Mini Mission Monday ~ Is your clutter bothering someone else?

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.

I dug this set of missions up from the archives as it is a good exercise to help you find extra things you may not have thought to get rid of. So this week we are once going to remove some clutter that might be bothering someone else in some way. If you decide to take on this weeks missions be prepared for it to be confronting at times. 

Monday – Ask your partner/husband/roommate if there is something of yours in your shared living space that they wish you would declutter because they don’t like it. It is up to you whether you comply of course.

Tuesday – Remove something from your yard that a neighbour might be able to see and think looks out of place or unsightly. Ask the neighbour if you aren’t sure and are game.

Wednesday – Ask a family member if they have anything you have given them that they really don’t want but keep because it was a gift from you. Give them permission to declutter it.

Thursday – Return something that you have borrowed from someone else that you should possibly have returned some time ago.

Friday – Declutter an area where your items may have spilled over into someones else’s space. For example ~ Your clothes in your husbands side of the closet.

Saturday – Ask a family member if there is an area of clutter in your home that you might have overlooked that they think needs attention. This might possibly be an area that is OK to you but annoying for them.

Sunday – I think you have earned a rest today so take it easy and rest up for another week of decluttering to start tomorrow.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

The item for the day is an example of the opposite to the theme of this week’s mini mission. My husband had three die cast aeroplane models that I was not keen on dusting. I let him know that they were a nuisance to me. I don’t know if that had any impact on him deciding to declutter them or not but declutter them he has and this is one of those models. As you can guess I am glad to see the back of them.

Die cast aeroplane model

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.

Comments

  1. oh well. no mini missions for me this week, and not for the future either. seems like there will no boyfriend move in with me after all.
    But as I am already two weeks ahead of the daily decluttering, and significantly reduced on the internet as well (your blog and my email is the only daily check up) I will take this week off, and only declutter those things that come across daily life.

    • Sorry to hear this Lena.

    • I am sorry to hear this – Es tut mir leid. I hope things start looking up again soon. 🙂

    • Oh what a shame Lena, take a break and know that we’re thinking of you xx

      • haha, you dont need to condole here. thats was a good decision, and it was coming for a long time. positive: I can graduate now with all my force on writing, and then I can irrationally go overboard minimalistic. heeheee. I will sell all my stuff and live in a van and become the crazy world traveller… 😉

        • When you become a crazy world traveller, Lena, you’ll be welcome here in Canada!

          • thanks Wendy B. I want to go and see Canada for a long time now. money and time always stopped me from doing that. you have a beautiful country, and I am sure, I will stop by at one point of my travels 🙂

    • Oh Lena, I am so sorry to hear this. But good you decided it before moving together. Moving together is hard. So hard (from my still-in-it experience at least). Graduating is hard. Good luck with the rest of your studies!

      • thanks, Ideealistin, I am in the middle of the graduation and I am already stressed to a level that is new to me. and I am sure we made the best decision, for both of us. its hard either way though…

  2. Tuesday’s is the perfect mission for this sunny Sunday for me–our kind neighbors, who have a lovely and manicured yard and garden, have a view into our wild and overgrown yard that includes any number of miscellaneous children’s items (roller skates, old gerbil toys for a now deceased gerbil, unused tennis rackets, targets for “airsoft” practice…you get the picture). I had been thinking that it would be only the right thing to do to remove these items (the neighbors would never dream of commenting on them, however!). Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Today’s declutter item paragraph particularly interested me Colleen in relation to dusting. Am I the only one here to whom it genuinely never occurs to dust? I mention this merely out of curiousity not because it worries me.
    I keep the bathroom and kitchen clean with damp cloth wiping surfaces, but the sitting room maybe once or twice a year I may hunt for a duster and wipe a surface but it is something I otherwise never think about. I think I just don’t see ‘dust’ very often.
    Perhaps also it would seem a hurculean task if to be done weekly which maybe might be because I have had much debiltating illness in my life that I subconsciously long since relegated such tasks way down the priority list.
    So I am just interested to know other peoples attitude to dusting

    • Hi Katherine – I actively dislike dusting! Once I get going it doesn’t seem that bad, but I definately drag my feet to get started. Recently we got rid of one of our bookcases and that was the first thing that came into my mind – YES one less thing to dust!!!! Its definately a plus in the “why I should go minimalist” column!

      • Katharine, I have to dust almost daily because we live in a dry climate in a rural area. Lots of agriculture leads to lots of dirt blowing around, and it always finds its way into the house. We also have three dogs. When we lived in a humid climate, I don’t remember dusting this much. Maybe your home just isn’t as dusty as ours.

        • Ah, that might be so Anita. I like the thought that maybe I am not just a complete domestic slattern but that I don’t have a very dusty house. 🙂

          • Not much dust here either. I only dust things when I notice dust on them, and thats rare. To some extent, I think dusting and hoovering stirs up dust round the house and makes it worse. That said, I don’t have many knick-knacks, no pets, and I use things regularly so dust doesn’t have much of a chance.

      • Hi Moni – but you still notice the dust and do it where as I rarely see it. I was never made to dust as a child, i wonder if that means I never got programmed right? 🙂

        • Katherine I live in a dry (compared to the rest of the country) warm area so dust is easily generated. I wait until I can write my name in it. 🙂

          • LOL, love that image 🙂 It has never occurred to me that different areas have different levels of dust before.

          • Oh my, Katherine! I live in Arizona and it’s nothing but dust here. You could dust and sweep daily here but we don’t. If we do it once a week we think we are doing good. Actually, we don’t do it. We have a young lady who comes and does it for us. I HATE housework and did not consider how dusty it would be when we decided to move here.

    • I took a poll of my Facebook friends. Laundry and dusting were the two least-favorite chores. I probably dust once a month.

      • Hi Cindy – I would rather do laundry than cook. I know that’s weird but I am “cateringly challenged” and seem to have missed some synapes connecting in my brain when it came to meal planning, it seems to be three times the effort for me than it is for my friends. But laundry, there is a beast I can conquer and control! Yes, my friends think I’m weird. And no, I don’t like ironing.

        • Rebecca B.A.R. :

          Don’t worry, if you’re weird, then I am, too, because I love to do the laundry!

      • least favourite chores: vaccuum cleaning. dusting I like nowadays, I get my flat done in 10 minutes. I do that once every two/three weeks.

    • I live about a kilometre from the coast so the windows always have sea spray on them. Fortunately everybody’s windows have sea spray, so it is a universal acceptance that between that and the dusty area that no one looks too closely at anyone else’s housekeeping. My friend has a notice in her kitchen “you should have come last week, the house was spotless then”

      • I have a ‘rule’ that anything made of fabric will be used to dust on the way to the garbage can. Very haphazard as I will do baseboards, or picture tops, whatever is along my path. Otherwise I dust things when I notice, and the living room gets a special do-over when company’s coming. Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of knicknacks so it only takes about 5 minutes.

        I have the perfect excuse for dirty windows as we are bird nuts and are surrounded by trees and bird feeders. It seems every time I clean the outsides of my windows a bird will hit one. I think leaving a coating of dust reduces reflections and bird accidents. Even if it isn’t true, it’s a good excuse and everyone accepts it!

    • Hi Katherine,
      I think dust (and the need for dusting) has not only to do with where you live but also with the kind of furniture you have. Since we have a dark leather sofa, I actually need to dust the sofa (aarrghh!) and the white shelves need to be dusted as well and the black picture frames … The wooden things in my home surely collect the same amount of dust but don’t beg me so much to dust them because it doesn’t show the same way … If I wanted to stay ahead, I’d say I’d have to do it about once a week. (not that I always do …)

  4. I have repeatedly asked my husband to clean up the garage and he has continued to ignore my nagging. But I know it’s bothering him too, so I don’t understand what the hold up is.

    I try to put things back where they live every day. I don’t get much help and my family is not into decluttering. I don’t get it. Why would you want to be overwhelmed by stuff?

    • Hi Chelle – if it makes you feel any better my garage has been an ongoing challenge – just ask Dizzy. My hubby has been supportive of my decluttering the rest of the house, but for some reason the garage is his favourite dumping zone, and not just around the edges, but directly in the middle and preferably in the most messy fashion possible, he doesn’t know why he does it, but he can’t bring himself to dump anything anywhere in the house now that its decluttered or at least 100% better than previously.

      I’ve ‘taken back’ one corner and heaven help anyone who messes up that. Each day I try to ‘take back’ another small area. It feels a bit like clearing land in a jungle to be honest. Anyway, I have set myself a reward for when I finally have the garage decluttered, and that keeps me going.

      • Some people don’t have much spatial awareness, or natural understanding of consequences. My other half tends to dump clutter into the clearest area in a room, which is usually a walkway. Its really annoying and counterproductive to block the access route. He understands the problem when I point it out to him, but his brain makes this mistake over and over. He finds sequences and consequences genuinely difficult – well, compared to me that is. I am the queen of logical workflow.

      • I haven’t found a cure for this yet. But having specific zones for clutter seems to help contain the day to day stuff. e.g. if coats are dumped all over the hall, make sure you have plenty of spare pegs by the door. Perhaps a specific landing area in the garage will at least contain the new stuff while it is being processed?

        • Romney I like your style, I had this problem with my hubby and his work gear being left where he dropped it. Usually a walkway!! It wasn’t until he tripped over his ‘stuff’ and sailed base over apex and face-planted that he realised putting ‘stuff’ away is not as hazardous as leaving it out! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • I Chelle, I wonder if ‘clean up the garage’ feels like a huge task he doesn’t know where to start. Perhaps breaking your request down in to much smaller jobs that are clearer to understand and easier to achieve might help?

    • Chelle, I can think of several reasons for this when I think of the struggles with my mother. 1. She has an attachment to things because they mean money spent at some time in the past. 2. She doesn’t want to have to deal with them — she can’t just toss them but doesn’t want to take the time to sell/give them. 3. It is easier to just dump them down than put them away — not thinking past the moment to when she wants them again and has to hunt them.

      • My first guess was that he feel overwhelemed. It’s too big of a task, and it sounds like you hope he’ll do it alone. If it’s his area alone, he’ll do with it what he wants – which is nothing. Perhaps if you help him. Just one drawer, box, cupboard at a time.

    • Hi Chelle,
      Have you tried dragging everything outside and laying it all on a tarp and really looking at the stuff! I remember doing this a few years ago and we were amazed at what we had in there. We culled so much the first time round. From then on it becomes maintenance, I do believe the garage will never be fully finished in our house because it is such a transitional space. Everything flows through it at some stage hence the constant re-visits! The upside of it is that it’s not in the house! Try the drag out method, nothing says “I have too much in the space” like spreading it out and really seeing it!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      The other good thing about dragging everything out was being able to really look at the space and plan the storage areas properly. We tended to have a habit of just shoving the gear in a space and being done with it. Soon learned that was a recipe for disaster!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Hi Dizzy – that is a brilliant idea! I find we just sort of pick things up and then put them down again, or re-locate them to somewhere else in the garage but if we had to drag it outside and sorted it into piles as we went ie sports gear, stuff to go on e-bay, stuff to go into tool shed (yes Dizzy, the tool shed is finally built and on site, but hubby ironically, doesn’t want it cluttered up by putting things in it – go figure) – I’m sure we’d make better progress if we did this. Have Anzac day on Wednesday so could be a good family project.

        Part of the problem is that each time I work in the garage, I end up pulling something out of the ceiling/attic area to sort out. I should leave that as a seperate project, but there is stuff in the garage like camping stuff, that should be with the other camping stuff in the attic, but to reach the camping stuff in the attic I had to get rid of stuff so I could actually reach it. I think Round One of the attic is about 2/3 done. As in it is arranged/boxed in an orderly fashion, labelled in case someone else has to find something or deal with it.

        So Wednesday is the perfect opportunity as I will have hubby and teenage son home to be my muscle.

        • It’s great to have a target day for doing this. Dizzy’s idea is such a good one too. I need to try that with my Mom and the shed. Hum! We better do it before it gets much hotter here. It’s in the low 100’s now already.

      • Hubby complains about one corner of the garage which he says is my fault. In my defence, it is three stacking bins but they are parked in front of one of the storage cupboards, so he feels it is blocking access. (never mind the home made weight bench, the free weights lying all over the floor, the pile of diving gear unused for two years and the fishing gear, the mountain bike he hasn’t ridden in three years, the costume rack he is sure he can fix) What he doesn’t realise is that I’ve been working on that cupboard quietly in the back ground, and hopefully by this weekend the two cupboards can be amalgamated into one, and one can be sold or turned into something else. Don’t know, haven’t gotten that far.

        The storage bins contain stuff that is ready to go onto ebay, has been photographed and I have pre-written the description. The problem is that it is winter stuff, and I earmarked end of March as to when I was going to list it. This seemed reasonable in Feb as we had had the crappiest Summer on record, then out of the blue March and April have been very pleasant, and so it is has been no use listing ski gear and winter coats when everyone is running around in shorts and t-shirts. I must be the only NZ’er hoping for bad weather at the moment.

  5. Does anyone read the list of mini-missions and as soon as they read the mission, know EXACTLY what the target will be?

    And the bigger question, if I already know that item needs targeting, why haven’t I done it before now?

    • I understand that Moni! I tried to figure out why some things I have never seen as needing to be decluttered until either Colleen and Cindy or one of our replies triggers something and I immediately see something I have been blind too. I’m not sure why it happens like that. Maybe it took seeing it in print to really ignite the old synapses so we can do something about the item/area.

      • I think the mini-missions are helpful because they cause you to look at an area with a new eye. Not that you couldn’t have found it yourself eventually, just that you need to have your attention drawn to it in a certain way.

    • Because we all like the reminder in print, some how it doesn’t resonate when spoken! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!!
      That and the fact that I’m convinced Colleen has an army of elves that have nothing better to do than sneak into my house and plan the next set of missions. I swear that woman can read my mind!!!
      🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Moni,

      Hmmmm…I just did last Monday’s Mini Missions, yesterday afternoon. I raced around like a mad thing looking, looking, looking. Because it was meant to be a quick decision, it was surprisingly easy…even if it DID take me 6 days to get around to it!!! I feel ok about it though because I did declutter other things each day, just not the Mini Mission stuff…

      I also hate to dust. I suspect it’s because all of the surfaces have stuff on them. Maybe when everything is very clear it will be a different story. I do hope so…:)

      • Sue D, you are right about hating to dust because of all the stuff. We have that problem too. If I could only get my Mom to declutter that stuff. I just have to remember that slowly seems to be the word for her.

  6. “Wednesday – Ask a family member if they have anything you have given them that they really don’t want but keep because it was a gift from you. Give them permission to declutter it.”

    I think I can count this one as done. I gave my cousin more clothes for her coming baby, but I specifically told her I did not want any of it back and did not care if she donated what she didn’t want.

  7. Just realised that I don’t write reminders on my calendar as much anymore, I find I have been waiting for the mini-missions to remind me to do things I may have missed or something in the mission reminds me of something else! Saves cluttering the fridge with notes and reminders!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. When I am working with other family members, I break down the task so it is very easy for them. They are much more willing to declutter when they don’t feel overwhelmed. It may be a tie rack for one day, or shorts for one week, but it is easier for them when they know that it is a short time, usually 15 minutes or less, and then they will be done. Sometimes it motivates them to do more, but not because I expect it. Not all people like to declutter, although they might see the value of the end product. I think that stuff is a real burden to people, and it takes time and patience to help them understand and want to do it on their own.