Mini Mission Monday ~ I Spy

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.

While at the thrift shop last week a man came in and donated some children’s books and board games. One of the board games was called Eye Spy which I found intriguing so I took a look. It contained game pieces a board and a pack of cards. The cards had instruction as to what to spy such as ~ Something red, Something small, Something flat ~ and I thought what fun. Then I thought I could use this idea in my mini missions so here goes. Have fun with it.

Monday – Spy and declutter something that smells.

Tuesday –  Spy and declutter something small.

Wednesday –  Spy and declutter something electric.

Thursday –  Spy and declutter something shiny.

Friday –  Spy and declutter something metallic.

Saturday –  Spy and declutter something soft.

Sunday –  Spy and declutter something made of fabric.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

All marking pens have a smell but that isn’t the reason I am getting rid of these. They are washable poster pens which I don’t need. I only use markers for addressing packages I am sending due to ebay sales. For that job I don’t need a marker that will smudge should the package somehow get wet. It is probably unlikely but better to be safe than sorry.

Marking Pens

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Enjoying the art at local galleries. The high school student show ArtExpress is on again and there are some very talented young people out there that is for sure.

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. When I want to make sure the ink won’t smear on a package, I put a layer of clear packing tape over it. I do this even with permanent markers, just in case.

    • Hi Jenny,
      I have a roll of clear contact that I use for that task but I would prefer not to use it if possible. I have so many other permanent markers that I don’t really need these ones. I am not even sure where they came from.

  2. What a great way to look at stuff with fresh eyes! You keep coming up with new ways to think about the things that we are sharing our homes and lives with, Colleen. Thank you for that.

    Lately, I’ve been like a hamster running in its little wheel. I’m still trying to grab and drop things into a giveaway box, though. Looking forward to having more time to dig deeper soon.

    • Hi Jo H,
      it was fun too. I am sorry you feel like you are getting nowhere right now but anything you grab and drop is still stuff decluttered. Don’t worry about digging deeper, that is the beauty of one thing a day decluttering, you keep getting deeper automatically by continuing to skim the surface.

  3. The Other Lynn

    hmmmm… I’ll tell my husband you just told me to get rid of the cats and their smelly litterbox!!

  4. Can’t wait to hear what Dizzy has found in her craft room that matches up with this list!

    I took the weekend off as my husband was away and I don’t like going up and down ladders to the ceiling storage if he’s not around.
    My son had his school ball (prom/formal) and we had to do a few emergency dashes to town for last minute things ie black socks (I only bought a 2-pack not the 10-pac although they were almost the same price) and the realisation that neither of us knew how to tie a tie.
    Also there was a world wide shortage on Ompa Loompas to order around. 🙂

    So back into it this week! Have just done my half an hour per day in the upstairs storage room at work. Hubby said he can see some progress as its been the first time he’s been up there since I started a week ago. A desk and a pinboard are leaving on freecycle this morning. Didn’t find anything smelly but did discover an orthopaedic moon boot that wasn’t returned to the hospital four years ago.

    • I too am looking forward to that list. Dizzy if you are reading this send us a list a the end of the week.

      Yes, climbing ladders (or chairs) with no one around is not a good idea. I have too personal examples of “damaged” loved ones I could share on that subject.

      And doesn’t pricing structure drive you crazy at time. I was checking out the microfibre cloths on the weekend and found a similar situation. 4 small $3 or 10 large for $5. I really only wanted small ones as dishcloths but the economy of buying the 10 large made so much more sense. I didn’t buy any because I was just investigating but I will consider the situation before buying.

      Keep up the good work Moni. Sounds like you can take the rest of the week off.

      • Hi Colleen – if I’d realised that we could buy a 10 pack from Kmart for almost the same price, I’d have organised it so we brought a pack and distributed it amongst all his friends, as they all ran into the same problem on Sat afternoon. It wasn’t until they put on their suits and had white sports socks on with black shoes that we all realised the problem.

        Just an idea with microfibre cloths, I am collecting together from all around the house bits and pieces that are camping related, and they are going into one storage bin up in the ceiling, labelled and dated as at last known camping trip. Amongst it all I found microfibre towels also known as camping towels. Hubby and son used to take them with them on trail rides as they were light and dried fast. I was thinking I could cut them down into cloths. I seem to remember they were double the price of a small cloth, but the size of a small towel, though that was a few years ago.

        • Hi Moni,
          yes how annoying. Planning in advance is sometimes easier said than done, the small details often slip under the radar until the last minute. Oh well, live and learn.

          If you aren’t using the microfibre towels as they were intended certainly cut them down. If they were mine I would cut them down to dishtowels for the kitchen. Microfibre will wipe things as clean as you would get them with disinfectant without even using detergent. I use largish microfibre clothes to dry dishes, pans and my good knives with and the knives I only rinse under the tap before drying no matter what I have used them to cut. Most people would say yuk to that but it is just a case of trusting them to do what they are made to do.

          • I used the strongest powered microfibre cloths to cut down into panty-liners – lined with cotton-knit, and with a dome to close around the crotch of panties, they are fantastic. Five months with no throwaways!

  5. something that smells? oh this is just too funny. LOL!

    the dog has had an upset tummy, but I suspect we shall all just have to live with that smell, cause he ain’t goin’ nowhere!!!!

    i learned the hard way to fully inspect items at the thrift store that i may be interested in; once i bought something and realized that it stunk so badly on the way home in the car. never again.

  6. Reading your list for the week, Colleen, I just had to laugh: I’m just back from the compost bin, having found a potato and onion that had both rolled to the back of the cupboard, obviously some weeks ago. Or …. I didn’t notice them with my eyes!!

  7. I like that game! 😉

    But I think, I’ve got no declutter-worthy toiletries left, so I’ll go for the depths of my fridge.

    • Btw: Boyfriend is in decluttering mode this week. He got rid of a two-ole punch and a stapler and decluttered 7 old t-shirts while he only got 3 new ones to replace them.

  8. Smelly … mhh (or rather: yuck …)
    I had to chuck out a cream cheese this weekend that had gone bad unnoticed in its container (and hadn’t smelled bad until I opened said container).
    It was a good reminder to take glass containers (really, just leftover glasses that some food came in) instead of tupperware whenever possible so things don’t go unnoticed anymore.

    • tried that too, because of those reason you just explained. but that glass is not as easy to stack in my small fridge as are my tupperware containers, so I still use those plastic containers, but made it a habit to check daily what needs to go and what can stay for a day longer. if I have to find a usage for the item, I sit down and google for recipes or ideas. today my use up item is a horsereddish-cranberry-dip, for example. of course this is only possible if you can be flexible and have time to do eventual shopping. and if you are happy to try out new things. this habit saves me from wasting food enormously. and saves money as well, because I experiment with what I have.

  9. Guess what? A tornado just went thru one street over. Apparently roof tiles and trampolines everywhere, some roofs off. Have never heard of tornados in this part of the country, occasionally on the other side of the island or Northland. Our weather patterns not really conducive to it.
    Of course, nothing on the scale of what happens in the States. But wow! My daughter had just been dropped off from ballet literally a minute earlier, they must have just crossed the area just ahead of it.

    • Moni,
      I am so glad your daughter was safe. What a fright you must have had.

      • Hi Ann – an elderly friend of ours whose house directly faced the path, wondered what the noise was and went outside to look! Fortunately he got back inside in time. So lucky as he has fragile health.

        To be honest we had no idea what the noise was – just it was very loud and sounded like weather mixed in with a speeding train.

        Yes I’m glad daughter hadn’t been delayed even by a minute, and the lady who drove her didn’t stop at our place and get caught up in it.

        The fire department and neighbourhood have been out doing what they can to put tarps over the houses affected.

        One house had their “For Sale” sign come hurtling thru the window and embedded into the wall. Almost sounds like a house horror movie where the house doesn’t want to be sold!

    • Moni, I’m so glad you are all okay. I’ve been through tornados several times as we used to live in what they call Tornado Alley. Being one street away from it was too close. Praying all your neighbors are all right and things get cleaned up quickly.

      • Hi Deb J – no casualties, we don’t get them (well……ever) on the scale you do over there, but being dumb kiwi’s we had no idea what this roaring freight train noise was so went outside to see what it was!

  10. colleen, excellent mini missions. I love this little treasure hunt.
    todays item is out: hair foam that I rarely use. I will give it to a friend of mine.
    the small thing I will declutter tomorrow is my third usb-stick that has a virus or some sort of malware on it. (I went to the copy shop last week and the guy told me with a cheeky smile that if I wanted to ruin his company and give his system a virus I would have to make it less obvious ;-)) I will trash it with a hammer. yay.
    the electric thing is not so much a declutter item, but two electric plug bars that I replaced with the ones that have a button to save energy.
    wednesday and thursday are also covered in one item: I have a shiny/metallic keyring that my ex boyfriend gave me. everytime I see it it brings up strong emotions. out it goes, I will deal with those emotions when I decide to, not when the keyring is popping up. woohoo – I am so glad I learned this – how liberating that feels – just after the break-up… I gave away the last sentimental crap from the last boyfriend just about 6 months ago. it made me feel bad for more than 7 years, I will never do that again to myself.
    I decided to decrease the number of those felt stickers for furniture, because my furniture is already covered in those and I have even unopened packs. those would be the soft items. and a very dirty and ugly washcloth is the fabric item from sunday.

    ah crap. those were fun and the week is almost over. stay as creative for the next week too!

    • Lena you cracked me up with your comment about the copy shop guy! LOL
      I’m right there with you this week as I managed to declutter everything on Colleen’s mini-mission list for this week in about 10 minutes total! Some weeks I’m ahead of the game & others I’m lagging – this week was a winner for me!

      • that was indeed a funny moment. I love people who can joke with strangers about such situations. I mean I obviously meant no harm to the company so I played happily along :-). thats the big city life that I love. and those people can make my day. simple as that.

  11. Thanks for this one, it IS fun to treasure hunt! I’ve been feeling stuck in my decluttering lately, especially because I’ve been without a job for a year, so can’t afford to replace ANYthing, and often end up using some things that I otherwise might not (when I’m working this becomes a non-issue). Went hunting for something smelly and got a random thought of ironing starch-spray that has been lurking my cabinet. No idea HOW that popped into my head, that thing hasn’t seen the light of day in quite a while. And get this…the date on it is 2005. 7 years!! That’s close to 1/4 of my lifespan. I probably used it maybe 2 or 3 times and would never use it now because I became much more aware of nasty chemicals in my household products. Yay!

    • I am currently using up lip balm that has its date on 2009. I know what you mean. but mine is actually still in good shape and the taste and smell is still good. actually I start to like it 😉

  12. I think I already decluttered something small, shiny, metallic, and fabric this past weekend. I finally tackled my trunk stuffed full of old sentimental items saved from childhood on up. Shed a couple tears and laughed a lot, too, while sorting through that stuff. Funny how some of those items were so precious to me 30 or 40 years ago and mean nothing today. It was an especially gratifying declutter day. I was just itching to declutter something else as soon as I’d finished.

  13. Smells – a crummy tasting (smelling too) batch of beef jerky from a new recipe I had high hopes for – but nope, it was hopelessly awful.
    Small – 2 necklaces I never have worn & finally came to accept the fact that I never really want to / or will ever wear.
    Electric – an ancient power strip that was overly large, metal-cased & clunky.
    Shiny – coins. Well we exchanged them at our bank for paper currency.
    Metallic – the rings & domes for canning jars. I instead prefer the solid lids since I don’t use the jars for canning but for bulk dry food storage.
    Soft – a unopened bag of cotton balls. I have no clue why I bought these or what I was gonna use them for. Honestly – I’m not sure what cotton balls are used for …and maybe I’m better off not knowing! LOL
    Fabric – while I recently parred down my sewing fabric to just 4 – I parred it down again to 3. The 4th fabric was super cute yes…but too cutesy to ever wear if that makes sense.

    • lol. own a super ridiculous, but not special item that you cant use for ANYTHING, like cotton balls? check.

  14. First I want to share something I ran across today in a blog from Stephanie Ackerman. It says, “The first step toward simplicity is to take full responsibility. I MUST own my own stuff and admit that when it comes to simplicity I am my own worst enemy. MOST of all to the complexity and clutter is my own doing…saying yes to too many requests, not have healthy boundaries, not knowing my limits, and always trying to please everyone, has all contributed to a cluttered life. Simplicy is not simple.” She got this from a book called “Replenish” by Lance Witt (pg 94). While this talks more about decluttering our lives not our homes I thought it was a very good quote.

    Smells–couldn’t find anything. Yippee!!
    Small–some short, diagnoally cut straws. ???
    Electric–a HandiVac vacuum seal machine and bags. Never opened.
    Shiny–a coffee measuring spoon from the Gevalia coffee maker we sold.
    Metalic–a funny picture frame/box thing with the front having a pewter plate with all sorts of Friend sayings.
    Soft–a pair of shoes.
    Fabric–some craft items never finished.
    Other–more scrapbook supplies. Yippee!!

  15. Yay, I’ve completed my treasure hunt! That was fun, let’s do another 🙂

    Monday – Niagara spray starch (does anyone even use this anymore?)

    Tuesday – 2 bowls I don’t like

    Wednesday – I couldn’t find anything electric to get rid of, but I listed two books on Amazon that I never even looked at after purchasing.

    Thursday – A crappy pen

    Friday – A special bent spoon for tea I had gotten free with a purchase (a good unitasker for you:

    Saturday – 2 pairs of pants I realized I never felt good in and a tshirt

    Sunday – A bathing suit that was more worn than I had realized

    • Hi Elspeth – what an odd looking spoon! Can obviously see what it is meant to do……but why would you want your spoon left in your cup? You have just reminded me of a weird spoon I have which is designed to lift olives out the jar, I will put it in my ‘out’ box tonight (literally a cardboard box with “out” written on it)

    • Hi Elspeth,
      well done, you get A+ for that effort. I haven’t even begun writing next Monday’s missions but I will be thinking of you while I do. Here’s hoping I manage to channel you well and come up with seven more that you can easily follow. And yes that spoon looks like your typical unitasker, that is relatively pointless. I look forward to reading your decluttered list again next week.

  16. Hi Moni! Well I think it’s meant to hang with the spoon part outside of your cup..but then you drip tea everywhere, and every time you try to drink, the spoon is in the way, so it really is a pointless little item. Though sadly, I’m sure it’s probably one of those useless things that’s gifted a lot to tea drinkers by non-ta drinkers, haha.

    Good job with connection to your decluttering! You must eat a lot of olives 🙂 I’ve never seen an olive spoon – I’m picturing a regular slotted spoon, but I’m sure it must be different than that. Sometimes when I send odd items to the thrift store I’ll stick them in a baggie with a label – if you’re sending it to thrift you might want to do that so people know what it is.

    • Hi Elspeth -ironically no we don’t eat that many olives……I think it came with a jar once, it has little drainage holes in it too…..yes it had occured to me that it would probably need some sort of label on it. 🙂

  17. I have enjoyed reading ” de blog”,and it makes decluttering seem fun,- just the incentive I needed.I will blog each day with a decluttered item,