Mini Mission Monday ~ Keeping it Simple

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.

Sometimes you really have to put your thinking caps on when trying to come up with an item to match my mini missions. This week however I am keeping it simple for you. Hopefully you will easily be able to find an object to declutter that matches each category.

Monday – Declutter something made of glass, china or similar breakable substance.

Tuesday – Declutter a, not too, sentimental item.

Wednesday – Declutter something made from paper.

Thursday – Declutter something you are keeping “just in case”.

Friday – Declutter something made from fabric.

Saturday – Declutter something you have more than enough of.

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.

Good luck and happy decluttering

April Habit Changing Challenge

Endeavour to keep the entrance of your home tidy, clean and clear of clutter, inside and out. Outside ~sweep the porch and shake out the mat regularly, and keep it clean or clutter such as shoes, umbrellas, garden items etc. Inside ~ keep the area tidy and clear of clutter and think about rearranging the area so things are still handy but not out in the open if possible.

Eco Tip for the Day

Encourage children to take care of there school supplies and equipment so they last and can be used for longer.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

Place a vote for 365 Less Things for People’s Choice Award ~ The Australian Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2013 Competition

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About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. I really do like the mini-missions. Happy to report that Mom went through 10 of the 12 drawers in the metal Ikea units and got rid of a lot. Those 12 drawers are now empty and units up for sale. Most of what she kept went into 3 smaller drawers in the units under my desk. I may do some rearranging when I get a chance but we are happy with the results.

    • Wow Deb J would your Mum like a trip to Perth to sort out my 5 drawer filing cabinet!!
      I’m leaving it till last and then it will get blasted!! Now that we no longer have to hold the last of the business tax stuff in there it has a quick bump to the top of the list, but I’m taking my time so I can shred what’s in there ho hum. Come on over though the kettle is always on 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • I think it would be better if I came to Perth. Alas, I can’t afford the flight from Arizona. It would be fun to help with the filing cabinet though. The father of my friend in Indiana just died and she has been going through the “office.” She has had to shred 3 garbage bags full of paper so far. He had kept all the tax stuff back 45 years as well as a lot of other stuff. Be glad you only have 5 drawers. Grin.

        • Hi Deb J,
          Thankfully we don’t have to keep too much indefinitely over here as what we do hold for a bit is quite enough thanks. Sorry for your friends loss, the saying is true though nothing surer than ‘Death and Taxes’. I hope to be organised enough so if the inevitable happens sooner I just don’t want my family to be sifting through all sorts of ‘Whatevers etc’.

          One huge thing I have learned since I started ‘Brain Change’ is I can’t take it with me so what I have I want to enjoy not just display it. I use everything and I love it. If it breaks then it’s time with me is done and it moves onto the big recycle bin in the sky. Mind you I still has a ways to go. !!! I just keep tweaking and sighing ‘What The!!!!’ and ‘Why?????’ I am also still battling with books!! I just can’t decide which electronic goodie will be the best for me!! For now I still buy a book I want but as soon as I finish off to the Library it goes. My local one has got so used to me now they know they will have the latest James Patterson heading through their doors very soon hahaha. They can save their budget money a little longer hahaha 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • We don’t have to keep things long either but people seem to do it. I just think they never go through their “file drawers.” I know my friend, S, doesn’t. She stashed things in a drawer or box and never looked again. Now she too is having the fun of shredding.

            You are right. We can’t take it with us so we need to use it now. Another thing I try to tell my family is that just because you have it doesn’t mean your kids want it when you are gone. Styles and tastes change over the years. Ask them and don’t be hurt if they say they don’t want it. Be glad they have their own unique style and ideas.

    • Hi Deb J, once again your mother never ceases to amaze. Pretty soon you will have nothing left to declutter.

      • She has really got the bug. It’s is slow because there is so much else to do but she is getting there.

  2. Can what I just decluttered today count for three days of mini-missions?!!!! Just kidding 🙂 I got rid of two bags full of “paper” plates, cups and napkins. Keeping all this for the family we MIGHT have over this summer, “just in case”. And IF they all come over, I had way “more than enough of”! Come to think of it, I did Sunday’s clutter mission also, yesterday. I cleaned out a punched tin pantry cupboard full of cereals, crackers, chips, etc. and made room for everything in the back hall pantry. Then needed my husband to help post the cupboard on Craig’s list. It sold and was picked up and paid for all in the same day! Whew! Love it when that happens. 🙂

    • Well done Kim. Stuff and a piece piece of furniture, now that is good decluttering. Nice selling effort too, quick and effective.

    • Way to go Kim.
      I already have a buyer for my Filing cabinet as soon as it’s empty it’s so long. I just hate having to hang on to the paperwork, but just wasn’t pre-pared to digitize it all and then have to dump it anyway!! Can’t wait for out the door day!!
      Well done you 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. I’m about to go away for 2 weeks so no decluttering for me for a little while…happy to report though that I brought in/gained 21 items this month but gave away/used up/threw away 139. Also worth mentioning that some of those 21 have already been used up or were clothes which didn’t suit me so I returned a week later and so they are counted in the 139 (I keep track week by week what goes in/out) so that 21 is actually less than that if you take that into account (I hope all that makes sense).

    I’m quite looking forward to living out of a suitcase for a while…favourites and essentials only! 🙂 So I guess even if I can’t declutter, I will be keeping it simple this week 🙂

    • Hi Jane, that did make sense however I am not sure I would count things coming in that are consumable and are used up quickly. The clothes however I would count but I would not count on both sides the items sent back because they didn’t suit. That is just trying on at home or “taken on approval” as my mum used to do when I was a kid.

      I like that you are keeping tack which to me says that you are trying to buy less. I have one question about the clothes though ~ Were they necessary or just an indulgence? ~ not that there is anything wrong with that but it is worth asking yourself that question. Reducing indulgent purchases is something to be proud of no matter what point you are at with that. I bought a skirt a couple of weeks ago that was an indulgence. However it was secondhand and I did donate another item of my clothing in an attempt to freshen up my wardrobe without adding to it. I do this on a fairly regular basis.

      • I don’t count things like bathroom items unless for example, I got a gift, because then it’s something that wouldn’t normally be there. I also don’t count food items, or paperwork because I think paperwork is a hard one to count – when it’s ALL done I will add that one to the list. I guess I counted these items because I had intended to keep them, even if I didn’t. It helps me see if I really am cutting back on buying or if I think I am but in reality I’m not doing as well as I thought and I’m still buying on the spur of the moment. Everything else gets counted though, no matter how big/small. I think this month’s items were mostly small but even my partner agreed there is a small, but noticeable difference in the room.

        In answer to your second question – they were intended to replace some older items as I’m trying to weed out the older/unwearable ones and replace them (I don’t want to throw them out without having a replacement or I’d have nothing to wear! Haha), but good quality clothing can be expensive, especially as a student – I did buy cheaper items recently and am already regretting it as they have shrunk in the wash already and so are 2-3 inches short in the sleeves, so they will have to go once I get over the disappointment.

        You are right also about indulgent purchases, I have cut back massively over the last year or so, it’s been a struggle but it’s getting a lot easier. I am about to go an indulge myself in a couple of items for my holiday this morning though before we get our flight this evening – they are items I’ve either been wanting for a while or which I’m going to use on holiday to try and get a sewing project completed. So indulgent but not spur of the moment indulgent? 🙂

        Sorry for the long reply, better go get ready now – don’t want to be late! 🙂

        • It is interesting that you say you are trying to keep a track of what you bring in so you can tell if you are really cutting back. This is a very good thing to do because sometimes people think we are cutting back because they don’t buy things immediately and therefore think they are practicing self control but they buy the items later anyway. The act of “depriving” themselves one day makes them feel like they are buying less when they aren’t. I am not suggesting this is what you are doing but it is smart of you to investigate the idea nevertheless.

          I can understand why you wouldn’t declutter your old clothes before the replacements arrive. I also understand why you would want to buy good quality. I will let you in on a little tip ~ I keep my receipts when I buy clothes. I then follow the cleaning instructions and if they shrink or fade or break (buttons falling off, zips not work…) within the first few months I return them to the store. I do not through away the labels or the receipt until that reasonable time is up.

          Good for you holding off on buying those little indulgences. That is what I do these days too. Quite often I decide I can do without the things in then end. I recently bought a jacket for my upcoming vacation to the UK in August. I ended up getting it at a very good price because I was prepared to wait/planned ahead. This jacket will get used over and over and over. On the other hand I have a frypan that doesn’t work well on the type of cook top I have. I am very tempted to replace it but while we are staring down the fact that we may be moving soon I will persevere with it because it may work perfectly well in the next house.

          Enjoy your trip. I hope you are going somewhere exciting for you.

  4. I dreamed I was visiting my parents and discovered two large boxes filled with a huge assortment of my sisters’ and my childhood stuff. In the dream, I was trying to sort out the obvious trash from the things I needed to process with my sisters. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten that stuff out of my parents’ home; better check again when I visit them in May.

    We discovered that the ceiling fan in our living room is coming loose from its housing over the weekend. My husband was able to clear out the area under the fan in just a minute or two, which was nice. In the past, there would have been clutter to relocate before the table could be moved.

    • Oh dear Rebecca J, all this decluttering has you dreaming about it. 😆 No harm in checking with your mother nevertheless. I am pretty sure my mum has nothing of mine. After 26 years I would hope not although I am sure I probably missed some things when I left. They would be well gone by now as she has moved house twice since then. Nothing my mother enjoys more than moving house. It is amazing she has only done it twice in all that time.

      Yikes, I have visions of that ceiling fan coming loose while rotating on high. Good thing the problem was discovered before it was too late. How lovely that it was so easy to manoeuvre things out of the way to do the repairs because of your decluttering efforts. Well done.

  5. Hi all 365ers
    Hope you all had a lovely Easter that was clutter free!!

    I am declaring war (yet again) on various areas!! I just celebrated my 49th and I have decided to spend the next 49 days getting rid of all school uniforms, books, calculators etc etc. All extra dance stuff that has been used for the last time and generally giving everything another go over AGAIN!!! Between moving into a rental, my son finishing at school and moving into the work force, growing out of clothes and changing seasons slightly, we seem to have yet again, accumulated STUFF!!! It must of multiplied while I had my eyes shut!! Not to mention all the paperwork that goes along with building a new home OMG!! sometimes I feel like I’m going under again.

    So!! Starting with 49 items already, I am swishing my wand over the entire house and plan to eliminate the ‘Clutter Creep’ that has managed to get past my radar. 49 shall be my number or numbers 4 a day or 9 a day or even 49 a day, if I get the filing cabinet in thereI’ll probably have 4 900 or 49 000 hahaha Here I go ! Happy Monday Everyone 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • How about nine a day for forty days. For starters anyway.

      Unlike you Dizzy, I am at the other end of the scale. One of my kids has moved out and the other is soon to follow so stuff is heading out the door in a hurry around here. I am so excited.

      • Hahaha, I just had a devilish thought, have you considered, Liam and his girlfriend may want to move back home and save so they can buy a house or store their stuff as they embark on a world tour photography trip!!!

        Seriously hope my son doesn’t decide to do that heehee 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • He can decide whatever he likes, it aint happening. We may not even be living here by the end of the year. The first thing my son told his girlfriend when we met her was “no backies”.

          • Hahahaha well then your job is done! Flown the coop with no returns! Aawww that is so good, you must be very proud to see him bounce back the way he has and move forward with determination. Well done.

            One question, will Liam let you display any of his photos on your site. I for one would love to see his work, unless he has an exhibit in Perth, can’t see myself in Newcastle too soon! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dizzy, this is a great idea. Makes it fun.

  6. I spent my weekend cleaning and decluttering. Can I count my weekend activities towards this week’s challenges? Let’s see. I had a beautiful blue vase that broke, I smashed it to make stepping stones in the garden (as soon as it’s warm enough to set), I have a pile of books to donate. Oh and paper, did I declutter paper. All the little scraps of notes are gone, I dealt with them and tossed them in the recycling, I purged magazines (I had 5, 3 are now gone). The fabric one I can work on this week. I have ordered new foam to reupholster my loveseat. The covers of the original cushions are being sewn together to make a cover to protect furniture from spills for my son’s house.

    I’ll give some thought to the rest of the challenges.

    • Whenever you work over the weekend that counts for double so yes you can have the rest of the week off. I just know you won’t be able to help yourself though though, so have at it!

  7. Great mini missions this week, just like everyone else seems to be in the decluttering mode, I too have already worked on some of the missions over the weekend without realizing I had done so. I decluttered some paper this weekend and hope to do some more tomorrow. I will admit it seems to be the hardest thing for me, paper items, I think it multiplies when I’m not looking:). I got the kids involved in going through their wardrobes this weekend. When the older one lets go of clothing, I have to make room for that stuff in my younger son’s closet, so each had to have a decluttering. It was a win-win situation. I have some clothes now to pass on to a friend who could use them. In addition, I took another donation bag of stuff to the donation center this weekend, along with some scrapbooking supplies. I was also working on Saturday’s mission too. I am using up and dwindling my amount of toiletries. I have a few toiletry items that I currently have more than enough of and I will be giving them to someone who would use them. The other missions will be just like you said, simple enough.

    • Hi Jen, well done. Sounds like you had a very productive weekend.

      I took care of some paper products as well. My son is having a photo exhibition this week and needed me to mount his photos for him. I used up 10 sheets of black cardstock and several sheets of photo matting board.

  8. Doing really well over here on the decluttering front. 2 bags of toys out the door this past weekend. Luckily, my kids love tiny little toys right now, so for ever 1 little thing in, 2 huge things go out. Fingers crossed their taste continues!

  9. I, too, did all of the mini-missions last week, but I’ll try to do them again this week.

    On Friday, I gave to a neighbor two tall glass storage containers; I got rid of some candleholders for my not-too-sentimental items; I gave away four bags of books and tossed some magazines for my paper item; for the just- in-case item, like Kim, I gave away disposable plates and cutlery that I was saving for summer picnics; I got rid of many items of clothing (mine and kids´clothes) for fabric; and for Saturday, I rid myself of extra pots and pans that I haven’t used for many years.

    This week I plan to repurpose a piece of scrap fabric by making a small curtain out of it. While the item won’t be leaving the house, it will be “decluttered” from the top of my sewing table, where it’s a constant reminder that I need to sit down and take care of it.

    I look forward to attempting the April habit changer, as our entryway is a dumping ground for many items. I think it might be safe to move to the garage a bag of salt and a snow shovel that I hope we won’t need until next winter. Note what an easy fix it is, yet the items still are there when they don’t need to be.

    • Hi Donna B, I must have been channelling your last weeks efforts when I made up this weeks missions. The are easy categories so I am sure you will find another 6 items to fit with them. The April challenge just came to me out of the blue but I think it is a good one for many people. It is odd that I should think of it though because now that my son has left home there is never anything cluttering up my entry. He always used to dump his shoes there when he came in even though the shoe cupboard was four feet away. ~ And under the breakfast bar, and in his bedroom.

      I wish you success with the mini missions.

  10. I feel as if I am waaaay behind you all – I haven’t been able to follow you for a few days. But I think about the lessons here, often. Yesterday a.m., I opened a pack of small breakfast sausages and would have put the uncooked sausages in a plastic zip bag, I thought Colleen would not do this, so grabbed a reusable plastic dish w/lid. I’m sure my hubby wonders why I am changing some of my behaviors, but this is all to the good! Actually a few things changed this weekend and I am really trying to minimize what I put in the trash (although I have also been a recycler).

    • Good for you Michelle. I have also noticed that my daughter has been following my eco habits in the kitchen. Now if I could just get her to turn of the light and fan in her bedroom when she leaves it to go somewhere. Ever vigilant me is never far behind her to make sure it is done though. She will have to learn better habits when she moves out because she and her partner will be paying the bills. I reminded them of this on the weekend.

  11. I decluttered a good bit this weekend, but for today’s mini mission I know that there are 3 drinking glasses in our cupboard that neither my husband nor I like that much. They will get pulled out and placed in the donation box when I get home from work today.

  12. Yay, I certainly feel the urge to declutter.
    This weekend I got Ikea shelving unit and I have promised myself that there will be no stray items left around rooms, once I will finish organizing my new storage place.

    • Hi Anda, this is a question not a judgement as I don’t know your circumstances ~ Did you really need new shelving or would a little extra decluttering have solved to storage problem. My experience with organising is that once all the clutter is removed there is more than enough space for what is left and because it is all useful it finds its logical place within the household. No organising skills or extra shelving required. Mind you I had no shortage of clever storage solutions already in place, hence all the hidden clutter, so I certainly didn’t need more once the clutter began leaving.

      • Well, although I could maybe go without this shelving unit at the moment, it is definitely a good piece to add, as we have in total
        an armoire for clothes, linens, towels, medicines, paperwork and cosmetics
        a dresser for smaller clothes, electronics, some crafts and stuff
        a bookcase for books, magazines, games and dvd’s
        a desk for school-related papers and books
        an underbed drawer for out-of-season footwear, extra blankets and camping gear 🙂
        No closets. None. Our in-season coats/jackets hang on hooks in “mudroom” and in off-season they live in my old luggage. 🙂
        To be honest I just didn’t see what bigger items I could declutter to get some more space for, for example, my craft items, currently being piled up in a corner.
        One other emotional issue – we’re planning to have children soon, so some more storage space will be needed and there are items I don’t want to get rid of because of these plans.

        If I will find out that I can downsize, I think that I will get rid of the bookcase, but for now I’m more focused on freeing the floor and avoiding overstuffed shelves.

        • Hi Anda, I can easily understand from your response that you most certainly can do with some more storage solutions, especially if you plan on adding a new addition to the family. Children do require certain stuff and it is nice to be able to keep it neatly arranged. Although even prior to the idea of having kids it sounds like you already needed this solution. Have fun rearranging and if it gets difficult just keep your focus on the positive end result. And good luck falling pregnant. 🙂

  13. Here is a comment I received through my contact page that I wanted to share with you all as it was intended.
    From Donna B.
    This is not in response to today’s posting but is a general comment.
    I’d like to thank everyone at 365 Less Things — from columnists to
    commenters — for helping me start to save my sanity. I’m feeling
    overwhelmed by all of our stuff and found this blog somehow. I’m up
    on current postings but also am reading posts from the archive. I
    enjoy Friday’s links to other blogs and am bookmarking like crazy,
    creating browser clutter!

    I’m using two methods to declutter: large-scale diving in and
    tossing as well as scanning a room for items that are out of place.
    I’ve decluttered my dresser drawers, all of my kitchen cabinets and
    drawers and am starting on the pantry. I currently am tackling a
    storage area and have dropped off many boxes and bags of donations the
    thrift store, the library store, and a woman who gives things to
    people who cannot even afford to shop at the thrift store. It will
    take me months to get through everything, and I’ll have to
    re-evaluate what didn’t make the cut this round, but each iteration
    should be easier than the previous one.

    This is such a nice, supportive, positive online community that I find
    myself pouring a cup of coffee and looking for the most recent posting
    before I wake the kids up for school in the morning, so thanks again
    to everyone for helping me to tackle a huge undertaking and giving me
    a great start to my day.

    • DonnaB, I am so glad you like our community and we have been of such help to you. Colleen has done a mighty good job of keeping us going and motivated. Her blog here is really a work of art plus a work of hours. I know I am very thankful for her and her work here.

      • I really do appreciate the comments on the site. I have enjoyed reading about everyone’s progress and their insights. I have such a long way to go, but it’s a nice feeling to have a few places in the house where I can rest my eyes and not sigh in dismay. I even open my cleaned out kitchen cabinets and drawers just to look!

        Deb, I loved your February column about whether your house matches your lifestyle, and ours no longer does. Once we had kids, many of our belongings were boxed up as a result of space issues and, as you said, lifestyle changes. This is part of the hidden clutter I’ve been trying to tackle. I need to get over the feeling that I’m getting rid of a part of myself when I get some of these things out of the house. Like your mother, we used to entertain much more. Now we tend to have our kids’ friends joining us for dinner, not our friends. Do I really need all of my beautiful serving bowls? All the beautiful candleholders I used to use most nights? And all of the other decorative items I have stashed away? Probably not, but I just can’t get rid of them because I hope to one day return to using them again (does this count as aspirational clutter?). I am trying to reduce what I have, though, even if I don’t get rid of it all.

        • DonnaB, I think it is hard to rid yourself of things you hope to use again one day — when the kids are out of the nest and you can have YOUR friends over.I think the point is do you really think you will have them over then? I have found that most of my friends want things to be casual and buffet style. They don’t want all the extra stuff because then they feel more formal and restricted. The only time most people ever use their special stuff is for Holiday Dinners or if they help with a special occasion elsewhere. I think we all have different needs and we have to decide whether something is actually going to be used and for what. Then we can move on to deciding whether to declutter those items or not. Since you aren’t using them now do you really think you will eventually go back to doing so or will you be so out of the habit that you don’t?

          • That’s such a great point: whether I’ll use these items again or not. I miss using that stuff, yet I’ve already told my husband that when the kids are out of the house (which won’t be anytime soon as they’re still young), I want to go to live simply and do things again. My big aspirations are to go to Brazil (I’ve wanted to learn to speak Portugese for 30 years and still haven’t done it – mental aspirational clutter) and to the Sundance Festival. There are a million other things I want to do, too, so part of my decluttering process is to face reality, which isn’t always easy! I’m working on it, though. I know it’ll be slow-going.

    • That is such an awesome comment! And what an achievement, Donna B. Overwhelming clutter can easily cause anxiety and a sort of freezing – like you don’t when, where, or how to start. It is great that you have been able to use what the bloggers and commenters on this site have to offer. Hooray! Keep up the good and hard work. \o/

      • Thanks, Rachel W. It has been nice to unfreeze. I’ve always been a cluttery sort, and this blog has me thinking about the psychological reasons behind it. I’ve liked the postings on the different types of clutter we have, and I’m terrible about both aspirational and nostalgic clutter. I think I’ve always viewed my stuff as a manifestation of my personality and interests, which it is, but I that doesn’t mean I need to display it or keep it all forever. I’ve had a hard time getting rid of books, in particular, but I’ve faced up to the fact that I’ll probably never pick most of them up again. I might have at one point in my life, but not now. I just don’t have the time, and when I do, there will be other things for me to read.

        I need to find that fine line between being a minimalist (which I know I’ll never be) and not being overwhelmed by what’s contained in the house.

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