Mini Mission Monday ~ 10 Sep 2012

Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

I have been doing a bit of visiting lately and during that time I have been observing areas of clutter that seem to be familiar to nearly all homes no matter what level of stuff or tidiness therein. So this weeks mini missions will reflect those observation and consist of common clutter. I hope that many of you will find that you have already taken care of these areas as I have included them all often in past mini missions. If that is the case invent your own mini missions for the week.

Monday – Clothing items, be that shoes, general clothing, outer clothing, underwear or accessories. I know this subject gets mentioned over and over again but that is because it is an area the needs addressing by most people. Taking a look back at Mohamed Tohami’s recent guest post it would seem that most of those who comment here regularly have this area well under control.

Tuesday – Declutter something that has been relegated to the garage because it has been replaced with a better model or has broken down altogether.

Wednesday – Choose and begin to use up an item that you have more than enough varieties of. This could be something in your pantry, your bathroom cabinet, your store of cleaning products…

Thursday – Tools or equipment you rarely if ever use. Consider that you could borrow these items when you are in need from those who do actually use theirs. In some cases these items are so expensive that it would be cheaper to pay someone to do the job for you when the rare occasion arrises rather than maintain ownership.

Friday- Declutter excess kitchen items. This is one area of the home where people seem to think ~ “The more the merrier!”. For me it is the more the messier.

Saturday – Leisure activity items, be that sport, craft, digital media, reading material etc. There are nearly always items among these collections that are less utilised than others or in some cases not at all. To narrow down the selection makes the things you do use easier to find when needed. Superseded equipment is a good place to start the weeding out process.

Sunday – Declutter your excess linen. I fact rethink how much linen you really require to cater for yourself your family and a couple of guests. Some people seem to stock enough for the All Blacks (New Zealand) rugby team. This really isn’t necessary especially if you have a dryer and even if you don’t a laundromat is never far away should you have a houseful of people and the weather turns foul.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

Due to changes in our household this is one less garbage bin that is required. Through incremental changes we tend to generate less rubbish in our household these days. I donated it to the thrift shop.

One excess garbage bin

Eco Tip For The Day

Challenge yourself to put every piece of recyclable material in the recycling bin no matter how small.. It is easy to be blasé about small pieces of paper or plastic but so long as they can be recycled they are best kept out of landfill.

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.


  1. oh GOD – its sunday here and I just accomplished tuesdays mission and finally listed my old backpack on freecycle. two minutes later and I got a response. its getting picked up tomorrow. and now the pain sets in:
    that was almost too quick and now I have to say goodbye to my 12 year old, very much loved backpack, until tomorrow!!
    you know, I had the most perfect hikes, trips, travels, tours and moves with this thing. I did basically all (!) my travels with this blue monster on my back. He has seen half of the world already. he served me well, he was a good friend. but the replacement will be better (and so much lighter), and I am glad someone has a good use for him (not even two minutes, that guy must have waited for it)…
    oh this pain of giving those old, loved items away. bittersweet. thanks for letting me prepare my final goodbye here.

    • Oh Lena, you are very brave! Maybe this will encourage me to part with mine…I don’t have a replacement or need a replacement at this time but I haven’t used it in a long time.
      Your new backpack will be excited bout your future trips 🙂

      • Hi Lena, I understand your attachment. Items that have served me well and stood the test of time are always harder for me to part with too. More so than “sentimental” clutter although I have almost divorced myself of being sentimental about any stuff now.

        The memories will stay with you though and the new lighter backpack will be much easier for you to lug around and that will be a joy every time you use it. So chin up girl and happy travels.

        • Colleen, I find exactly those items that you owned and loved for a long time the weirdest “sentimental” items. I know that there is a lot of sentimental clutter I keep, because it reminds me of my loved ones. But in this case its weird, because its not memories of someone else, but only myself. I have to say goodbye to an item triggering not any shared memories – with other people – but my own. thats making those items so special. I look at this backpack and see myself as a 15 year old hiking with scouts, at 17 to festivals, at 19 to scotland, etc. on most of my trips through europe, this backpack was with me (the last one was france 5 weeks ago). thats basically my whole life.
          But I learned how to declutter (from the best) and I am a big girl now and I can tolerate this weird pain of good memories. I know what I will gain from letting go (space) and I know for sure that I dont need this backpack to remember those trips and events – but this little sting or pang or whatever it is, is still there.

    • Hi Lena – its funny you say backpacks as I recently discovered we have an extra tramping backpack that isn’t ours and I have no idea whose it is or how it came to be stored with our camping gear!

      • haha. I got the replacement from my brother as he decided he doesnt need it anymore. and my mum was glad to get the space in the basement. ask around. if no one wants it, get it out – or in this case, get the oldest/heaviest one out 😉

  2. More clothes donated including 4 pairs of jeans from my daughter.

  3. Editor’s notes
    rare occasion arrises – arises
    excess linen. I fact – In fact

    Otherwise, I def have too many tongs at home, but when I have a dinner, I need one for each plate (meats, salad, salad), so I’m not sure I can part with them… Clothes – wore something the other day and thought ‘this isn’t something I enjoy wearing anymore, wash and donate…’

  4. Tuesday’s mini mission was custom written for me, I’m sure! My hubby wanted some furniture items out of the lounges on Friday just gone with very little warning and so things got dumped on my garage floor – I was surprisingly defensive about having my lovely clear garage floor taken up but am using that irritation to fuel action and hopefully things will be on their way out the garage door by Wednesday!

  5. Hi all,

    Welcome home Colleen, hope you had a lovely holiday with friends and loved ones. I have been busy, moving, shoving, shushing, piling, throwing, donating, recycling!!!!!! 321 things GONE GONE GONE GONE one way or another, they have left the building heehee!!!! Wonder if I can hit 365 things by Wednesday!!!!!

    Can’t wait to move into the rental and unpack, I’m sure the few things I packed up to really think about won’t be staying much longer! I’m sure the ‘fish out of water’ image will make me see the light and get rid of said bits.

    I do have to purchase a new bed for our son but apart from that I think moving into a non-permanent abode will step up my ‘tossing tactics.’ After Project 333 I didn’t have a lot to pack for myself but still managed to find ‘Seasonal Transitions’ that will be dealt with today!!! Yay Me!!!

    I is a happy little clam yes indeedy-do!!!! Smiles y’all 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy, I was wondering how your shift was going. Don’t forget to take a photo of the craft room of doom when you shift out as that will make you the gold star student for clearing out – LOL!

      My hubby had the realisation recently that he has more clothes than me, since Project 333. I’m getting rid of a few items that just didn’t get worn during the 333 and a couple of things that I felt “thank goodness we’re moving into Spring and I don’t have to wear that again” – so that’s a sure sign that it needs to go too.

  6. Bought 3 shirts for work so had to make up for it. Donated 5 shirts and 1 pair of shorts, cut 1 t-shirt into rags, and altered 1 jacket to make it wearable. Monday’s mini mission done.

  7. By the way – I laughed at the idea of having enough linen to accommodate the First XV. My mum is so like that! And what is more most people have a few sleeping bags tucked away, so if there really is an emergency there is always that option.

    Each of our kids has a double bed – one was our original bed and she got it because she is the tidy child and gives up her room for visitors, one because she turns into an Olympic grade wrestler when she sleeps and would often end up on the floor and one recently because he’s 6 foot 1″ and limbs hung off the edge of the bed onto the ground – the best part was it had never been used still in the bag but 6 years old for $50, so hubby and son built a frame and headboard from scraps at work.

    Anyway, I digress, I currently have 3 fitted sheets, so they all get washed and dried and put straight back on, saves on folding. I figure that if there is some sort of emergency situation, such as unexpected visitors, I’d just put on my spare set of king size sheets on a double bed.

    However, I’m sure I can find something for Sunday.

    • Hahaha Hey Moni, laughing at your description of your boy!!! Mine grew suddenly but we couldn’t fit a bigger bed in his room, we have laughed at the times we have had to lift his limbs off the floor or pull his legs back in from outside the window hahaha. Every now and then we would let him sleep on the sofa bed but even that looked ridiculous, I felt awful, like I was forcing my child to sleep (as best he could!!) on a King, but after a while he gave up sleep wrestling and learnt to stay in one position heehee. I still laugh though, to think I had a bunk bed setup with my younger sis and my older sis had a single. Before we moved, me, my sisters and 1 brother, shared a room, and we all used the same bathroom and we never had a fully automatic anything!! I am still amazed that 1. We all survived it and 2. Most people never realised that the best fully automatic anything was their Mother!!! I am constantly amazed at times and stop myself whinging when automatic anything breaks down or plays up, I always think of my Mum doing the washing, then I go hug my machines and thank them heehee!!!!!

      • Hi Dizzy – yeah I reckon my kids have it 5-Star compared to my childhood, its actually a little bit embarressing when my parents come to visit, and then I have to convince them that my kids aren’t rich kids.

  8. Ooops sorry went off there,
    I was going to say the bedding will be the next shake up for me. I will have to get some new bits, but I will be able to send out all the bedding that will no longer be needed. My mission is to have 2 sets per bed with a spare in rotation. I have discovered some ratties so they can be kept and used as drop sheets for the house being built, and in the meantime my sis is painting so they can live with her for awhile. I have also tossed out pillows and cushions. (aarr cushions, does anyone else have a cushion fetish or am I the only left on the planet!!!) I thought I had gotten rid or all the non-essential ones!!! AArrrrggGGGHhhhhHH!!!!! & cosy up blankies WTH!!!! We have been in this house long enough to know every nook and cranny!! SO WHERE THE HELL DID ALL THE CUSHIONS & SNUGGLE BLANKETS COME FROM!!!!!! What sick, twisted little varmit has been sneaking around and stuffing cushions and blankies in the corners of my cupboards. Ha that would be me!!!! Honestly I really thought I had dealt with them all. That is my mission for today, eliminate no-longer-needed-cushions-and-reassign-wanted-cushions-to correct-areas. Seriously need to make sure they leave this time, not put in the cupboard, to take when I go past the Salvos Bin, out of sight till I discover them in ????

    I am so kicking myself at the moment, BUT! I will prevail and move forward and carry on and kick my own butt anyway 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy – my hubby was just asking the other day what is it with women and throw pillows and snuggle blankets? AND why do women get upset when throw pillows get thrown around?

    • I have to laugh. We used to have 5 “toss pillows” on the couch. We now have NONE. I finally asked my mother why we had them when the first thing that happens when anyone visits is to put them on the floor. No one wants to use them. Mom said they were for decoration. WHAT!! We have a floral couch (I hate the thing too) and we really need more to clutter it up. So glad they are gone.

      • Hi Deb J, we have cushions on our couch but we do use them. However we did used to have five on our bed for decoration only. Needless to say they were decluttered rather early on in my mission.

        • Well, see the thing is that this couch already had 2 throw pillows on it that came with it. Did we really need 7? And they were all colors and styles. You couldn’t sit down without moving them because there were so many. Now we just have the two that came with.

          I’m lazy. I don’t even “make” my bed very often. In the heat here I just have a sheet and I pull it up when I get out of bed. In the “winter” I have a thin coverlet that I put on. I just pull it up when I get out of bed. No extra decoration. Not much time to straighten up. In like that.

  9. Monday’s mission accomplished. 20 items. 5 from my Project 333. 15 from what got packed away prior to 333.

    As it was the start of Autumn when I started 333, the 15 items are from winter items that I packed away. I have some summer items that were also packed away and I’m to going to think about which will join my 33 and which won’t. I didn’t feel particularly enthuisiastic when I saw them so they possibly won’t be staying.

    • Moni, do you still have something left to wear?!? you must have owned a HUGE wardrobe, because you have been reporting about decluttering clothes for quite some time now. I know decluttering can become an addiction, but there is a limit 😉
      jokes aside, I took it as an inspiration and decluttered 2 shirts from my wardrobe. thanks for your enthusiasm, thats highly contagious.

      • Hi Lena – LOL – I didn’t throw out anything for years and years, just kept storing it away – why I don’t know! Early decluttering days we found a dress I wore when I was 18 and has come back into fashion and my daughter wears it. However I do not endorse hanging onto clothes that long, it was rolled up inside something else and only dumb luck that I still had it.

        Anyway what I have left is what I wear and its all down to items that I like. I have to really like/love something to buy something and then its going to get worn to death.

        There are 3 ‘go to wedding’ type dresses left to decide on, my daughter is takes textiles at school and is thinking of using one for her ‘revamp’ assignment next year.

  10. Love your mini missions for the week. For Monday’s mission, I feel I am mostly there. My oldest boy’s clothes get passed down to my youngest boy and if there is ever anything left of the clothing items after going through two boys, they are always off to the donation center. Come to think of it, my oldest boy hates clutter in his room and even lets me know quickly if he no longer needs something in his room. The younger one takes a little more convincing… My husband never buys any clothing unless he absolutely needs something, so most of his stuff gets worn out until there is nothing left to do but use it for rags or get rid of it. Now, me, I am a work in progress when it comes to my closet, but I think that I can definitely find something that I don’t wear anymore and donate it. I will be working on Wednesday and Friday all week. As I finish up a painting project in the kitchen this week, I will be ready to clean and rid myself of my collection (yes, collection) of coffee mugs and any other items that aren’t getting much use anymore. I am the only one who drinks coffee, so I think that most of my mugs will go. I lived in a small rental home until we purchased the home we are in now. Living without your belongings and in a smaller space, makes you realize in a mighty way, that I did not miss most of my “stuff” and we made it just fine with the bare essentials that I packed for this rental house. As far as linen goes, I only have one extra set for when guests come. The rest gets washed and put back on beds the same day. Thanks for your continued inspiration and thought provoking ideas.

  11. We seem to be at a plateau and getting nothing done right now. With this whole new meal change we are spending a lot of time coming up with new recipes and such. That means no time to declutter. Stomp, stomp, stomp. That’s me in my mind because I WANT THIS JUNK OUT OF HERE!!!! Ah! Thanks for the chance to vent.

    • Hi Deb J,
      I must have missed the diet change story. It sounds complicated if it is easting into your clutter time. I keep telling myself that I am going to try some new recipes but rarely get around to it. Fortunately that doesn’t mean I have lots of unused recipe books lying around because if I want to try something new I just google for recipes.

      • I’m on what is called The Blood Sugar Solution. It’s supposed to help reverse diabetes and other things. It is gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. Mostly you eat chicken, fish, vegetables (the non-starchy ones) and lower sugar fruits. We are getting there but it does take awhile because of that no-gluten thing.

        • oh lord. I have several friends who have a coeliac condition and I always felt that it was quite a huge task to control your diet like that. I really wish you all the best with your diet, so that your health gets well again!