money to spare so I can check out if this way of shopping will cost me more without worrying about milk in reusable bottles being 50 cents more than the one in the cardboard box, I finally took the plunge. 😉
    It’s challenging and for a beginner not easy to really avoid ALL packaging, especially if you’re like me and sometimes in a little “shy mood”, i.e. not always up to discussions with the store attendants. However I take the stand I take with decluttering as well: if you keep at it and try your best it will always be better than to not do anything about it at all. So while it’s no problem to get veggies, fruit or nuts completely package-free, I do still buy cheese and meat with a thin paper and foil wrapping, but I buy it over the counter and that way they use much less packaging (and most of it paper, maximum a very thin plastic foil) than if you buy it at the supermarket aisles.
    However a nice side effect occured, which is my place getting tidyer and/or me tyding less. I never realized how much of my tidying consists of throwing packaging away, finding the odd candy wraps in pockets or rummaging through too many grocery bags waiting to be reused etc. etc. Also, of course, emptying the trash can is a task that needs to be done much less often… 😉
    All in all I’m happy with the process and think it really ties in well with general decluttering and reducing-to-buy-mindlessly ideas.
    Has anyone else made efforts to “escape” packaging?

    • Good for you Sanna. I wish we had shops like that around here. The local major grocery store started doing bulk buy but you have to use their packaging and then I saw them fill the hoppers one day with 2kg plastic bags. So that was completely pointless. I could do better in this area though but I do always take my own shopping bag.

    • Sanna – this is interesting because I have been thinking about our rubbish wheelie bin lately – probably because it was up for renewal. It has occurred to me how poorly we ‘pack’ our rubbish, everything is balled up or bunched up and I’ve been wondering how much less space we’d use if we stacked it all more neatly.