Mini Mission Monday ~ Useful but too plentiful

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Things you may still have more of than you need 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 […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Perishables 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 […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Nooks and Crannies 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Those are all good mini missions this week. I think, I’ll easily find an item for each category.

    • Glad you liked them Sanna and I hope you do find something to match each one that you can clear from you home.

      • I don’t have a surplus vacuum cleaner, but I did know that I would find some surplus brush or brrom in my cleaning supplies – and I did! πŸ˜‰ So out it went.

  2. Colleen, either you are getting even funnier or I am getting more easily entertained; I find this category has hit my funny bone – and hit my weak spot – the vacuums (we have 3 and a hand vac), the stationery items (“ordinary stuff so I could save the cute stuff for good” – yes! that IS the thought process, but when I see it in black and white it is hilarious), the utensils (already decluttered), the sewing supplies/material, and the socks.

    About the vacuums – one is a central vac, which needs major work and will not be fixed, one is going to our daughter. That leaves the ones we actually use.

    I like your idea about the socks and although I’ve been giving them away, and throwing them away, and wearing them out, they are still coming out of the woodwork, so I’ll give this method a try. I think it’s also time to stem the tide – every year at Christmas my husband gives me a large package as a stocking stuffer. I will have to remember to remind him this year that I have plenty. I may need to suggest an alternative, otherwise he’ll still buy them πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jo H, I am glad you are finding me amusing. That is certainly an improvement on the judgement of my personality last week. πŸ˜‰ Pity about your broken vacuum I was hoping you would say the they were all in perfectly good condition and you should donate two to the thrift shop. My daughter is in need of one at the moment and I thought I might be on a winner there for a moment. Oh well.

  3. We also have a hand vac and it has one major use – no need for a fly swatter. Saves a lot of chasing and flailing and cursing — and wiping up icky splatted fly goo.

    • Hi Wendy B, could you send me a video of your technique as I am intrigued as to how that works. πŸ˜‰ We had a bad year for flies here his year and your tip may come in handy is the same occurs next year.

    • Hilarious Wendy B!!!

  4. Only one vacuum here, so no decluttering needed for Monday’s challenge. But I am tempted to get an iRoomba or equivalent.

    I recently decluttered my sewing basket. But in the manner of decluttering, I can always have another look. It’s funny how you think you’ve decluttered but always find more that should go when you look again. I think it is because that you get better or more honest with what you need and use as you travel along the decluttering journey.

    I’m the same with cute or “for good” stationery. I have so many bits and bobs, that are no longer needed with only one child left at school and that one about to finish. Maybe wait for potential grandchildren. Lol!

    Thamks for the great ideas. I definitely need to go the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mini-missions. and will join in with these.

    • Hi Lucinda, I don’t usually encourage purchasing anything at 365 Less Things but I have to say I did love my iRobot vacuum. There are a few drawbacks though. I don’t think they could possibly do as deep a clean as a normal vacuum cleaner. And after time, two years at most, the battery block needs replacing. If my memory serves me correctly this costs about $50 which is a big on going cost. The beauty of them is that they do the work for you and get under beds and such. They usually only do one large room before they need recharging. The truth is though, even though, as I’ve already said, that I loved my irobot I clearly didn’t love it enough the warrant replacing the battery pack when it stopped charging or the power cord when we moved from from the USA back to Australia. That would have cost $150. This house is much smaller though and has a lot of tiles and the robot was very noisy on the tiles. It just wasn’t going to save me enough time anymore to warrant the expense. In fact I only replaced my hand vacuum when the last ones battery pack died because I picked one up of $5 at the thrift store.

      Your a right Lucinda you do get better or more honest with what you need and use as you travel along the decluttering journey.

  5. Great mini missions this week. I have always had a weakness for pretty paper too, whether it be stationary and accessories or scrapbooking paper. I am much better now and I do not have as much of this stuff anymore. The kitchen stuff is pretty much under control, but I think that some things could use another look, especially the things that are not getting much use. I only have the bare minimum for sewing/mending items. I do wish that I could sew more, but it has not happened yet.

    • Hi Jen, you seem to have many of the areas of your home under control, well done. I am confident that my kitchen is in good shape too. Anything I had any doubts about was offered to the kids as they moved out recently.

      Like you sewing and craft has gone a bit by the wayside for me. Not because I couldn’t find the time I just don’t. Makes me think that the craft area will be revisited soon with intent to declutter a little more.

  6. Ah stationery…I too have a love for it. At present I have a box under the bed which is full of notebooks, however I haven’t bought any in 8 months now and I seem to be going through them at a rate of 1-2 per month which is okay (I recycle every page once I am done with it). I did gift one little notebook away a few weeks ago and plan to maybe let a couple more go of the ‘too good to use’ notebooks as despite all the time I’ve had them I’ve never found anything ‘good enough’ to write in them. The exception to this is that I have kept one small paperblanks notebook for all my favourite quotations for the last few years and regularly add to it when I find a new quote which inspires me.

    Funnily enough I did a round up of my highlighters the other day…I have over 20+ and as I have now passed my ‘highlighter stage’ (it was a very real addiction, trust me!) I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them. I no longer keep hand written notes for my studies but instead use Microsoft’s OneNote; I also don’t print articles or keep paper hand outs so have little use for them. However I don’t know anyone else who uses highlighters and have already dropped hints at friends I think might need any. As I’ve already used them all at some point they’re not really re-saleable, so they are stuck waiting for me to figure out what to do with them all! Any suggestions anyone?

    • Hi Jane W, identifying a weakness is the first step to overcoming it, so well done you.

      As for those highlighters, donate them to a thrift shop. We get stationery donated to the thrift shop where I work all the time we either sell them or use them in the store. We don’t have to buy pens & pencils very often that’s for sure.

      • Colleen – good to hear that highlighters are of interest to thrift shops as my girls between them were able to fill an old pencil case of highlighters, felts and a small pack of colour pencils and our master plan was that as they needed to replace items for school, they’d grab one from this pencil case which lives in my desk drawer. I don’t think they’ve come back for a highlighter in the last year, I get the impression that they don’t really use them anymore and I’ve been left holding the baby so to speak.

        • Hi Moni, another great place to offload pens, highlighters and the like is schools. Get the girls to drop them into the office and I am sure the teachers and staff will be most grateful. I have donated to both the thrift shop and the local school to declutter all my excess.

          • Colleen – that’s a great idea – I straight away think of the Primary school my kids attended as each teacher had a stationery budget but whatever wasn’t spent was allowed to be transferred to the class camping/field day fund for their class and so each classroom went to great lengths to conserve stationery, find bargains, request surplus items from homes and parent’s work places etc to reduce the costs of camp/field trips. The classes stationery supplies might have been a bit hodge podge, but most classes were able to do supply themselves for a fraction of what the government department allowed for them.
            Next I think of a particular teacher who made such a huge positive impact on one of my daughters life and she still works there, so I’m going to offer them to her first. Even better I believe she is teaching one of my nieces! Thanks for the idea.

  7. Great mini-missions. MON–only two vacuum cleaners with one being a handvac. It’s an old one and I would like to get rid of it. The only thing we use it for is the car interior. TUES–I have a few more kitchen utensils I would love to get rid of. Mom has not been in agreement. I need to keep working on that. WED–Stationary used to be a real problem for me just like scrapbook paper was. I love paper products for some reason. Can’t figure out why. THURS–We have a few pans and trays I would like to get rid of but again I have to work on Mom about this one. Someday. FRI–Sewing items are another area I think Mom could work on but will leave that to time. SAT–I have 6 pair of socks and all are black. I only wear them in the few months of “winter” we have here in AZ. They last forever because I wear them as little as I can get by with. Mom is the same. NOW I do have to report that I took all of my rubber stamps off the wood blocks and put them on a new backing that makes them more like clear stamps. Went from 3 drawers being used to 1. Love that. I also spent some time last week cleaning all sorts of files off of my laptop. I have very little on there now. I’m real happy about that. I got all of our legal paperwork (wills, powers of attorney, etc) redone to reflect the move and other changes. And, I was able to get rid of some more books. Love it all. The more gone the better.

    • Hi Deb J, have you considered moving those utensils, pans and trays you don’t want into a box and out to the back shed. If your mother doesn’t notice them gone bring them back in about a month and draw her attention to the fact that she didn’t miss them.

      Well done with the rubber stamps. I assume you can buy a product that acts as a non permanent adhesive to transform them. I am curious as to what that is. I don’t have a lot of rubber stamps but I am all for reducing the space they take up nonetheless.

      • I have thought about doing that Colleen. I just need to do it when she isn’t here. If that ever happens.

        The stuff I got is from Stampin Up and is called Clean Mount Cling Foam. You take the rubber part off the wood and then put it on the sticky side of this. The other side has a white liner you take off when you use it on a clear mount and then put back on when you are done. I really like it. It comes in a package of two 8-1/2 X 11 sheets. You stick them all on and then have to cut around them.

        • Deb J – I was thinking along the same lines as Colleen ie removing them and seeing what is noticed. It is along the lines of Project 333 for wardrobe whereby you box up everything else, tape it shut and put it away for the duration of the challenge. So maybe you could put it to her as part of a challenge for say, one month, to get by on X amount of bakeware but if there’s a baking “emergency” you can get it back out.

          • I have thought of this Moni. Mom’s problem is that since we have room in the drawers and we MIGHT use it one day why get rid of it. So I have to work on her first or just have them disappear.

        • Deb J – I’ve been thinking a bit about this – at one stage Adrian had the same mentality that there was room on the shelf or drawer for an item, so there was no pressure to get rid of it. So I set up a small box in the kitchen in the bottom of the pantry. And one by one I moved items to it as I came across them. This was also quite clever as there was no shock change the next time he opened the cupboard and he too got used to seeing more white space.

          A couple of items have moved back as I realised I did need them but what I did find is that rather than crawling into the bottom of the pantry to retrieve (insert whatever) I’d improvise and after a few months I’d automatically opt for the improvised item rather than the specialised piece. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but here’s where I’m going with it. It was still in the kitchen. So when Adrian said “where is the such-and-such? did you throw it out?” – I could say “no its in the box at the bottom of the pantry, what do you need it for? Ok, you can either use XYZ or you can get the box out and find it”. And next thing he was using the improvised item too. So maybe you could experiment with this idea with your mum – she sounds quite wiley and probably wouldn’t be fooled by a trial seperation to the garage but she might go for “I’m just storing the things I don’t use regularly to free up some space for the things we use daily/weekly, but they’re all still in the kitchen if we need it”.

      • I forgot. I had duplicates of most of the colors I liked in both scrapbook pens and in colored pencils. So I went through both sets and gave away all but my real favorites and only kept one of each kind of those. By doing this and getting rid of some other things in the craft line I went from two drawers to one. YES!!!!

  8. Bakeware would be a good one for me to look at this week, the deep drawer that it all sits in remain the only full looking space in the kitchen. I was going to tackle it earlier in the year but as I recently became interested in cooking, I decided I should wait and see if this expanded into baking as well. I think apart from my spring ring baking tin and some muffin trays, the rest is probably surplus. Like Colleen, I’d rather one slice of something magnificent as a treat at a cafe than a whole cake sitting at home calling my name, so probably best I don’t pursue the baking hobby too far.

    Well I survived my big weekend of daughter at school ball – she looked beautiful – and then driving 3 hrs the following day for her ballet exam – what a stressful couple of weeks it has been, and we literally got thru Friday, Saturday, Sunday on an hour by hour basis, but it is done, results of exam pending of course, but finally the pressure is behind us.

    This week the renovations continue at my work place and I will need to keep chipping away at the decluttering work to be done here. Have forgotten what it is like to walk into an area and feel slightly overwhelmed and not entirely sure where to begin. I’m sure I will eventually conquer. What I wouldn’t give for a team of well trained Oompaloompahs today. Oh that’s right, I’m the well trained Oompaloompah! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Moni, I suspect you are right about quashing the idea of pursuing a baking hobby. After all the weight you have lost and the clothes replacing that entails you don’t won’t to end up back a square one. The kids really don’t need it either.

      I am glad you can take a breather for a while now that your daughters busy weekend and lead-up is behind you. I bet she is heaving the biggest sight of relief.

      I think you are deceiving us Moni. I know you are just loving all the decluttering and reorganising at work. I would love to come over and be one of your Ooomploompahs but it is a long way and probably far colder than here so I will stay put. Sorry.

      • Colleen – yes it would be counter-productive to pursue baking and the ordering a treat at a cafe is equally about the company and the experience.

        I’m very happy these two big events are over, and yes she’s looking a lot less stressed today. And happy daughter always equals happy mother. Next year I have two at the School Ball, so I may jot down a few notes tonight on what I would and wouldn’t do differently next year while it is fresh in my mind.

        Oh yes I do love decluttering and at least I know exactly what is going to take to get the job done, but a fair percentage of what is upstairs in this room is my husbands stuff and while he wants it all “dealt with” it will be interesting to see how he feels about my suggestionsand/or methods. Unfortunately as things were delivered to this area, things were just dumped on the nearest free space and it could take some effort to straighten it up first, especially as the items which are the most likely candidates to be sold are right over the back. And as it is upstairs it isn’t really easily possible to pull everything out of the room. So yes it is a bit of a challenge but perseverence is the key and a big set of muscles to help shift things around.

        • I absolutely agree Moni, having something nice at a cafe is most certainly about the company and the experience. People watching for one. Wendy F, one of your fellow 365ers and I do this frequently with the a game of UpWords thrown in for good measure.

          I also agree on the happy children happy mother theory.

          I wish you patience and brevity in your quest to declutter the work space. Good luck my friend.

          • I love my coffees with Colleen too! Nothing like having a ‘personal trainer’ in the Declutter field to help me!

          • Colleen – I agree about people watching. Sneaky eating is soooooo easy at home and as for comfort eating……can honestly say that after a bad day, I have never lamented that I’ve eaten too many celery sticks and carrot sticks! So, no, baking really isn’t a good idea for me.

        • Hi Wendy, see you tomorrow then and we will make a day for me to come to your house and see how my training is paying off. πŸ˜‰

        • Moni ~ one thing I have noticed since the children have moved out is how much less food there is in my pantry and fridge. Also how little we are spending at the grocery store and not just because there or fewer of us. Simply because our needs are simple. The cart usually only has fresh fruit and veggies and a few other groceries or toiletries. No treats in the pantry usually ~ at the moment there are Lindt truffles that were a gift to me on Mothers Day. We are working our way through them slowly.

          • I wish we didn’t have much of a grocery bill. My mother still wants to cook like she used to. She loves to bake but I can’t eat it so she finds other people to bake for. We also love to take meals to people after surgery, having a baby, etc. Problem is that we have lots of those occasions lately. She also gets easily bored with “having the same thing week after week.” Me, it’s just something to keep me fed. I don’t have to have 20 menu ideas. Anyway, it never seems to stop. So I have to get on this next. Ugh! I don’t even know how to start this discussion.

  9. Colleen, you are full of surprises! I wouldn’t have believed you’d own 4 vacuum cleaners:-) This house came with a ducted cleaning system, which I’m yet to use, as I’m quite happy with my crappy old Wertheim. We only have carpets in 1/2 hethe house (HATE carpet with a passion but there aren’t any proper floorboards underneath).

    Stationery: the kids have heaps of those cute Japanese erasers, which I try and corral into one spot. They are really for decoration, not use. I cleaned out the stationary drawers over the weekend and sorted the textas/pencils/pens. NO ONE is getting any more until they are all used up!

    I desperately wanted a julienne grater for about 5 minutes, but figured that if I haven’t used one in 46 years, then I’m not really missing out on anything πŸ™‚

    • Oh Yes Loretta, I was and probably still am a sucker for things that make chores easier. These days though I analyse whether these things actually do improve the situation and nine times out of ten they don’t. That being said if someone offered me a free iRobot vacuum cleaner I would no doubt accept with glee regardless of how little carpet we have these days. A no no thanks on replacements for all the other “useful” crap I have decluttered though.

      Stand fast on the no more felt pen rule.

      My daughter makes a wonderful salad with julienned vegetable but even she said she would rather cut them by hand than have one of those mandolins taking up room in her kitchen. Given that she loves to buy stuff and her kitchen has plenty of room in it I was very proud of her when she said that.

  10. I hadn’t thought about vacuum cleaners. Since my husband has a shop vac (will vacuum up water, too), I get a total of 5, one upright, one canister for doing window sills, etc., one el cheapo robot–fun to watch, aren’t they– and one cordless inexpensive one. All are used though, so any decluttering will take place when one konks out, since like you say the battery pack is expensive.–decluttered and not replaced. We went to a health fair this past week, and I am proud to say the only freebie we came home with was coarse nail files for husband’s toe nails–the podiatrist he went to always has these. No pens, etc,. etc. Only something that he uses and is hard to find.

  11. Update on the upstairs storage room at work. Asked Adrian for a hand to shift a few things around the walls a bit, and then shift some heavy items into the gaps. Its not perfect but at least I can walk pretty much the length of the room without risking life and limb. Wow what a difference it makes already! Now that I can move around in there easily I feel more confident about planning my decluttering campaign. I also feel better about contacting a couple of people who have ‘temporarily’ stored stuff there some years ago and asking them to kindly come and collect their stuff, now that its more accessible.

    • Well done Moni and Adrian. Get those phone calls made and got those other people’s stuff out of there. I wonder if they even remember it is there.

    • Way to go Moni. You will get there yet. Isn’t it amazing how just organizing it a little makes it easier to see what you have and get to it?

    • Moni,

      The Feng Shui ‘Chi’ will be flying around the workshop. Once you’ve cleaned up let us know if sales and productivity are up. You may find your hubby won’t be home from work on time due to the influx of good vibes for the business!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  12. Wow, this post hit me where it hurts! I have far too much pretty stationery and far too much in my sewing stash. I’m trying very hard to implement a one in, one out policy so I can only buy something if I use something, but it’s difficult when I see gorgeous fabric on sale that could possibly be something pretty some day once I have decided what to sew. At least I’ve stopped buying pretty disposable gel ink pens — these days, I buy pretty inks for my fountain pens instead, which is no more expensive and a lot kinder to the environment.

    We only have one vacuum cleaner, but that’s because it’s my husband’s job to keep the carpets clean so I have no temptation to buy new toys for that purpose πŸ˜‰

  13. Colleen, what happened to your IRobot?
    We have Roomba (called “MΓ€uschen”) and we adore it. It is in use every single day. I am rather parsimonious and frugal person, but Roomba was best investment we made during last two years.
    But I agree, you still need 2nd vacuum cleaner. Curtains, walls, door case, stairs, … cannot be managed by Roomba.

    • My robot was bought in America (120v) then we moved back to Australia (240v) I figured I could just get a new power source but his battery was also shot. $150 with a gamble that the power source wouldn’t work just wasn’t worth the risk. I sold it for parts in ebay.

  14. Great Point with the spare buttons. Did that right away. Though I did not get rid of the buttons themselves I discarded the tags if the garment was longsince decluttered. It was a handful and made Room in the button/misc. Box for a Small Item that had been sitting on Top of it. Yeah!

  15. Colleen, just when I think I’ve decluttered all the categories I can, you come up with another one. Vacuum cleaners! We have an old central vac system(not used), upright, handheld, shop vac, and a Roomba. I don’t know which I could part with, but someone will have to pry the Roomba out of my cold dead hands. πŸ™‚ I love that little gadget.

    As for socks, I’ve decluttered them more than once and still have way too many. Will try your system. Thanks.

  16. Now that we pay bills online, and nobody writes letters anymore, I find that I haven’t needed to buy envelopes in several years now, but I had an abundant supply of them that I’m slowly working through.

    Years ago I had a DustBuster handheld vac when they first came out, but I found it was more of a pain in the neck than anything, and got rid of it.

    • Hi Becky, you are right about envelopes. These days they aren’t used so often as they used to be. The same goes for writing paper. I buy them because I make my own greeting cards but aside from that I don’t have much need for them.

      I picked up a DustBuster at the thrift shop a few months ago. I didn’t feel I needed one enough to buy it new but if I could pick up a good one for $5 I figured it would test out whether I really need it. Since then the kids have both moved out and now there is plenty of space to store the Dyson inside so it is easy to get at. I also didn’t find I used the DustBuster that much anyway. Nothing I couldn’t use a dustpan and brush for. My daughter mentioned she would like one the other day so I gave mine to her.


  1. […] Monday, Colleen at 365 Less Things gives ideas to declutter parts of our lives. Tuesday’s mission this week is kitchen […]

  2. […] does today’s item. Following Wendesday’s mission, I am decluttering a stationery […]