Mini Mission Monday ~ Life Change Clutter

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.

Some of the clutter we accumulate over time is simply due to life changes. Growing older, changing interests, education, career change, kids growing up, injuries or illness, gaining or losing weight, relocating… All of these changes can leave in their wake items that are of no use to us. I am sure that we all have at least a little of this kind of clutter and this week we will work on it for our mini missions.

Monday – If you completed college or university more than five years ago it is probably time to declutter all those old college papers stacked in boxes in the attic, garage or basement. If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of them completely scan them and only keep the digital copies. Use text recognition software to convert the scans into editable and searchable text, making it easier to reference it should the need actually arise. It makes more sense to keep it in this format because it is far easier to access the information you need when you need it.

Tuesday – Go through your children’s clothing and assess what is worn out, no longer fits, is not useful to hand down to another of your children or be kept for another child should you be planning of having another one soon. Declutter what you will not need.

Wednesday – Declutter old sporting equipment for sports you no longer play. I have done this with our snorkelling gear, my son’s little league gear and  most of my softball gear as I have no intention of ever playing again. I kept my mitt as a keepsake because it is special to me and has lots of signatures from the Seattle Mariners on it.

Thursday – If you have moved sometime in the last ten years but still have clothing or equipment that does not fit with and has therefore not been used in your new location it is more than time you decluttered it. This could be clothing, sporting equipment, gardening implements, snow shovel…

Friday – Declutter old clothing that fitted with your previous life that are now no longer needed. This could be sports uniforms, work clothing, clothes that no longer fit, clothing that is inappropriate to the climate you now live in, clothing that is inappropriate for your age, maternity clothing if you have no intentions of having more children…

Saturday – Do a quick declutter of your children’s toys. There are often broken ones, ones they no longer enjoy to play with or ones they have simply grown to old for.

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.

February’s Habit Changing Challenge

Remember last month I set you the Habit Changing Challenge to make your bed everyday. How did you go with that? This month I have a new challenge for you. No leaving your clothes lying around. If they are dirty put them straight in the dirty clothes receptacle.  If you intend on using them again do not leave them draped over a chair, on the end of your bed or worse still, laying on the floor. Instead put them back on a coat hanger and hang them in a designated space in your wardrobe or provide hooks to hang them behind a door.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Eco Tip for the Day

Always at least consider the eco friendly option when buying products. Just be mindful that they are actually eco friendly and not just labelled that way to entice the innocent. Also don’t be lured into paying an exorbitant amount of money for these items. It seems to me that any company that is truly interested in doing the right thing by the environment would prefer to encourage us to do the right thing by charging reasonable prices rather than to prey on our concerns while gouging our pockets in the process.

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. Colleen, you have some good, interesting mini-missions here. I’m happy to say that I no longer have any of the things you have mentioned BUT I have a few other things I can be working on. Grin.

    I really like your eco tip. I agree that the price should be reasonable for things we use. I just wish we could say that also for foods for special diets. Whew! The prices they want for some things!! Thankfully, I can save money in other ways so that maybe I can afford the clean food.

    • Hi Deb J, I can understand things like organic food and free-range eggs being more expensive because there is a greater chance of loss due to lack of pesticides and less productivity per square foot with the free-range. However vegetarian, gluten-free or low carb doesn’t really make sense that it should be more expensive. Except perhaps for the smaller market share. But with the prevalence of these vegetarianism and food allergies these days even that seems like a lame reason. As for paying more for locally gown that makes no sense at all. If someone sells local therefore transport fees are low and if they sell direct to the consumer then they are getting a much better price selling at retail than they are for the portion they are selling to the big supermarket chains. Mind you I am no expert in this.

      What bothers me most is when some of these “eco friendly” product (not produce) manufacturers sell their products at inflated prices just because they put the “eco friendly” label on. They also advertise in a manner that suggests you buy more than any average person needs. Consumerism is consumerism no matter what the product it. Less is more when it comes to the pulling stuff from the earth, processing it, selling it to the public, shipping it all over the place and then ending up eventually as landfill.

      • Colleen, you are right about the organic and free range foods. Like you said it is the other stuff. When some of the major cereal companies are producing gluten-free cereals and the paleo & gluten-free diets are so prevalent here you would think that the foods for those would cost on the same lines as other products.

  2. The decluttering has continued and its been a very busy week: old pens and stationery; CDs, DVDs & videos; old tech accessories; travel books; scarves; skincare & haircare; magazines; out of date food & a fax machine!! Hardest task of the week – trying to get hubby to part with 300+ plastic wallets no amount of persuading worked!

    • Hi Mags,
      well done you. Keep suggesting the removal of those plastic wallets every now and again and he may weaken in the end. My husband decluttered the shoe care kit. He also removed some certificates from frames so we could just file them rather than have them cluttering up the walls. The frames haven’t actually left though because I think my daughter wants them. Oh, I so look forward to the day her and her partner get their first proper home together and she can take all her stuff with her. Wow that is going to be some declutter effort and will make a serious difference to how uncluttered my home is. Then we need to quickly downsize so that none of it can come back. 😉

  3. I realise after today’s post had published that I had forgotten to add this months Habit Changing Challenge. I have now added it to the bottom of the post if you would like to read it and participate. February’s challenge is about not leaving your clothes laying around.

    • Now this is a challenge for me!
      Apart from the dishes (which are better since november, but not perfect), this is my main weakness in everyday-tidiness. I’m definitely in! I’ll also try to get even better with the dishes and keep an eye on the garbage/recycling baskets in my flat.

      “My” thrift store is being renovated this month and I won’t be able to donate there until March, so I think I will focus this month on digital clutter and clutter that goes into the trash or recycling (old paperwork etc.) as well as my general tidiness (see above).

      • Sounds like a good plan Sanna. Focus on the things you can still declutter while the thrift shop is being renovated. You can also put things aside in a box to go to the thrift store when they reopen.

        Also good luck with keeping your clothes tidy. Whenever you are tempted to walk away and leave them there think of us here at 365 Less Things cheering you on.

        • I already set up a box, Colleen! Seems I can’t do without physical decluttering. Still, I’d prefer to not live with too many boxes for this month.
          However, I also did a major pillow makeover yesterday, in which I trashed some of the old shabby pillows and made new pillow cases for most of the remaining pillows (using up my fabric stash). I’m really happy about that.

  4. Colleen – Life Change decluttering – this was written for me! I didn’t get to read this post before I left for work this morning (usually I read while eating breakfast) as I was loading the car with bags of stuff that needs to be re-distributed, putting out stuff for freecycle, I realised that I had two levels of decluttering going on: one: the backlog from bygone eras (ie books, dvds, ceiling storage etc) and two: the current stuff or what I call end of the season stuff.

    I try to stay on top of the current stuff as the priority, before it sets down roots in its temporary location, and believe me stuff puts down roots really quickly. Both of my girls had a clear out, Dayna it was only two small baskets including last year’s school books etc, some mags and a few items of clothing. Courtney had a massive clear out of her clothes – 3 laundry baskets of clothes & shoes. And all this was dumped on my garage floor, right in the area I was working on my bookcase project.

    First of all I am pleased that Dayna is maintaining her minimal room and wardrobe and second, I am very happy that Courtney has come over to the light-side of minimalism. But it takes time to ‘process’ the outgoing stuff. What can be sold? What can go to goodwill? What needs laundering and/or repair before they leave? What can go to recycling? What can be freecycling? What can be passed onto family?

    I had hoped to make bigger progress on my bookcase project as it is holding up a re-arrange of furniture and I need to start another project as it is almost the optimum time opportunity. The girls old ballet and tap costumes have been in storage in a storage room upstairs at my work. I would have liked to have started on those last year but opted for dirt bike gear and snow board gear as I was able to get those listed on trademe at the start of each season. Feb/March is the ideal time to list costumes as folks are getting ready for the comp seasons, so I also need to get that underway.

    So yes, this post is very very applicable to me.

  5. Today I continued with the bookcases. To get hubby involved, I pulled out all his books from one shelf, organized them by topic and asked him to give me the ones he no longer wanted. I absolutely could not believe he parted with 13 books! Then I asked him for 5 shirts from the closet. I only got 3. LOL Then I went through my gardening, landscaping, and quilting books. The challenge was 5 and I did it!

    • Well done Michelle, it seems there are a few of us getting our husbands on board with the decluttering at the moment. Mine has a few things for sale on eBay. He also took care of a couple of tasks I asked him to do over the weekend. Yay!

  6. Good mini missions this week. I definitely have some paperwork that I can clear out. I manage to keep up pretty well with the kid’s clothes and the amount of toys are dwindling as the kids are getting older. I recently went thru the sports equipment also, so I think I am good there. These missions help me in remembering to take a second look though.

    Another garbage bag full went to the donation center this weekend, including two storage boxes. Every time I am able to do that, it really gives me energy to keep
    moving forward.

    • I am still working on sporting equipment. Apparently, my Burton Jim Rippey snowboard with the koi fish isn’t as big-ticket item as I have been perusing ebay. The question is, do I keep it in my closet where it is doing nothing or do I sell it for ten bucks or do I donate it? Argh.

      • What is more important to you Michelle? Keeping it and enjoying its beauty or liberating the space. For $10 I wouldn’t go to the bother of selling it on ebay. One mistake with postage and it could end up costing you rather than making you $10. Donate it if you are going to get rid of it.

        • Good idea. I once made a purchase on ebay and I know the postage exceeded the purchase price. I kind of felt bad about that.

    • Well done Jen. Going over the same areas over and over again may seen tedious to some but I personally can see the value in this. Not only for continual maintenance reasons but also because each time around I tend to be more ruthless which results in there being something else decluttered each time.

  7. Hi Colleen
    You asked about overweight and clutter… of course they are related… ask any Feng Shui consultant. Overweight is about protection… of self… for whatever reason, clutter is also about protection…. the more we have the more secure/protected we feel and don’t have to face other things going on in our lives… I know… I can relate to both… so yes your article would be interesting to read.
    Cheers
    Diana

  8. Boy, February’s habit changing mission really hits me between the eyes. I leave my PJ’s on the bed every morning and what I change into after work stays on the footstool every day because I wear the same thing for several days. Only a few hours each evening does not constitute a washable item until it has been worn most of the week. Also, I usually leave my day clothes on the cedar chest for a day or two, then hang everything up or put it in the hamper. So, this will be a good challenge for me every day. I did really well with making my bed in January and only left it unmade on the days that I changed the bed linens. So, I think the habit is in place for that and I love coming into the room in the evening and seeing how tidy the room looks with the bed made. Now, I have 2 new habits: making the bed and having the kitchen clean before bedtime. Colleen, thanks for helping us form new habits to make things look better in our homes.

    • Hi Maggie, I am so glad you are doing so well with the new daily habits. It does make a difference on how you feel about yourself and the space you live in. Keep up the good work. Perhaps you would like to give me a suggestion for next months challenge. Anything else you need to work on?

      • Hi Colleen!
        Whatever you choose for next month’s challenge, I’d appreciate if there was some kind of repetition of the challenges over the course of time or regularly a general “keep it tidy” challenge like in November. Because I think that new readers will drop by and also it’s always good to sometimes reinforce old habits.
        I’d like a mail/correspondance challenge some day, in which you should answer emails or letters regularly and don’t let mail build up. This is a hard one for me.
        Also, garbage is sometimes piling here (hate to admit that!), okay, “piling” might be exaggerated, but it’s five floors from our apartment to the outside garbage cans, so we usually bring it away on our way out – or rather: we should, but this is also something I’m likely to forget. Same goes for glass and other recyclables that go to containers down the street…

        • I like your correspondence challenge idea Sanna. I will most definitely use that suggestion.

          Some places make it so hard to recycle don’t they. Imagine how many people would refuse to recycle because they have to walk down the street to do it. I gave three of my neighbours “No Junk Mail” stickers to put on their mailboxes last week. Two have used them. They haven’t done it before because they are all employed and buying such a thing is not on their minds when getting other shopping done in the little spare time they have. I was so glad to get the ball rolling for them. And it was Wendy B. who bought the stickers to give me. She has heard me mention it before and even I hadn’t go around to buying them.

  9. I have a friend who leaves all the dirty dishes and pots/pans on the counter or in the sink and then cleans up in the morning. There is no way I could stand that. Just the idea of getting up and seeing a kitchen mess. Ugh! I am not a neatnik about it, but I like seeing a clean kitchen in the a.m. as I am drinking my first cup of coffee, already made with the timer set!! 😉

    • Hi Michelle, I have to confess right here and now that I sometimes do this as well. My excuse it that I would rather snuggle up on the couch with my husband. I promise I will try to be better.

      • I completely understand and agree with that choice to snuggle! [guiltfully] I will occasionally leave the crockpot soaking in the sink overnight, and then I wonder why the Washer Fairy didn’t take care of it!

  10. Hi there! I haven’tt commented on this site for ages, but now i had to chime in. I really like the idea of converting college /uni papers to digital format. I should have thought of that sooner! I graduated 3 years ago, and have decluttered a lot of stuff since then, but a box of papers on the hardest subjects has persisted to take up valuable closet space. I’ll have to research how I can file and acces them easily in digital format, but it will so be worth the space it frees up! Thanks for the idea!

  11. Colleen, I hate to dust and my husband would like me to do it everyday. We live on a main street and trucks generate lots of dust which seeps into my house and makes a mess. Now, I don’t mind it but it drives my husband crazy. He is there all day (lucky retired person) and sees the house from a different perspective than I do. He sees the sun shining on the furniture and sees the dust everyday. Me, by the time I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is check for dust bunnies. I am lucky to get dinner on the table by 8 pm. So, dust is the least of my concerns. I guess my next challenge will be to dust at least once a week. Even if I just use the feather duster, it will be an improvement. If you can work this into a challenge, that may help me to remember to do it. Or something like, clean up the bric-brac so dusting will be easier. If I didn’t have so many pictures or accessories sitting around, it might be easier to dust. Maybe you can make this into a challenge.

    • Since the dust bothers your husband and he is home all day, tell him he can take care of that problem. He has more time than you do at home and you are tired when you get home from work. Bet that will either shut him up or get him moving. TeeHee.

    • Maggie – I am with Deb J, present the man with a duster.

    • It sounds to me that you are doing more than your fair share already Maggie. Maybe I will do next months mission on choosing a task to delegate to someone else in the household. Sometimes the household tasks become the domain of one person to the point where it doesn’t occur to them to enlist help from someone else just as capable. I have made this mistake in the past but I am finding that allowing others to take care of some of the tasks improves everyones well being. One person for letting go and the others for perhaps learning new skills.