Mini Mission Monday ~ Five

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.

Hello, it’s Monday again and we all know what that means. And what can we take care of with our mini missions this week. I think we might put a number on this weeks missions, and that number is five. Of course you can go over or under five if you discover you find you have fewer or more of an item when you check. But the more the better I always say. So go in search of the items I have mentioned below and see if you can come up with any. My husband took care of the cables on the weekend. We have no magazines, very few books and no excess of any of the other things listed. So it looks like I am going to have an easy week. How will you fare.

Monday – Declutter five electrical cables that seem to multiply when you aren’t looking.

Tuesday – Declutter five food items that have been in your pantry for a while by making meals out of them this week.

Wednesday – Declutter five magazines that you had saved to reference later but so have never have.

Thursday – Declutter five grooming items. Excess razor handles, unused hair brushes, worn out nail files, products…

Friday – Declutter five books from that over full bookcase.

Saturday – Declutter five dust collectors that you aren’t in love with.

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

Share and borrow between friends and family rather than everyone owning/buying everything.

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. it’s not on the list, but I sent 5-6 coffee mugs to new homes…I mean, how many do you really need?! still working on books, as well. I will try to find 5 more for the library donation box.

    • Hi Deanna, don’t worry I thought of the kitchen items but I pick on them so much I decided to give them a break today. Aside from the pantry that is. 😉 I wish you success on finding those five books.

  2. I just come back from a flea market (it’s still Sunday here) and had a wonderful time there: delicious cake and coffee, tasty soup and good music under chestnut trees. 😉 All paid for with a few old books and other stuff. Although it eventually started to pour and therefore not as much got sold as could have, I even brought some extra money home (about 40 euros after the mentioned expenses 😉 ) All in all it was a great experience I might try again.

    I like this week’s mini missions. I have got rid of a lot of electrical and grooming stuff lately as well as books, but especially tuesday’s mission is rather needed: there are lots of little leftovers from baking, so I might just focus on use-it-up cakes or cookies this week and share them with friends!

    • Hi Sanna, sorry it rained but I am glad you had a good experience. I love having garage sales and flea market stalls. There is the atmosphere, chatting with buyers and sellers, the thrill of making a sale and they joy of getting rid of stuff no longer wanted. Add good coffee and cake to that and what more could be better.

      • I agree. I guess, I could look at that sale as a “fail” as I had to bring home most of what I took there in the first place (I blame it on the weather!) and I also didn’t make a whole lot of money. But the truth is I spent a very nice and relaxed afternoon and while most of these nice and relaxed afternoons tend to mean a negative balance for my budget, this one ended with a positive one. 😉 So, I’m happy and looking forward to maybe one or two other occassions this summer to spend a similar afternoon.

  3. I just got caught up reading last weeks post. I saw the issue with paper came up again. I have been doing a “get rid of 10 pieces of paper ” challenge several times a week. I still do not know where it all the paper stuff comes from. I am working on another box for Goodwill as my husband donates some of his clothes. I still would like to get rid of more because I have articles of clothing I do not really like anymore. I like this weeks mini missions, so I will get to work now:)

    • Hi Sheryl, I just got caught up answering last weeks comments, so we are both playing catch up. I love that you are taking care of decluttering your papers little by little. It is less painful that way and so doable. I look forward to hearing that you have made it to the end and only have to maintain the stuff coming in. There is so little of it coming into my house these days that it is very easy to stay caught up. My husband does a very good job of staying on top of this task and of doing most accounting digitally so to avoid the paper in the first place.

  4. Pantry items – I’ve noticed a number of items which are approaching expiry date, as these aren’t items I am likely to use I’m going to offer to friends rather than binning in a few months time.

    • Good for you Moni. I actually got to a point last week were I didn’t have one can of anything in the pantry. I had to go our and replace some but WOW, who’d have thought that was possible.

      • Colleen – LOL while I was off post-Wisdom teeth the pantry got pretty bare but not quite that low on supplies. I think everyone is hoping that I’ll do a big shop this week but I may stretch it out a little bit longer. Desperation is the creator of resourcefulness. Not that we’re desperately hungry but you know what I mean, I can think of 2 or 3 meals that can be squeezed out of current stock.

        • Hi Moni, every now and again (well quite often) I leave the grocery shopping until I run everything down to as little as I am game. This certainly keeps the food churning freshly though my kitchen. I forces me to get inventive at time but I often come up with recipes that end up a favourites doing this. I am getting pretty good with salad dressings that’s for sure.

    • Not sure where you live but in the UK we have an organisation called the Food Bank . People donate tins and packets of food which are distributed to others who are struggling to put food on the table for their families. Perhaps you have something similar? Your local Salvation Army or church may have a food kitchen?

      • Linda – we have food banks here and I contribute as often as I can with fresh food. I know someone who works at a food bank and he said they’re constantly been given expired food. I know there’s a lot of debate on the topic but I feel if it isn’t ‘good enough’ for us then it’s not charitable. So ironically we’re going to eat down the food that’s been sitting on the shelf , and I’ll probably buy something at the supermarket to drop in the food donation bin!

      • Yes we do Linda, and there is also a great organisation that collects the slightly ageing food from bakeries, cafes and restaurants as well.

        I noticed that, when I lived in America, these organisations were far more visible and proactive about campaigning for donations.

      • Sorry I didn’t mean donate your EXPIRED dated tins! I thought you meant you have items that were nearing expiry date and that you didn’t think you would use them up in time. I wouldn’t dream of donating out-of-date items myself. In fact I buy several extra groceries every week at the supermarket and put them in the Food Bank trolley.

        • Linda – it’s ok I didn’t think you meant that, I have a friend on the inside and it happens all the time and people feel the needy should be grateful for expired food!
          From my perspective, in a house full of teenagers, food sitting on the shelf uneaten is an oddity and requires further investigation.
          I prefer to put new cans in the donate box, or breakfast cereals. Nappies/diapers is another item gratefully received.

  5. I am so happy with how my apartment is looking these days though I still have plenty to do.

    Last week I had none of the items on the daily lists to do so I concentrated on paperwork, and accumulated several items to be shredded (which I still have to do). I am glad that magazines are on this weeks list as I didn’t get round to those and although I don’t think I have spare cables it does mean that I will pull out the box of electrical items from the cupboard and go through those.

    I’m on holiday for a month from the 14th August so I am in the process of going through the food – I have a list of everything that has a best before date before September and there are some things I have been sidestepping. It’s time to get serious – is it ever permissible to throw food away? I hate doing that ever.

    I’m not sure that I have an excess of grooming anymore as I tidied my dressing table and drawers last week but I will revisit. Just remembered though, I do have is a lot of nail scissors – I recently bought two good pairs, but didn’t declutter the others, so think I will start there.

    Books? I have too many on one of my bookcases and some in an old case. Definitely need to go there.

    Seems I’m going to have a busy week, and I haven’t come up with anything for Saturday yet. I’m also having a new boiler fitted on Tuesday. Also need to book an electrician to sort out some lights and someone to fix my dishwasher. Not sure I will get these other two things done before my holiday, but it would be good if I could. I hate having to arrange for repairmen to come – took ages to sort out three quotes for the boiler but hopefully I have picked the best one.

    • Hi Dianna, I am pleased that you are so advance with your decluttering and enjoying the results. Good for you!
      It seems my mini mission really do work though. As even though you didn’t think you had many of the missions to take care of, by the time your comment was through you had remembered several items that fitted with the categories.
      And yes it is permissible to through away food but only if it is past its prime or can’t be donated to charity. There is aways a food bank out there who will take unopened non-perishable items.

  6. This past year my decluttering got derailed by an avalanche of incoming — all of it Other People’s Stuff. Our recent decision to downsize our house a little and our property a lot has kickstarted the process again. Ian is so excited that he’s reeled off a list of things he can sell or leave here. Hooray! By deliberately planning a new house with less storage space we’ll have to examine a lot of the stuff we store just because we can. Five magazines on Wednesday?? There’s a whole box that’s gonna go!
    (Thanks for the kind words, Deb J. You’re on the same path, so I hope your move toward moving goes smoothly too)

    • Hi Wendy B, I am so excited for your move. Wow downsizing, I can highly recommend it. And yes, ratcheting it up a bit in your circumstances is a good idea. I am glad you have hubby on board as well.

      I can tell you that the Pentax camera and lens you decluttered to Liam are being well used. I see him with it a lot when he comes into the city to photograph friends gallery opening, street art and sites. Thanks again for that.

      • Ian is really on board with this. Today he asked me if we were going to set stuff aside for next spring’s community garage sale or just take it to the thrift store right away. I may have been the one to start the ball rolling, but he’s behind it and pushing!!!

        Well, that was a bit of Extreme Decluttering, sending a camera half-way around the world! I’m glad it ended up in the right hands (rather than still sitting in a box in the basement). Win/win. Happy for Liam.

        • I was thinking of Ian today. Although I have a designated pouch for my car keys in my handbag I still find myself having to search for them in the other sections because I didn’t put them where they belong. Sometimes they are even in my pocket and not in the bag at all. I thought of Ian and promised myself that I would think before putting them in there in the future so that I would be able to find them easily.

  7. I don’t have anything on the missions list, Colleen, but I will find things to declutter.

    DRUM ROLL:: Today we had a chance to get rid of our sofa and it was Mom’s idea to give it away!!!! I about fainted from surprise. She has suddenly decided to get this going. She also gave away a large crock pot, a new 12 inch skillet with lid, a 11X14 inch glass baking dish, an over-the-door 4 towel holder, a bunch of travel containers for toiletries & a 14-day pill case for traveling. I decided to give away 2 blouses, 4 books, 8 embossing folders for the Cuttlebug, and a really nice laptop travel carrying case. It’s so exciting.

    • Deb J – Holy Toledo!!!! That is amazing. Talk about a full 180 degrees!

    • What was it that inspired your mom? That IS surprising–and inspiring! Something must have been brewing for awhile. Hopefully, she feels great about it and will want to try it again.

      • Vicki K, I really think it was that I have been praying for God to help with her attitude about things and to also help me say things the right way when we talk. On Thursday we had talked about moving and I expressed the reasons for it again and how I was looking at it. She must have been thinking on that because she has made an about face in her attitude about it and all.

    • Your patience paid off in a huge way, Deb J. Good for the both of you! Hopefully your mom is on a roll now and will find even more to let go.

      • Jo H, Mom made the comment yesterday that we need to take some time and talk about what we need to take with us, what we will have to buy, and what we can get rid of.

        • Deb J – LOL – sounds like mum wants to call the shots!
          Whatever works if it gets you closer to the goal

    • Woo hoo, Deb J. Sounds like Mom is not only on the declutter train, but driving it as well. This was a long time coming for you, oh kind, patient daughter that you are. It never ceases to amaze me how once people climb on board, the energy and willingness to do more and more appears from nowhere. I’m doing a happy dance for you 🙂

    • Yay Deb J and double yay to you mom. She is ripping into it now. I suppose she just needed to see the future coming up fast before reality set in. Get that stuff out of there before she changes her mind.

      P.S. I would have gladly taken those embossing folders off your hands. If you have any more of them or any cutting dies to get rid of I would gladly purchase them and pay the shipping to Australia. It would have to be cheaper than buying them here.

      • Colleen, Mom has really changed her whole outlook. Yesterday she even said she wished we could move soon. Say what!!!!

        The person who was going to take the embossing folders decided to not take them. I will send them to you. You don’t need to pay for them. I will need your new address so I can get them to you.

        • Hi Deb J, could you send me a photo of that folders to make sure I haven’t already got them. It would be a shame to waste the postage. Do you have a postage calculator on the USPS website so you can estimate what they would cost to send. I insist on paying for the postage at lease but best we only do this if the postage cost isn’t outrageous.

  8. I have been a bit quiet on here, but have been chipping away at my stuff for the 4th year in a row. This year for the first time I have been noting down numbers of things that come IN as well, for a net declutter total, instead of a total that means not much if things are still coming in at the same rate. That has been a real eye opener!
    I don’t have any electrical cables ready to go (I am sure there will be a few, but they will go with things that need checking and assembling WITH cables before decluttering them together)
    So, today I did 13 pieces of paperwork (shred), then 10 books and a bag of 5 random things to the thrift shop. My net total this year is now 1128. It was a few more, but I went to the craft show yesterday and had to subtract some numbers to account for my small bag of purchases.

    • Well done Stephanie, 1128 minus a few sound great to me. I am a sucker for a good craft fair myself. I tend to only buy dies and embossing folders which gladly don’t take up much space. They get well used here though. I made $90+ selling my cards last week. And that is a whole pile of supplies out the door.

  9. Thank you for more ideas. I can use a few of these.

    Yesterday took some more actual garbage )from the former house owner) to the dump. There is still more to go as I don’t want to do the same to the next owners when I finally move on from here.

    This morning I’m on the hunt for some electrical cords that can go on to new homes. Ah, I see a few extra computer cords. Nice.

    • Hi Ron B, I think we have done the electrical cord roundup about four times times during my slow and steady decluttering. This time we only found a couple. The best part is we also found one that I had been looking for. It had been sitting on my husbands desk the whole time. Any wonder I could find it in the cable box.

  10. Grace from Brazil

    I had a major clean out/de-clutter session about a month ago so I am now ready to do the daily tackle once again. My mind has shifted in a good way. Today I received a gift for doing something for a neighbor. As I looked at the bag I noted that I had three things coming in…oops 4 including the gift bag, so I needed to get that much going out. Actually one was the thank you card so I read it, enjoyed it, and filed it in my trash bin : )

    But the reason I was writing today was to say that I am continually grateful for the mini-missions as they always help spur me into action. I did not do them in order but when I read the grooming item challenge that was my easy 5 minute de-cluttering this morning. I am looking forward to the others as well, although I must confess that the cable de-cluttering is always a bit anxiety producing so I don’t think I will be able to do it this week. May be I will add the 10 pieces of paper de-cluttering in exchange. I am always happy to get rid of paper!!

    It has been fun reading about everyone’s victories.

    • Hi Grace, I am glad you find the mini missions so inspiring, that is the idea of them after all. And well done with the one in one out rule, or four in your case. And don’t get stressed out over those cable, paper will do. I must admit I keep an eye on my husband when he is decluttering cables because he decluttering one I an especially bought once. I solved the problem by decluttering the item the cable was for. So that turned out well in the end.

  11. I’ve been following your blog for some time and I have decided to join you. Since I’m retired, I’ve plenty of time on my hands, so I am well up on the Min-Mission-Monday tasks, even though it isn’t even noon on Tuesday here.
    Electrical cables – found a cable to connect my speakers to my monitor, but don’t need the cable, and found a connector to attach my previous mouse to my computer, also no longer necessary. Into the garbage with both.
    Food – threw out one expired item and will cook four meals on Thursday with 5 items from my shelves.
    Magazines – don’t have any.
    Grooming – found a tiny pill box and some non-functioning tweezers. Out.
    Books – Took 22 off my shelves and put them in my storage room to wait until it’s time to give them to the book sale (next April).
    Dust collectors – not prepared to deal with this right now, but I did find 14 book ends hanging about and put them in my storage room to wait until I clear off a full bookcase and then they’ll go with the bookcase.
    Difficult item – finally decided to bite the bullet and contact a man about getting rid of two full shelves of specialty books.
    Extras: while routing around looking for the above items, found 5 hangers, 2 handrail bracket for which I never had any use, and three eye glass cleaner things. All gone now.
    Now I have to go do the things I didn’t get around to doing last week.

    • Hi Zilla, sorry it has taken me so long to approve and respond to your comment. It is had to keep up with approval of new comments lately. Not only have I been busy but I also get so many spam comments the pass through the filters that it takes far too long to tackle the task.

      Thank you for joining us. I can see from your comment that you are making great progress and are pickling a choosing what you are prepared to deal with right now. That is a great way to approach your decluttering. There are always things that are easy to part with so leave the difficult ones until later on when they often become easier to deal with.

      I wish you success with your continued decluttering and hope you will continue to comment here as well.
      Cheers Colleen