Mini Mission Monday ~ Maybe not your favourite tasks

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.

This week I thought I would torture you all with some of the decluttering jobs we sometimes dislike the most. If you are lucky they may be the ones you actually enjoy so don’t cringe too much. Good luck!

Monday – Today I would like you to spend a little time decluttering photos. I got adventurous enough to start this task myself on the weekend and I must confess I did begin to see it as a monumental task that once I got a certain way into I felt as if it was hopeless. I pulled myself into line and took some of my own advice and reminded myself to be content with any progress I make. There is a lot yet still to be done but I will tackle in bite size chunks. For now I have weeded out about 200 photos that were really just rubbish but that is only the tip of the iceberg. I am content with my efforts so far though and that is key to not giving up.

Tuesday – I hope you will be willing today to declutter some books and magazines. Even though I have made huge inroads into this task I still find I have to muster up the courage to ignore the “I might need it some day” feeling and be realistic about what is useful and what isn’t.

Wednesday – Declutter something that belongs to someone else in your houshold. Part of this exercise is to ask the person if they are ready to part with the item you choose. Of course you will choose something that you know hasn’t been used for a long time and isn’t likely to be. If the person isn’t prepared to part with the item that is OK, this exercise is as much about practicing the fine art of making declutter requests of someone else.

Thursday – Now that the new season has had a good chance to set in, whether that be Spring or Autumn for you, it is a good time to deploy the backward facing clothes hanger strategy in your wardrobe/closet. That is to turn all the clothes hangers that hold this season’s clothes so the hook is facing backwards on the rod. As you use the clothes, once laundered, put them back in the closet with the hook around the right way. At the end of the season you will be able to identify the items that didn’t get used because the hooks are still facing backwards. These are the items you should declutter at then.

Friday -Find an item that you no longer want and perhaps never did that someone else gave you. Either offer it back to the person or simply declutter it appropriately. The object of this exercise is to build your strength to declutter obligation clutter.

Saturday – Today take some time to have a little rummage through a keepsake box in your home. I (We) have several of these I must admit and it is about time I went through them again. I would like to narrow mine down to one each for the kids (to take with them when they leave) and one for my husband and I.

Sunday – I have given you plenty of tricky tasks to work on already this week so I will let you have today off ~ unless of course you want to find something to declutter freestyle.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

As mentioned for Tuesday’s mini missions I have been tackling the craft books and magazines again. The pile below will be donated to the thrift shop or to the craft group who were kind enough to allow me to have the sale with them recently.

Books & Magazines

My Gratitude List

  • Something that made me glad~ I am glad to finally make a decision when to go interstate to visit my daughter and have booked flights. Now I just need to get ahead with the blog so I can maximise my time with her.
  • Something Awesome ~ Art, sunshine, walking and hot chocolate all in the one outing.
  • Something to be grateful for ~ That Steve was alert and quick to respond when a big white SUV drove right into the path of our car today. Disaster averted.
  • Something that made me happy ~ Being woken with a cup of tea.
  • Something I found fascinating ~ Watching the tug boats guide a huge coal ship into port today.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

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  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Memorabilia Items 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 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 ~ This and that 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. Oh my, those are all tough ones and I am going to have to print this out to make myself stay on task! I did a bunch of things yesterday and posted them on my blog this morning.

    I have already tackled the book one for this week with a huge box of books that I put up for grabs on FB yesterday. The ones that aren’t taken will go to the library in a week or so. But I will see if there are more.

    The photos are SO hard. I went through a bunch of those last week and got rid of all of the duplicate school pictures. Some of them are so bad, the kids will be embarrassed that I kept them at all.

    Keep up the good work and the great suggestions! Thanks, Colleen. You keep me motivated.


    • Hi Chelle,
      I think you should be allowed to miss the book and Photo one for this week as you have already tackled those recently. In fact it was you mentioning the photos you dealt with last week that inspired me to spend a little time on mine. I am not sure how our photo collection ended up in such a fuddle but I did and I will content myself with working on it in small chunks.

      • Weeellll….I only went through the stack of actual portraits that were professionally taken over the years. I did not, in fact, go through the photos. Alas. Do I still get out of the photo one this week? LOL

        I love to hear I inspired anyone to do anything, so hooray me! :o) I pulled about 10 books out of our bookshelves today and added them to the “donate” or “giveaway” pile that keeps growing and receding in the dining room today. The book collection is getting pretty much under control, but I know there are at least four boxes of photos from 23 years of marriage in the basement, just waiting down there to bite me. So I think I’m going to take your challenge on the photos anyway.

        I mentioned the give up something someone gave you thing to my husband and he got very suspicious and asked what I was thinking of giving away. Two things immediately sprang to mind, both from my mom. The most likely candidate is this CREEPY teddy bear she had hand made by a neighbor out of my late grandmother’s bathrobe. Some people might find that nostalgia, but I get the shivers every time I look at that bear! Any ideas on how to handle THAT conversation??? (I’ll bet that’s one item of clutter you’ve NEVER heard of. LOL)


        • Hi Chelle,
          you should read the comments from this link and this one if you want to find out about strange clutter.
          As far as I can see there are two options to get rid of the bear
          1.Tell your mum you are minimising your belongings and ask your mother if she would like the bear back because you really prefer not to keep it.
          2. Donate it to charity and hope if she does notice it gone she won’t ask any awkward questions.
          I think I would opt for the first choice.

  2. I am totally ahead for Monday! I had this HUGE bucket tote of photo albums that my mom had put together years ago (in the 80’s) and I had no reason to keep all of them. I have gone through all the big albums (couple of small ones left) and picked out my favorites, then offered her the rest in case she wanted them.

    It’s going to take me a bit longer than a mini mission to finish but it feels really good to be nearing the end of this project.

    • Good for you Lynn,
      As I said in this post, I have just had session weeding photos this weekend. I have a long way to go though but half and hour here and there will be my approach otherwise that job would drive me crazy.

  3. Great post; sometimes it’s good to stretch ourselves. Monday’s will be a huge challenge but it is on my ‘pending’ list. I got rid of all my old paper photos a couple of years ago, but I have GBs worth of digital photos stored and they need some serious sorting. I also want to print the ones I really like for our albums but it’s so hard choosing from the thousands on file…

    Tuesdays is easy for me – I’m now really good at getting rid of books and magazines after ditching about 3/4 of the ones I own. My question with books is ‘does this represent me now or who I was in the past?’ this really helps to free me from things that are holding me in the past.

    Wednesday I feel I have already done. We spent last week decluttering my DD’s room and she got rid of about 70% of her possessions – what a girl!

    Thursday’s mission would you believe I did that yesterday! I figured it was the only way to weed out those things I’m hanging onto because I think I wear them – I have ditched about 50% of my clothes though, but there is still much more to go. I’m working on a capsule wardrobe, so if you ever fancy writing a post on that I’d be an eager student 😉

    After our conversation last week I’ve made a concerted effort with the office / gym / dressing room and realised one of the things holding me back from tidiness was that the rail in my wardrobe is too high. DH has moved it down and with the space above the rail has added another shelf.

    I’ve also asked him to remove things from ‘his side’ of the office – this is 2 computer towers that are redundant. I know he can’t let them go but I’ve at least asked they be moved out of the way…

    Fridays is great – I have two books to return to someone and for Saturday I have just one keepsake box; there are some things I was thinking about could go from that such as my old school tie LOL!

    For this week then I’m still in my combo room trying to make it work for me – wish me luck and thanks for the continuing inspiration!

    • Wow Mrs Green it sounds like you have this week already sorted, I must have been channelling your last week when I wrote this post up. I love the method you use to sort books ~ ‘does this represent me now or who I was in the past?” ~ I think that would work for a lot of people including me. Or “am I really going to achieve this aspirational goal or does this book just represent something I wish I was good at”.

      Have you ever thought of framing the tie and hanging it where you can see and enjoy it?

      Well done and keep up the good work.

    • Mrs Green,
      I have to thank you for this question too:
      ‘does this represent me now or who I was in the past?’
      Having read it, I noticed immediately a number of books that definitely represent my past. Nevertheless, it is difficult to give these away , it’s like I’m giving away a piece of me. This is stupid so I’ll give them away next.

      • No problem Sarah – glad it helped.

        Colleen, I’m afraid I couldn’t think of anything less appealing to hang on my wall LOL! The tie is GOING…Go me!

      • Hi Mrs Green and Sarah (and Colleen),
        Yes, I understand ‘does this represent me’, but do neither of you want to keep anything of ‘I hope to share this with my daughter/son in a few years, or my (potential) grandchild later on’?
        I have been clearing books for a few months now, and have many more books to get through, before reaching the nucleus I’ll want to keep, but there are books I want to keep in order to share them, as well as those I want for myself.
        am I alone in this?

        • No you’re not alone. There are things that I’ll keep too. (Eg some old classic children books. But I’m still reading them from time to time. 🙂 So they are not really my past. I don’t keep more ordinary books as we have a good library. And if it doesn’t have the same book, it has similiar.)

          But I have a lot of books about things I liked to do when I was younger and I don’t use now. I hang on these books for sentimental reasons. E.g. “it was my first book about xy.” Sometimes I have the feeling that these books made me what I am now. That’s why I said “its like giving a part of myself”.
          But when I look at these books and when I ask myself why I don’t use them now, I have to say that they are just bad. I won’t tell my kid: “look, these bad things I’ve read.” (I’m wondering now: bad books are a part of me? I should really let them go 😉 )

          And I think a handful of books is enough to share. Little but the best. After that my child has to find his own way.

          • Hi Sarah,
            I have kept things over the years for my kids but when I ask them if they want them they quite often don’t. It sounds like you have given serious thought to the issue of your old books and have come to your own reasonable conclusion. Just don’t declutter things you love just for the sake of decluttering. All I can say is be sure with things close to your heart.

        • No Ann you are not alone in this. I have a box with some of my children’s books, just the special ones they didn’t want to part with. Maybe they will be able to share them with their own kids one day. Sometimes we can take this two far though and the stories will most likely still be available even if you don’t keep the actual copy we owned. Remember though decluttering is about getting rid of things that aren’t meaningful to us not about decluttering cherished items.

        • Hi Ann, you’re not alone at all. My DD is now 10 and recently we have put some nice books in the attic that we enjoyed together for her children.

          The box I was talking about – the one with the school tie in it? That has some totally useless stuff in there but it’s my ONE box of things that DD might like to look at when she is a teen.

          I have love letters, photos of previous boyfriends etc and I think when she is going through a ‘it’s all right for you, you don’t know how I feel’ kinda moments, I can pull out that box and show that I’ve been through heartaches, love, triumphs too… My Mother never kept anything and I held onto a romantic idea that one day I would find a forgotten box; sadly I never did and I really feel I missed out on a possible bonding opportunity…

          • meant to add I have just sent 300 photos and about 50 videos to the recycle bin (AND emptied the recycle bin 😉 ) – it took forever and I was really frustrated as this was the tiniest folder I started with
            Digital media with its convenience has a lot to answer for – it was different when you knew you had to pay to have every photo processed 😉

            • Welll done Mrs Green, I only wish it was just digital stuff we have to deal with. We got our first digital camera in about 1996 but there are about 20 years of paper photos to deal with prior to that not to mention ones thoughtful relatives sent in paper form. What a shambles it is.

          • Hi Mrs Green,
            My husband and I still have all our love letters. God forbid the kids should read those, my husband can be quite expressive. 😕

  4. the Other Lynn

    I had to laugh… with our forecast of 103 today, we’re past Spring here in the desert! The photos will be a hard one for me, but I’m going to work on it. The digital ones should be easy enough to delete, right?! Thanks, Mrs. Greene, for your question, ‘does this represent me now or who I was in the past?’ That one is going to be asked a lot in the coming weeks!

    • Hi Other Lynn,
      just remember that you don’t have to tackle the entire photo mission all in one go. Do a little and revisit if the task is too daunting.

  5. Calico ginger

    Wow, we must be all on the same psychic wavelength or something – I decided to tackle the digital photo clutter on Saturday and did more on Sunday too. It will take me forever though, because if there is one job that brings out the type A in me it’s this one….

    • Hi Calico ginger,
      I only wish it was the digital stuff we had to deal with but unfortunately the first half of our lives consisted of film photography and that is a little harder to ignore when you know it needs decluttering. Oh well, one day at a time, one day at a time.

      • Hi Colleen,
        I think I’ve solved this one – I am midway through scanning the valued negatives and hard copies of photos pre-digital. The intention is to ditch the negatives (eventually) and just keep the digital.
        Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

        • Hi Ann,
          we have digitised the negatives but are keeping the originals, I am not sure why, it is my husbands choice and I have no problem with that. I will however weed out many not great photos or photos that are virtually the same as others.

  6. Interesting comments. Having failed to get the job I have been doing for the past 2 years on a temporary basis I am in the process of evaluating a lot of my life and the ‘yard stick’ I am using is ‘does this item/activity represent me now or move,me on towards my goals/values?’ if the answer is no then I get rid of it/stop doing it!

  7. Oh my – I’m so glad to have also tackled at the least the book one earlier this week! I am moving house in the near future (well that’s the plan), and so I thought ‘what do I not want to carry to the next place?’

    Even as I took the small box of novels to the second hand book shop I thought ‘gee this is heavy, I’m glad I’m getting rid of them!’ But i also struggled, cause she didn’t offer me any money, and I feel like it was because I phrased it wrong. I said I’d take what she didn’t like the charity. See, last time she was so nasty, she didn’t want any of our books.

    I’m OK with ditching novels, it’s more reference books that I struggle with. Or French novels/books – I mean, they are hard to acquire, and there are times I revive my learning.

    Photos are too hard – I need the HDD plugged in, and seeing I usually use a laptop, being tied to a power point is annoying. If only we used them with desks, in that place called a study!

    My mother has really taken to decluttering – though a CD file with CDs in the recycle bin was a little odd – I mean, she knows you can’t recycle it like that! But I am pleased she’s getting into it!

    Clothing – this one is EASY for me – I do it once every couple of months, and when I travel I often ‘leave behind’ things I don’t care for anymore. And I take off on Wednesday, so perfect!

    And lastly! I finally regifted last night – I got tea, and another friend loves it. Perfect timed delivery too – he’s sick, so the tea really was even more appropriate! And that’s two less teas and containers for me to deal with! yay!

    (Sorry, bit verbose today!)

    • Hi Snosie,
      It sounds like you are making good progress getting ready to move into your new home. Too bad the bookshop lady isn’t nicer but getting rid of the excess is the main thing. I think if I decluttered clothes once every two months I would have nothing left to wear. I tend to be choosy about what I buy these days and wear the items until they are worn out. Well done with the re-gifting, it is like a double bonus, you get rid of something and make someone else happy at the same time.

  8. Hi Colleen! You are a mind reading ;-)! I was looking at 40 years worth of family pictures and talked to my dad about getting all the negatives professionaly scanned and having all the pictures digitalised. I don’t think it falls into a mini mission category, but, my kitchen cabinet awaits me, I have a book (believe it or not I want to declutter a book!:-O ), and something of my husband is always begging to be decluttered :-D, and my wardrobe still has areas that need attention, and so forth. So I have plenty of work this week, thank you Colleen, the slave driver. hahaha

    • Hi Andréia,
      you should see my whip. Just kidding I don’t really have one. Good luck with all the tasks you have ahead of you.

  9. Colleen, again you did a good choise of mini missions this week. Too bad that I can’t join because I am in my little apartment. I don’t have access to my stuff. Finally ready to give away more books and then I have to wait 🙁

    • Hi Sarah,
      enjoy the little apartment while you can an deal with the clutter later. Look on the bright side you have time to consider your choices and be sure they are the right ones.

  10. You can’t surely be serious?!! I’m not into torturing myself. If you think there is any chance that I would be able to do even one of the seven tasks you have set this week you are seriously dillusional. But at least you’ve given me a good laugh.

    • Hi Heda,
      they are really only as torturous as you allow them to be which is the point of the exercise. I am glad you had a good laugh though, there is nothing like a good laugh.

    • Hi Heda – in case you return to read the rest of the comments, I’d like to say that you don’t have to do any of these tasks in its entirety, just spend a few minutes on it now, and then a few minutes maybe next week, and the next. Sort one handful of pictures, declutter one or two books, get rid of one keepsake that no longer means anything to you. It can look imposing unless you keep in mind Colleen’s main mantra: just 10 minutes a day. After 10 minutes, if you feel like keeping going, go ahead. But if you don’t, at least you are 10 minutes closer to your goal.

  11. I LOVE the backwards hanger strategy. Can’t remember when I first heard about it but is it so useful. Firstly it helps me do an initial weeding out – do I really “ever” wear this at all and then as time goes on I can pull more and more out by seeing what doesn’t come out after a month – allowing for weather and so on. And then at the end of the season off it goes to bless someone else if it really isn’t for me.

    I also organise my wardrobe by type and then into colour. So it is also easy to picture what I really don’t need more of when I’m shopping.

    My photos aren’t too badly organised. I do print a lot of our digital ones of the children into albums for them so I weed out the terrible one as I go through either first time when I upload them or when I’m choosing the best. But I do have 4 boxes of film camera photos that I could do with truly weeding out.

    • Hi LJayne,
      welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      I was going to deploy the backward coat hanger strategy in my own closet but on close inspection there really isn’t anything in there that doesn’t get used. INstead I am going to do a little observation to ascertain what my clothing preferences are. I have bought one item on clothing since August last year and when I do decide that I need something I would hope that with a little knowledge about what I really prefer to wear I will be sure to make good decisions.

      As for the photos. I have no problem with the digital photos as they take up only harddrive space and with the fantastic photo organising software out there you can even set up face recognition to make identifying them even easier. Unfortunately it is the physical photos from the “good old days” of film photography that are my task at the moment.


  1. […] my fashion choices but am undecided about what to do about that so I will continue to deploy the backward facing hanger tactic each change of season until I discover what the solution […]