Mini Mission Monday

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.

There are definitely specific items that, in excess, make your home harder to keep tidy, organised and efficient. For today’s mini missions I will make some suggestions of items to declutter and why they can have a negative effect in your home when in over-abundance. Most of the items I mention can be cleaned up and donated to charity.

Monday – Having too many kitchen items makes it difficult to access items when you need them and you blasé about cleaning them quickly. Declutter a few items you don’t need or are in over abundance.

Tuesday – Reading materials are another thing that end up accumulating around the house, in racks and on benches, tables and floors. Magazines, newspapers, specials catalogues… There is no reason why most of these can’t immediately go in the recycling bin once read.

Wednesday – Aside from all the picking up and wasted storage space, indulging your children with too many toys teaches them the habit of excess and can also stifle their imagination. Have your children choose three toys each to donate to charity this week.

Thursday– Décor items can certainly warm up a room and make it feel homely but too many can have a detrimental effect. They can clutter the space, make it appear untidy and harbour dust mite among other things. Declutter one or two dust collecting décor items this week. Scatter cushions, rugs, throw rugs, wall hangings, drapes…

Friday - Having too many items of clothing to choose from can lead to baskets of unwashed and/or unfolded washing laying around. This can also cause wasted time making choices on what to wear. Declutter some excess clothing. Think about whether the number of clothing items you own represents the amount you really need or how often you can be bothered washing and ironing them. I DO NOT mean for you to consider washing small loads more frequently (that would be bad for the environment). What I am saying is do you still have several weeks worth of this seasons clothes in your wardrobe at the time you are doing a full load of laundry. If that is the case perhaps you are overstocked.

Saturday – Last but not least I am once again going to harp on about those tchotchkes collecting dust around the home. They have to be cleaned, they have to be housed and they take up valuable space that could be used for something useful. I am not saying get rid of them all, I certainly won’t be. Just do yourself a favour and lighten your space and your work load. Declutter a few more this week.

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

Eco Tip for the Day

Next time you are in the shops and are tempted to buy some item that you just don’t need, stop and give some thought  to the mentality behind this compulsion. That moment of instant gratification comes at a cost to you, your home and the environment.

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. I like Friday’s mission. For a long time I have felt I have far too much clothing; recently I decluttered quite a few items, around a week later I was stood looking at my wardrobe trying to figure out what was ‘missing’ – it took me a while to catch on and remember the items I’d donated! And it had been only around a week since they’d gone! I would like to get rid of a few more items as I get fed up with the washing baskets constantly being full of either dirty laundry that needs washing or clean clothing which needs putting away.

    For Tuesday’s mission I would say that perhaps rather than recycling magazines you could donate them (as long as they are still relatively recent) – doctors and dentists waiting rooms here in the UK usually like family-friendly magazines for people to read while they wait (I’m not sure if the same is true of Australia/US).

    Alternatively if you are a crafter like me, I know there is a bit of a market for buying/selling magazines via ebay as people sometimes miss patterns they would like (there seems to be a problem with many places understocking copies and selling out quite fast). Or if you aren’t bothered about making any money back off them there are many crafters who will pay postage costs for you to take them off your hands; this way the patterns and instructions get a new lease of life for someone else.

    Looking forward to another week of decluttering and reading 365 🙂

    • Jane W – I don’t know about craft magazines, but our library has a quite a selection of magazines available, there is a small rental fee but it takes the whole hassle out of re-housing the magazine at the end of its useful time with me.

    • Hi Janet W, I am sure that if you reduced further you would find that those laundry baskets would soon become empty through necessity because you will need the clothes to where. And if you reduce them a little at a time you will adjust to the difference as you declutter. I wish you success with this.

      Good idea about donating those magazines to the doctors surgery. Considering how old the ones usually are at the surgery I go to I don’t imagine it would matter how old the donated ones are so long as they are just different to the ones that have been there for months if no years. 😆

      That is also a good idea about crafting magazines. They could also be donated to a local craft group.

      • Some great additional ideas for dealing with magazines from you and Moni! This is what I like about 365 – together we can find a place for everything! 🙂

  2. I like the ECO TIP OF THE DAY! Thanks!

    • Annabelle, long time no hear. How are you? How is life in Colorado or have you moved on since then. It seems we may be moving on at the end of the year too but not too far away. It may be our shortest posting because my husband is hoping for another job that he would take up a year after that.

      I actually find myself feeling sorry for people who still have the compulsion to shop for things they don’t need. Especially when they can’t really afford to. It is such a pointless reason to get oneself into debt or work so hard to achieve.

  3. I like this week’s mini missions and especially friday’s. It is so true that a smaller wardrobe is easier to handle.

  4. Good mini-missions. MON–The blender died. Out it goes. “No Mom, I don’t think it can be fixed.” TUES–have snuck a few books of mine into the Goodwill box. WED–Have no children. Will instead see what else I can pass on from the craft room. THURS–4 decor items into the Goodwill box. Yes!! FRI–Can’t make my wardrobe any smaller really. Hum! Will find something else to discard. SAT–tchotchkes. Have found a way to get rid of the rest of the stuff left from Dad that we don’t want. Everyone have a great week.

    • Hi Deb J, well done with your plans for the mini missions. I have been asked to do an interview for a magazine. I am doing it one question at a time via email due to the time difference. The first question is do I still declutter a thing a day. The answer was no because, like you and your clothes, I really don’t have much left that I want to rid myself of these days. Although I have been getting rid of plenty of stuff of the kids lately.

      • While I don’t declutter daily anymore either, things still become less around here. I have become rather rigid about not buying new (or used) stuff and rather “use up” things. There’s a great deal of repurposing going on as well in this using-up business, so overall things get less in all areas, not only in the most obvious like office supplies and so on.
        I’m still carrying stuff to the thrift store though, and maybe I should go more into decluttering again. Springtime is always good for that as you spend more time outside and less time with your stuff at home. 😉

  5. Tchotchkes – ooohhhh a new word! Love the defination.

  6. Dizzy are you out there? I have been re-reading Karen Kingston’s book. The chart – is that over the house or over the whole section/property?

    Have had several more lightbulb moments this reading. Am also realising how back to front Western houses are designed as far as chi is concerned. Not sure if it is a coincidence but since we moved Courtney’s digital piano to the self-improvement part of the house she has improved 1000% in a very short time. Believe it or not!

    • Moni, I read this book or one like it some years ago. If I recall, you draw your rectangle so that it encompasses the whole house. If it’s a nice rectangular house, that’s all it is. Otherwise the rectangle will include whatever corners of your property fall into the given space.

      I gave up on Feng Shui when I discovered that in the house we had just built , the Wealth section landed in the laundry room. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to become a criminal and launder money or if all our great fortune was going to go down the drain (and we finished construction about ten minutes before the Great Recession began…..)

      • Wendy B – you make me laugh – yes you are single handedly responsible for the world wide recession with your laundry tub!!!!! I think, and I’m really hoping that Dizzy weighs in on this one, that in that area you place something to help the chi – a bit like Dizzy placing some pillows in her son’s room to counter the dragon ornaments. The finance area of our house falls on the master bedroom. Could explain why Adrian wait until I’m almost asleep to ask about the budget or bank account. I don’t know how much there is to it, but as we need to ‘dress’ this house to go on the market – Adrian wants to repaint and do some art – I thought I could take the ideas under consideration and when we’re planning our next house, well, I’m open to all the good chi I can lay my hands on!

        • Hey Moni,
          Just for a laugh, You Tube Penn and Teller about their take on Feng Shui. It’s funny, I myself am not fanatical, but do believe Less is More, it is the basic teaching, but man you should see the ‘experts’ at work. Totally mind boggling.

          My interest stems from Asian friends and the simplicity with which they tread through life. It is fascinating and it intrigues me. My hubby reckons I’m an ‘ancient’ witchie poo!!! I love candles and often do cleansings to shake up the vibe, especially when people visit and leave negativity behind!!

          I don’t want to come across all ‘crackpot – ish’ but isn’t life so much easier to navigate since you have “cleared your crap’ !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • Dizzy – I’m the same about not being fanatical, just interested in someone else who figured all this out waaaaay before the rest of us. I mean the rule about nothing under the beds? How easy does that make things? Super easy to vacuum, nothing under there to have to sort thru, nothing can get lost under there. Life is complicated enough and busy enough without throwing a couple of tonnes of household crap into the mix.

      • Hi Wendy B,
        There are remedies for these situations, stick a red piece of paper on the back of your washing machine or inside your tub cupboard, also being a laundry you have the ‘water’ element and maybe the wood element with cupboards or shelves. Try a small stone or flat pretty rock to ground the area, if you can, close the door so your wealth isn’t slipping down the drain!

        If that fails grab a glass of wine and sit down and watch your washing tumble!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • We actually did that for the first load after we bought the front-loader. Gets boring after that, though. Same old program over and over and over again. Still, it beats TV. No advertising!!

          • Wendy B, you nut!! Hee hee!! You can switch stations but it gets blurry the faster it goes hahaha. Try the remedies and maybe, just maybe it may help!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • You make me laugh to Wendy. I missed this comment last week. Perhaps the message was don’t forget to take coins out of your pockets or you could damage your washing machine. Just a suggestion. Don’t feel to bad though because if you are talking about the recession in the late eighties it was my husband and I who caused that. We invested in stocks for the first time and everything went to hell. We were just priming the banks to then charge us 17.5 percent interest on our first home loan. We were great with money in the day because right before we bought a house I had a baby and stopped going to work. Struggling builds character right? Well I should have loads of it.

    • Hi Moni,
      You can place it over the whole house and use it for individual rooms. The key to any of it being beneficial is to make sure the ‘chi’ can flow smoothly, but also meander so the ‘positive’ stays for a while and moves the ‘negative out. Don’t let it rush in the front door and straight out a back door. What you are aiming for is a ‘calm flow’. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. This is a cautionary tale related to a number of last week’s posts as well as today’s eco-tip.

    Every spring our little village (about 200 folks) has a clean-up day when volunteers go around and take away the stuff that doesn’t go with our regular garbage pickup – appliances, furniture, paint, garden refuse, etc. On Friday 9 people spent 4 hours with a front-end loader and the village gravel truck removing 10 tonnes (22,000 lbs) – 4 dump truck loads. Why is this significant? Because this was the day BEFORE clean-up and the entire amount came from one small residential property. Not the contents of the house – that’s another story. This was the contents of the yard, and the boulevard and the back alley. While most of the weight came from broken paving stones and bricks and such, the bulk of the volume came from the former owner’s garden decorations. Garage sale junk. Dollar store junk. Scavenged junk. Fake flowers. Wind chimes. Solar lights. Christmas decorations. The owner couldn’t make her mortgage payments but she spent thousands and thousands of dollars on crap. She said she believed it was bad luck to put things out and then put them away again so we looked at faded and tattered and broken “pretties”, and picked the windblown bits out of the roadsides and neighbors yards for years. Did all that junk bring her good luck? It alienated the neighbors, cost her her home and sent her to a hospital. I don’t know if the accumulation was a symptom or a cause of her illness, or if the spiral just went out of control. We hope she gets the help she needs to start again but in all honesty we have to admit we’re all mighty relieved that she left. Sad.

    We literally stripped the place to bare earth so the new owners can start with a clean slate. Clean-up of the rest of the village was almost an anti-climax – it took us about an hour….

    • Wendy B – that is such an eye popping story. So sad. Of course, I am impressed that such community minded people pitched in to make a clean sweep – mind you, by the sound of it, everyone would have been itching for the opportunity to do so for years, but still the responsibility could have been dumped on the new owners, but as I said, I’m impressed by the community spirit that went into the project.

      • Hi, Moni. I thought of you and Feng Shui and chi (the flow of energy). I cannot imagine what it would do to you to surround your house with a fence and then fill the space with so much stuff that even the wind couldn’t blow through it. Then again, the inside of the house (I am told by those who helped pack) was as bad.

        The two young women who bought the house have been working like fiends, moving and piling stuff as the retreating snow uncovered more and more debris. They WOULD have cleaned it up all by themselves, which is exactly why we helped them. A week ago they were ‘foreigners’. Now they are friends.

        • Wendy B – wow, you’d be almost scared to see what emerged next with the Spring thaw. That was awesome for you all to lend a hand and help get rid of the eye sore.

    • Wow Wendy, that really is amazing yet sad. Yet at the same time what a great community you have there. Making the effort to do this clean up every year is a good thing. I bet people think twice about what they bring in if they are involved in helping deal with it each year.

      • Oh Wendy – that is terribly sad. I am nowhere near that bad, but I do love “yard art”. I put it all away every winter because in Colorado, Talavera pottery from Mexico does not weather well. I usually bring it all out at the end of May (and hopefully the end of hail season). I am going to ponder decluttering some things. I also was looking at my potting bench this morning and I’m sure there are some chemicals that can be taken to the hazmat recycling. I do love potted flowers, but maybe I have too many pots. Some of them can go too! 🙂

        I’m sorry for your experience with that lady, but I’m glad she got the help she needed. It’s a difficult situation.

  8. Great mini missions again this week. I am taking care of Friday’s already as a coworker can use some clothing. So I am getting rid of even more of it. Lots more to consider and decide about this week though. Thanks for the constant inspiration. It helps not having to think about it with the mini missions.

  9. We had the in-laws here for 5 days and they bought the newspapers every day (plus they don’t throw them away at the end of the day so I had them piled up looking ugly in full view). It gave me great satisfaction to turf the papers when they left. We haven’t bought the papers in ages so I’d forgotten how cluttered the place can look. As for magazines, my darling sister gave me a subscription to my favourite magazine for Christmas, but honestly I could just read it at the library. Our library also has a new service where you can subscribe on-line for free to a stack of different magazines that they don’t purchase physical copies of.

    Would love to get rid of some stuffed animals but the kids LOVE the ones they have left and as long as they live on 1 shelf I can’t really complain. Holly has gotten into beading/crystal stitching/needlecraft and that stuff is EVERYWHERE. Sigh.

    • Hi Loretta, I have to say that my inspiration for posts and mini missions has come from visiting other peoples’ homes. Newspapers and magazines featured greatly in one while sales catalogues appear in nearly every home I go to. I am glad to say that Wendy F gave me a batch of NO JUNK MAIL signs for letter boxes. Now three of my neighbours boxes are sporting them and my daughter also has put one on her mailbox. I am a happy lady. I must remember to ask my son if he would like one.

      Ah yes, the stuffed animal issue. My children once has plenty of those too but they new were terribly attached to them and decluttered as the novelty wore off. There is only one left in my home now, a Harrods bear. Its likelihood of staying is tenuous at best.

      As for those craft items. It is a good thing for kids to be able to explore their creativity so best to just come to terms that that is going to create clutter and a mess sometimes.

      • Oh, I know about craft and creativity! I just hoped that she’d confine it to her very own ‘studio’ in our huge shed!! Of course, it’s much more comfortable and cosier to do it in her own bedroom. My son has Lego EVERYWHERE, no matter how hard I try to create systems/storage options for him: it seems he needs to pull out every piece each time he wants to make something. At least they’re not spending most of their time on the computer or watching TV (and I do know a lot of parents encourage this, because it keeps the house neat!)

        • I used to like playing with Liam’s Lego but those days are gone now. At the time though it was a challenge and probably took all the fun out of it, expecting him to put it away systematically every time he used it.