Mini Mission Monday ~ Containers

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.

The idea behind this set of mini mission and all the great examples was brought to you by Peggy. Great and original idea Peggy, thank you. As you can guess by the title your mission this week is to declutter containers of all sorts. Bonus points for declutter the stuff in the container as well.

Monday – Declutter excess travel containers ~ Suitcases, overnight bags, toiletries bags etc.

Tuesday – Declutter excess Food containers ~ Mugs, coolers, thermos, Tupperware and the like, drinking glasses, bowls etc.

Wednesday - Declutter excess empty containers ~ Hat Boxes, shoe boxes, appliance boxes, plastic bags,  large storage containers you are aspiring never to fill again, etc.

Thursday – Declutter excess disposable containers ~ Plastic bags, takeaway containers, envelopes, paper bags, old shopping bags, empty jars, those little medicine bottles you think you might have a use for someday etc.

Friday - Declutter miscellaneous storage containers ~ Eyeglass cases, trinket boxes, jewellery boxes, vases,

Saturday – Declutter portable containers ~ Totes, handbags, purses etc

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.

Random Acts of Miscellaneous Kindness

(Little thoughtful acts for no reason but to make a complete strangers life a little easier.)

Give a street person some cash instead of just passing by. Do just walk away because you think the money won’t be put to good use. Just be glad that isn’t your lot in life.

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. I’m going to take care of this entire week’s missions in one massive swoosh. We had to wait 6 months after building the house to paint the basement floor. This entails moving everything from the east half into the west half and then moving it all back again. And vice versa for the other half. Well, the time has come…
    In the ‘go away’ section we now have the following containers:
    Bookcase (plus 4 boxes of books we’ve held onto too long)
    Glass bowls with lids (we have numerous sets and use the 3 smaller sizes but not the big)
    Plastic buckets which held garden chemicals, paint, etc. Most of the contents are leaving too.
    Boxes of canning jars (double points!!)
    A rack that held cassette tapes (remember them?)
    ….and more as I find it. Plastic containers are under consideration.
    Also leaving today will be some antique-ish Pyrex kitchenware from Ian’s mother.

    Do my spare rubber boots count? They were containers for my feet…

    • Wendy, I love your comment about your containers for your feet!!! Of course, they count!!! Everything counts in this game of lightening our lives!!!!

    • Oh Wendy B,

      You are definitely getting bonus points!!! I had a good chuckle over your rubber boots – containers for your feet, haha 🙂

      Great job!!!

      • It has been a momentous day. The antique store people came to buy our old stagecoach wheels. They also left with 3 boxes: Ian’s mother’s china (YAY!!!!), some antique containers like cigar boxes and tea tins, and lots of other good stuff. More basement containers that won’t be shifted again:
        another box of books,2 serving bowls, baking dish, magazine storage box, Tupperware juice container, 2 tote bags (Thailand souvenirs 1980), a suit bag, what we North Americans call a fanny pack, and a freebie bag which I have used to package up all the rolls of wrapping paper I am giving to a friend.

        • Hi Wendy B,

          You have had a momentous day! I think we all need a day like that once in a while at least 🙂 You are really cookin’ on those containers!

    • It all counts Wendy, well done. It is always easier to get rid of stuff when you know you won’t have room for it when you are about to more to somewhere new. Keep up the purging my friend.

  2. Hello, I’m new to this and I just wanted to say thank you for such an encouraging and supportive site, I haven’t seen anything else like it on the web and I’m very grateful to find so many words of wise advice. I have struggled endlessly with trying to manage a flood of incoming clutter for around twenty years. By reading the comments and archives on here, over the last couple of weekends I have managed to donate 50 books, recycle three huge bags of paperwork, donate tools and pots to a local garden charity, donate or sell fifteen pairs of shoes (in their accompanying shoe boxes thank goodness they’re gone), and given a whole set of china to a friend who couldn’t afford it otherwise and was really happy to be offered it. I’ve still a long way to go to see real difference in my home but what is lovely is realising that it’s a journey and that it’s doable, and that’s thanks to all the really helpful advice on here. Now to start on the containers!

    • Hi Sparkle122, firstly I am sorry I missed seeing this comment and didn’t approve it or respond sooner. Secondly, welcome to 365 Less Things. I am so glad my blog is inspiring you to get the clutter our of your home. It is also very gratifying to read that you are glad to see the back of it. The community that has developed here at 365 Less Things is the biggest part of inspiration. I am grateful to all the wonderful readers involved who have become a team of cheerleaders for each other. I hope we can continue to inspire you and look forward to hearing more about your decluttering success. Cheers Colleen

  3. These are good missions, Peggy, because they are things that need continual reviewing. Like Wendy, I am getting them in one sweep because of still removing things for my yard sale. There are 4 mugs on the counter to go along with 4 vintage soft drink bottles. I had kept two of them because they were bottled in a small town close to my own. I had never known we had a bottling company nearby!!! I have packed more glasses than I care to confess, thank you. I find nothing i like better than the can or freeze canning jars i use for drinking. There’ s a suitcase and a couple of cosmetic bags. I have used all the paper bags for wrapping and taken the plastic ones for sold items. I have used my totes for toting. :). I am keeping them till all the excess is removed. My BIG item for the week is an ornate antique church organ that was in my Living room. It is on the porch going on the truck TODAY! Hurray!!! It fit in with last week’s categories. It was sentimental and aesthetic, yet a totally non functional occupier of space. I have loved it for at least 50 years, and now it is time to let someone else love it! There’s more to go this week! I can already tell there’s a reduction in the time it takes me to dust and that feels so good!!!

    • Wow Brenda,

      That is a fabulous job! And you also gave me a chuckle about the totes for toting 🙂 I think you are right that containers need to be reviewed continually, at least by the 365 crew because we have less and less to contain 🙂

    • Well done Brenda, especially the organ.

  4. I was so glad when we FINALLY gto rid of all the containers that have been sitting around in the garage since not long after we moved here 8 years ago. Mom asked me,”Are you going to get rid of those nice containers?” I said, “Yes, Mom, because we no longer have anywhere to let them sit for another 8 years.” I put them in the church yard sale.

  5. Another excellent Mission for this week.

    Trouble is I keep buying more containers, but this Mission is a wake up call for me. I have too many “nice” containers. Time to let go.

    Am going to put a sign up near my computer – “Think before you buy another container, do I really need it”


    • Hi Katherine,

      I face the same temptation to buy nice containers! Let us know if you are able to part with any this week 🙂

    • Make that sign bold and obvious Katherine. First rule of decluttering ~ containers are for storing stuff, RUDUCE REDUCE REDUCE! Actually I just made that up but nevertheless.

  6. Great mini missions. So far, the missions have inspired me to release:

    Toiletries bag with travel bottles and mirror
    Igloo Cooler that’s been loitering in our carport for years
    Collapsible plastic barrel tote thing (I have no earthly idea why I bought this thing years ago…)
    Empty rice cooker box
    Two eyeglass cases and expired prescription glasses (will be donated to the Lion’s Club)
    Freebie tote bag (next time I need to “Just Say No Thanks.”)

    • Thanks for the reminder June. I probably haven’t donated my last pair of glasses yet. I will check today and drop them off at the optometrist around the corner this week.

  7. I forgot one – I found a drawer from our old kitchen cabinets in our crawlspace. I guess we were saving it as a memento from our old kitchen! Not sure which category it fits in, but it is out of here!

  8. Good job Peggy for this week’s mini missions & to all 365’s who have already posted.
    Returned a Tupperware container to owner
    Wed-excess empty
    Large box that futon mattress came in…off to recycle
    Pie tin to recycle
    Fri- miscellaneous
    Large three tier basket (3ft tall) with metal frame
    Have tried several places in house, just doesn’t fit, granddaughter is going to take

    Will have think about Mon & Sat

  9. Another fun theme, thank you Peggy and Colleen 🙂

    Last week I saw some pretty tins on sale – a dangerous zone for me, things that are beautiful and useful (except as we all know, it needs to be useful to me, otherwise it isn’t actually useful!). I did stare at them a while, trying to think if I needed any tins. Nope, no need so I walked away, a little regretfully though as they were very nice! My friend said I should just get them anyway, and even if I couldn’t find anything to store in them, they would make nice ornaments. Oh jeez! That definitely decided it for me! As we’ve talked about numerous times here, getting rid of things takes so much more effort than acquiring them. And buying tins, knowing I had nothing to put in them but they could just sit there looking pretty and attracting dust… No thanks!

    • Amelia, I guess we all have our weaknesses. Mine is boxes. And now all the stores, even Dollar General, carry those beautifully decorated cardboard type boxes in all sizes. I gaze at them longingly and finally walk away knowing I have no NEED for them. Good for you for resisting the temptation.

    • Hubby resisted for me…yay!!! We were visiting a neighbor and she had some REALLY HEALTHY aloe vera plants. Mine died last year, so I really could use one. She offered one and I was wavering. I asked hubby if we wanted one, and he said no. I’m sure he was thinking about moving it in and out for winter (heavy). And we just got rid of most of our heavy in/out plants last December. I was so glad he said no. Hopefully my next aloe vera will be a very small one like Walmart gets. I have one more very large heavy plant in our bedroom. And I have a very large EMPTY clay pot that has set empty on our front porch for a number of years…I’m trying to find someone who wants it.

      • Deanna, I want it to put a tomato plant in!!! I have the perfect place between my two garage doors outside where it will never have to be moved! Sigh………………….

        If anyone wonders why I am commenting so much, it is because I am having to rest between trips up and down the stairs moving stuff. So naturally, I pick up the iPad to check 365 and then get back to work! Ha!

        • Great Brenda! Come and get it!!! Our garage door is one big door…not divided.

        • Hi Brenda,

          You know I love it when you comment 🙂

        • Ha ha Brenda, thanks for using 365 as your relaxation time. And thank you also for entertaining and inspiring everyone else here with your comments.

          • Thank You, Peggy and Colleen for being so kind about me being mouthy today!

            But, I just couldn’t retire for the night without announcing my other big accomplishment for today. I manhandled a primitive, pegged, kitchen table from upstairs in the guest bdr and it now sits on the truck ready to GO! It has served me well for many years as a place to sort papers, lay cards I was making, etc, but it is time to say goodbye. I also added a CONTAINER, which was a fairly large stainless steel contraption on wheels with a sliding lid. It said French Fries on the side, so I guess it was something from an old restaurant. I used it in the garage. Also, a large basket that had been a dog bed, an antique quilt, and a couple lamps!!! And did I previously mention I removed a baby bed from the garage that had been used as a dog bed? My garage has had a makeover and it is looking good! Everything is improving!!! I’m so excited!!! However, I went up and down the stairs today so many times today that I may be useless tomorrow! Ha!

            • Brenda – well done you!

              • Thank you, Moni! I had just read your comment and was thinking how my brother would have loved to had your plant pots. He gardens a lot and I actually raided the dumpster last year when a lot of those pots were sitting within easy reach on top. He has made good use of them.

                Also, I was wondering if hubby could use a crock pot for the soup (if you have one) w/o having to buy something special to cook it in. You probably already do this, but anytime I have leftover veggies, I freeze them in a……get this……..CONTAINER, and eventually, when there is enough, I add canned tomatoes, some broth, whatever else it needs, and it is soup!

                • Brenda – the reason is, the last time I brought our crock pot to our workplace, our staff were totally distracted by the cooking smell all morning. I think they can tolerate 20 mins of soup smell, especially if I throw in a few extra veggies for them too. My crockpot gets used a lot at home. I learnt last night, that yoghurt can be made in the crockpot too. In cold weather, I set my crock pot up for porridge too.

            • I second Moni’s comment, well done you!

            • Hi Brenda,

              I think you got enough done for a month! It sure must feel good to watch your space “lighten up” around you 🙂

          • Hi, Colleen. I think it should be made mandatory for Brenda to comment as many times as possible for every post. Utterly selfish of me, I know, but oh, how I will enjoy it. 😉

      • Hi Deanna ar,

        That large empty pot is a container… good luck!

      • Sounds like you have a good decluttering team there Deanna. Good for you. I decluttered a few plants recently myself. I put the pots aside to give to a friend but I think I will donate them instead because her plants are already out of hand so why contribute to her cluttering habits.

    • Hi Amelia,

      I struggle with tins, too… not so much buying them, but parting with them once they enter the house LOL… I have a small pile of them in the attic and they aren’t really bothering me…. BUT I don’t need any more! 🙂

      • Perhaps it is time to let them go Peggy. It could be a good decluttering strength exercise.

      • Oh dear Peggy! Well maybe now you have identified that you don’t need them, they will be a little easier to let go of.

        I realised I come from a long line of tin acquirers. It helps me forgive myself for having such an interest in unneeded tins, but also strengthens my resolve to not acquire any more, as at some point I will be (temporarily) inheriting dozens, possibly hundreds, of them.

        • Hi Colleen and Amelia,

          The tins all fit in a smallish bin and I do use them or give them occasionally so I will keep them for now… But I don’t “collect” them, as in go out looking to buy them. I only have tins that somehow found me 🙂

          • Well they don’t sound much like clutter to me then Peggy. Keep enjoying them I’d say. Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of the things you like, especially if they are also useful.

    • That took a good blend of strength and logic, so well done Amelia. I love it when I hear stories from my readers like this one. It is gratifying to know I have people thinking about clutter before it becomes their clutter and doubly so because choosing not to acquire is also good for the environment.

      • Thank you Colleen. It really was through you and all your commenters that I learnt to stop the clutter even before it enters the house. Thanks all! 😀

  10. I have to admit that I have a strange love for containers of all kinds, even though I understand that rather than helping me to organize and avoid clutter they in fact enable me to hide it inside pretty boxes and baskets and then forget what I have. I have a large pile of empty “storage solutions” ready to go now as a result of decluttering efforts. I often use them to pack my donations into.

    This week I have several very old and crazed mugs that have to go. I have managed to empty five large boxes which held cards and letters so those will be going too. I also have a couple of bookcases that are no longer required. My dilemma is what I should keep for my sons who are both about to graduate from college and fairly soon will be looking for new accommodation and might be glad of some of this furniture and household goods. I think I just have to set a deadline after which any remaining stuff will go.

    I do have one little tip to pass along which I have found useful. I was beginning to have quite the collection of little plastic contact lens cases which come free with the larger bottles of contact lens solution. The extra ones have been very useful for putting a small amount of sunscreen, face lotion, foundation – any liquid or paste/gel that I need when travelling – and by using these small containers I can put them in my Ziploc bag for airport security and don’t have to think about checking luggage.

    • Hi Christine,

      That is a marvelous tip about the lens cases… very useful 🙂

      I think an expiration date for the bookcases and other household goods is helpful, too. Emptying boxes of cards and letters takes a long time because they’re thin. Great job!

    • I also agree with your expiration date idea Christine. And that is a good use of those lens cases.

    • Hi Christine,

      Do you have any tips on how you made your decisions on reducing the cards and letters? I’m fighting a sentimental paper monster.

      • Hi June,
        It is so difficult to get rid of these sentimental items, and I am by no means there yet! When I had tried to deal with them before I ended up getting overwhelmed and frustrated and just plain sad to see such a collection of items that expressed good wishes from people who are no longer around. More than once I have given up and just stacked the boxes out of the way. This time I removed them all from the high closet shelf and spread them out in a room upstairs that is not used while my sons are at college. That took some pressure off as I could just do it in small stretches and not feel like it all had to be tidied up again. I then threw away many cards that were just nondescript designs and just a name inside. I didn’t keep cards from people that I could scarcely remember, or for occasions that I couldn’t remember, so that helped to whittle things down and was encouraging as I felt I was finally making progress and not getting emotional about it.

        For me, I think I will have to revisit this project again a couple of times. I might also tie it in with sorting through some photographs and arranging the bits and pieces that I have of family history. Some handwritten letters from grandparents and other relatives are probably worth keeping, although I did find that while I appreciated the beautiful handwriting I was struggling to read it.

        This project has taught me that, like with so much decluttering, start with the easiest items that have the least hold on you. Take some time over it (I figured I’ve had some of this stuff for 35 years, it’s going to take me a little while to sort through it!). The things that made me laugh or feel happy I am keeping at least for now, the ones that made me cringe a bit or made me feel embarrassed were destroyed. I have now found space for my remaining boxes in a closet where they are easily accessible so I hope to tackle them one by one without making a huge project out of it. And I no longer keep every card that I receive.

        Good luck with your decision-making!

  11. The Other Christine

    This list inspired me to declutter my purse. I use it once every few years and I wasn’t really questioning it, but once I saw it on the list I wondered why I have one at all. Now it’s in the outbox.

    • Hi The Other Christine,

      It is impressive that you considered and decluttered that purse! Great job!

      • Hi the other Christine!

        You have great admiration from me, being able to get rid of your purse!!! I have never figured out how people do that. Granted, I have a very small one, but things I need are in there in tiny amounts/sizes. Elaine St James said to always have pockets and keep your credit card there. But, I can’t seem to make it without lip balm (have lips that get dry and drive me bananas), Kleenex , cash, pen, paper, etc. oh, and my trusty pocket knife (very lightweight and only one blade) that I have to remove before going into the courthouse, lest I slash someone (they think).

        I have to keep my little Baggalini, but my hat is off to you!!!!

        • The Other Christine

          If you use it, it earns its keep. I was coasting along thinking that a purse was something people have, but that’s not true for me. I carry some of the same things, but I have a different system using my coat pockets.

          • Christine, what do you do when it isn’t cold enough to have a coat?

            • The Other Christine

              Well, I live in a cooler climate (the east coast of Canada). It does get hot in summer, so some days I carry the coat instead of wearing it, but I always take it with me in case it rains or it’s cooler in the evening.

              • Idgy of the North

                Hi Christine (fellow Canuck),

                I also use my jacket pockets instead of a purse. If it’s too hot for a jacket and I have an outfit without pockets, I use a small tote bag. This approach h as really limited what I carry around!

    • Well done.

  12. Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for your editing on my post. It is significantly improved!!! 🙂

    • No, thank you for the great idea. I only added a couple of things and turned it into a mini mission post. It was very convenient for me this week as my daughter is visiting and it is nice to have space time to spend with her rather than sitting quietly in my room trying to come up with a mini mission idea. Although sometimes when one has visitor regrouping in a quiet place for a while isn’t such a bad idea.

      • Colleen, I had this little vision of your daughter telling friends……”well, I went to visit my mother but she stayed holed up in her room half the time trying to figure out what for other people to get rid of this week……”. Ha! Good thing Peggy wrote a post!

  13. Containers – ah my weakness. Right now I have a cardboard box sitting in the dinning area that was packaging, the cats treated it with great suspicion for the first day or two, now they are squabbling over this piece of real estate. I will give them a day or two and then I will take it to work where we keep useful size boxes for our own packaging.

    Colleen will probably slap her forehead in frustration as it is what she has been saying for years, but I follow the simple life blog and recently there has been the annual changeover to a new writer and this year her goal is zero-waste. A couple of weeks prior, I think it was Sanna and I were commenting on household rubbish output so I guess I have a bit more time on my hands to focus on such goals. Back to the simple life, the opening posts have been about reducing the amount of food packaging that comes into the house by thinking through the options a little better. The author takes a re-useable plastic container to buy the meat (her granny’s tupperware container) and likewise her deli foods, cold cuts etc. So I have a couple of containers (from the supermarket deli) that were destined for the recycling bin, so I’m going to keep them in my shopping bag and a flat container with a lid that a piece of lasagne came in so I can use it for cold cuts. I have a friend who keeps one in her handbag for sushi ‘to go’ rather than one of those flimsy plastic containers. I figure I can manage that. Less in, less out, right? I will take the ‘excess’ in Thursday’s challenge and try to eliminate any future ones coming into the household.

    I have also been contemplating the other contents of our rubbish bin (yeah, I really need to get a life) and I have noticed a lot of soup cans, my husband loves soup during the cold months, however I am not a soup fan. Our GP is encouraging her clients to eat more ‘real foods’ rather than canned or packaged options and I am considering buying my hubby a soup maker, ingredients in, 20-30 mins later hot creamy or chunky soup. I realise that it can be cooked in a saucepan, but I lean to this option for the same reason that I have him use an automatic rice cooker – he is infamous for turning on the stove and walking away. I am proposing that he chop his veges the night before and take the gizmo to our work and set it up in the staff room = no cans and no veges in the fridge being wasted.

    For Friday’s challenge, there is a little pretty box sitting on my desk which a gift came in, I will put in in the donation box as the hospice shop has an area for such items with the jewellery and someone else will find a use for it.

    And this will be a stretch for Monday’s challenge….. we have done the first round of planting for landscaping. I have a good 20+ of those black plastic pots that plants TRAVEL in (LOL) – a friend wants some but the rest I will offer on freecycle or similar.

  14. Seems like containers are a hot topic for most of us. I love containers too…boxes, bags, tins, Tupperware…all of them. I gave my tins to my niece the last two Christmas seasons. She uses them for her holiday candy/cookie gifts. I gave 3-4 garbage bags full of Tupperware to nieces and nephews…a lot of it new.

    I am so drawn to purses and still buy one sometimes. I don’t even carry a purse. I carry everything in my pockets…Chapstick, Kleenex, credit cards, a little cash, sometimes a list. Usually I carry a purse only if one of us has a doctor’s appointment and I need my iPad, pad and pen, list…

    Greeting cards…I keep going through them occasionally and whittle them down more each time.

  15. Containers are a big weakness of mine…I always think I could re-use this or that and never met a tote bag or basket I didn’t like!

  16. Hi deanna ar,

    I am dithering on my containers because sometimes as the “landscape” changes, I need a bigger bin or a smaller bin for the changed volume of “stuff”. I don’t want to go out and buy a container! So I keep everything for now, with plans to declutter it all when I’m in maintenance mode, whenever that it 🙂 Good job going through those cards… umm about the purses, though… 🙂 🙂 🙂

  17. Peggy – I have a thing about containers too and know what you mean about the landscape changing. What I have been doing is rather than using a plastic container, I grab a cardboard box from the supermarket and use that, till I get a better idea of whether this ‘containing’ need is permanent. I found that as my decluttering progressed there was an ‘in between’ stage where I had to re-organise what was remaining ie the big container was just too big. However, a bit down the track there was another change in the ‘landscape’ and the medium size containers were too big too. So I like to give myself the flexibility of a cardboard box (you can cover it in left over gift wrap if you want something nicer to look at) because it if it became surplus to requirement or too big, it wasn’t a big deal to throw it out.

  18. Yippee! My husband said okay to part with medium size cooler today! I will use it to donate stuff in 🙂 One less item in attic!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. Dear everyone, I have been a silent reader for the past week. It has been an eye opener, entertaining, read and you all have given so many sound advice throughout the years. As I was reading today, ideas start to flow more smoothly.
    Decluttering a home is a such a huge job, with a husband and 6 kids who want an uncluttered house, but at the same time , refuse to throw any stuff away. So far, I have had small success stories, whenever they are forced to decide on a small pile of their personal stuff at a time : in or out. It takes forever, but I am not giving up yet.
    Today, I was given a couple of freebies in the form of tin and plastic containers. Things I would never buy, but somehow people here like to give away small gift boxes of different materials (food inside), for wedding receptions! It is so awkward. So, I will think hard on how to regift them elsewhere.

    • Hi Rosee70, first of all I must apologise for the time it has taken to approve you comment. I have been away in vacation in Japan. So welcome to 365 Less Things. You certainly have a challenge to achieve and maintain a decluttered house when there a 6 children and two parents. However I am sure it is entirely possible and that you are up to the challenge. I always say, slow and steady wins the race, so be patient with yourself and the family and wish you luck in achieving your declutter goals.