Mini Mission Monday ~ I would use it if…

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.

Do you have items that with a little thought or effort could be transform from “I might use it if…” to actually using it. Or items that you might use if life changes so that you have the time or inclination. How about putting these mights into action or finally let the item go.

Monday – Alter an item so it better suits your needs that you might actually use it. Eg. Shorten a hem, cut off long sleeves, replace a handle…

Tuesday – Pull out some old hobby equipment and test your desire to rekindle the interest in that pastime. If the desire is strong enough you will find the time and effort, if not let it go.

Wednesday – Some items become clutter due to disrepair. Repair such an item that it may be used again.

Thursday – Reposition or relocate something that has become unused due to inconvenient placement.

Friday – Rejuvenate an item so that you might use it rather than hide it away somewhere. Maybe a good clean, a lick of paint or some other sprucing up would inspire you to use it.

Saturday – Chose an item that can’t be altered, relocated, repairs or rejuvenated to make it appealing and declutter it.

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

Quit smoking. Imagine how much water is wasted on crops, energy on manufacturing & fuel on transport of tobacco products. Not to mention the effects of indoor pollution and health repercussions.

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. Good mini missions this week. I have good news. I found a local place that will buy items outright as opposed to a consignment deal. Yay! Less hassle.

    Friday at work was slow so I got my boss to go through a drawer and a half of his personal files and we knocked it down to less than half a drawer! Woooo hooooo! And I got rid of some manuals for equipment we don’t even have any longer.

    A friend referred me to an alterations lady so I can get a pair of jeans hemmed that I have had for more than five years, but I couldn’t wear because they are about 8″ too long. I also pulled out all my watches with dead batteries (I have a good watch, but some fun watches too), took all of them apart and wrote down the different batteries I need to buy. One stubborn son of a gun, my Pink Panther watch, I’m going to have to take to a jeweler because I cannot get that buggar open.

    It has been really great to have less stuff around. What I do have around, I like, and to repair items that will again be useful or fun for me. Oh, and (I haven’t made the call yet, but) I have an extended relative by marriage who quilts and I think I’m going to get in touch with her about binding that quilt that I made but never finished because I don’t actually know how to bind. The pieces are cut, I just am stumped now and I’d like to just get it done, so it can be useful.

    This blog is just awesome. I feel better in my surroundings, things are easier to clean and keep organized. I think I’m saving money because I’ve been trying to use up what we already have. Thanks so much, Colleen, for your encouragement and support. 🙂

  2. Hi Michelle, wow, and outlet to sell you stuff outright, what a great resource.
    I love that you got your boss on board with decluttering. Perhaps it will have a cascade effect.
    Good luck with that Pink Panther watch. I must say though that the most striking thing I noticed in that paragraph was your use of the word buggar. What a very Australian thing to say. I didn’t think Americans used that word in such a manner. Are my habits wearing off on you? 😉
    Have you tried googling quilt binding and teaching yourself how to do it via the internet. Mind you, when you say binding I think around the edge, but if you mean the backing it and over stitching it, that is the job for a professional machine. I actually have a friend who does that right here in town.
    I am so glad to hear that you are reaping the rewards of your decluttering. Less cleaning in particular is a great benefit. And saving money, what a bonus.

    • Hello Colleen and Deb J. –

      Languages: It is an odd thing that I pick up speech patterns from other folks. One time when we were in New Orleans, Louisana, someone thought I was from the South because I said “ya’all”. People have asked me if I’m from Minnesota because I can affect a Norweigen (sp?) accent. I don’t do it on purpose, it just happens. I am actually from Idaho and there is no accept (says me) from there. I once jokingly called a friend a “rotten sot” and he had no clue what I was talking about. I could be mistaken (and therefor should not use words that I’m not sure of the meaning), but I think that would refer to a drunken fool. I was laughing at something that he had said sarcastically, so that was my purpose. Heck, I was probably calling his a really bad thing!?! Most often, because I used to be an avid reader of historical romance books, I affect an English accent. One evening I went to a movie theater with four guys from Texas who were in town for the rodeo and by the end of the evening, I was talking just like them. It’s weird, I know. I am not mocking people, it just happens!

      You are absolutely correct in re: the quilt. I am talking about the edging. I actually saw a lady do this yesterday on tv. At this point, I just want to have it completed. Since I enjoy quilting, I would like to learn in the future, but right now, I want it done. 🙂 I texted my husband’s cousin’s wife. Her MIL is the one who quilts (my husband’s uncle’s wife). She said that her MIL has been looking for a project and for sure would want to finish my quilt. Way excited to get this done!

      • Hi Michelle, my daughter is just like you. She picks up whoever’s accent is the most pronounced in a group. She must have sounded quite confusing in Brisbane when she lived there. With her American/Australian accent she then ended up with a bunch of New Zealand friends and took on their accent as well.

      • Michelle – Rotten sot has generated some interesting debate here today. Yes sot is an old English word for drunkard, but general consensus is that the term was ‘rotten sod’ meaning the obnoxious defination, rather than the original defination. Personally, whther it is sot or sod, either way the Olde English certainly had a way with words.
        I once had neighbours on either side of my house, both of whom came from England and within a few hours of each other, but couldn’t understand what the other said because of the dialects. Of course, they each claimed they spoke the ‘proper Queen’s English’ and so I became the translator. I learnt a lot of creative insults that I’m pretty sure Queen Elizabeth would never have said.

    • I’ve heard bugger or buggar used that way all my life (at least in Texas) for something difficult to do. When I started reading 365 over a year ago, I had been trying to do a lot of this week’s missions.. I am mostly home and realized that some of the slacks I had would fit fine if I just took out that little chain stitched seam on the hip seams and the leg seams. After they are washed 2 or 3 times you can’t even see it has been done. Right now with tax season starting I have been decluttering as many old paper records as possible–but business ones need to kept for 7 years, personal for 4. And scanning that many would take forever. Ugh..

      • Hi Nana, paper sure is one of the worse kinds of clutter. But it is what it is when you have a business. Look on the bright side, if you change any little thing you can about it from this moment forward each year from here on the paper should be a little less. Keep up to date with the tax laws and only keep what you really have to.

  3. I like these mini-missions Colleen. So many times we let things sit around because of these very reasons. I am working on getting batteries for a watch and taking one to a jeweler to get it fixed. Both are Mom’s and one has been in her watch box for ages needing to be fixed.

    Took another load to Goodwill yesterday. We are making progress.

  4. Thanks Colleen,
    Good suggestions. I’m always thinking about things I can alter/change to make me use them; however, procrastinator that I am it usually doesn’t happen. Today I’m wearing a pair of yoga style pants (around the house) that are too big. I have thought about donating them many times but they are so comfortable. I keep telling myself I should google for instructions to take them in myself. If I mess up it won’t be that big a deal. If I succeed, it may spur me on to try altering some other clothes. Although my father was a tailor by trade, I did not inherit that gene. I’m also trying to use the sewing machine I purchase less than a year ago before it becomes something I need to donate.

    • Hi Anna, I agree, what have you got to lose. Try taking them in for yourself and if it doesn’t work so what. This weeks missions were spurred by my having to take up a dress for my daughter. I had left it in the car for a week, forgetting that I had even brought it home. We were getting together for dinner so she phoned and asked if I had done the hem. I grabbed the dress out of the car and had the job complete in about five minutes. Procrastinating often takes a lot longer than that.

      • Colleen – I am the worst procastinator when it comes to sewing jobs. Its weird because when it comes to everything else I tend to under estimate how long a job will take, but with sewing I go the other way and convince myself that it will take a lot longer and spend more time convincing myself how lengthy a job it will than it would take to get set up and underway.

        • Hi Moni, that surprises me considering you make costumes for dancing. Perhaps in the time in between you just want a break from the machine. My biggest hold up when it comes to sewing is getting my old heavy dinosaur of a sewing machine out of the bottom of the linen closet. Once I set my mind to do that the job I am doing usually doesn’t take long.

  5. I got rid of a new juicer last week. I won it and thought it was wonderful but then I never used it. After thinking about juices and smoothies and just eating raw veggies, I gave it away!

  6. We started a list of items needing repairs or some particular attention or improvements, about 18 months ago. We sort of run it as an informal 5 minute household meeting between Adrian and I and I guess they are more or less agenda items, which get assigned to someone to organise, research, get quotes, action or whatever. And next meeting we’d each report back progress or cross off items which were completed. We used to do these weekly at the outset as there seemed to be a lot of little items but its probably monthly at the moment while we’re tackling bigger projects. We found this kept us progressing. Initially the list was really long but a lot got eventually done. Mind you, the list gets constantly added to.

  7. Hmm, I’m trying to think of things that need fixing. I did sell my extra desk over the weekend, so now our office feels spacious again, and I was prompted to declutter some things while emptying out the old desk.

    Kitchen clutter has been building up – mostly in terms of me keeping more ingredients stocked but also because we’ve bought a few cooking implements this year without giving anything away. But after the big decluttering last year, I think we do use and enjoy the things we have.

    I’m still slowly whittling away at books and clothes. I think the next moderately big thing will be figuring out what to do with our extra computer monitor. Maybe I can talk to my husband about it next weekend.

  8. Hi Colleen,

    I know you and Cindy, possibly others, have read and “reviewed” several different books related to de-cluttering, organizing, etc. Is there somewhere I can easily find a list of those review posts so I can possibly see if my local library has some of them? I like to read, it is one of my goals this year to read 52 books, and I think that by reading books on topic with my other goals, I may find I get more ideas and get both goals accomplished. Thanks!!

  9. Hi Colleen,

    Recent wins and losses in our home:

    A zippered tote that I bought in 2009 – never used, what was I thinking?… Finally got used traveling to see our youngest daughter graduate college in 2012, then again when we stayed overnight for my high school reunion in 2013, and plan to travel with the tote this summer! In exchange, I let go of an old overnight bag which had been a graduation present to me from my parents… So, kind of sentimental, nicely made, and useful, but a lot heavier than the tote I am now using (and no wheels, this was received a LONG time ago)…

    2 long scarves purchased last year, then regretted for a time: One was surprisingly perfect for my reunion dinner outfit later in the year… The other coordinates with everything I plan to wear on this summers trip 🙂

    A blazer type jacket I’ve hung on to for several years because I love the intricate fabric, but the fit is all wrong: I’ve decided that getting it tailored (or possibly made into a vest) will be my 2014 Christmas gift 🙂

    Some miniature ceramic animal knick knacks from childhood: Am going through them periodically and keeping only the ones that remain favorites… the extras will be offered to a friend who works with children/crafts in Sunday school… maybe they would like them for dioramas… she has already accepted many bits and pieces for her class…

    Juicer: I want to part with this, used it for 3 solid months twice a day, couldn’t tell any difference in my health, lots of work to clean it, got it free from a friend… my daughter wants to keep it because she uses it once in a while…

    Wrist watch from best friend: thought it was broken for months because it stopped working almost as soon as the battery was replaced… Finally took it to a jeweler… He replaced the battery and… it works!!! And he didn’t accept payment for the battery, although we were willing, almost insistent, to pay… what a great feeling to have this beautiful and sentimental piece working and useful again!

    Silverware: One night I went through all our mismatched (stainless) silverware and removed a bunch to take to work where we hardly have enough… Then my husband wanted to know where his favorite fork was… oops! I had to retrieve that item on my next shift (ditto the orange peeler… my daughter missed it)… They do not miss the small dip spreaders that I took to work where we use them for fishing “product” out of the container… I purchased those years ago because they looked useful, not because I actually had a specific use for them LOL, never used them at home!

    Chipped plates and discolored stoneware bowls: Got the okay from hubby to dispose of these, but I’m dragging my feet… ? I guess it seems wasteful, I don’t know if they are worth donating, or should just be thrown out…

    We receive tins from time to time with gifts, etc… We usually keep them because they come in handy for collecting coins, seldom used business cards, etc… We collected Canadian coins (which we can’t use) in a small tin last year to give to a Canadian holiday visitor… Hubby keeps one in his car to hold parking change… When I had a dog, I used a large popcorn tin to hold his food…

    Linens: Where I work we use a lot of towels and over time they get grubby looking… So (with permission) I take them, along with my own less favored towels to our veterinarian who has a “donation corner” for animal shelters…

    Got in trouble with my younger daughter when I asked her if she could tell I’ve been decluttering for awhile… she thought I decluttered the apple corer… I did not… Her sister had it LOL 🙂

    Thanks for all that you do, all the time 🙂

    • Hi Peggy, that was an interesting comment. One thing I noticed about it is that you feel better about letting go of your stuff if you feel it is going to be used again by someone else. You tend to target your donating to satisfy that desire. That is very admirable but don’t allow it to stop you from letting things go that aren’t need or that you just don’t want. Sometime you just have to release it to the world and simply hope that it becomes useful to someone else. In some cases throwing things away is the only solution outside of reluctantly keeping them. Your chipped plates would fall into this category.

      All in all you are doing a great job of decluttering, repurposing and finding new homes for you stuff. Well done you!

      • Hi Colleen, You are right that I prefer my discards to go where they might be useful. Today I was able to take a shoebox full of charcoal and several sketch pads to a nearby art school. The teacher also accepted some old handmade clothes for their theatre department 🙂

        I use “baggies” sparingly, but I do like them for taking popcorn to work or for carrying paperwork to doctor visits – it seems like you always end up with little bits of random paper on those days. When the baggy finally gets funky looking, leaky, ready for the trash, I save it for discarding broken light bulbs, mugs, anything that might cut the garbage man otherwise. I also save those plastic zippered bags that come with sheet sets. Sometimes I use them at home for storage, other times to collect things in to donate to Goodwill.

        I do struggle at times to know whether something is good enough to give away… One shelter in a nearby town has a problem with having to dispose of ratty things left on their porch… So I don’t want to be making a problem for an organization like that… I think my discolored stoneware bowls will be going in the trash, per your wise counsel 🙂

        Thanks for your reply, you are very good at getting to the heart of things 🙂

        • Hi Peggy, I go to the same sort of bother. Luckily these days I don’t have much left that can’t go to the thrift store so my task is a lot easier.

          You and I have the same approach to plastic bags. I even keep the ziplock bags from frozen vegetable. I use them to put my meat scraps in in the freezer until it is time to empty the kitchen bin. I use the linen zip bags for my winter blankets too.