Mini Mission Monday – Convenience Clutter

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.

If you only took a stocktake of everything in your home that is only there out of convenience rather than necessity you would shocked. And if only you could convince yourself as to how inconvenient, and sometimes costly, those convenience items really are then you would probably be able to find a lot more stuff in your homes to declutter. I am going to be keeping and eye out for such conveniences in my home this week. And today’s mini mission will drawer your attention as to what some of those items may be in yours. So, happy decluttering.

Monday – Declutter a small single use gadget in your kitchen. Really consider how much time it saves you, on what sort of frequency and whether the time saved is then wasted on the awkwardness to clean the item or in finding it among the plethora of other equally not-so-convenient items.

Tuesday – Declutter or start a use-it-up challenge on consumable items that you have multiples of. Toiletries and cleaners are always a good example of this. Because they generally last a while so there is no need to have a replacement on hand until these items are in imminent likelihood of running out. Anything beyond that is a waste of space in your cupboards.

Wednesday – Declutter or start a use it up challenge on gift wrapping items. Usually one needs to leave the home to acquire a gift so why not acquire a gift bag at the same time in future. There is really no need to keep a large assortment of these items in your home.

Thursday – Declutter some excess crockery items. If you have layers of crockery that you never get to the bottom of then you have more than you need. Toppling layers of plates, variations of items that perform the same task, rows of coffee mugs that you never get to the back of… . Yes it is convenient to have lots so you don’t have to clean them too often but that just makes for a cluttered, messy and unhygienic kitchen.

Friday – Start a use it up challenge on a throw away convenience item that is not so environmentally friendly, and vow not to replace it. Paper towel, cling wrap, any sort of wet wipes, bottled water…

Saturday – Declutter a number of small items that you have dispersed throughout your home to save the small effort of walking from one room to another. Multiple trash cans, pens, notebooks, nail files, hand lotion, reading glasses, hair ties, charging cables…

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

Eco Tip for the Day

There are many convenience items that are less than environmentally friendly yet are quite easy to live without. Cling wrap, paper towel, wet wipes, throw away shopping bags. Consider learning to live without them. Remember REFUSE, reuse, reduce, recycle.

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. Ah yes, all thos things that we need to get rid of that we tend to hang onto. Good post Colleen.

    • Wednesday’s post is going to be on a specific items that comes under this category. I haven’t decluttered it but we have changed and downsized it. Intrigued?

      • I’m curious, Colleen … could it possibly be your fridge? We deliberately bought a smaller one when ours was on its last legs some time late last year. We did have a few concerns before buying a smaller one though but were determined to make it work. It’s been fine so far and we have adjusted and adapted well. Bigger isn’t necessarily always better, and stuff somehow has a habit of expanding to fill the space available.

  2. You must have read my mind. I was just about to buy some nice environmentally friendly shampoo and shower gel and then decided to use up all the other stuff first. Trouble is, hubby thinks it’s extravagant to pay the little bit extra for nice shampoo, and if I buy it anyway, he won’t use it, because “it’s too nice/expensive”. So then he goes and buys himself something cheap and nasty to use, meaning we end up with two bottles in the shower/on the side of the bath!
    As for gift wrapping items, I have a huge stash at home because, if we can, we reuse any that we are given! Clearly we must receive gifts far more often than we give them!

    • Hi Tracey, I understand your dilemma about the shampoo. I just use the one my husband used and use whatever conditioner that suits me because he doesn’t use any. Problem solved for us. I’m not precious about the shampoo, so long as it gets my hair clean.
      As for the gift wrap. I understand your want to reuse from an environmentally friendly standpoint. I feel the same. You would be surprised at how much of it comes through the thrift shop where I volunteer. So feel free to donate any excess. I have, near to, solved to problem buy asking for gifts that require very little wrapping ~ gift vouchers to spas etc. Any other paper bags I use to put my shredded paper in when the machine gets full. I only keep a few on hand, unless of course I can convince the gift giver to take the bag back and reuse it themselves.

  3. This list looks do-able. Tomorrow is Monday in the U.S. and the long-awaited day off w/o hubby underfoot. Oh the grand plans I have to declutter, organize, do minor repairs and maybe somewhere in there, I can carve out a little time to work on my quilt. I hope everyone is successful in completing their Mini-Missions. 🙂

    • Hi Michelle, enjoy your busy, but hopefully fruitful, day tomorrow.

      • An absolutely, fantastical, successful day. I didn’t get to work on the quilt, but everything else was super! Things got decluttered. Things got put back in their proper homes. Things got repaired that had been waiting for repair. Things got cleaned that were needing to be cleaned. So happy today. 🙂 Oh, and I also went to three antique shops and did not buy a single thing.

  4. If you are making them single-use items, why buy a gift bag at all? Save the funnies from the previous Sunday and use that. While I agree there is such a thing as too many (which I have, and is a target for decluttering), it is an environmental and waste, and a waste of money compared to a single roll of wrapping paper, to make gift bags and boxes into single use items.

    • I Kayote, I wondered if someone would pick up on that. I use my paper crafting supplies as wrapping paper should I need to. Also old maps, aluminium foil, fabric (if that is all that is on hand) or whatever else I can repurpose. Also I ask for and give gifts that are consumable or spendable that don’t need much wrapping.
      I agree there are lots of ways to be environmentally friendly about wrapping, including no wrapping at all.

  5. I have eliminated gift bags and wrapping paper, much to the annoyance of my daughter. With a 100 metre roll of brown paper in my husbands work area I could see more potential using that than a bunch of Disney gift bags.
    The disposable wipes are very handy. Nothing nicer than having your hands cleaned and sanitized by one after a trip to the dog beach. BUT they are not flushable and should never be flushed . Even the ones that say they are flushable are causing blockages in the sewerage systems around the world. So I might put a small bottle of vinegar and a microfiber cloth in the car as an alternative to those wipes.
    I found a couple of Stainless steel water bottles at the thrift shop for 50c each last year. I really like using them .
    Ok I will ‘relocate’ the 8 matching coffee mugs that no one uses .

    • Well done Wendy. And I will be searching the car for those wipes the next time we go to the dog beach. Use them up by all means but please don’t replace them. Microfibre is a much better idea.
      My kids, who ought to know better, keep giving their father novelty coffee mugs for gifts. Today I will be decluttering two other mugs -not my ugly brown ones-to bring the numbers back down.
      Brown paper for gift wrapping is really quite nice. Since I have lots of craft supplies I always have something on hand to jazz the parcel up a bit.

      • Colleen – I like the idea of buying a gift bag when buying a gift, I will float this idea past my daughters. I’ve noticed that our remaining gift wrap is starting to look a bit battered but I’m reluctant to buy another roll. The friend I am helping with her house has quite a stash of gift bags, so I could make an arrangement to buy one off her if she likes that idea. Our remaining gift wrap might be better served going to the local kindy for craft.

  6. I have been working at my friend’s house, I was hoping we would have finished the kitchen today but we ran out of time. Its about 3/4 done, so its a noticeable improvement. I managed to whittle her down from 12 casserole dishes to 6, which may still sound over the top, but she has been such a gold star student so far I didn’t want to push her too far. As she’s downsizing to a much smaller house soon, I figure that logistics will force the issue further then. Over the weekend we did her hall cupboard, cleaning cupboard, double door linen cupboard and entrance cupboard with about 2/3 of contents leaving the house. So I didn’t push too hard on the issue of casserole dishes. She also let go of about half of her pots and 1/4 of her bake ware and 1/2 of her plasticware, so I’m very very proud of her.

    She has visitors arriving tomorrow morning so I probably won’t go around until after they leave but I have another friend who needs help too so I’m going over tonight to help form a plan.

    I organised from friends books and DVDs for a local charity book sale, when the guy picked them up (he was happy to pick up as he knew there would be a fair few, usually there is a collection point to drop them off to) after a brief conversation I realised their charity gave out a number of scholarships to our local high school as I attended my daughter’s graduation late last year. So I contacted as many of the parents of the recipients that I know and explained where the funds came from and asked if they’d like to give back a little. End result, I have a small mountain of books here to be picked up tomorrow.

    • Well done with all you are doing Moni. You aren’t only helping friend but also charities and the environment. You are going a fine job with your friend, encouraging just enough to get good results but not too much to scare her off. Keep up the good work. Your husband may have to advertise your position vacant soon while you go off to become a professional declutterer.

      • Colleen – I have to admit that I am feeling a bit head buzzy having just been thru a big cull at work, a goal of one thing a day from the upstairs storage room, two friends on the go with their homes and trying to stay on top of my own home but I have to admit I am enjoying the work.

        I have told both my friends that I can respect it is a big deal to have someone else amongst your stuff and cupboards and boxes etc and as they are both good friends I am going to let them go thru mine too and they’re welcome to critique or challenge me on their findings. A fresh pair of eyes can spot things and a jury of peers can often spot excuses.

        • Moni, this is fantastic! You are getting so much done that I can’t even believe it. This is really wonderful and you keep up the good work!

          • Michelle – the joke amongst my husband and both my friend’s husbands, is whenever they see me they throw their hands up in surrender and say “please don’t get rid of me”. I have started quoted back William Morris “have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”

  7. Colleen,
    I love, love, love Saturday’s declutter list. Decades ago, I decided that every sink did not have to have a hand lotion, every desk did not have to have scissors, etc. It is so out of character from the way I was raised, but really, is it that difficult to walk 10-15 steps to the hand lotion if you need it? Some of the excess is just borderline laziness. It is so much easier to streamline your belongings. I just read an article that said, “do you really need to organize your crap, or do you need to just get rid of your crap?”, hahaha!

    • Hi Kimberley, convenience is often simply laziness in disguise. Given the almost sedentary life many people lead – even if they are busy hardworking people doing desk jobs and the like – every bit of extra energy expelled by getting up to fetch something does them good. If I find myself sitting for too long I get up and find something to do that requires movement – fold the washing, tidy up something, search around for something to declutter, reorganise a space. Hence why my house is usually tidy. And I don’t mind going from one room to another to collect things I need because all movement is calories burned.

      As you know, I have been spruiking the idea that the best way to organise your crap is to get rid of it for years. That principal has sure worked for me. And hence why I don’t talk much about organising on my blog. As I have also said before ~ “Once the excess is out of the way the other items tend to find their most logical position without much thought put into it.”

  8. I have a very large kitchen “gadget” that I have been mulling over for a long time now. It is a heavy and relatively expensive stand mixer – the kind that everyone in the US seems to have or wants to have in their kitchen. Funny enough, I didn’t buy it or ask for it, I received this as a gift from DH about 8 years ago. I found it heavy and awkward to use with lots to clean up afterwards. I have only used it a couple of times. I prefer my small $10 hand mixer. So I finally summoned the courage to ask DH what he’d think if I donated it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out he has no problem with me donating it. It still is taking me some nerve to part with it, I don’t know why!, but I am writing here to commit myself to adding it to the donate pile! Here I go!

    • Claire,
      Sounds like a KitchenAid mixer to me?

    • Your comment made me laugh because I just got a Kitchen Aid Mixer for Christmas. I’m beyond ecstatic and quickly got rid of my hand mixer! I found my new mixer to be a delight to use and extremely easy to clean. I was chatting with a friend the other day and she had the same opinion you do! I do a lot of baking and my hand mixer just wasn’t cutting it and was difficulty to clean to boot.

      It was a good reminder to me that each person and family have different needs and wants and isn’t it good that we do! I’m sure your mixer will make someone extremely happy and you’ll be just as happy to be rid of it!

      Have a great rest of the week,

      • You guys gave me a chuckle with the Kitchen Aid Mixer conversation. Hubby bought me one for Christmas several years ago and I think I’ve used it less than a dozen times. It was taking up too much counter space so I’ve put it on top of the fridge. It is an ordeal to get it down. The few times I’ve used it, I did think it was pretty great. We don’t have any of the nifty attachments and I’m not sure I would use them anyway.

        • Hi Michelle – I can just picture the mixer on top of your fridge! If you’re going to keep it, plug it in up there and get a ladder to mix your ingredients on top of the fridge! That would probably be easier than bringing it down and putting it back every time you use it! 🙂

      • Lea – I know you’re not alone in loving the KitchenAid mixer! I tried to, but just never did it justice. Dusting that thing every week for 8 years is the most memorable part about owning the mixer to me. I don’t have anybody in the family who would love it either so somebody at the Salvation Army is going to have a good find – and probably think the person who donated it was nuts!

    • Claire it is funny that you should mention this because I have a mixer that I question my purchase of. The one I own was a cheap replacement for my Kenwood mixer that died on me. I no longer bake much because, being over 40, having baked goods in the house isn’t good for the waistline so I have virtually stopped baking. Mine is actually and hand mixer on a stand. I am thinking of decluttering the bulky stand and only keeping the mixer for those times when I do bake. Even that seems a little lame considering how infrequent that is. One step at a time though.

      • Colleen, I’m in the same situation. Over 40 and I don’t bake much anymore – wouldn’t be prudent! I work from home so baked goods would be staring at me all day. It is bad enough I still make cookies and muffins sometimes but neither of those require a mixer.
        For me, the stand was the most awkward part of the KitchenAid mixer. If I had to move it it was heavy and the top part (actual mixer) would flip around like a toddler having a tantrum. One year I priced installing a special pull out platform into my cupboards for it. These are neat, just open the cupboard and pull on the platform and the mixer comes out and pops up to countertop height. But, it was hundreds of dollars and the space for the whole contraption would take up an entire cupboard. Plus I never used the mixer anyhow! I was very close to doing that just to make the mixer more useful somehow, but I’m glad I didn’t.
        I think you’d be safe ditching your mixer stand if you don’t use it often. For me I figured, how much am I really going to be wanting to bake years from now when I’m less able and can’t hold the mixer myself?!

        • Claire – I avoid baking but I do have a daughter who still likes to make the occasional thing. As I said I’ve avoided baking because it has to be eaten up. So these days I’d prefer a nice coffee and cake with a friend if I want something sweet. I’ve never actually owned a cake mixer, neither did my mother so I just used a wooden spoon when I used to bake for the kids school lunches. I would be put off having to wash all the fittings, I’d rather put a wooden spoon in the dishwasher.