Mini Mission Monday – Go West! By Nicole V

mini-logoMini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

By Nicole V

The “Little House” series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder is much-loved by many across the world, with over 60 million copies sold in more than 100 countries. The heart-warming stories of the Ingalls family – Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie and their dog Jack – offer a fascinating look at America’s frontier past, and have been translated into more than 30 languages.

The “Little House in the Big Woods” novel was first published in 1932, making this classic 84 years of age, and I thought that that in itself was as good a reason as any to incorporate a small slice of “Little House” into the mini missions for this week.

For those of you who are familiar with the series, you would probably remember that in the novel, Ma Ingalls had a specific chore for each day of the week:

“Wash on Monday. Iron on Tuesday. Mend on Wednesday. Churn on Thursday. Clean on Friday. Bake on Saturday. Rest on Sunday.”

This week’s missions will draw inspiration from her list, with a few adjustments to reflect our current lifestyles. So let’s get down to it, shall we?

Monday – Declutter something relating to your laundry routine or from your laundry room or area. It could be an item of clothing or linens, etc.

Tuesday – Declutter something relating to the chore of ironing or, by extension, any electrical equipment. If ironing is not on your to-do list, then declutter something relating to a hobby or any pastime that you enjoy.

Wednesday – Declutter something from your sewing kit or any clothing, curtains, linens, rags, yarn, etc. You could also declutter something that’s beyond repair.

Thursday – Since most of us would no longer need to churn our own butter, we’ll focus on the business aspect of “churn” – declutter something related to the Internet or other media, or something related to your office (including a home office), or any work that you do.

Friday – Declutter any cleaning equipment or item or something that you no longer want to dust or clean or to clean around. Or declutter something that will make any room or area in your home look clean and streamlined once it’s gone.

Saturday – Declutter anything related to cooking or baking. This could be anything from your kitchen, pantry, fridge, or any food preparation or storage area.

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

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Interesting…I loved those books!!!

  2. NicoleV, this is a great idea. I loved the books and the TV show. We are still decluttering all sorts of things as we prepare for the move. Mom is really, really getting rid of things. Yippee!

    • Thanks, Deb J. I’m glad about your mom – it looks like the confirmation of the move was the catalyst she was waiting for.

  3. Nicole V – I am huge Laura Inghalls Wilder fan – brought all the books for my daughters plus the extra series that was written using Laura’s notes. Was quite an emotional tie when it came time to let go of these. Gave them to my niece who is now making her way thru the books.

  4. Well, I don’t have a butter churn or a spinning wheel or even a clothes line here at “The Big House in the Little Woods”. How far we prairie folk have come since the days of the sod shack and the one-room schoolhouse.

    My very best declutter since I’ve been on the Good Ship 365 came recently when my beloved old computer died. I managed to save my files and I bought a new computer but this one has NO GAMES on it. Well, I know they’re in there somewhere but finding them would require downloading something or learning something or getting them off the internet. Instead I have simply decided that there are NO GAMES on it. Now when I finish my legitimate tasks, instead of playing a game (or 20) I turn the computer off and go DO SOMETHING. Since decluttering the computer distractions I’ve taken care of my mending & sewing pile, tons of paperwork and am working on scan/shred tasks long postponed. I have also returned to reading real books so the backlog of novels is heading out the door. I wouldn’t really want to go back to the ‘good old days’ but unfettering ourselves from technology bit isn’t such a bad thing either.

    • Wendy B,

      Well said! (And funny.)

    • LOL, Wendy B! I agree, a digital detox is beneficial and it is nice to disconnect to reconnect.

    • I can relate to this Wendy B. We haven’t watched television since arriving in Germany two months ago and haven’t missed it a but. Alas I have played way too many computer games though when I really ought to be working on that ebook of mine.

      • Hi Colleen. A foreign trip is a good way to detox from TV (unless you use it to learn a foreign language). We haven’t had TV since 1999 and it is only recently that we have started borrowing movies from the library. A clutter-free way to spend our lo-o-ong winter evenings — and no ads.

  5. I loved those books and the TV show when I was little! I had forgotten that Ma had a specific chore for each day. What a great inspiration for this week’s missions!

  6. Love the books, thanks for reminding me of them!
    Mon, laundry…..New box of borax
    Tue,ironing or hobby….since I gave my iron & board away a few years ago I’ll have to go with hobby. 3 scrap books & page protectors
    Wed, clothing…New shirt. Can’t believe I bought it. It was cheap, but not “me” at all. Put it on several times,always ended up changing.
    Thu, office….nothing there. Will take a better look around since I have a few days before this due.
    Fri, item no longer needed. Battery operated foot pedicure thingies.
    Sat, cooking or baking. Will have to look deeper & see if I have missed anything I don’t need.

    Good luck on the move Deb J

    • It’s my pleasure, Calla. Great job of decluttering – if you have any unwanted/outdated online bookmarks that you could delete, you’d be good to go for Thursday.

  7. What a fun new way to do the daily declutter – thanks Nicole V! I am pondering whether the daily specified task is an efficient use of time and or resources. It’s fun to ponder why Laura and family would have run the household that way and whether it still applies to us now.

    • It’s my pleasure, Vicki K. There is something to be said for having a system for doing stuff.

    • Vicki K – my guess is that chores back then were quite labour intensive, laundry would have required a lot of water to be boiled, which would have meant a lot of wood to be chopped and water to be hauled, none of this chucking a load into the washing machine each day. I imagine a load of washing was quite small as it was hand done and to have the water heated sufficiently, so there would have been a whole day of heating water, boiling, scrubbing and rinsing. So some items wouldn’t have made it to the line until later in the day, so probably took till Tuesday to dry. Ironing would have taken a large chunk of the day, none of this poly blend fabric we have today, it would have been real cotton and wrinkled a lot. Hot irons would have needed constant re-heating, it would have been a long day of work. Items that needed mending would have been discovered during ironing, from what I understand, thread was pure cotton, no poly blends back then to strengthen, and thread back then would have frayed and broken easily compared to what we are used to, and laundering was rough on fabric and thread. Button-holes were hand sewn! So I’m guessing they had to be re-done often. I’m so glad I didn’t live back then!

      Also all the daily household jobs such as cooking etc would have been cooking from scratch, keeping a fire going, bread would have been hand made. Ma Inghalls probably had to get vegetables from her garden or gone foraging.

      • Moni – Wow – reading your description of back-then-chores makes me really count my blessings!
        Every accomplished task was dependent on having done all the preparatory tasks. Weekly designated tasks makes sense!

      • And yet if you plonked those folk into todays world they would probably rather go back. We have gone from that to creating work for ourselves through overabundance and then think we are hard done by when we have to interrupt our leisure time (spend shopping for more abundance, playing frivolous computer games, endlessly reading, watching televison…) to do a little, of what ought to be this simple housework you are talking about. Go figure! Oh and don’t even get me started on those people who would throw away an item rather than simply sew a button on.

  8. MON – (laundry area) I did last week – some citrus cleaner I had never used. I poured it into a spray bottle & have been using it to keep the toilet fresh 🙂

    TUE – (electrical) I have my husband trying his “Happy Light” out again, it has been cluttering the garage for years. If he doesn’t find it helpful (for Seasonal Affective Disorder) it might go.

    WED – (linen type thing) This was accomplished as one of those ‘take something that’s clutter and use it so it’s not clutter’ jobs. I had a couple of small linen items in a sweater storage bag and moved them into another bag. The empty sweater bag was then used to store a heavy, bulky, cable knit sweater that was taking up a lot of room in my dresser drawer. It’s now joined the lint roller on the floor of my closet.

    THUR – (chore) I went through the toy box in our dining room and matched sets of things, tossed ratty stuff, moved “outdoor toys” to a separate box.

    FRI – (clean) I got rid of some cookies received during the holidays, as well as a snack I bought a while back, so remaining fresh items now fit in our snack basket. This basket is on a bureau in our living room, so that room looks a little better now.

    SAT – (cook) Got rid of a chewed up looking sponge 🙂

  9. Nicole V,
    Your missions are priceless.
    I too, loved the Laura Ingall’s Wilder series of books.
    My daughter still has her complete set which I will now refer to as “Little “decluttered” house on the Praire 🙂

  10. The days seem to have gone out of the window and I’ve done all the ones at the end of the week first:

    Monday – I will have a rummage in the under sink cupboard (aka my laundry area) and see what I find
    Tuesday – I’ve recently disposed of some electrical equipment so struggling on this one but I’ll recycle some used batteries
    Wednesday – 11 reels of thread
    Thursday – filing box, ring binder & papers
    Friday – trinket box
    Saturday – stale food and spices that were so old they had become a solid lump

  11. Got rid of long navy pleated skirt, mock neck sweater, long summery gown, 3/4 sleeve top, belt, 5 pieces of silverware, decorative disposable trays, deviled egg tray, spare hanger, old pillow today 🙂

  12. forgot the items tossed in trash: old harem pants (he he he) and “tired” color block dress

    • Way to go, Peggy … your “old harem pants” made me chuckle.

      • Harem pants? Like MC Hammer? Peggy, we might need a picture.

        Can’t Touch This.

        • Hi Melanie, Sorry I don’t think I ever got a photo of myself in my much loved black harem pants… I must have bought them when I was in my 30s because my kids were young then. I am 60 now haha so those pants were just as tired as I am by the time they hit the trash can!