Mini Mission Monday – Item Consolidation

Alan Keys

This week we are going to concentrate on consolidating an area of your home that seems to have somehow become scattered. Let me explain using my home as an example. When I first started decluttering there were tools all over the house. In the office, in the laundry, in the kitchen drawers and in the garage. Over time I gathered them all up and relegated most of them to the garage while keeping just the one inside tool kit in the laundry cupboard for those quick inside jobs. Tools may not be your issue maybe you have stationary all over the house, toiletries here there and everywhere, sports equipment, books etc. So I have come up with a series of mini missions for the week to reunite like objects in your home.

  • Monday – Give some thought as to what it may be that is lurking in places all over your house. Items that for ease of finding  when you need them would be best gathered up and kept in the same location.
  • TuesdayStart gathering up these items from the places you know they are hiding.
  • Wednesday – Now that you have all the items together declutter the items out of the group that you no longer have a use for.
  • Thursday – Get together any storage solution containers you may need to organise these items and prepare them for their new home.
  • Friday – Decide where you are going to store these items and do whatever rearranging you need to do to fit them in and rehouse any displaced items.
  • Saturday – Place your items in their new home making sure to arrange them in the most convenient positioning to suit your needs.
  • Sunday – Today you can sit back and enjoy your handy work. See I am not the slavedriver you think I am after all everyone is entitled to at least one day off a week.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

These two Star Wars toys found a new home with the son of a good friend.

Things I am grateful for since my last post

  • A lovely walk by the beach with my hubby on Saturday evening before dinner.
  • Finding a great burger place – Actually it wasn’t a case of finding it but more about finally getting around to trying it.
  • Sleeping late on Sunday morning.
  • Finding my lost picture files – I will be even more grateful when we find my lost word documents (It’s a long story that I won’t bore you with.)
  • Funny lines in movies – sometimes a person needs a good laugh to brighten up the day.

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. I love this week’s mini mission! I have already gathered most of my tools in one place, but I need to find a better storage box for them so I don’t end up dumping all tools on the floor when I just need a hammer.

    Just finished doing my mini mission this week, which was to declutter my sock drawer. While I was at it, I also decluttered another drawer. Three out of five big drawers done!

    I had kind of a aha moment when I decluttered the drawers. I seem to allow items to “temporarily” stay in drawers where they don’t really belong to and they just end up staying there forever. I started thinking the drawers as homes where no visitors are allowed. Not even close relatives like bathing suits in underwear drawers. Hope this line of thinking helps me to keep those drawers tidy!

    • Hi Anne,
      if your tools are nearly all taken care of work on something else this week that has become displaced.
      Don’t you love those aha moments when finally you discover the link that is causing the error of your ways. Once you realise this connection it is so much easier to rectify the problem.

  2. A wonderful idea…since I’ve been moving I’ve found so many doubles and triples of items I thought were lost…what a waste of money buying a second rubber mallet…won’t even name how many pairs of scissors I own…

    Slowly find a place for everything…

  3. Last year I hired a professional declutterer to tackle my attic of doom. One of the ways she did this was to unjumble the confused mass of ‘stuff’ into putting like with like.
    It was only then I discovered I clearly had a ‘thing’ about collecting odd bits of wood incase they came in handy,lol. (Where I live people put furniture & and all sorts out on the pavements for collection for who ever passing wants it).
    Previously scattered all over the attic and lurking under piles of dumped stuff, she collected a huge pile – 30 pieces probably plus lots of smaller ones. I’m not sure where I though I had the space in the house to put up all those ‘potential shelves’. I have spent the year since either using it to put up shelves or gradually ‘letting go’ and putting pieces back out on the pavement for others to use.

    It seems so obvious to keep like with like, but it was a revelation to me.

    • Hi Katharine,
      your wood collection is just one of the hazards of being a handy and thrifty person, I know because I’m one myself. Luckily I have come to the realisation that I shouldn’t acquire stuff until I am actually going to use it immediately. Good intensions often never get past just being good intensions and even though it is hard to walk away form useful stuff especially if it is free I have learned to do so.
      One thing I have never done is store stuff in the attic. Most likely that is because we have always lived in rented homes and there is the risk of forgetting it is up there and leaving it behind. Mostly though I have never had the need and beside we have cockroaches in Australia and I am sure they would just love to live among that stuff and I HATE cockroaches.

      • Attic are definitely danger zones for dumping clutter and defering decisions on ‘to keep or not to keep’.
        I store in the attic because,
        a) hurrah, no cockcroaches likely here:O)
        b) I live in a small 2 bed house and when I moved in, I let the downstairs sitting room as a double bedroom to one lodger and the smaller 2nd bedroom to another one. I used the front bedoom as a bedsit. So i needed the attic to store somethings.
        Now my OH has moved in, we still let the downstairs room, sharing the kitchen and bathroom but we use the small bedroom as ours, but it is nearly full of bed.
        Our front room (would normally be an ustairs double bedroom) were we spend most of our time (lovely and light and south facing for maximum sun/light) is not a big space for two 45+ people with 2 separate lives & hobbies to combine. So the attic is a godsend. But, it is no longer allowed as a dumping ground. Everything has to earn it’s place and all boxes clearly marked and everything else on shelves. I do still have some decluttering to do up there…in due course…

        • Hi Katherine,
          Wow! You certainly are living in a compact area and the attic would be crucial for storage. I feel quite spoilt now even though I thought I was living in a relatively small home. You clearly know how to maximise and think outside the box when it comes to using the space you have – A bedroom doesn’t have to be a bedroom etc. I am impressed.

  4. Oh…this is going to be a hard one for me. I need ideas! Maybe pharmacy/grooming-type items? Thermometers, clippers, etc…

    • Hi Lyn,
      now that you mention pharmacy items I wish I still had a spare three drawer organiser like I used to to organise the small stuff in my kitchen (see post- Organising outside te box ). One of those would make a great first aid station. maybe I will have to rearrange my rearranging.

  5. Hi Colleen! I did the same with our tools. We had stuff scattered all over the house and I never could find anything when I wnated it. Now, its all in one place. Yesterday someone asked for a hammer and I went to the box and … tada!!! There it was! It seems silly but I felt really good about myself. Decluttering has been liberating for me and your blog is a huge help.

    • Hi Andreia,
      doesn’t it feel good when someone needs something and you know exactly where to put your hands on. The more obscure the item the more rewarding that feeling is. Liberating is the perfect description of how it feels to get decluttered. Liberated space, liberated time (less maintenance), Liberated from the burdon of possessions and Liberated from wanting more stuff. I love it!

  6. Pens!!!! We have pens allllll over our house.

    Our issue with tools is my husband thinks all the tools belong in the shed, but then when he uses a tool he doesn’t go and put it away again. We’re aren’t exactly the DIY type, so I think we just need a little bag/box of basic tools somewhere in the house where they are easy to get to and easy to put away. Maybe we’ll come to an agreement some day?

    • Hi Susan,
      i know someone would be doing a pen round-up, yeehaw.
      As for the tool agreement, you have nothing to loose but to run it by him and if he doesn’t agree I would suggest buying your own little tool kit for the house. My hubby has a lovely clean desk so when I want something dealt with quickly I put it on his desk. He doesn’t want it lying there so he deals with it immediately. Maybe your husband has a place like this where you can leave his tools if he leaves them lying around the house. If all else fails collect them up and hide them from him, when he comes to you in the hope that you know where they are you can tell him exactly where they are and why they got there. Maybe then he will take a hint. I know I am evil but all’s fair in love and war.

      • I recently did a pen/pencil round up. We had SO MANY. I tested all the pens and markers and sharpened all the pencils. I took all the pens that worked but that I didn’t really like plus all the pencils that were short or were missing erasers to my daughters’ schools. The girls are supposed to bring their own supplies, of course, but they’re forever borrowing from the teachers. My husband and I jokingly called our donation “the pencils of shame.”

        I was at the library the other day and saw two kids come up to the check out desk to borrow pencils to do their homework. I imagine that the vast majority of these are not returned, so that’s another potential donation site for excess.

        • Hi Cindy,
          I remember your big pen roundup. Mine are rounded up too but I really think I need to do something like you did because they just aren’t getting used except for the whiteboard markers. We have a whiteboard on our fridge that is a great communication device especially when we have gone to bed and Liam decides he needs to leave us a message for the morning. The pens are forever running out though, I had such a big supply but I may actually have to buy some before too much longer.

        • Good tip Cindy! I have worked in a library and we were always short on pens because they seemed to disappear into the bags of our patrons. Another item we were always short of were post-it pads or other note papers. Needless to say, my home is now free of excess pens and post-it notes.

  7. Have also just done the pen and pencil round up plus the hand cream and plastic carrier bag round up. Where did they all come from? Pens will go to school and plastic bags are going back to the supermarket!
    All this sorting is now actually making me look at “things” and ask myself if I really need them or will they become clutter?

    • Hi Catherine,
      when I chose this series of mini missions for the week I did wonder how many people would discover stuff they didn’t realise are scattered all over the house.
      Looking rationally at things before you acquire them is key to keeping decluttered and one of the first things I think I mastered when I started this mission. It really is one fo the best lessons to learn if you want a clutter free life.