Mini Mission Monday ~ Guest Prep

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.

So it is that time of year again where family and friends come together to celebrate one occasion or another and sometimes a little of each. So now is a good time to eliminate some stuff messing up our homes that we wouldn’t want others to see. So lets see if there is some little tweaking we can do to make our task of presenting a home, in its best light, a little simpler.

Monday –  Declutter some of those dust collectors that make cleaning day a bigger chore than it ought to  be.

Tuesday – Declutter some things sitting on surfaces in the bathroom. Cleaning bathrooms is a big enough chore without having to move things to do the task.

Wednesday – Declutter some excess items in the room that would be used to accomodating guests. It can be awkward enough living out of suitcases in an uncluttered space, the task becomes more difficult when there is no clear surface to put guests’ things on.

Thursday – Declutter some items from the entrance to your home. Either the front lawn, the porch, the entry way etc. You want your home to make a good, welcoming,  first impression.

Friday – Declutter some excess, less used, items from the kitchen. This will make it easier to get at the things you do use, making food prep easier.

Saturday – Declutter any stuff cluttering up the dining table. This clutter is bad enough at the best of time but when guests are in the home it makes catering more difficult than necessary.

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.

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. Ha! The dining room table is currently covered mainly with stuff I’m planning to get rid of. 🙂 I have to wait til the other member of the household comes home in two days to make sure it’s all ok to go away, since I was digging around in more shared spaces this week.

  2. Yes, Colleen, this is something that is already on my list for this week (except that the porch/patio have been on my list for many weeks already, I’ve been putting off dealing with it). I hope this will be the nudge I need. Really there is not much to do out there other than make decisions about what to do with some sad-looking outdoor furniture. Probably just get rid of a couple of chairs that are excessive to our needs, and then a quick coat of paint on the bench would make all the difference.

    I have also been using my guest room as a staging area for processing items to be donated but I think it is time to get it ready for visitors again, so I’ll go and get started now. No time like the present!!

  3. The immediate problem with decluttering dust collectors – the dust then has nothing to hide behind! 🙂

  4. MON: dust collectors… I can’t decide whether I have any of these…. I keep mostly fruit & veggies & snacks on the bureau in the living room because my younger daughter started doing this a while back… before that, it was more available for dust collectors 🙂

    TUE: bathroom surfaces… I can think of 5 types of shampoo in the shower area… I have been on a use it up campaign with these for a long time… it seems that each time I get close, one of my daughters “needs” to get another type LOL

    WED: we don’t have a guest bedroom… the areas that my older daughter has taken over are her living space (the family room), the enclosed back porch, and the garage… it is a continual struggle to get her to manage her (and her childrens) possessions! She & I have very different ideas about organizing. I believe that having less makes organizing a cinch. She believes that you can “hide” your stuff in boxes and push all furniture & “pretties” against the walls when you clean up… hmmm… the way I do it makes for easy access to retrieve and to put away things because things have homes near where they will be used…. my daughter loses many items with her methods!

    THUR: entrance to home… I want to declutter the carpet but cannot do this yet… a few weeks ago, my husband got rid of one of the garden sections I couldn’t keep up with… does that count?

    FRI: kitchen – my husband decluttered some recyclable containers he was using for salads but now has one he likes better

    SAT: dining room table… we are pretty current with this… I did get rid of 3 old spices from the dining room last week though

    I will need to think up some alternate missions to be sure that I am making some kind of declutter progress this week, since some of the above don’t apply to me. I plan to get at those calendars for awhile. I will be seeing my best friend tomorrow and am taking some empty essential oil jars to her – they are so tiny, they might be cute as “canisters” in one of her doll houses 🙂 She will also be receiving packaging for her sisters eBay sales.

    • Last night I entered the special dates from several calendar pages into my database. Will be doing more today 🙂

    • Have done several calendar pages tonight also… I keep thinking of your advice Colleen to do one page at a time… I’m okay with these single pages, but when I get to the one that’s a whole year – eeek!

    • Hi Peggy, I think you spent todays ten minutes at least just writing that list Peggy. All part of the therapy of decluttering I guess. What I can see from that is that you take on a lot of responsibility and probably don’t have a lot of time to yourself. I hope I am wrong about but that but if I’m not I hope you are happy doing it. I am with you on the pushing things against the wall. I hate beds against walls because it makes them hard to make.

      I am glad you are making progress with the calendar

      • Hi Colleen,

        I have fun writing my lists, take my time over them, probably more than 10 minutes but I find it relaxing 🙂

        I do take on a lot of responsibility but not in the ways that you might think. I don’t cook or vacuum or do dishes (usually). It’s more stuff I have to do for work (keep records for tax purposes, attend continuing education classes, prepare snacks to take) and engage with the grandchildren (although I have been known to hide from them LOL). I pay all our bills, do the dusting, laundry, declutter & organize haha!

        I have been at the calendars again, so the pile is slowly getting smaller 🙂

        The family room where my daughter pushes everything against the wall is where our furnace, hot water heater, & crawl space are. It makes it very hard to get into those areas for maintenance. Also, she blocks the vent with her stuff although I have asked her not to several times… We think she may move out in 2 years (smile) after she completes her nursing degree… In the meantime, the minimal rent that we charge her is going toward her school loans, which have been greatly reduced since she has been with us 🙂

  5. I can already think of:
    Monday – a halloween candle holder, and a quartz crystal that had an unfortunate run-in with gravity;
    Tuesday – a body lotion and a face spritz that I have been trying to use up, they are so close to finished now I’m sure they can go this week;
    Friday – a souvenir mug.

    • Hi Amelia, I like your Tuesday mission in particular. That is because yesterday, as I cleaned my bathroom, I decided to throw away a tube of face scrub. There was only a tiny bit in it and I felt I had made a good enough effort to use it up. Since I am leaving on vacation soon and I want the apartment, and particularly, the bathrooms to be nicely uncluttered for the sake of my son and his family and the other family members who intend to occasionally use our apartment as a holiday stay while we are away.

      • You raise a good point Colleen. Sometimes it is better to use the ‘near enough is good enough’ principle and throw away something we have had enough of, rather than torture ourselves with it any longer. As long as the lesson is learnt I think that is just fine. Unfortunately if I don’t deliberately let myself off the hook, I default to the ‘mustn’t waste it’ principle I grew up with.

        Also I worked out my Saturday item, I am decluttering the dining table itself 🙂

  6. I can relate to Wednesday’s entry, Colleen. We once stayed in a guest room that seemed uncluttered. However, there was a grand total of two flat surfaces available for us to use – the bed and the floor. The closet had empty, unflattened cardboard boxes (for home appliances) and off-season items.

    • Hi Nicole, your comment is interesting. My spare bedroom closet is full of coats and my craft supplies. I don’t expect a host to provide cupboard space for visitors who are only staying on a short term basis. Were they staying for say a month I would do my best to make more space. While a few days or one week, in my book, doesn’t justify bringing so much stuff that one flat surface won’t accomodate it. I also provide a coat hook behind the bedroom door to hang a couple of items. That being said, I do live in a two bedroom apartment with little other storage and previous to that I never truely had a spare room. If I had a home big enough to have a guest room dedicated to guests only then I dare say I wouldn’t need to keep much, if anything, in that room. I do visit households at times that have three spare rooms and still all drawers and closet hanging space is full of clutter. That I do not understand.

      • I have a difficult time as a guest when the area is displaying all the “pretties” of the hostess and I don’t have room to spread out my stuff…ungrateful that I am. I would rather have it look like a hotel with clear flat surfaces. However, I was recently thinking about this, so I went and looked at my guest room…and found that I’m guilty of displaying too much of my stuff and not leaving as much space for guests as I could! I’ll work on this.

    • Nicole,

      My mother has the most beautiful house, but it is small. So, naturally, the guest room is small. It has a very comfortable bed, but that’s about it. The closet is tiny (and full), so I have to put my suitcase on the floor and not unpack.

      Even worse, she won’t let me leave my things in the guest bathroom, because company might come over. Sigh. LOL.

  7. I’m all good on the mini missions this week.
    Instead I’m tackling my cookbooks again. I’m finding the more I get rid of, the less attached I’m becoming to them as well.
    Shortly I will be able to use a smaller bookcase in the study.
    So today 5 cookbooks for donation and 4 magazines in recycling. I want to take the bags and boxes and actually donate the things that I’ve decluttered over the past few weeks and get them out of the house.

  8. Unfortunately I have been hit by a flu since the weekend but I did manage to shuffle something to the donate box last night on the basis that I was too tired to care anymore.

  9. So far I’ve gotten rid of a shipping tape dispenser and two boxes of gifts to mail from the guest room. Found it easier to use scissors for the tape. Cleaning up the guest room works out perfectly for me, since the grandkids spend Thanksgiving night with me & it’s almost upon us in the U.S.

    Didn’t wrap the gifts, just put name tags on them. Lol
    Occasionally I mail surprise gifts, don’t want to get into a Christmas gift exchange, so this works out well. Sometimes I find something I already own that is like new & I think the person will like. Recently I sent a Vera Bradley purse with the tags on it.

  10. It’s been a pretty crazy week already. Won’t be doing much in the way of decluttering. Mom has hand surgery this Friday (20th) for carpel tunnel. On Dec 8th she has an angioplasty on her right leg to open up a couple of veins so she can have her foot surgery the last week of Dec. Please pray for her to get through all of this in great shape and soon be back to going strong. Pray for me to just survive. Grin! I also hope we can get some decluttering done while she is down with all of this as I will have a captive audience and she SAYS she has all this stuff she wants to get rid of.

  11. I certainly will, Deb J.