Mini Mission Monday ~ A little fun with German words

mini-logoMini 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.

Well the new year has begun and lets start it out with our first set of missions. So what shall be our theme this week. I’d like to give it a German theme since that is very much the focus of my life at the moment. Well at least I will use German words for this week. I think decluttering is much the same for most people in modern countries these days. Too much of everything is a common theme. So lets get started. Zeug is the word for stuff in German so lets focus on that.

Monday – Das Spielzeug (The toy) ~ Now there is a fun word both in sound and in the meaning. I am sure anyone with Kinder (children) or Enkelkinder (grandchildren) will likely have some old toys the kids don’t use much anymore. Especially as Christmas has just come and gone. Time to declutter those.

Tuesday – Das Werkzeug (The tool) ~ Declutter any tools that aren’t used often enough to warrant keeping.

Wednesday – Das Fahrzeug (The vehicle) ~ Time to declutter all that stuff that has built up in your car. Whether it needs tossing or just putting back where it belongs.

Thursday – Das Flugzeug (The aeroplane) ~ If you have items related to travel that haven’t been used in a long time, even though you have indeed been travelling, then maybe they are excess to your needs and it is time to declutter them.

Friday РDie M̦bel (The Furniture) ~ Declutter any bits of furniture that you no longer need. Pieces that once held stuff you no longer own or that stuff, you used to dust, once rested on. I still have one at my house that my son wants. It is about time he came and got it.

Saturday – Der Stoff (The Fabric) ~ declutter something made from fabric that you no longer need. This one should be easy because so many things are made from fabric of one kind or another.

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

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Hi Colleen, This isn’t a true declutter because it’s not something we got rid of… Our elder daughter had a wood sleigh-bed frame that was partly broken stashed on our back porch (with “Box Mountain”). My husband repaired it and they put the frame together. It is so much nicer in her room now! And what was clutter no longer is 🙂

    • could that be in the die mobel category?

    • Peggy – I’m curious as to what a porch is in your part of the world? Here it is a small exterior entrance way, usually to the rear of the house.

      • Hi Moni,

        Porch can be “open”(roof but no walls) or “enclosed”. Ours is an enclosed porch (roof, walls, & windows, door to back yard). I used to use it to dry my laundry on drying racks… but with so much chaos in our household, I usually put everything in the dryer now 🙂

        • Peggy – it sounds perfect for drying washing but I can understand that with your daughter and grandchildren living with you, plus ‘box mountain’ that it would be a bit chaotic. I’m sure eventually everything will work out. I had had visions of folks fighting their way thru stacks of boxes out in the open to get to the back door. This sounds so much more organised.

      • Moni, here in the US we could have a front porch, a back porch…even a side porch. And some people have a porch that wraps around the entire house! Our porches can be open or enclosed.

        • Deanna – we would probably call that a veranda. If it didn’t have a roof (or only a pergola) it would be a deck. A patio is ground level, usually pavers. An attached room built for the sun ie mostly glass walls is a conservatory.

          This reminds me of a funny story from when my son was about 8, he drew me a plan of a house he was going to build me when he grew up, but he was upset because he’d used up all the area on his ‘floor plan’ and didn’t know where to put the ‘concubine’ – I asked him why we needed a concubine and he replied because his dad had told him that he always wanted to have one in his house. My hubby looked a bit panicked in the background. After a few more questions, I established my son meant a conservatory.

          • Moni, your story is just too, too funny.

          • Moni,

            That is hilarious. I have tears coming out of my eyes. I just read this to my husband, and you should have seen the look on his face when I read the part about your husband always wanting to have one in the house.

          • So the question that remains here is – If your husband didn’t use the word concubine where did you son get it from?

            • Colleen – Lol, not sure exactly but he was quite interested in history at the time, so he probably picked it up along the way or had been read the story of Wise King Soloman or something similar.

  2. Nice one, Colleen … such a capital idea … or should that be “Das Capital”? 🙂

  3. Hi Colleen,

    I am having a heck of a time doing decluttering…As I have been putting the Christmas decorations away for the year, I am looking at them and wondering if I should get rid of some of them. I have 3 snow globes; do I need 3? But 2 are very nice, but 1 is my husband’s in an airplane shape & he saves more stuff than me! I have 2 indoor wreaths; I used the newer one this year, and thought about getting rid of the older one, but I still like it & it looks good.

    I then decided to look at the ornaments or knickknacks I have. I picked a couple I can recycle, but with the others, I rearranged them into different positions, so they will look better in these spots. But I ended up with 3 objects/ornaments on every glass topped table! Should I try to eventually get them down to 1 per table? I think it is old fashioned to have so many things on each table. Thanks.

    • Hi Carol, I understand your frustration, which is why I always tell my readers two things. One is to start on the easy things for you to declutter. And the second is if you love and use it it isn’t clutter. Everyone’s level of what to keep and what to get rid of is different. So do what is right for you. I you aren’t up for decluttering Christmas decorations this year, leave them till next year and do something else for now.

  4. I do animal transport in my car and overtime towels, plastic protector liners, etc go into, but not out of, the car. So i’m skipping ahead to Weds tasks….this might take up Mon, Tues, Wed 10minute@. Yes, it has gotten that bad.
    Sorry, I don’t know any German words to share, but I am an expert Pig Latin translator.

  5. This is cute Colleen. A great idea. I’m sure we have things in all but Monday’s mission. I will have to find time to do something about them.

  6. I told hubby we need to get rid of all his Zeug this week, went through all the missions and ended with…now there is a slight chance I may not be pronouncing these right! I love these anyway Colleen!

    • Just for you Deanna her is an explanation of how they sound.

      Werkzeug = Vairkzoig
      Spielzeug = Shpealzoig
      Flugzeug = Floogzoig
      Fahrzeug this one is a little tricky because the R sound is more like a French R and Z can sound like tz so I would say ti sounds like Fartzoig
      Möbel = Moobel
      Stoff = shtoff
      And good luck getting your husband to let some of it go.

      • Lol Colleen! We laughed at your pronunciation of Fahrzeug. But, of course, we don’t know what a French R sounds like either.

      • ❤️
        Greetings from the Land of Zeug (thanks to all the Inspiration from your Blog Not als much Zeug as it used to be though)

  7. I can’t stretch the following items enough to fit into any of the mini mission categories. Can I get credit anyway? Wire hangers, plastic (store) hangers, ceramic plate painted by me back in 2000…. I was going to donate a red sparkly plastic plate too but it broke & saved me the trouble 🙂

    • Actually Peggy, you get those points and a couple of bonus ones for coming up with mission that suit you better and not just say “Well I don’t need to do any missions this week”. So well done you.

  8. What a fun theme!
    I had to stretch a bit, I didn’t have some of the things.
    Mon – no excess kids toys around here, so I ditched a cute piggy bank of mine that wasn’t being used. Well, it looks a bit like a toy …
    Tues – Actual tools are not my responsibility, but I did have a few “quilting tools”, marking pencils and such that I don’t like, so into the donation bag with those.
    Wed – Only one bit of clutter in my car! A 1960s songs CD that I received in a secret Santa thing a few years ago. I have been listening in the car this week to see if I like anything on it. Not enough to keep it, so into the donation bag with that too.
    Thurs – I found some Aeroplane Jelly in my pantry, the “lite” version with artificial sweetener in it (yuk) bought in error ages ago. Aeroplane – done!
    Fri – I don’t have any empty furniture, but do have a couple “unfinished project” boxes, which are now empty after the finishing happened. I will offer these to my quilting friends.
    Sat – Die Stoff is an ongoing job. This week I made an Aussie Hero laundry bag, and will be mailing it off as soon as I have packed it and written a card to go with it. 1.7 metres decluttered.

    • Hi Stephanie, I don’t think you stretched the boundaries too far there at all. However, like Peggy, I am giving you extra credit for your improvising stills. I Flugzeug replacement, well done.

  9. Dear Colleen,
    this really made me smile – I’m following your blog from Germany! Now is the time to leave a comment. I want to tell you how much your blog (and your followers with their comments) helped getting rid of way too much Zeug/ stuff. Vielen Dank!
    Fortunately, my husband is on the same track. We both work full time and do all the homework ourselves. It helps a lot that we don’t have to move many things when cleaning. Not only did we declutter a lot, we also simplified in other areas too. One example is, that we try not to buy clothes, that can’t be put into the washing machine.
    As it’s already tuesday, I will now go through the little Spielzeug-box with some toys for children aged up to 7 or 8 years. We kept them for our friends children – they are now 13 years and older. And as far as Werkzeug is concerned, there must be some kitchen tools that we don’t need anymore. It’s too cold to go in the garage/cellar today; it’s freezing cold and we have 10 cm of snow.
    I apologize for mistakes – as you may have guessed, I’m not a native English speaker, please feel free to correct.

    • Hi Anette and a belated welcome to 365 Less Things. Where is Germany are you from. I am glad you enjoyed the missions. I hope I got my German right because you make less mistakes in your English as I usually do and I only found one mistake in your comment. In fact I thought you must have been an English speaking native living in Germany. So well done. Give the challenge I am finding it trying to learn a little German I am impressed. I can also understand why you wouldn’t be wanting to go down in the basement right now if it is a cold there as it is here in Berlin. Although it is warming up again, or so they say.

      I am glad for you that your husband is on the same track as you with letting stuff go. I was lucky that mine was too.

      • Thank you very much for the warm welcome! :0)
        I grew up 10 km away from the Cologne Cathedral and went to university in Cologne. After several years in Schleswig-Holstein I came to Magdeburg (which has a beautiful cathedral too) – 21 years ago. So I’m not that far away from Berlin! Every now and then I have to go there. I just imagine walking down a street in Berlin, seeing you and thinking: “that lady looks like Colleen from 365lessthings – nooo, impossible, she lives in Australia” :0) Whenever I walk down Friedrichstraße in Berlin with all the shops and department stores I think about your blog, smile and think about the poor people who will have to dust all that Zeug! I really love the “Zeug”-theme, again a very good idea to follow the road to a clutter-free home.
        You’re doing very well with your German (even using the “Umlaute” like in Möbel!). Enjoy your time in Germany!

        • Well Anette, I am here in Berlin for another month so if you are in town during that time I’d love you to join me for a coffee (or as we say in Australia a cuppa [Cup of…]). Just sent me a message. The best method is via Facebook as Colleen Madsen, you’ll recognise my photo.

          • Sorry, I hardly found some ‘blog-reading-time’ … And unfortunately I couldn’t take a day off from work. I would have loved to meet you, but the next time I’ll go to Berlin is in April (work-related issue). If you come back to Berlin/ Germany let me know, I might even consider to join facebook then :0)
            Now I have to catch up with your blog!

  10. So excited. Mom was called today that she has an apartment. So if all goes well she will be able to move in the beginning of Feb. Happy Dancing!!

  11. Thanks for the extra credit Colleen! 🙂

    I looked through the bag I carry to work and the one I carry to errands/coffee. I’m going for a little stretch and say that I decluttered Das Werkzeug because I got rid of 2 unloved chap sticks (tools for my face, hee hee). I also got rid of a nasty looking medicine. I’m happier with both bags now 🙂

  12. Two weeks til I move, so not a lot of clutter left! It is funny now most things are boxed up, seeing the ratios of things that made the cut: equal parts clothing and kitchenware, slightly less books, then some slight representation from papers, craft materials, household appliances. Not a lot in the end and no way it would have been anywhere near that amount without 15 months of 365-ing under my belt!!!

    I am currently learning German (‘zeug’ was about 2 weeks ago, funnily enough!), and most of my efforts this week relate to: Das Essen, Die Kosmetik (etc), and general Kuche Zeug 🙂

    • Congratulations Amelia,
      As my Dad always said, “slow and steady wins the race” 🙂

    • Wow, Amelia … well done! I wish you all the best for your new job and upcoming move … how exciting! 🙂

    • Thanks Kimberley and Nicole V. It’s funny, I initially found this site as I was feeling too anchored by all my stuff, like it was holding me back from something, even though I had no idea what it might be. And then, within a year, I got offered a fantastic job opportunity interstate, and felt entirely free to take it up as I no longer had so many things keeping me here.

      Although now, I feel like I am on the precipice, a heady mix of excited and nervous!

      • You’ll be just fine, Amelia. 🙂

        Your comment about the precipice reminded me of this quote by Guillaume Apollinaire:

        “Come to the edge,” he said.
        “We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
        “Come to the edge,” he said.
        “We can’t, we will fall!” they responded.
        “Come to the edge,” he said.
        And so they came.
        And he pushed them.
        And they flew.

    • I am excited for you and your new job Amelia and it is normal to get nervous but I am sure you will be just fine. Also I am excited to understand all the German words you used without having to look them up. Yay! I am also very pleased the 365 has assisted in helping you reach your goal.

  13. This item doesn’t fit any of the “zeugs”… I donated a wooden photo frame today… I have been jumping in with these random items because I want 365ers to know I’m always busy trying to find things to let go… even if my finds can’t match the missions 🙂

    • Nice work Peggy. I think we can start creating our own ‘zeugs’ – I nominate this one for Hauszeug or Dekorzeug. Colleen will probably tell me off shortly for making up words, haha.

      • Never Amelia. If you don’t tell me off about all the typos I make every time I post an article I won’t tell you off either. Especially when your words are amusing. However joining words together in German is not always advice because it can change them to things you wouldn’t expect. One that amuses me is Hochzeit, which if broken in two Hoch Zeit = High Time but together is Wedding. I suppose that works if everyone things it is high time you got married but but outside of that it is just a funny pairing.

        • Haha, Colleen! 😀
          I never thought of that, although it’s even close in German: “höchste Zeit” (highest time) has the same meaning as English “high time”.

          Actually, in the old times (we’re talking middle ages here) a “Hochzeit” was any grand holiday: a time when everyone was high spirited – and would you believe it? I just wanted to write “a time when everyone was (feeling) high” – which would give it an interesting twist as well, I suppose…

          • Hi Sanna, I am learning German through an computer ap so am not sure how accurate it is. But I assumed Hockzeit did also seem to describe a good time or celebration. It really just seemed funny to me to make the literal translation.

            • Colleen, I’m happy that you’re having fun. Isn’t it great when such word plays present themselves?Actually that’s the only thing that keeps me going in learning languages. The fun of it. 😀

    • Well done Peggy. Feel free to post anything you like in the comments. And as per Amelia’s comment we will include that in her new category Hauszeug.

  14. Hi Amelia, I think you did a great job making up those words! 🙂

  15. While I do constantly edit my home (not as much as I’d love to) my main focus is on the closet. My closet. Last year I edited around 254 pieces!