Mini Mission Monday ~ Mental Decluttering (Tying off loose ends)

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.

Clutter isn’t limited to the physical stuff we have crammed into all the nooks and crannies in our homes. Sometimes our minds are  just as crammed full of useless stuff we wish would go away. This week’s missions are about decluttering some of that mental clutter. Knowing you have unfinished or unattended to tasks can be very draining. The only way to make the feeling go away is to get on with it.

In karen Kingston’s Book ~ Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, she writes:- “Every promise unfulfilled or commitment has a call on your energy and pesters you to do it.” So lets get some of those tasks out of the way so we can relax a while.

Monday – Return something you have borrowed.

Tuesday – Make that phone call you have been avoiding for whatever reason.

Wednesday – Get on with those mending tasks that have been awaiting your attention.

Thursday – Repay a debt or favour.

Friday – Declutter an item that exudes more negative energy than positive. You know the one, you have been procrastinating over it for some time now but can’t decide whether you like it more than you want it gone. If it is a close decision then you might as well let it go because it isn’t adding enough to your life to allow it to clutter up space.

Saturday – Return some out of place items in your home to their rightful place or reshuffle an area that just isn’t functioning efficiently theway it is.

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. Friday’s mission speaks loudly to me. How many times have I thought about a few particular items, dithering over whether to let them go, and then how to dispose of them? Negative negative negative energy – you have nailed it, Colleen! and at the perfect moment, as we have the chance to put into a dumpster several items that otherwise we would need to make a special trip to the dump with. In they go!

  2. Mental decluttering is a good topic Colleen. We need to just “deal with it.” It’s so freeing to get rid of it all too.

  3. Oops! Misspelled the title. I was wondering what I would read about! I have been very focused on mental deculttering. Our physical realm is simply a mirror of our mental one, so this makes perfect sense. I have been writing about this subject quite a bit. Thanks for the wisdom.

  4. good post, at first I thought we were going to declutter excess clothes hangers or nails or something…my husband has some metal junk I wish he would get rid of…wish I could sneak it out to recycle

    • Deanna – it sounds like it meets the criteria of both metal and mental clutter. I also was sitting there wondering what metal items I could fit.

  5. Oh yes, Colleen. The mental clutter needs attending just like the physical “stuff,” so thank you so much for this. The physical spaces are looking much better, but I do have a few items on my mental decluttering list!

  6. “Every promise unfulfilled or commitment has a call on your energy and pesters you to do it.”

    That is sooooo me. Things on my to-do list are like a relentless pop up reminder until they’re crossed off, would love to be like my hubby who often forgets things and doesn’t lose any sleep over it.

    I read an article by Raptitute who decided to deal with his over crowded to-do list by just ignoring it on the theory that the actual important items would rise to the top and demand attention and stuff that isn’t actually important would fall away. Would be an interesting exercise but I don’t think my psyche would actually let me do it.

    Someone here at 365 said something really spot-on on the subject and I wrote it on a post-it thats on my pin board at work (I’m at home right now) and it was something to the effect of rather than trying to be organised enough to fit everything in, to aim to have less on the go. Alas, that is a longer term goal for me, goals and committments to see thru to the end for family members for another year or two.

    Peter Walsh has written a book on this too, I’ve been meaning to read it, but have to clear some time on my schedule first! LOL 🙂

  7. Hmm under Monday I am going to return some things I didn’t even want in the first place but were foistered upon me. (1) A book I said I didn’t want to read (b) A file of notes about how to run a branch of the WI (c) a not remotely handy “handy gadget” for opening parcels – what’s wrong with a knife? And even better they can all go with me to the meeting I am just about to go to as all the original owners will be there 🙂

  8. I admit I have spent a good portion of this month on mental clutter. I have hated it, but I am amazed how fast things actually get done when I decide to do it (finally!). One thing that kicked me into gear was having a wedding to attend and school starting just two weeks later. I really forced myself to look at all the not so physical things rattling around in my brain, make a list, and really WORK on it. I hated feeling behind, like I was failing at the smallest tasks (making phone calls, returning items, doing small tasks that I had spent more time avoiding than it took to do). Now my brain feels less cluttered. When I feel myself avoiding doing menial tasks I really have to ask myself why. Then I try to force myself to deal with it right then. No I don’t like it, but I seem to sleep better at night and not wake up with jarring thoughts that I forgot something.

  9. Hi everybody,
    I’m purging my place of the things that no longer really bring good things in my daily life. They are not a lot, but even then no matter if they are just four things, they are enough to put you down.
    One of those things represents something precious to me, but the thing in itself does bring more tears than anything else (I don’t know if that’s clear and I don’t really want to give more details) and I can no longer keep it. I’ll keep the memories and all that goes with it.
    However, it’s really a tough thing to do for me. I began to undo parts, but I don’t know when I’ll feel ready to recycle it. I wasn’t even ready to undo it at first.
    I guess it’s going to be a process, I’ll have to get used to it at each step.
    Do you have advice?

    • Cindy I – I have been thinking about your question since it came in and haven’t been 100% what to reply. A couple of weeks ago I decided the time had come to throw out something that had been hanging around for ten years and a few recent attempts to hiff it out had unleashed a lot of anger and negativity. And so it went back on the shelf until the next attempt. And so on. Eventually I got to the bottom of the emotion by writing about it, the whole back story and had a realisation on what feelings I had attached to it. And then I threw it out and boy I felt good. Given all the negativity and anger I had attached to earlier attempts to hiff it out, it was surprisingly easy once I realised that in my mind I was still seeking something out the item to redeem the earlier situation. And it wasn’t going to happen.
      I don’t know if that helps.

      Otherwise today I received a post from Sue Rasmussen’s blog that maybe could help. Ironically it is her farewell post as she is going to focus on her other website but its entitled “How Do You Let Go Of The Big Stuff” (in her case, a long standing blog) and I’m unable to find it on her site to post the link here but will keep trying.

      The quote of the week is:
      Your resistance to change is likely to reach its peak when significant change is imminent.”
      George Leonard

      I took from that, that letting go of something really painful might leave the way open for something new and good

      Hi again – it appears that she has already taken down her site or otherwise my computer is having issues, not sure which, but I have copied and pasted some good info from her e-mail version.

      And my process of letting important things go tends to be messy. Here’s how it typically looks and feels for me (can you relate to any of these stages?):

      1.I start getting quiet little nudges from my inner guidance that it’s time to let go. I tend to miss a lot of these initial messages because I’m not expecting them, nor do I particularly want to hear them at this point.
      2.I start procrastinating, avoiding, putting things off, and generally not feeling like doing things…kind of like a logjam. I typically don’t even recognize this is happening at first, but in hindsight it is crystal clear.
      3.I start feeling confused and stuck. I hear myself saying “I don’t know” a lot.
      4.I find my attention becomes focused elsewhere. I get busy doing other things so I won’t have to notice how uncomfortable I’m starting to get.
      5.The inner nudges get slightly more obvious. I start feeling even more uncomfortable leaving things the way they are.
      6.Once I start noticing that I’m uncomfortable, I go through a phase of agonizing. I have now become willing to hear my inner guidance, but I don’t like what it’s saying, so I resist, resist, resist. I listen to my fears and doubts. I come up with all kinds of reasons and rationalizations about why I should keep things the same. At this point, I often feel paralyzed.
      7.Next, I finally remember to check in with my body. I journal. I do some EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). I let myself really feel all of the feelings that are coming up. I may also clear out a closet or two at this point, because that always grounds me and reconnects me with my true guidance.
      8.Once I have allowed myself to really experience my often wildly conflicting emotions along with my quiet inner thoughts, I may still feel fears and doubts, but at this stage, I know that it’s time for me to let go.
      9.Finally, I take action, whatever the action may be. I get rid of the stuff, I make the decision, I do what needs doing.
      10.And only after I have taken the action are the last remaining fears and doubts released. Up until that point, it feels like the logjam is still in place. I could still change my mind. I still wrestle with it. But once I have decided and taken action, it’s like the logjam is finally released, my entire body relaxes, and my mind quiets on its own.

      I don’t know if that helps – but what she is describing pretty well describes the agitated state I would find myself in with this particular item and I was surprised to read it in my inbox. I wish I’d read this earlier as it has been puzzling the hold it had on me, especially that I couldn’t rid of something that triggered such unhappiness in me.

      • Hi Moni, first of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer me.
        The thing in question has been here for nearly three years since something related to death happened, but it has been here for eight years.
        I write a lot, it’s like a therapy to me (not only about that). Writing about it helped, even if there is nothing to delve on really because I know, but I feel like I’ll never really feel ready to do it anyway.
        I hate change since like forever, I’ve always been reluctant to it. However, mainly throughout these last few months, there had things that needed to be changed, I had to make decisions and I still have to. It’s like an ongoing process and I feel this need of change more than ever. I like this quote, it’s relevant.

        I tried to go on her website (if it’s unclutter-organize-transform?) but I can’t go either.

        I can relate a bit to the stages. It’s not really that it’s time to let go in my case, but that I don’t need it to remember. But I can’t let it go. That thing (not the whole story) doesn’t bring unhappiness to me, but sadness.

        I’ll keep you posted on how things go.