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.

This week we will concentrate on information clutter. You know, all those many mediums of information that we store because they might come in useful some time in the future. Well guess what, in the future they will probably be easily accessible on the internet or just plain out of date.

Monday – Excess magazines. Craft, fashion and home decore are just a few categories that soon become out of fashion.

Tuesday – Old newspapers.

Wednesday – Non-fiction books whose information is way out of date.

Thursday – School/University/College papers. By all means keep the ones that are still useful but that’s unlikely to be all of them.

Friday – Old computer files that you no longer need but haven’t got around to deleting.

Saturday – Old warranty and or user manuals that you no longer have the item for.

Sunday – Phone books and street directories.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

It is amazing how old papers accumulate over time. It seemed important to keep all this once but really it just isn’t. I have kept a few special pieces and recycled the rest.

Old school papers of my son

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Once again I am grateful that my parents taught me to be resourceful. I rescued my son’s backpack from the garbage for the three time this year with yet another running repair. Not having to replace it was good for the environment and my bank balance.

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. My son is 11 and he doesn’t want me to touch any of his school stuff. I’m not allowed to throw out anything, not even workbooks he hasn’t even written in! I guess he is afraid I will chuck out something he wants to keep. So I just keep all the stuff in a drawer for when he is ready to deal with it…

    • I used to have that problem when my kids were younger – sometimes I’d get them to just work on it for 15 minutes. When the time was up, they would often be so involved they’d keep going and get a good bit done. As they got older, they did a clean up about twice a year, on their own. There is hope!!

    • That is very interesting Low Income Lady. Is it only this one category he is fussy about or is he like this with all his stuff? I think it might be a good idea to discuss this situation with him. Let him know up front that you aren’t going to throw anything out without his permission but that you just want to know what the attachment is. If his reason for keeping it all seems valid and it doesn’t cross over to other stuff then I wouldn’t think there was anything to worry about. I think I would still try to encourage him to be more selective though as one is never too young to learn to keep their possessions under control.

      • At the moment my son is overseas with his Dad so I can’t really discuss it with him much as he only spends 3 months of the year with me, he is due back in May 2012. Actually it is only that one category that he won’t let me touch. We have already been through his other stuff and he has got rid of a lot so I don’t think he is a hoarder or anything…he is just afraid to let me go through it so I figure I’ll just keep it aside for him. It just takes up one drawer and we have the spare space.

        • Hi Low Income Lady,
          I am glad to hear that it is just his papers that he is attached to. He probably has a lot more of it at his dad’s if that is where he spends most of his time. I wonder if he is attached to it because it is a constant between his two homes. Perhaps there is a bit of personal history written between the lines.

          • I’m not sure…I think maybe I have a track record of throwing out stuff he doesn’t want to throw out…so that means I’m not allowed to touch his stuff anymore! Luckily there is not a whole lot as I did declutter stuff with him before he left…

            • Low Income Lady ~ My daughter sometimes reads my blog then sends me text messages about the stuff I am decluttering. “You tell me before you sell any more baseball stuff.” is typical of those texts. I tell her it’s our stuff and we will do what we want with it. I haven’t touched her stuff without her permission and that is the only concession I am making on that score. She loves me still. 😆

  2. It’s really weird, but I never noticed that I don’t own any of these items. Hate magazines, only kept one book, threw out/recycled all my old school work years ago and I even compulsively recycle user’s manuals right out of the box. I never need to look back on them, and even if I did, everything’s online now. Opted out of the phone book/junk mail, an empty mailbox makes me happy 🙂

    • It seems that when it comes to paper clutter, you and I think alike. I used to have lots of scrapbook magazines but like you I figured I could find no shortage of layout ideas on-line. I hardly own a book and the manuals/warranty papers are decluttered on a regular basis. I have opted out of the phone book and junk mail and I have a GPS on my phone so I don’t need street directories. God bless modern technology I say.

      After my son’s brain injury last year he had to pass an assessment as to whether he could manage at home OK before they would discharge him from hospital. As part of the test they asked him what he would do if there was a burst pipe in the laundry at home. He said he would google a plumber but they insisted he look it up in the phone book. Clearly most of their patients are older stroke victims not young people who understand modern technology. He had to prepare soup for himself the next day and he said to me “I hope they are going to let me use the microwave and not make me heat it up in a saucepan on the stove.”

      • Haha. Wow..I haven’t even used a phone book in over ten years. Not to mention that google and microwaves are so much quicker!

  3. Wow faith you’re inspirational!

    Monday: Last night I tossed 3 stray vogues (that missed the freecycle mammoth events), so they were out of my hair (I was waiting for another ‘batch’ but it wasn’t worth it, not as I try to get my room boxed up and tidy).

    Tuesday: On Thurs I took two sections of the paper I wanted to ‘finish’ reading to the pool and surprise surprise I had time between all the queries about water polo to finish one there, and get mostly through another – lessening the ‘throwawayable’ reading pile to nil! (i didn’t even glance at this weekend’s paper, seems FOMO isn’t affecting me so much!)

    Wednesday: hahaha I’m too young for it to be out of date? Nah, I don’t have many non fiction, and certainly the oldest I did have was from my thesis, so I gifted it to my supervisor/his mini library on the topic.

    Thursday: Ekk – just last week I tried with two binders of thesis stuff, and even though one is just journal articles printed out, I have limited to no access to those now that I’m not studying. So I’ve kept them – I said to myself, if my next career change isn’t into the renewable industry, then their use is probably passed. (I have thrown away all other uni papers in the past few weeks, aside from my two thesis)

    Friday: I don’t have a living computer, but my HDD was tidied up not so long ago.

    Saturday: done within the last 6 months, so I think that’s ok.

    Sunday: Mum’s already done this – so ANNOYING when there’s not a working computer at home, and calling directory assistance is enough to put me in a mental institution. Alas, most of the time, we can do without them.

    Phew, well I feel like this week’s tasks have really lined up to stuff I can do (unlike the toys etc), and I’m ‘managing’ my clutter well! Keep reminding myself that every little bit counts, even if they don’t fill my bag – yesterday a hair clip went, some binder hole reinforcers, little useful things, but not a huge pile…

    • Hi Snosie,
      it seems you were a week ahead of me on this mini mission category. That is great, you can spend your week decluttering other stuff so you don’t have to pack it up to move to your new place. Good luck.

  4. I rarely buy magazines these days but those that I do I take to work for the staff lunch room. We are having a garage sale this weekend though so I’m on at hubby to please please please cull his books so they can be added as well (my books fit on one shelf of the bookcase, she says smugly :). I think to make sure they are done, I will have to schedule a TV free night and work on them, with him of course! We might get an extra dollar or two by including them in the g/sale.

    • Hi Judy,
      I don’t buy magazines any more either. I can borrow some titles from the library should I get the desire to read them.

      Good luck with the garage sale I hope it goes well. I also hope that your hubby relinquishes those magazines. Which reminds me to ask my hubby yet again about those motorcycle magazines in the garage. I am hoping one day he will decided he doesn’t need/want them after all.

  5. Right up my alley I say. Paper and digital clutter are my worst enemy. I hope I finally come to my senses and use my christmas holiday week to sort out paper and clean up my computer.

    • Well why not make a small start on your nemesis this week and do a few of those mini missions. You don’t need to do the complete purge, just enough to wet your appetite so to speak. Allot yourself 15 minutes to each mission and declutter at least a few computer files, old emails, college papers, magazines…

  6. Oh, I do hate the paper clutter. When the kids were first in school I kept a lot more of their work, but they send so stinking many papers home I got over it quick. All day to day work gets pitched right away. (They do know and I always ask if it’s something they need if I’m not sure. Actually, they now write on the paper “Do not throw away!”) I keep a few things each year that I can tell they’ve spent extra time on…creative writing, special projects, art, etc. I also have a basket in my kitchen for loose odds and ends of papers that I’m not sure about. I go through it every month or two and throw out anything that obviously hasn’t been needed so it doesn’t get too full. It’s just nice to have one spot where all the loose papers can go so they don’t end up in stacks all over my house.

    • You have a good system going there Lisa S. During a radio interview this year the presenter confessed she can’t bring herself to throw away her young children’s works of art. They would be devastated, she said. I have found through experience that the more over-stated fuss people make about stuff relating to kids the more importance they will place on it due to the fact that all kids love to be made a fuss over.
      My own nephew at the age of two wanted to wear his best clothes everywhere because every time his mother made him something new people made of fuss of how gorgeous he looked.
      The key I think is to lay down the ground rules that yes we want to see their stuff and perhaps even display it on the fridge for a week but then they need to know that we aren’t keeping it forever. Only make a big fuss over the items they really over achieve on to encourage them to stive. I think that giving them the idea that everything they produce should be kept only sets them up to be clutterers in the future.

  7. Well – paper and the written word are my downfall! As fast as I get rid, the rest starts breeding,I wonder if I will ever see the end of it. However, this is the week that I need to be kind to myself, so we can get through it, so I’ll face this week’s challenges next week, Colleen, when Himself’s home again, and not very mobile – perhaps he can help 🙂

    • Hi Ann,
      you take it easy this week and focus on himself and taking care of yourself. And yes, I think getting himself to declutter while he is a captive audience is a great idea. He will recover faster that way just so he can get mobile and run away from you. Ha Ha 😆

      • Thanks Colleen – BUT I’ve just shifted a mountain of newspaper, some old, most recent, and all now done with! So the bedroom floor looks better. He’ll be home on Thursday, and won’t need to trip over piles of newspaper!

  8. Don’t have any at the moment, but just wait until school finishes next week: there will be piles of stuff from both the children. Fortunately, they don’t care about old schoolwork, 99% of it is recycled, and the best 1% goes into their ‘primary school years’ keepsake folder. Yes, I obsessively go through each piece of paper to find the ‘gold’ 🙂

    • Hi Loretta,
      I have kept a little ‘gold’ myself tucked away in the keepsake box. It used to be a lot more than a little but that has been taken care of.
      My son ended his uni year a couple of weeks ago and he did the paper purge without any encouragement. His bedroom bin was full of it. I had left it there until yesterday when his results came through just in case. I would hate for a lecturer to come back to him and say he wanted proof of gallery visits, or something that was in that bin. I was so glad to recycle it all yesterday. He followed it up with a small clothing declutter as well.

  9. I have never really thought much about outdated stuff. I have decluttered most of my home, but this post makes me motivated to see if I have anything that is outdated. I think this also works for my clothes too. This past weekend, I put on some pants that fit but didn’t look good. They were really outdated, but I wore a sweater to cover them up. I didn’t feel like I looked good in them and wished I had not worn them. I am going to also check my clothes closet this week as well as books and papers and get rid of outdated clothing.

    • Spendwisemom, I am glad my mini missions have got you thinking about what else might be lurking around the house that needs decluttering. Even if you find nothing at least you checked and are sure.

  10. I could well tackle these same mini-missions every week. Paper clutter is my weak spot. Not so much magazines, but all the more things that once were important (documents, college stuff) – I dread deciding which pieces are still important now and which are just plain clutter.

  11. I did all of these things just a few weeks ago and took a huge box to the recycle center full of papers etc.