Mini Mission Monday ~ 3June2013

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. Here are this weeks missions.

Monday – Declutter some computer related items. Old floppy discs you no longer have a drive for, outdated or unused CD-ROMs, unused components or even just old digital files you no longer need… .

Tuesday – Declutter some garden related items. Tools you don’t use, empty plant pots, bits of wood or wire that are rotting or rusted, seeds you are never going to plant… .

Wednesday – Declutter some money related items. Old money boxes, wallets, bill clips, change purses, coin sorters, coin wrappers or bags… . You could also drop foreign coins off to the bank for donation to charity or gather up all the coins that you have accumulated and cash it in at the bank by either depositing it into your account or getting bills in exchange.

Thursday –  Declutter small hardware items that have accumulated. Excess screws, nails, drywall plugs, used sandpaper, multiple allen keys, washers… .

Friday – Declutter excess plastic kitchen storage items. I have discovered that there is often just as many of these items waiting to be used as there are ones in use. This means to me that, for the most part, I have more than I really need or else the majority of them would be in service most of the time. I think it is time I gave a few more to my daughter.

Saturday – Are there things in your laundry cupboards that need decluttering? Cleaners you no longer use, grubby rags, perished rubber gloves… ~ if so give this area a little decluttering.

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

Check that your fridge is not set too cold. You only have to keep things cold not icy. This will save power and cold hard cash.

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. Hi Colleen! I did Saturday´s mini mission last Thursday. Actually it wasn´t a mini mission but a full blown declutter task I had set myself for that day (as it was a holiday here). I had lots of unused stuff, general trash and things that were strewn all over the floor in the back, were passing was not needed. Most things were so spoiled that they were not even good for donation, so off they went. I had a big clothes hamper that had been very needed once upon a time, but now with all the decluttering going on in the clothing front, no need to have three hampers to put clean laundry, one is enough. Hey Moni, if you are out there, I am answering you very soon. I am to have a very productive week or so I hope, 😀 .

    • Hi Andréia, good to hear you have been setting yourself projects and enjoying the outcome. I understand the clothing hamper situation. There is a person I know that has this same problem. Because they have so many clothes there is no necessity to fold and put away the clean laundry immediately so in builds up in baskets all over the house. It drives their partner spare. Not only does he have trouble finding his few things amount the clutter, they are usually so crinkled by then that he also has to iron them.

    • I just had to reply to Andreia’s comment as she finally got me going. As I have written before I have been a lurker and copying the one thing a day this year. But Andreia’s guest post rang about the no go area rang so loudly for me, I just had to get my act together.

      So I made a start. I was talked into doing some before and after photos ans psting on my blog. The room is far from finished but I feel lighter already. And confident I will get it all done.

      The amazing thing is, my husband started off being dismissive and even objectionable but after he saw what I had achieved, he started sorting and moving some of his stuff!

      I feel like an excited child who has just achieved something extraordinary!

      • You did achieve something extraordinary!

        It’s amazing how this rubbs off on others so easily, isn’t it? Of course they are going at their own pace, but it’s the starting to change that is most important. It will be just a matter of time until your husband is getting rid of more and more himself.

      • Well done Lucinda, what a remarkable difference. I been you keep going back to that space to gloat a little on how wonderful it looks, and why not I say.
        I hope that once your husbands sees the great improvements your decluttering is having on the home he will follow suit. Fingers crossed.

    • Andreia – good to hear you having a big clear out, looking forward to hearing from you soon.

  2. Hello everyone….I commented to Deb J a few days ago on her comment about Cindy’s post on the free library and mentioned that our home sold and we were having a yard sale this past weekend. Hope you don’t mind that I update you all….We made over $2000 on what we are NOT taking to the new house! I still have many boxes left of good stuff to sell at a sale the end of the summer. Once we get settled, I know there will be more to add to it. My husband just drove 5 boxes, 2 totes of clothes and 2 Bissell carpet sweepers to Goodwill. There is a pile of stuff on the lawn for “free” and a gentleman offered to take all the metal “Free” stuff to be recycled where he makes money so my husband added many things to it from our shed to fill his truck! All in all, a very successful weekend spent decluttering! Now 3 weeks of packing so I can move to our new home!!! 🙂

    • Kim, this is great news!!!! Doesn’t it feel great to have that money, less stuff to take with you and more to get rid of? Good on you.

    • Well done Kim! I have moved several times in my married life and can appreciate the effort involved in preparing for it. I am now looking down the barrel of another move at the end of the year and am excited to see how little room our stuff now takes up in the shipping container. One thing is for sure I won’t need to do any decluttering for it. 😉 Just imagine what your next move might be like once you are also done with your decluttering.

    • Wow, that’s great!
      I hope you’ll get rid of even more and maybe make some more cash on your way there!

    • Kim – that is great news!

  3. Well, I can see that I just have some good work ahead of me this week. MON–I need to go through my software stash and see if there is really anything I can get rid of. I’m sure there is. I also want to take stuff off my laptop that I have put off. TUES-We have this garden “cupboard” out on the patio that I would like to have Mom get stuff out of that we no longer need. I’m hoping we can move anything in it into the shed and get rid of the cupboard. WED–I just found some coins Dad was collecting that I really don’t think have much value. I plan to check them out. THURS–I want to work on consolidating what little I kept from the big multidrawered unit in the shed. We don’t need that big thing any more and I would like to put it in something smaller and get rid of the unit. FRI–Plastic storage items. We have too many. Now how to get Mom to see that. Hum!!!! SAT–We need to go through the laundry cupboards and see what we can get rid of. I bought some microfiber clothes. Now to get Mom to use them. Should be a good week. Thanks Colleen.

    • Hi Deb J, you have a big week planned I see. Good for you.

      I think the best way to convince your mother that microfibre is a good way to clean is to lead by example. Show her how they clean glass with only water, how they shine up chrome, how clean any surface can get with only the cloth and water. You can’t argue with clean proof so have at it. Let her know how much that would save you on cleaning supplies. Surely she will be able to see the benefits.

      • Mother has used mocrofiber cloths. She hasn’t used them enough to really have a final opinion but she thinks she has and says she doesn’t like them. One thing I am going to do when I have the time is show her how well they work on the mirrors, on the laminate wood floors, and stuff like that. She’s just the type who has to have it proven to her and I haven’t really had the time to do it. Now we are having the heat and that doesn’t help my low energy level. It was 115.9 when we got home from church today. The next 4 months will not be fun. If I can stay out of the heat as much as possible it will help. So I am trying to keep my errands all together and have as little out and about as I can.

        • Yikes Deb J, that is hot. I imagine though that it is a dry heat which isn’t as bad a humid heat. Nevertheless 115+ is hot hot hot humidity or not. Take it easy, break out the aircon or fans and get yourself a nice cold drink.

          • It’s 96.9 at 8:19 AM. Thank God there is little humidity with it. The Air conditioning is on and so are the fans. I’m eating breakfast while I “talk” to you since I had to go for blood work and just got home.

          • Hi Deb, I used to live the the Northern Territory here is Australia. Once or twice we visited Catherine which was inland from Darwin where we lived. The temperature in Catherine was about 45 celsius but dry. I found it far less oppressive than Darwin at 30 during the wet season or worse during the build up. At least it rained in the wet season to cool things off. During the build up all we got was heat and humidity ~ cut the air with a knife kink of humidity. I may be living back there isn 18 months, wish me luck. 😉

          • I remember living in Tennessee and it would get to 115 or so with a humidity of 100 and no rain. Cut with a knife is right. I think our favorite place as far as temps was Colorado Springs. Because of Pikes Peak and the mountains we got little snow compared to other parts of CO and the humidity was low. Can’t afford to move there or live there now. Wish we could have stayed there but my job just wasn’t going to work anymore and there weren’t many good paying jobs there then.

    • Hi Deb J,
      I personally think the Nobel Peace Prize should go to the inventor of the Microfibre cloth!!! What a gem of a product. It has changed the world of cleaning and created peace at the same time. The air no longer has to be ‘Blue’ everytime a cleaner doesn’t stand up to it’s printed brilliance!!! Believe me, your Mum will come around. My Mum was cleaning in the era of rag cloth, vinegar and Fairy liquid she returned to it after years of pretty bottles and mists, lovely colours and smells blah blah blah!!! I bought my Mum a multi-pak of colours and sizes so she could use them throughout the house. She was amazed with what was achieved with a lowly cloth, water and a little dishliquid when required!!! She has two cats, which she loves and adores but they repay her by by being fluffy monsters that are hard to groom. Microfibre to the rescue, not only do they love it, the fur doesn’t fly when you groom, damp cloth, stroke cat, loose hair removed, no mess, rub off cloth, hair in bin or knit a new cat!! She loves it.

      I actually gave packs of cloths as a pressie for a housewarming, I have been a Saint since, I can do no wrong!! hahaha 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Dizzy you are a hoot. I have plans to get out the microfiber cloths on Wednesday and give Mom a good demo inhospitable good they work.

      • What a champion of the microfibre you are Dizzy. I must say I have never thought of using them to remove cat hair but that might be because I have never owned a cat. They would work just as well removing cat hair from the sofa as well I would imagine.

        • Hi Colleen,
          They do!!! I forgot that bit, I also use them damp in my car and on backs of lounges for ‘head hair shed’, also great for coats or whatever really. My Mum used to use one of those sticky brush things to run over the chair if the cat had the audacity to sit on it, which invariably they do! because they can as it is their God given right to be a pain!! Hahaha.

          I think I may write a book on the ‘101 uses for a microfibre cloth, complete with ‘Knit your own cat from shed hair pattern” hahaha!! Whilst I’m at it, my first cloth was purchased through Enjo, and although they are fabulous, I found them freakishly expensive, so I opted for a cheaper version. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter whether you pay $42.00 or $5.00, they are basically the same material. I just get the thickest ones I can find as they will stand up to you cleaning the grill or outdoor furniture without becoming swiss cheese on their first use, oh and I do opt for the $5.00 pack as I want to use them not frame them!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Hi everyone – its Queen’s Birthday holiday here and I decided to celebrate by dragging 90% of everything up in the ceiling storage down into the garage. Was hoping to do it in a calm systematic manner by using photos I took, but I found that I wasn’t actually doing anything about stuff that was up there, and in light of Colleen’s post on ‘space allocation’ last week decided to review everything up there based on that principal.

    On the upside, I also think it is beneficial to see everything on Ground Zero. Being able to see everything in natural light and being able to stand upright easily, allows me more time and easier moving storage bins around etc. Like can be placed alongside like. Similar items with different purposes can be considered and quantities can be questioned. What, technically belongs in the main house and if it doesn’t fit in the designated area, a good time to consider the item.

    The downside – there is a big pile sitting in my garage…….again. Well, at least I know that it will irritate the heck out of me and will spur me onto progress. Wish me luck everyone, I’m going in!

    • Good idea Moni. I think this will make it all go quicker and more efficently. Hope it turns out much easier than you expect.

      • Deb J – Adrian has quickly evacuated the premises – he did help pass it all down, but seeing everything at ground level he decided to head out. Nevermind, have decided that gives me full clearance to go forth and chuck out.

        • I like that idea Moni of “you don’t help you don’t have a say.” Now go forth and purge!!!!

    • That sounds like a great project Moni. You didn’t mention also that the best motivation to declutter as much of it as possible is not having to haul much back up into the storage space. 😉

      As for the garage ~ you and I are so alike on this. We get it looking better and then we use it as the staging place for another declutter project or something of the like. Mine is a bit cluttered up with a neighbours donations to be dropped off the next time I go to the thrift shop, free stuff I have been acquiring for Bridget’s new home (vacuum cleaner, TV unit, planter box for herb garden etc), and some general reshuffling to declutter (like you). Now if only the thing that belongs in there ~ the car ~ would be at my disposal more often, then I might actually get a chance to do something with this stuff.

      • Colleen – yes I have made a big mess but at least I spread it out and can shut the door on it when I want to call it a day or if visitors turn up. Plus it is handy to take stuff out to the cars if it needs dropping off. And yes, dragging stuff back up the ladder is definately a deterrant.

    • Hi Moni,
      I feel your pain but it is great to have it all out so you can see every last piece of whatever and then decide what to do!! I am in the same boat (garage actually hahaha) I have ‘stuff’ from one end to the other AGAIN, but by making a huge mess it has been easier to put like with like and see what we actually need to keep, relocate, recycle, donate and trash!! My car has been living outside which has helped spur me on more to get it done AGAIN!!

      I have decided for now not to go ahead with ceiling storage, I just want to see how much we actually keep after this purge. I have gotten rid of a lot of Christmas Goodies, and I am streamlining the containers. They all fit remarkably well when stacked nicely, which they are not due to the sorting party I am currently holding.

      Books and DVD’s are still a menace for me, I just keep finding them!!! Have fun with your ‘Stuff’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. It is about time for another trip to donate to the thrift store; amazing how much stuff you can rustle up to donate without even delving into big cleaning projects. Forgot to take some things to my sister when we visited last week, which was a shame. Still have a couple of boxes of stuff I need to mail to people.

    I have a bunch of paint that I need to go through for future usefulness and then dispose of the rejects; been procrastinating that project for a while. I want my husband to go through his remaining electronics, but they don’t take up much space and he’s been busy (he previously went through the voluminous electronics).

    We have gained some art recently, and I’m starting to get some accessories for jogging and yoga since I’ve been doing both regularly. I should push decluttering a little harder to achieve the one in, one out rule with the new things.

    • Hi Rebecca J, it feels good as you choose things to put aside to declutter, but even better when it is finally gone. I have some items to get out of here as well and I am looking forward to the chance to do that. I hope you can achieve that goal soon also.

  6. Colleen, let me make my car available to do a delivery to Bridget’s . As I am responsible for some of the clutter, let me help you get rid of it.
    On Saturday, my Hubby cleaned up his ‘area’ in the back room. Desk, cupboard, filing cabinet, drawers, drum kit etc. When it came to dusting he has always been a feather duster type person. We have a duster on a stick that has synthetic wool instead of feathers. Totally useless in my view, but like Deb J’s Mum, that’s what he likes to use. Tragedy struck when the youngest dog took a liking to it and chewed it up. I handed Hubby a Sabco one wipe MIT that Colleen had given me , and he had to ask how to use it?!? Quick demo and his Drums were dust free 🙂
    I am a bit behind on this mission, but will be making an effort to reduce the number of socks Hubby has in his drawers this week.

    • Hi Wendy, really you have done quite enough acquiring it for Bridget in the first place. She does own a car and drives quite close to here nearly every day to go to work. I don’t look like getting my car back until at least Wednesday PM. Looks like I’ll be saving petrol this week. Lets just hope it doesn’t rain too much or Steve is going to get quite wet.

      You really are a kept women my friend. 😉 Not only is he the bread winner but he knows how and does wield a further duster. What a champion. I must say I am glad the dog chewed it up (was that really an accident?), because they tend to just spread the dust around rather than pick it up. What did he think of the dust mitt?

      You can tell me how many socks you managed to declutter when we have coffee this week.

  7. Hi Colleen,
    I have been reading your posts and those of the other people who comment for the past several months. I have been de-cluttering for sometime now. I started about 12 years ago after reading Clear the Clutter, by Karen Kingston. This has become my bible. After I read the book, I worked for about 12 hours straight (and then on then on through the week-end) getting rid of stuff that I didn’t love or no longer needed. The other book I really like is Feng Shui That Makes Sense, by Cathleen McCandless. This book takes the superstition out of Feng Shui so that it makes sense for me and my style.

    I love your suggestions for this week. I plan to follow them as they are all areas I have been working on. We just landscaped our front garden and now have loads of the plastic plant pots that cannot be accepted by our curb side recycling company. I will take these to the garden center next week end. I have already started shredding the financial papers we no longer need, but the shredder is dying! I will have to buy a new one. Paper clutter is my biggest challenge.

    I really loved your post about the vacuum cleaners. I did not realize until today that we have 5. 2 uprights, 2 hand vacs, and 1 water/heavy duty. What the heck! This is especially insane because the only place we have a carpet or rug is in the “man cave” behind the garage!I hope to be down to 2 vacuums by the end of the week.

    The other area I struggle is because my husband loves to keep boxes in case he needs them. This has been a work in progress for us. I try not to pressure him, but these boxes drive me crazy. At least he is onto my rule, “when we buy something new, at least one thing has to go”. This works well for our 1100 square foot home. We must be doing something right because we are one of the few couples in our area with a 2 car garage that accommodates both our cars.

    Thanks for everyones post ideas. I always look forward to reading them. Now I am off to do more clearing out.

    • Hi Sheryl and welcome to 365 Less Things. Those books by Karen Kingston are quite popular with my readers it seems. I have reserved a copy at my local library and hope to read it soon.

      I am glad you are finding this weeks mini missions useful for some simple decluttering this week. Many of them reflect things I have been working on lately. Those plant pots you mentioned are one of them. Now if it would just stop raining I will be able to get on with that. Too bad about your shredder, you must have overworked it. 😉

      That is a lot of vacuum cleaners you have. If only someone would invent a vacuum cleaner that can do all the jobs your five do while still being reasonably compact. I think them people wouldn’t be inclined to buy so many in the hope of performing many tasks efficiently around the house. You mentioned only having a small amount of carpet. I find the vacuum cleaner is better then a broom for the hard floors as well because it doesn’t miss anything or stir up the dust.

      I know how you feel about those boxes your husband keeps, we have that issue too. We keep a box of small boxes for ebay sales and all the large boxes the TV, computers, printers etc. come in, so that when we move they are less likely to get damaged in transit. Once our military days are over this practice will stop. As for the ebay boxes I have cut down on them just recently so they aren’t taking up so much space.

      I wish you success with your decluttering missions this week and hope to hear from you often in the future.
      Cheers Colleen

    • Hi Sheryl – I have a tendancy to keep cardboard boxes too – then recently I read in another book by Karen Kingston that empty boxes were ‘pockets of hollowness’ – that was good enough for me, especially as they were in my garage which is the personal development part of the chart. Whether it is true or not, it was a good enough reason for me.

      I like how you termed it “taking the superstition out of Feng Shui” – that is exactly it. Was trying to find a way to phrase it a few weeks ago when the topic came up here.

      I so wish you lived near and I would be around to grab the plastic plant pots, I’ve been scrounging them everywhere possible, my husband planted a capsicum core late summer and it went and grew and eventually it needed thinning, but he couldn’t bring himself to bin the thinned out plants (he got strangely attached to this capsicum plant) and so I now have a line up of capsicum seedlings along the window sils. Did I mention that its Winter here? So I’m moving them around the house to follow the sun during the day.

  8. Hi everyone,

    I had a decluttering low recently. I am glad to say I’m back: I decluttered a handful of threadbare and torn wash cloths yesterday. Today I don’t have much time but I just want to grab an item that catches my eye and declutter it.


  9. Plasticware – I SWEAR that my plastic containers breed. It feels like everytime I open the cupboard there are more in there, and what is more that I have had two big culls in that cupboard since I started here at 365, and both times I felt I’d perhaps pruned it back just a bit too far, yet here I am again wondering have they appeared from? I haven’t bought any in years.

    Interesting thought that “there is often just as many of these items waiting to be used as there are ones in use” – tomorrow I might go and have a rummage in the freezer and see if there are any others hiding in there before I do another cull and can factor those in too.

    I should focus on getting the garage put back to rights first but I’ve noticed that whenever the plastics cupboard starts looking a bit full, it seems to give everyone licence to just chuck things in there, no stacking nicely, just open the door and hiff it in!

    • Hi Moni, I think it is just possible that your mission to improve the way you grocery shop may be resulting in these containers ending up being empty rather than half full in the fridge or pantry. Sometimes as we gradually change our ways we hardly even notice and then something like this occurs due to those changes and we wonder why. I know I have more plastic containers than I need because the kids have left home and because my hubby and I endeavour to eat low carb food. Needless to say there aren’t containers holding biscuits, five types of sugar, chocolate chips etc. etc. clogging up my pantry. Instead there are too many empty ones that I will give to my daughter.

    • Hey Moni,
      Are your plastic containers Tupperware or supermarket brands. For some reason I always manage to lose track of the good plastics but always find more of the cheaper ones. I swear mine breed as well, about the chucking in, I think it’s fun for my lot to do that because at least now it won’t explode back at them!! it actually lands in the cupboard, somewhere!!! Before my ‘BrainChange’ I used to have to open the door armed with a shield, a broom and a prayer!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. I found this week’s mini-missions are applicable to me so I finished Mondays. I only found 1 CD and 4 CD cases but kept going and removed two binders and their contents. I’ve retired from my career and don’t need to hold on to materials related to it.

  11. Great mini missions this week. I will have to think on some of these. On some of these days, I don’t think that I have anything, but nevertheless, I have my eye on some other things that will be making it out the door. I did manage to take one full bag to the donation center this weekend. That felt good to get it out the door. I will be working on another this week. I do know that for Saturday my laundry cupboards are mostly bare :). I have two large cupboards and only one has anything in it and only on half of the shelves.

  12. Hi 365ers’ I have been reading all the comments and links etc and etc, and I am happy to say that along the way I have managed to get rid of in one way or another ‘something’. All it takes is to read what someone else is doing and it reminds me to do it. Mini Missions, I somehow manage to have something from every catergory. Colleen if you are going to mooch around my place in secret for your mission ideas, at least put the kettle on hahaha. Everyone who has been through has said ‘Oh my, I wish my place was so tidy’ or “OMG where is all your ‘stuff’!!! HA do not go into the garage or office or scrap room. A kill zone if I ever saw one!!

    I just want to say thanks to everyone that bares their soul and talks about their clutter, bad habits, mountainous wardrobes and cupboards, kitchens that hold everything but what they really need too!!! I love this site and I love the reminders to spur on the heave-ho. I love that I can quickly clean up instead of having to move things about just to vac the floor. I had way too much ‘stuff’ for my ‘space’ now I have (or will have) ‘space’ for my ‘stuff’. I am happy to spend the time I do on my project. I have been at it for yonks, and I so love hearing other peoples stories too.

    My master plan is to move from here to our new home with only what we really need and love, I want to move in within 4hrs and have everything done, dinner on the BBQ and cocktails by the pool!! Woohoo!! Now where the hell did I put that cloth????? 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dizzy I sure hope your move works out like you want it to. That would be a real treat.?

    • Hi Dizzy, thank you for that lovely comment. I share your vision, I will likely be moving at the end of the year and a four hour move in sounds not only possible but likely. How exciting that sounds to me, especially after the last moving in debacle.

      • Hi Colleen,
        Your Welcome, I also see you may be heading back to the NT if I read the posts correctly. If so you are only a nice flight from Perth so come on down for Cocktails by the pool!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dizzy, if I may ask: When do you move?

      • Hi Sanna,
        I sincerely hope our house will be finished and ready for us to move into before Christmas! Fingers crossed that all goes to plan and we have no hiccups! I really hope we don’t blow our Budget because I sooooo want to go to the USA and Canada to see my niece and ski around. Can’t wait, but in the meantime I’m gonna keep getting rid of ‘STUFF’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. Went through and deleted a bunch of stuff off my laptop. If all goes well, I will have everything off but the essentials once a friend comes over and cleans it up for me. He has some tricks I don’t know that much about.

  14. Mini Mission: I (or rather my boyfriend) got rid of a CD stand. When rearranging the living room, we also rearranged his “office area” and I suggested another storage option for the few CDs that doesn’t require a dust-attracting ugly plastic stand. 🙂