Mini Mission Monday ~ All about COLLEEN – By Nicole V

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.

Since Colleen celebrated her birthday recently, I’m dedicating this week’s mini missions to her. She did such a lovely acrostic set of missions for me in December 2015 and I thoroughly enjoyed writing this for her (hat tip to Amelia, for her suggestion that I write one for Colleen). I selected these words based on my impressions of you and your blog, Colleen and I hope you like it. I hope you had a happy, happy birthday, my friend!

Monday — CREATIVE: Most of us know that Colleen is very creative and makes beautiful cards — if you haven’t already seen them, you can take a look at her handmade cards on Facebook at Go on, click on the link and take a look … you know you want to. We also know that Colleen (aka Mrs MacGyver) is a deft hand at improvising, whether in the kitchen or anywhere else. Keeping that in mind, declutter something from your ‘creativity supplies’, whether that creativity is expressed through scrapbooking, card- or jewellery-making, knitting, quilting, cooking, baking, music, dance, photography, painting, sculpting, gardening or anything else that gets the wheels of your creativity spinning. You could also put on your ‘improvisation hat’ and declutter something that really isn’t all that crucial to have around the house, especially if that item is usually passed over in favour of something else.

‘C’ is also for CRANNY — the heart-warming grandma name lovingly given by Colleen’s daughter and granddaughter, which I just had to include. Take a look at any nooks and crannies in your home for any insidious clutter creep that might have taken up residence and get rid of it.

Tuesday — ONE: Yes, the power of one … as in one woman, one blog and her simple one-item-a-day decluttering method. Pick any one item of your choice to declutter today.

Wednesday — LIGHTSOME: Colleen has written some memorable posts about packing for travel and I have this mental image of her and her husband fresh off the plane, nimble with their minimal luggage, and free of any worries about the possibility of lost luggage. They make their way light-heartedly through the airport with a spring in their steps, past all the people waiting by the baggage carousel (um, yeah, that would include yours truly) for the ‘luggage catwalk’ to begin. So, with this in mind, take a look at your travel packing list to see whether you can declutter an item that isn’t essential or maybe even a piece of luggage itself. If you’ve already pared down and only have essentials on your list, then declutter something that you’ve brought back from your travels that no longer appeals to you, unnecessary travel photos or a souvenir you’ve received.

Thursday — LARGE: Colleen’s large and generous spirit is one of the things that you first notice about her. From that perspective, take a good look at everything that you’ve been blessed with and donate an item that you can do without, that will help someone else in any way. Of course, if you just want to declutter something that’s, well, um, large … go ahead and do so … I’m not going to split hairs.

Friday — ENERGETIC: I can confidently state that the Energizer Bunny resides in Newcastle, Australia, although for the past few months she’s been in Berlin with Mo — that’s the equally heart-warming grandpa name given by the above-mentioned dynamic duo. So, what does that have to do with clutter? Well, being surrounded by clutter can drain you of energy and affect your mood … so take a look around your home for a clutter hotspot that affects you the most. Remove one item (or more, if you want to) from that hotspot and come up with an action plan to eradicate the mess in that area.

Saturday — ECO-FRIENDLY: We all know how Colleen feels about the environment, having excess stuff and not letting things go to waste. So, if your pantry is stuffed with so much food or you suspect that there might be a real possibility of a science experiment growing inside your fridge, do a quick check for anything that might be getting dangerously close to its use-by date and incorporate it into your meal-planning for today or the week ahead. If by some chance this item turns out to be a bottle of leftover wine, do remember to drink a toast to the birthday girl and her blog! Or you could begin a use-it-up challenge for that particular bottle of hand cream, body lotion or shampoo — you know the one I’m referring to … yup, the one that always gets pushed to the back of the cabinet — before its time runs out.

Sunday — NEAT: One of the impressions I have of Colleen is that she is naturally neat and keeps a clean, tidy home (don’t hesitate to correct me here if I’m wrong, Colleen 😉). Is there any area in your home that might have become less than tidy because you have been oh-so-busy lately? There might be something that you can declutter from it as you tidy it. Or maybe you have a closet or cabinet bursting at the seams — go ahead and declutter what’s in it and restore some order.

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. This is good Nicole V. I see this in Colleen too. Lots to think about.

  2. Well thank you again Nicole. You make me sound a whole lot better than I am by only mentioning my good traits. 😉
    As for the lightsome, our bags will be going under on the way home. My husband and I both bought new boots and we also couldn’t go home without two cans of the amazing hot chocolate for the kids from FASSBENDER & RAUSCH Chocolate house in Berlin. A use it up kind of gift. Of course we hadn’t got to the point for having to expand our bags but we don’t want to find ourselves over the weight limit as we board the aircraft. In fact we were pretty sure we would get away with it until Steve bought his boots then all bets were off. We have learned even more about packing light this time around and will be even better at it next time. All that being said, even with our bags being heavier we are still zipping on and off trains, trotting to our accommodation and navigating stair cases better than any other tourist we encounter.

    • Colleen – can you wear the boots on the plane instead of packing them?

      • I could but then I still have my other pair of ankle high boots to pack. That and the fact that it will be 30+ degrees when we get to Sydney and then have to hop a train to Newcastle and then a bus from the station to a block from our apartment then walk the rest of the way home. I would rather wait for the carousel than have to change shoes at the other end. And besides Steve’s boots are the heavy ones, so one bag under may as well be both bags under.
        Judging from the flight over, there are plenty of people that carry on heavier luggage than ours and get away with it. However I would rather the inconvenience of putting it under than finding they are cracking down when we go to board and having them lose our bags in the attempt to load them on the aircraft at the last minute.

    • It’s my pleasure, Colleen. 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday Colleen from the other side of the world – Long Island NY.
    I found you when you won “Simplicity Blog 2012” from “Midway Simplicity”. Thanks!

    Also thanks to Nicole V for the “Declutter with Friends” game that we have been playing for the past 6 months! This game is a fun way to say goodbye to clutter.

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes Pat M. I am glad you are still enjoying Nicole’s game. It has been an inspiration to a few of you gals to keep on letting things go. Well done.

    • It’s my pleasure, Pat. 🙂 I never thought the game would go on for so long … and Colleen’s been really supportive and generous.

  4. Great newsletter Nicole and a safe journey back Colleen.

  5. Nicole V you are spot on. 🙂

    • Thank you, Wendyf 🙂

      • Nicole V, please don’t get any more information than that from Wendy. She know me only too well, warts and all. Isn’t that right Wendy.

        • I was actually plotting to rope Wendy in, the next time I write one about you, Colleen … I’m certain she has a great deal of valuable inside info. 🙂

          • And I’ve said this before, Colleen, but it looks like I need to say it again … “Get out of my head!”

            Would it help if I added, “Pretty, please?” 😉

            • Ha ha, Nicole, as I always say to my husband be careful what you think because I can read your mind. I think I have him convinced that it is true because I so often surprise, no alarm, him when I preempt what he is about to say.

              As for drilling Wendy, she would go down this route I am sure.

              C for Crazy
              O for Obstinate
              L for Loud
              L for Ludicrous
              E for Egotistical
              E for Everywhere except where you want her to be
              N for No patience.

              • LOL, Colleen! I especially like the second ‘E’ – it sounds like there’s an interesting story (or three) behind it.

  6. Very clever week ahead…good job Nicole V!
    Have a small stack of things, will have to see any of the items fit this week’s missions.

    • Thank you, Calla! You have done some really creative decluttering in the past, so I expect great things from you this week. 😉

  7. Heehee, great work Nicole V!

    I am still unpacking as I am focusing on finding a home for each item rather than unpacking per se. Anything that is still unhomed (ie remaining in a box) at the end of the month is getting donated/decluttered.

    A few things I have found to declutter (they don’t really fit the COLLEEN theme but hey every bit counts! 🙂 ):
    – a large photo frame
    – 2 collectible drinking glasses (I probably still have too many in general)
    – a heatproof mat
    – 2 glass storage containers
    – ribbons that I could use for a future unknown craft project but don’t have any idea for at the moment.

    • Thank you, Amelia! I hope your new job’s going well.

      I really like your unpacking method – I’m sooooo going to ‘steal’ that if I move. 🙂 And yes, every little bit counts when it comes to decluttering … well done!

      • Thanks Nicole V. Still getting used to everything, but loving my new city so far.

        Between packing, travelling over the new year, then waiting for everything to get transported interstate, I had about 6 weeks with minimal possessions. When my boxes arrived I just dreaded unpacking them, couldn’t think of much I had missed and might need. So I figured that was a good sign I could let some more things go. Will keep you all posted 🙂

        • Yes, please do, Amelia. 🙂

        • I can relate to that Amelia. I feel a little overwhelmed with reality myself right now.

          • I find it interesting how quickly people adapt to new or different circumstances, and then when you return to ‘normal’, you’ve changed and it hasn’t and it is quite the effort to try to get used to it again.

            I couldn’t help but think of you Colleen when I moved into this apartment. The previous tenant left behind all their cleaning products. Well I presume it was all their cleaning products. I swear there is one of every type of product imaginable here! Feels very strange to me when I am used to the ol’ bicarb, vinegar, citrus combos.

            • You are quite right in how you described change there Amelia and thank you for your empathy.
              As for those cleaners, I would either find someone else to give them to or just use them up yourself. They are already out there in the environment at this point and it would be better that they are used than just thrown away.

  8. This was great, Nicole V, thank you! Entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. Also sending happy birthday wishes to Colleen, hope it was a good one!

  9. Hi Nicole V,

    I couldn’t make these items fit any of the “Colleen Categories” but here are my current offerings:

    2 worn out fitted sheets from work will be donated to puppy shelter via vet office
    1 worn pillow from home will be donated to puppy shelter
    several small plastic scoops of different sizes from baby formula, protein drinks, etc, will be donated to puppy shelter for measuring out small amounts of medicine or small animal feed

    1 glitzy sweatshirt I have been wearing as a pajama top donated to trash bin – I loved it for years but the 3D embellishments have been irritating me lately for some reason, and the neck is a whisker tighter than I like… So I’m over it 🙂
    1 bent wire hanger donated to trash bin
    3 Easter baskets will be going to Goodwill
    my husband is working on using up a tiny bathroom spray

    Where does all this stuff come from?!?!? 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi, Peggy. You always manage to do a good job decluttering … and then you wrap it all up in a vivid description, laced with humour, that makes for enjoyable reading. I still remember your ‘R’ for ‘remedy’, btw. 🙂

  10. I forgot, we chucked a small plate out the other day because it had a pretty good sized chip in it. What a great feeling, to be happy to toss out a broken plate rather than being upset that the set will be incomplete!

  11. Nicole V….once again, drum roll please….awesome post.
    If you are not in the field of journalism, you should be. Your writing is fantastic.
    Colleen, I just clicked through the link to see your cards at Fancy That. So beautiful!
    Our daughter was home visiting for 2 1/2 weeks so I have been mostly absent from posting.
    Bonus, she reviewed some of the items I still have here that are hers and a few more things are on their way to charity to bless someone else.

  12. Thank you, Kimberley … how sweet of you! 🙂 How lovely to have your daughter visiting and I like the way you described the items going on ‘to bless someone else’.

  13. Nicole V,

    What a great post and wonderful tribute to Colleen! I haven’t had much time to comment as I have been going through the “crannies” of several different rooms!!! As Peggy said above, ‘where does all this stuff come from?’. I think I have made such great progress (and I really HAVE), but there’s more to go and it is getting down to the hard part. The antique furniture and pottery and such that need to be sold. I think I am going to bite the bullet and try to have ONE more yard sale before donating. I’d like to get enough sold to buy me a new kitchen table and chairs. I am currently using a variety of thrift store things there. I also need a new living room set as the one I have is thread bare!!!! But, my goal is to get to the point I NEVER need to have another yard sale!!!! I live off the main road and always have to haul my things to another more accessible location, so it is double the work!!! If it weren’t for that, I actually enjoy the sale.

    Colleen, I am not a member of Facebook, but I loved the pizza card that I could see before the screen faded for login! One thing is for sure…… have a pizza MY heart for doing this blog!!!
    It is my favorite of all the simplicity blogs!!!!! With all the encouragement here, I know I will “get there” eventually!!!!

    My goal is to get to the point that anything that needs to go out the door can just go to the thrift store!

  14. Thank you, Brenda! 🙂 Congrats on the progress you’ve made! Use that as motivation to continue what has been well begun, to achieve what you want – you WILL get there! I hope your yard sale goes well so that you can get everything you need – my fingers are crossed tightly for you! Is there a neighbour or friend who’d be able to help you haul your stuff for the sale?

    • My husband usually helps me, Nicole. We have a utility trailer we load up. You wouldn’t believe how many loads I’ve gotten rid of. :). And it is not a small trailer. And that is not counting all the carloads I’ve donated to thrift stores and my friend’s charity!!! I wonder now where I had that stuff packed away so that my house was not wall to wall clutter!!

      Nicole, were you able to figure out the laundry detergent recipes or would you like me to resend the top one that was jumbled? I laughed out loud at your comment that you had never read so much detail. I’m anal that way!!! I know people will figure out things like hot water making the used detergent jug blow up like a balloon when you shake it, but I figure I will just save them the trouble. Ha! It would be easier for them to learn by experience than read all that description! :).

      When my iPad jumbled up the recipe, I discovered it was filling in a bogus website for me (I don’t have a website!) in the comment section. I have NO idea how that was happening!!!! When I saw it, I was able to backspace it out, and the comment turned out normal.

      • Hi Brenda,

        I’m with you in wondering where I had all the stuff I’ve gotten rid of. It wasn’t a case of having bags & boxes & piles everywhere. I think my storage areas were more packed though. Now there is room opening up in closets and on shelves 🙂

        • Isn’t it wonderful, Peggy, to see some of that space opening up? I know it is for me.
          Like you, I didn’t have bags and boxes sitting around or anything, but since I loved all “old stuff”, the tops of all pieces of furniture had “displays”, the shelves were full, the cabinets were full, EVERYTHING was full. Now, my fireplace mantle has 2 items, whereas it probably had 14 before. Same for the top of my kitchen cabinets overhead. I’m working on removing the rest of the items from the tops of the furniture. Today, I have removed a shopping bag of clothing. I got some boxes at the grocery store to pack up a load going to the thrift store! Will be glad to see that load leave the garage where I have been stacking it!!!! It is getting addictive!!!

          • I hear you about open space, Brenda … I love it! We removed quite a bit of lovely stuff that was on display as well … it really helped to open up our home and instill a soothing calmness. It does involve a great deal of effort but it is definitely worth it! From your description, it sounds to me like you’re doing great, so well done!

            • Yes! Open space!!! I’m beginning to see some. I actually have 1/2 shelf open in my pantry and the items in an upper cabinet shelf are few. I forgot I had worked on the cabinet some more, so when I opened it today, I was pleasantly surprised!! Sometimes I just walk around looking in closets and cabinets. It makes me smile.

              This was a great post, Nicole. I guess I forgot to comment when I first read it, so I haven’t been getting the comments…had to go back and read them. Thank you!

              • Deanna, I think I could speak for just about anyone who has ever decluttered and or reorganised a space in their homes that we all go back more than once to admire out handy work. I generally do it several times and it always gives me a buzz. So gloat over your tidy uncluttered shelves all you like is what I say.

              • I agree Colleen. I love that feeling. You know, it’s really difficult (maybe not possible) to try to describe it to anyone who is not into it. It sounds pretty silly to be so excited and happy over getting rid of their “stuff”…I hope they “get it” at some time.

              • Thank you, Deanna. 🙂 My sentiments exactly (regarding what you and Colleen said) … that open space also motivates me to continue my decluttering journey.

      • I was able to figure it out, Brenda (and had fun doing so), thank you … but you can always include the info again, in case anyone else would like it. Details – even minor ones – can be very useful for newbies. Sometimes what seems simple, familiar and obvious to us might be confusing to someone who has never done it before, so I’m all for details. 🙂 And LOL about your iPad!

  15. I think we have something for Thursdays’ large… not 3D large, but fold out kind of large… It’s a cover for part of a school bus, something my husband inherited from his old job. I have been asking him for over 6 years if we could get rid of it. He finally said why don’t we get rid of it, it is torn and ready for trash bin. Yippee!!!

  16. My “Colleen Categories”
    Mon-creative/ Cranny (love that name!)
    Square green plate used for display
    Tuesday- one
    New set of hair clips I never used
    Wednesday-lightsome/packing light
    Gave away plugin adapter for non US countries
    Large wrought iron candle holder
    Friday-energetic/ clutter hotspot
    My hotspot is where I do crafts….put away Valentine’s paper & stamps….not really a de clutter more of an energetic cleanup. Lol
    Saturday-eco friendly
    Using unliked body wash to scrub down shower for use up challenge
    Taking a pile of giveaways from guest room to garage for a week waiting period before giving away