Mini Mission Monday ~ Easy things to let go

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.

The main guiding principal behind 365 less things is to let go slowly, starting with the easy stuff. It can be daunting enough to get started on this journey so why scare yourself off by trying to get rid of the difficult things first. This principal applies even if you’re a long way into your journey. My experience is that the further you go the more things you find that you never considered parting with before. Therefore at every point along the way there are things you are more willing to let go of than others. So the mini missions this week are designed to help you refocus on weeding out the easy stuff to part with so decluttering doesn’t seem so difficult.

Monday – Declutter something that you no longer use and really never needed in the first place. (Gadgets of any kind, tools, Things you have too many of…)

Tuesday – Declutter something that you bought for yourself which no longer suites your style. (An accessory item, a trinket, scatter cushions, clothing item…)

Wednesday – Declutter something that can be recycled or repurposed by someone else. (Newspapers, magazines, old sheets, old pillows, old towels, bicycle parts, pieces of timber or metal…)

Thursday – Declutter something of little value that you think you might have a use for some day. If you haven’t used it for some time the chances are you never will have a need for it and if you do you could either borrow or buy one. Hint ~ Be realistic about the difference between need and want.

Friday – Declutter an object that has a specific purpose that could easily be performed with another more versatile item. Kitchen gadgets are an easy target for this mission.

Saturday – Find 10 minute to go through one hanging file in your filing cabinet. Just One! Shred and recycle the papers that need not be retained. The idea of doing the whole cabinet is likely to be paralysing in nature but one small section isn’t so daunting. Am I right? Perhaps next week you could do another small section ~ “rinse and repeat” ~ and before you know it the whole thing will be clutter free. I am using this method on my vast collection of photos.

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

Today’s Declutter Item

I know what you are all thinking ~ ‘What more baseball stuff!!!!?’. There was a lot of it at the start and I am sure you will be seeing more but there is a lot less now than there used to be. I am satisfied with that.

Yet More Baseball Collectables

Eco Tip for the Day

Why not engage your eco friendly habits in your work place. Scout around to find ways to save water and electricity while at work. Suggest changes to you boss and coworkers. Don’t be deterred if your ideas are met with rejection just do what you can do and hopefully others might follow suit in their own time.

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. Colleen, I had to laugh when I read over your list of mini missions. I think I must have done every one of them on Friday and Saturday. I am having a bit of a problem getting used to being 40 pounds lighter so was surprised when I went to put on a blouse and discovered it was too big. On top of that I had taken a few things from the piles of clothes S was getting rid of thinking they would help me through the weight loss. Discovered that a couple of outfits would be too big by the time spring came along and they could be worn. I was already in that size. My mother bought a couple of Christmas decorations from a catalog she saw. When we got them we realized they weren’t what she thought they were so decided to give them to someone else who really liked them. Thus it went. I have 4 bags of items piled by the door to take to the shelter thrift store. I love it.

    • Forty pounds, Deb! You’re an inspiration to us all. Keep it up!

    • Wow Deb, every time we hear from you you are smaller than before. What is your secret. You had better get S to lose some weight so you have a supply of clothes for the spring. 😆 Just kidding of course.

      I think S might have reached her limit on making changes right now. You are going to have to send me a new photo of yourself because by now you must look totally different to the Deb in the last photo you sent.

      Your mother has proved my theory about shopping via catalogues or internet. You never really can be sure what you are getting unless you have bought the product before. I am very tactile so if I do shop I like to be about to handle the thing I am buying.

      • I need to have a new picture taken. I keep forgetting and my camera is giving me problems so I need to get someone else to take it. My “secret” is that I am on a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar free diabetic diet. I eat very little in the way of starches. This has made my IBS hugely better, I’m almost totally off my diabetes meds and I’m losing weight without working hard at it. I’m seldom hungry and when I am I don’t have to eat much to take care of it. It’s great. I plan to eat this way the rest of my life.

        • I forgot. I agree with you Colleen about the catalogs. I’m the kind who likes to shop online for things and then once I find what I want I go check it out at the store. I just have to see it with my own eyes and check it out to see that it looks, feels and works like it says.

          • Deb J – my younger daughter Courtney hates clothes shopping – she wants clothes but dislikes the wandering around the shops and looking at everything and trying on etc. When she was little I could get her sister to try on for Courtney as they were the same size for a number of years but now they are different sizes and dimensions etc.

            Like you, we look online at her favourite stores that have websites and then we go in and try on. We also print out the outfit to speed up finding it.

            My other daughter likes to browse thru all the shops and then has been known to not buy anything that day and to come back a couple of days later to see if she still likes it.

          • Moni, Courtney is so much like me in that aspect. I hate to shop, especially for clothes. Mom does too. Your other daughter sounds like my aunt. She will go shop and find things she likes and then go back to either see if she still likes it or if it is on sale. I only shop when i have to get something I need. On top of that, I am not quiet 5 feet tall so EVERYTHING has to be altered when I buy it even when it is a petite. It’s not like I can go in, buy something and then wear it out. I have to try it on to see if I think that altering will work where it needs to and then if I buy it wait for Mom to get it altered. We both hate this aspect of clothes shopping so put it off as long as we can.

          • Deb J – snap! I am five foot exactly. That is rather short here in NZ, so yes I have to alter everything too. We have a tailor located in our local shopping centre but they are pricey but they do hems in an hour and more major adjustments same day or by the next day. I can sew but find it difficult to do alterations for myself.

          • Moni, that’s my problem too. I can’t alter my own clothes and Mom is much better at sewing and altering. We have alteration places also and if I have to I will take things there but I just hate to pay their prices. Especially when I bought the clothes so cheaply to begin with. Most times the alterations cost more than the item did.

        • That diet sounds tough for me.
          Great that you make it and feel that much better for it!

          Sometimes I’m thinking, ideal diets must be a very individual thing – after all we all have different, individual bodies and enterobacteria. So maybe, it’s partly due to that that some people just “can’t” give up on meat or starches (rice, potatoes etc), while others never eat those with gusto. I’m all for “everything in moderation” and particularly reducing my intake of high-processed food, but I really hope, I’ll never have to avoid any kind of food altogether due to an illness. I just can’t imagine I could do it and be happy for it.

          So I’m in awe for your persistence! It’s so lovely to read you on this, your happiness about your accomplishment really shines through! 🙂

          • Sanna, I agree with you. One of the things I have come to realize is that each person has to find the right meal plan for them. Dieting is not the way to lose weight and feel good. Eating healthy and in line with what works for you is the answer. That’s why diets don’t work. Each person has their particular needs and issues. For me this is working because these are MY issues. It might now work for you or anyone else. That’s why I am bothered by all the diets I see in magazines and books. If you can’t live with them for life then they aren’t any good.

          • It’s wonderful to read that you found the meal plan that suits you best!

    • Deb J – that is awesome!

    • Your weight loss is awesome, Deb J! Your success and loss will be someone else’s gain of clothing as you are able to declutter items as the pounds are dropping.

      • Jen, that’s the fun part is getting rid of things and getting new. I haven’t had to spend money on clothes because my friend S has had so many to give away. I have some a few in every size down to 10 and once I am below that I can still get thrift store items to get me by until I am done. I love it.

    • 40 lbs!
      Deb – you are a hero!

  2. I am on a Giveaway High right now. It’s such a rush when the phone rings and a friend asks, “Do you happen to have….?” and I do. Not only does something go out the door, but it is going to someone I know who particulary wants or needs it.
    We attended a Christmas supper last night and Ian won a door prize – a scented candle in a jar and a Christmas guest towel. The candle found a new owner at our table but we couldn’t find a home for the towel (it would have been rude to just leave it behind) so we’ll put that in the donation bag right away.
    This week our Ladies Group is having a Christmas Card swap. We can take our leftovers from previous years and trade for ‘new’ ones. I send so few – only seniors who don’t have email – that this will allow me to avoid buying cards at all this year.

    • You certainly are on a roll Wendy B. Most times when I go to events where there are prizes like that I either don’t bother to take the ticket, give the ticket to someone else, tell them to do a redraw should I win or, like you, give the prize to someone else. Unless of course they are giving away consumable products. I won a meat try recently which I gladly accepted. I wasn’t happy about the big styrofoam tray it came on though.

      I like the idea of the Christmas card swap. I still send Christmas Cards the old fashioned way. Mainly due to the fact that I rarely see any of my family at Christmas time so it feels good to send them a handmade card so they know I put a little effort into the gesture. I dare say one day even that will be a thing of my past but for now, since I have all those craft supplies, I may as well keep doing it.

      • I love old-fashioned Christmas cards. My parents always have a wall full of them, and they save the little address labels every year to send out the next years. Unfortunately, everyone no longer sends cards, and so their wall gets smaller and smaller every year. So I took it upon myself this year to fix that. In lieu of another Chrismas gift (two is enough) I bought a bunch of cards to mail (I don’t do paper crafts, so have no supplies to declutter). I’ve been mailing one or two a day from friends’ addresses and in different handwriting so they have a whole bunch of pretty cards to look at all season, as well as the joy of opening 20 extra cards this year.

        It’s my first year sending cards of my own, so I didn’t have extras from past years. I plan on taking my parents’ approach though – buy them half price after the holiday, store the tiny box with the Christmas supplies, and not have to worry the next year. There’s just something nice about physical cards.

  3. I hosted my pre-christmas giveaway coffee today. Unfortunately quite some people couldn’t make it because they fell ill or had other things to attend. Who came? A handful of very nice people whom I spent a nice afternoon with lots of tea, coffee, cookies and conversation with – but unfortunately the most decluttered ones that I know 😉 So their (healthy) approach was to take one book they found interesting and knew they would read soon instead of a bag full books because it’s free … I guess this makes my personal mission for the week to freecycle the leftover stuff bit by bit.

    • Hi Ideealistin, sorry your giveaway event didn’t go as well as previous years. At least you got to spend a pleasant afternoon with like minded people though. Perhaps the ones who couldn’t make it might drop by later in the week for a belated scavenge.

      • Nope, their chance is gone 😉
        I’ll put the leftovers outside in a “free” box, everyday a little bit, over the next couple of days. Things are usually snatched up within hours but I held back the latest/nicest stuff for the giveaway. If I declutter something and I strongly suspect one of my friends could want it (because e. g. they like the author of a book I am decluttering in general or have expressed need/want or like for a similar item recently) I usually ask them directly. For example I invited a friend lately who just moved from a shared space to her own flat to rifle through my decluttered kitchen stuff (I have saved a box of some good quality stuff for the next flea market but was happy to let her go through it before she would have to dash out and spend some of her hard earned cash on something I had lingering in a box). I don’t want my friends to think I simply want to get rid of the stuff and use them as my disposal. And I am certainly not begging anyone to take things from me. And you are so right: Meeting up with like minded people and see ideas and ideals catch on means much more to me than getting rid of an additional 20 books the easy way.

  4. Great mini missions this week, Colleen. In reference to Thursday, a great time of the year to really think on the difference between a need and a want.

  5. I am back decluttering again – a month off for my busy sewing season and I am surprised how much I missed decluttering. The place has maintained reasonably but I haven’t been able to do any freecycling or trademe, so I will be getting back into that this week.

    I have also kept note of what sewing tools haven’t been used this season nor many years prior, or should I say what tools have been superceded with something better. I also have little boxes of stuff like left over stretchy sequin, left over bling, packets of sequins etc that haven’t been used over the last couple of years so I am going to freecycle those out. I have a half packet of purple sequins that I last used when Dayna was 8 and she’s now 15 and it would only cost me $2 to buy another packet. Better that they go to someone who will use them now, than sit around another 7 years. It is almost sacriledge for a ballet mum to get rid of such items, but I’m just tired of seeing them in the cupboard.

    Good mini missions for this week.

    • I think you are so right to get rid of things rather than hang on to them for years. This is what I would like to get through to Mom. She has all these sequins, beads, etc. that she has had for at least 19 years and never used. In my mind it is time to get rid of them and get more is she were to ever, ever need something like it again.

      I’m glad you are back to decluttering. I have discovered it’s something that we never get done with because life changes so often and thus what we do in life changes too. Can you imagine the time when you no longer make ballet costumes? It sounds strange but one day it may happen. Life can sure be interesting.

      • Deb J – I am counting down the years until I am finished up with ballet, although one daughter wants to study to be a ballet teacher so I may not escape entirely, but yes I am looking to cut back further next year just for sanity’s sake really.

        The silver lining of this year is that it gave me a working insight to that area of my cupboard plus a set of fresh eyes in a couple of other areas of the house.

        • Moni, you had a good silver lining from doing all of that work. Again, this is what we all mean when we say that we will never really be done decluttering because life is always changing. I know a lot of people don’t like change. I don’t like change for change itself but I get excited by change because I know that means that I’m going to learn something new, my eyes will be opened to something I hadn’t seen before and/or it will be a challenge that will get me out of my rut.

  6. Ugh, I didn’t win the 550 million lottery (of course I didn’t play either) but I did win a desktop fountain yesterday in a raffle at a holiday event. It’s already been re-wrapped & tomorrow it will be donated to a local organization that gives gifts to the less fortunate.
    I wish the raffle gifts at holiday events would be more like movie tickets or restaurant meals or grocery stores instead of a vague non-descript gift.
    One guy at the party won a waffle iron. A waffle iron for Pete’s sakes! He’s a young single guy who admits he can barely boil water for noodles…but now he’s got a waffle maker.

  7. Re your eco friendly in the workplace tip, I was pleased to find out that our workplace is changing the way they deal with waste in the office. Instead of under-desk large bins that get filled with all sorts of rubbish, we are going to have a small ‘cube’ on our desk for waste that can’t be recycled in any other way. In the kitchen will be a compost bin. And in another central area will be paper and shredding bins which can be recycled. It is designed to follow the centralised system offices have adoped with other things such as all printing to a central spot. I really like the idea and am looking forward to seeing how it goes when implemented next year. No doubt I will then blog about it 😉

  8. Despite reading your blog every day, I haven’t actually been decluttering anything each day. My mind still tells me that one thing per day isn’t enough, and I wait for when I have time to get rid of bags of stuff at a time.

    Something clicked with me today reading your mini missions, and I’ve decided to commit to decluttering one item per day using your suggestions. This time next year, I hope my home will be 365 things lighter!

    • Hi Kirsty. The lovely part of the one-a-day approach is that you get to define ‘one’. So you can choose one bag, one box, one drawer or one shelf IF YOU WANT TO, or only one book or one magazine or one article of clothing if that’s what works. The slow approach isn’t designed to hold you back but to allow time for introspection, to decide disposal methods that work for you and let you discover how and why you collected all this stuff – and how to avoid getting more of it. I’ve been on this journey for over two years now and it has helped me avoid the lure of ‘free’, released my husband from the fear of ‘I might need it one day’, and shifted attitudes toward guilt clutter among other things.
      And remember the most important part: ONE is more than ZERO!
      Good luck on your journey. Wendy

      • Wendy B, what a great way to state it. I love this.

      • Agreed – and it can go the other way too. Some days I’m just swamped! (I’m doing research at the college, as well as holding down a job, as well as just being a student) but I can always declutter something. Sometimes it’s just a single digital photo, or just a piece of garbage/recycling that’s been on the table for days, but there is always something. Of course, other days I do a complete wardrobe overhaul and get rid of “a” wardrobe 😛 It’s all about keeping it up, even just a little bit.

      • I couldn’t have put that better myself Wendy B. Bravo!

    • Good for you Kirsty. Check in often so we can help inspire you to keep it up.