Mini Mission Monday ~ Too much to move

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.

This weeks missions reflect some of the experience that I had today helping my son and his family move house. I was there to help clean as the rooms cleared, a task that has some lessons of its own.

Monday – Declutter a couple of excess items under your kitchen sink. Specifically excess cleaning supplies. Nearly every bit of cleaning we did today was achieved with my vinegar concoction and a jar of Gumption (a cleaning paste). So be realistic about the space that needs to be wasted in your home housing chemicals that you don’t need.

Tuesday – Declutter something that became redundant when you replaced it with something new. A build up of stuff is what clutter is all about after all. Either use what you have or if you replace it get rid of it.

Wednesday – Gather up a group of similar items that have spread throughout your home. That may be pens, hair ties, nail files, small tools… Once you have them all together declutter the excess and store the rest in one place.

Thursday – Declutter a couple of things you have way too many of. Perhaps, shoes, handbags, makeup items, blankets, towels…

Friday – Go to your most cluttered room, closet, cupboard, take a good lock at it and think ~ ‘What would I not want to have to pack up and move to a new home?’ Declutter at lease a couple those items.

Saturday – Empty out to declutter a kitchen drawer, particularly one that holds a variety of different things. Perhaps a kitchen junk drawer.

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

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Having moved myself lately and having some interiour “projects” going on in various rooms (kitchen,…) I can second each and every one of these missions. 😀

  2. Last night we were discussing the things we would leave behind for the young folks who have bought our house. Ian has been hankering for a new barbecue for years so we will leave the old one here. He wanted to keep the rotisserie, though, because it’s like new. Then he realized it’s like new because WE NEVER USE IT. Soon he was heard muttering, “Litter, clutter, litter, clutter. We leave the rotisserie.” Next we looked at the accessories for our fireplace. We won’t be needing the chimney brushes or the ash pan, etc. because we will have a gas fireplace. He did want to take one of the pokers for use when we have campfires but….he’s a retired firefighter. We DON’T HAVE campfires!! More muttering of “litter, clutter, litter, clutter. We don’t need it. It stays.” I have deliberately held onto unwanted linens to use for the move but they will be decluttered when we unpack. We will also deal with books when we unpack. They have become jumbled as it is most efficient to pack by size so we will have to un-jumble and have a good and realistic look at what we want to keep. It’s a shame we couldn’t have done this before the move but I’m just thankful for the change of attitude over time.

    • Wendy B – I had a good chuckle reading your husband’s responses. I also had a good chuckle reading about your boxes of books as I recalled when I moved to this house I had boxes and boxes and boxes of books. So my husband made me carry them out to the van (we shifted ourselves) and then into the new house. I think he was attempting some sort of tough love. I would have walked over hot coals back then to keep my books! All I can say is “Yay for e-readers!”.

      See if you can read Marie Kondo’s chapter on books before you unpack them or get Colleen to have a post written on the topic, it would be fun to get ‘real time’ feedback from you.

      • Here’s a funny thing, Moni. I ordered Kondo’s book from the library but accidentally ordered the audio book. Somehow, LISTENING about how to fold t-shirts didn’t make sense. I am on the (long) wait list for the print version.
        We have two kinds of books in this house. Novels which we get cheap or free, read and then leave behind or donate are useful for hopitals or travel. The challenge here is to keep the number flowing out greater than the number flowing in. The rest are our reference library, mostly about birds or plants or useful skills/crafts. These are not ‘e-reader’ types of books and cause us the most problem. Ian did use the term ‘second-hand book store’ yesterday so perhaps some of the still useful but redundant ones will trickle out too. Stay tuned for further developments….. W

        • Wendy B – I watched her folding on youtube. That was as far as I took her folding methods.

          We’ve found that a lot of our reference books were put into storage when we painted the house about 18 months ago and they haven’t been unpacked since. We evolved neatly onto using google and youtube instead. The majority will be going to the next book fair.

    • Hi Wendy, let me know when you are all settled into the new house and, with your permission, I will post a blog with a collect of your comments over the years. It will make for a great example of how far you have come. And especially how far Ian as come. “Litter clutter litter clutter.” , he is so funny.

      • Oh, now wouldn’t that be a recipe for divorce!!! But we’ll talk about it over the summer and see what transpires.

        Meanwhile….today we loaded the china cabinet into the truck and took it, plus a box of the useless stuff we stored in it, to an antique store. Gone, gone, gone.

        • Hi, Colleen and Wendy B. I would really enjoy reading that blog post. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

  3. Grace from Brazil

    We are in the midst of moving and I must say it has been way easier and faster than ever before. Yesterday the big victory were the DVDs and board games. We were finally able let go of so many. I also have had way less to give away than also is normal since I have been at this decluttering for about 4 years. All of our personal belongings, besides furniture, are in about 6 or 7 large storage bins. Our biggest “problem” are our books since my husband and I are both teachers, readers and my daughter is also an avid reader. (She reads and re-reads most of the books she has). I really enjoy moving because it forces me to get rid of those more difficult items that I let hang around. Finally yesterday I got rid of a small nightlight/deodorizer that I love but always forget to use and really has had no place. When I finally let it go and I told my husband about it,and in a good 365-less-things-attitude he said, “Good job!”

  4. I”m waiting for our move. I have two multi-drawered craft keeping units that I have been using for many things. Once can move I will sell them as the new place has built in selving in one closet. I plan to then use a few baskets to put the things That will cut down on having to store s.

    • Last week I commented that I was in a bit of an odd mindset in that all previous attachments to items seems to have loosened up but I was experiencing a type of fatigue with dealing with the getting stuff to here, there and everywhere. I have decided to focus on the good part of the situation, the part where I can happily put things without experiencing guilt or emotional connection etc. I have a tall box that I am hiffing things as I come across them. Out of sight for now, I’ll deal with the other end of the equation later. 🙂

      • I try to have faith that if I take something to the wrong place (Salvation Army), someone will use Craigslist or Freecycle or whatever to get it to the right place. Sometimes that’s the best you can do.

  5. My husband has a trailer loaded with ‘stuff’ ready to go to the tip. He has it covered so he can’t see what he put in there and maybe have second thoughts about disposal.
    I know he is not planning on moving, but I’m glad he is starting to let go of stuff that would hinder any prospect of us selling and moving.
    He was recalling about our last two moves where Hercules and Noah were required to help us move machines and animals.
    I am sure Colleen’s son and family appreciated the extra pair of hands to help them move and clean up.

  6. Also to all the New Zealand 365ers Happy Queens Birthday – may you not take advantage of the big sales opportunity and may you have a restful day off work!

  7. Oooh I love this week’s theme!

    Tuesday’s is especially relevant at the moment as I just got back from holidays. I held back from buying many souvenirs, and most of what I got is consumable (eg jam, fudge), however there were a few things that I had worked out beforehand that I would look for while I was away, which I hope to enjoy for a long time and are replacing something else (eg a hand-carved large wooden spoon replacing a cheap plastic one).

    I also want to focus on Friday’s, and reread a few times your ‘declutter as if you are moving house’ post from last week. I don’t have any definite plans to move anywhere but I don’t plan on staying where I am forever and I love the idea of feeling less anchored to where I am just because of my stuff.

  8. “Gumption” made me smile, Colleen. How appropriate, in more ways than one!

  9. Hi everyone, after a day of cleaning( including an oven), toting, fetching and assembling a piece of furniture, and now cooking roast chicken dinner for the whole tribe, I am too tired to respond to everyone’s comments. Thank you though for responding I have had a fun time reading them all.

  10. Monday’s task took care of itself when the sink sprung a leak while hubby was washing up the other night! Everything came out, and even though I know I had decluttered that area, it needed a firm hand again! Looks lovely now!
    Those of us in the USA have just had to resist the Memorial Day sales, so good luck to those resisting the Queen’s Birthday sales! Love that this community is world wide, it makes reading the comments even more interesting!
    The kitchen junk drawer is going down this week for sure! Will do my best to hit the other challenges also. Best of luck and good wishes to all!

    • What are the Queen’s Birthday Sales? I live in the UK and I’ve never heard of that. I hope it’s not some tedious marketing nonsense that we are going to suffer. Mind you as far as I can tell the Queen never buys anything. She just gets stuck with all those gifts from people whenever she goes to open something or visit something. Can you imagine what the cupboards in Buckingham Palace are like? That would be one hell of a de-cluttering challenge! When I was little I used to think it would be great to be born into a family who lived in a big stately home with all those paintings and four poster beds and statues. These days I just think poor souls who inherit that. Think of all that responsibility for preservation and dusting and large insurance policies and security. Best to have them as museums or converted to hotels with modern plumbing systems.

      • I like my little flat where slowly, slowly, I am beginning to see space between the stuff. I didn’t realise how much I like space. Reading all your comments and stories keeps me focusing on that enjoyment when I wobble about getting rid of something.

      • Salley – Queens Birthday is a different date in each country of the Commonwealth, its not the Queen’s actual Birthday but allows formalities to be observed without stretching the Queen too many ways. And of course it has turned into yet another shopping opportunity for retailers to maximise most of the population being off work for the day.

  11. All this moving discussion is awesome. In my childhood we moved about every two years due to my Father’s career; in single adult life I moved between cities for my own career; then when I married we moved every three years because of my husband’s work (military). Therefore, as much as possible ‘stuff’ has always been kept as simple as feasible because one gets tired of hauling ‘stuff’ around! However, now we have been in our current house for 3 years, with no upcoming decision to go anywhere (yea!). I like being in one spot! However, my decluttering has fallen through the cracks and this post has helped me. Now I can look at what we have, and although we are not planning a move, I can ask myself what is ‘stuff’ (this or that) for? Just because we have storage space and just because we are not planning a move doesn’t mean I have to keep ‘stuff’ (such and such an item) or even buy something! Thanks for this refresher course!

    • We’re military, too, and moving soon. I love that 365 has had a moving theme lately! I, too, try to keep things to a minimum so our moves are not as stressful. In fact, we have a running joke in our house: If my husband can’t find something (because I got rid of it), he says, “The movers must have gotten it.” LOL.

      • Awesome, hello fellow ‘military’ 365 family!

        Yup! The movers must have gotten it! That’s cute,

    • Hi Annabelle, it is so lovely to hear from you. Still struggling with the decluttering hey. How are you all? Have you been reading the whole time or just here and there and did you notice that the moving theme was inspired by Liam moving house with this wife and stepdaughter. Yes, he has come a long way since October of 2010 when we were all praying that he would recover from his injuries. Well those prayers sure were answered. There is a baby on the way as well.

  12. My friend is struggling with the needs of her husband who is terminally ill. They would like to move to be closer to his family but they can’t. They are buried under three generations of crap: my friend’s crap, her mother’s crap and the crap that was dumped on her mother when her grandmother died and left a huge house stuffed to the brim…40 years ago. The other day someone offered to buy my friend’s house and she couldn’t accept because of the volume of stuff she has yet to get rid of. I can’t help — she’s 1000 km away. Her sister can’t help — she has a garage full of her share of the family crap. Having to declutter under duress makes it that much harder and not being able to take advantage of an opportunity is sad. We never know when we might have to move. It doesn’t hurt to think about it ahead of time.

    • That is so sad…..both the husband’s illness and the generations of crap. 🙁
      I wish her the best.

  13. Such wonderful, helpful ideas I am finding here! Would you mind sharing your vinegar concoction and gumption recipe?? I love making homemade non-toxic cleansers, so that definitely caught my eye!

    • Hi Cheryl, I don’t make the Gumption, I buy it at the supermarket.
      The vinegar concoction is –
      One cup of white vinegar. I have a jar that is filled with lemon peels that I steep together with the vinegar until I have to make the next batch. Then I strain it into a 750ml spray bottle add a squirt of dishwashing liquid and top it up with water.
      Once that is done I refill the jar of lemon peels with vinegar until the next time.

  14. When I read this week’s mini missions, I thought I have those areas already decluttered. I thought I’d just take a look to make sure. Glad I did! Found a couple of things that I put on the use up challenge. But found several items to add to my garage sale pile. Thanks Colleen for the weekly creative missions.

  15. I forgot to say one of the items I found under the sink was brush to clean the filter on a juicer. The juicer is in the sale pile & now I can be assured that all the parts for the juicer are accounted for. Thanks for giving me the incentive to look under my sink!

    • Well done Calla. The kitchen is a place that really ought to be under continues surveillance as all manner of things come and need to go from there. It holds most of the items that reside in our homes after all.

  16. What a good set of missions! I don’t use a lot of different cleaning supplies, so that one is easy. I’m on a use-it-up challenge for what I do have, since we are moving in 90 days. Car cleaning supplies, however, are a different story! I love car cleaning supplies, and I have way too many. Movers won’t pack them, so I’ll use them up and/or donate them when we move.

    As for everything else, I am 365-ing like crazy. I’m moving from a 3-bedroom house to a small apartment, so I’m only packing the absolute necessities. I’ve taken four SUV-loads to the Salvation Army since December, and that has made a huge difference. I have a way to go, though. I’d better stop “talking” and go find something for my Salvation Army pile. 🙂

  17. Wow I must have been having yet another busy week. How is it that people find time to go to paid jobs? Anyway I just wanted to say sorry that I haven’t had a chance to respond to all these wonderful comments and also just realised that I haven’t published a post for today either. I might not have time to comment on this post but I promise I will find time today to write a post for tomorrow.

    • You’ve been busy! I hope you had a chance to take a break and catch your breath. The moving theme has been a good one.

  18. The Other Christine

    I think about my next move when I’m trying to get aggressive with my decluttering. We don’t have a specific move in mind, but we’re unhappy with the place we’re currently renting and moving is one of the hurdles that keeps us in our current place. Having less to move makes me feel like I have more possibilities.

    Then, because I was writing this, I looked at apartment listings and we now have an appointment to view one that’s available in 3 months so perhaps there will be a move soon after all.

    • That gives you three months to do some ruthless culling. I hope you find the right home for you and your move goes smoothly. The less the better.

      • The Other Christine

        We signed a lease on a townhouse and we move in 2 months. I immediately tried to go into ruthless culling mode in preparation, but couldn’t find much to do. In the last year of decluttering we’ve reduced our stuff by at least half, and there aren’t huge amounts of things to get rid of. So instead I’m starting to pack.

        • Good for you Christine. And by handling everything you own during the packing process is the best way to find any other clutter that you hadn’t yet identified.