Mini Mission Monday ~ Let’s have a roundup

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.

Something one of my readers mentioned last week got me thinking that our declutter missions doesn’t always have to be about decluttering. Sometimes clutter forms due to poor organising causing you to purchase a duplicate item simply because you can’t find it when it is needed. So this week we are going to do a little organising. To be more specific it is about rounding up like items in your home so they are all corralled in the same place making them easier to find when you need them. Sometimes two places is appropriate but multiple places is a recipe for clutter if ever there was one. So I will name an item category and you can check that these items are all accounted for and only stored in one or at the most two places in your home. Of course you might as well declutter the excess while you are at it. And naturally this exercise is only useful if you and your family commit to putting these items back in there rightful place every time they are used.

Monday – Small tools ~ Most of our tools are kept in the garage with the exception of one small tool kit with holds a few often used items that saves me having to go out to the garage to retrieve them when needed.

Tuesday – Shoes ~ Do you have shoes in the car, shoes in your bedroom, shoes at both the front and back doors? Why not find a simple solution to keep the bulk of them in one area.

Wednesday – Stationery ~ Keep a pen in each room of the house if that makes your life easy but the bulk of your stationary items will be more easily found if they are all stored together. If you don’t have a desk or set of drawers for this task why not use that spare shelf you have cleared in the linen closet during your last towel and sheet declutter.

Thursday – Small kitchen appliances ~ Choose one cupboard or shelf in in the kitchen for all of these appliances. I have done this in my kitchen with the exception of the toaster and kettle which are located on the bench top because they are used very regularly.

Friday – Hair accessories ~ These tend to end up scattered all over the place making them impossible to find when you need them. They end up in school bags, handbags, bathroom drawers, bedside cabinets, in the little nooks and crannies in the car, sports/gym bags, coat pockets and even under the sofa cushions. I own four hair clips but at the moment I only know where two of them are and they aren’t my favourite two.

Saturday – Household cleaners ~ I keep kitchen cleaners and the all-purpose spray that gets used most days in the kitchen but all other cleaners are kept in the laundry cupboard. It may seem convenient to have toilet cleaners next to every toilet and a bottle of all purpose cleaner in every bathroom cabinet but what this really is is clutter. Don’t just round these up reduce them to one of each. After all the extra exercise to collect them from a central position when you need them will do you a world of good. I do keep a microfibre cloth in the upstairs bathroom because in reality microfibre will wipe up any mess and eliminate 99% of germs so there really is no need for chemical cleaners anyway.

Sunday – Electrical cables ~ Create and area where these items are returned to when not in use. Cables such as phone chargers, USB cables, small extension cords and reusable battery chargers end up scattered all over the house when the various family member use then leave them where they had them when done. Designate a drawer or storage container to keep these things in and make a rule that they be returned there when not in use.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

Here is another item that I usually have rounded up in one area of the house along with spare keys and a few key rings. These two below however miraculously appeared on my donation box one day. The phantom garage decluttering must have been silently at work as I can’t imagine where else they might have come from.


Something I Am Grateful For Today

 Sleeping in followed by a lazy day, a hot chocolate at Estabar and the smell of chicken roasting for dinner.

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 agree with all these except the toilet cleaners.. We have two toilets now and I definitely like to keep the bottle of cleaner and the toilet brush in the toilet for quick brush and rinse.. I’m just more likely to clean the toilet if I have the cleaner at hand. I also keep the bathroom/shower cleaner and a brush in the bathroom, because I like to clean it while I’m in the shower, but I never plan it, I just do it on a whim, and if the cleaner isn’t there, I won’t do it. Dish detergent and an all-purpose spray are in the kitchen, laundry detergent and special cleaners are in the laundry room. I like to store things close to where they are used. But we don’t keep extras, and all closets and cupboards are half empty, including the toilet /bathroom cabinets…

    • I tend to do things on a planned routine which is why this system works for me. I actually like having to fetch what I need because of the extra effort involved. But then when I had little ones to run around after like you I didn’t need that extra exercise so I am sure your system works well for you.

    • Hi Cat’s Meow – I also keep toilet cleaner in each toilet for quick maintenance but aside from that I keep all the other cleaning products on a shelf in the laundry area. I have a plastic basket that can be carried around the house. On the shelf above is a line up of all the duplicate cleaners that were discovered around the house. I used to have a set of each cleaner in each bathroom and the relevant ones also in the kitchen but that was pre-decluttering days and they got lost in amongst everything else, and so duplicates began to appear. Often I would be in the supermarket and wonder did we need more shower cleaner or more all-purpose spray and so would grab another one to be on the safe side.

      I decided at the start of the year to set up my basket and all the duplicate items lined up on the shelf above as my replacement stock. So far this year I have not had to buy any cleaning products (aside from loo cleaner) as we had that much sitting there, and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if we made it to the end of the year. Silly me!

    • I agree with you, Cat’s Meow. I somehow discovered that I would clean more often if I have the needed items at hand. As I dont clean on schedule but on my mood – like I have a thing for a clean bathroom mirror, so I have the cleaner and the cloth under the sink so I can immediatly do it as soon as I feel it needs a cleaning again – which is basically every second day. I do this while brushing my teeth so I even feel I dont waste time on cleaning.
      I do have a huge amount of cleaning supplies though, as my mum did the shopping for my new household almost a year ago. I wont buy anything anymore for the next years to come.

  2. Many years ago I tried keeping cleansers, cloths, etc in each of our three bathrooms. I quickly found it didn’t work for me – different things got used up at different rates and I was always forgetting to replace it and having to “borrow” from another bathroom. It also took up more storage space as a whole. Too complicated 🙂

    • This was the situation I was imaging when I was putting these mini missions together and it does sound cluttered to me.

    • Hi Jo H. I just described the same situation to Cat’s Meow but I went the other way and ended up with so many duplicate cleaners that I haven’t had to buy any this year while I am making my way thru them all.

  3. I have decorated empty tin with pretty paper, and have a pen ‘jar’ on the coffee table, and the open kitchen shelf. But otherwise, all my stationary IS in my linen closest (I have photos!) All my tools are in my bottom drawer of the buffet, cause it seems a logical place in my itty bitty apartment. My shoes are all at the door, except for 4-5 out of season/regular rotation pairs, which live in the stored clothes area (or if only rarely used, they are on the closet floor – just two pairs).

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by small appliances! Even my toaster and kettle have a shelf spot, given their irregular use! Hair accessories have a drawer in the bathroom – save for those that I collect on my bedside (end of day removal, and regular return to the bathroom), and the hair ties in my water polo bag – I seldom wear a hair elastic, so they live there, so I can change from a clip to the elastic easily. Ah cables, all in the fourth drawer… I should really check again, I’m sure there’s out of use stuff there! Thanks for sparking some places to thin things out!

    • Hi Snosie,
      I love that you organise outside the box, I suppose one is forced to do this when living in a small dwelling but it is a good practice to learn. In fact I love doing many things outside the box.
      By small appliances I mean bread maker, immersion blender, panini press, coffee grinder…
      I noticed my husband going through the cables again on the weekend. I always double check what he is getting rid of though because it has happened before that the odd one should have been kept.

      • Thanks Colleen… Oh wow, yeah I have no ‘makers’, no sandwich press, not even an immersion blender! I do have a food processor, cause I hate to grate! (and i did go in the draw for a blender that also heats, so it’d make soup… just not sure where it’d go, but I try to make smoothies in the food processor and it’s a little (hugely) messy, so if I win, I’ll work it out!)

  4. After reading Saturdays post by Moni, I left instructions for the TV to be dusted and excess cables etc to be sorted by my tech savvy sons.Hubby and I then left for a night away. On our return the lounge room had been rearranged to be more user friendly. A desk had been rebuilt for my use. The skirting boards dusted! Excess cables and speakers removed and instad of three remote controls only one which has been programmed to control everything. I am really pleased with the results. Everyone is happy.

    • Hi Wendy F – I need your tech savvy sons to come visit us! I needed to find cables for the old camcorder last night and ended up with the whole box spread around the lounge floor.

      Unfortunately none of us are tech savvy. We have our talents but just realised that no one in the house can claim to be tech savvy. My hubby spent three days trying to hook up the flatscreen and home theatre before I paid a guy to come and do it. (In his defence hubby is really good at construction and is arty) 🙂 He reckons he banked on me to be the tech one when we first met because I could program the video to record. Unfortunately that was the extent of my knowledge.

      One the 365’ers who stepped up to the plate over the weekend to advise me on tv/home theatre stuff was Lynda and I will be putting her advice into practice asap and all going well the left over cables will be freecycled out of the house soon after.

      • Moni,
        Not sure if you’ll see this since it’s almost a month old, but….
        About the cables that tend to end up chucked into a box, drawer, cabinet, basket and you’re confused about what they go to. I saw a friend’s drawer, borrowed the idea, and altered it to fit our house. We find ALL of the cables, a box of sealable sandwich baggies (or quart-size or gallon-size depending on the size), and a Sharpie. Each cord goes into its own baggie. I wrote what was in the baggie with a Sharpie on the outside. That way, empty baggie=missing cord. Bonus: I knew what each and every cord was for. 🙂

        • Hi Gen I have just been reading your comment on getting rid of dvd’s as I have my own challenge going on at the moment including our 150 dvds.

          Cables – ours are actually stored in sandwich bags too so they don’t get tangled – but I am working in a different direction, I am setting up each item ie ps2, ps3, cameras, camcorders etc with its cables, naming them and putting aside and whatever is left over is going to get freecycled out. No one in our house is remotely techie so they might as well go to someone who actually knows what they are.
          The box of cables sat in the drawer of our entertainment centre which ideally should be used to store the dvd’s we decide to keep.

    • Holy Crap Wendy F (excuse my french), you ought to go away more often. I’d ask for you to send your son’s around to my house but I have enough tech savvy men here. However if they do showers and ovens send them around because that I could use help with. Or more to the point I would permanently like to avoid.

    • Wow, Wendy F! You have some wonderful sons there. It’s great that they did so much when you just left it to them. Maybe there is another area you can leave to them to work on. Who knows, they may see this as fun.

  5. Hi Colleen – I like this one ! It now seems obvious to me but it wasnt always that way .I used to have cleaning products upstairs and downstairs too but now keep them all in the laundry .Like Jo H -it got too complicated – things would run out at different rates and I’d borrow from somewhere else and forget to replace things .Much simpler to keep everything in one place and as you say get the exercise going back to the one storage place (but no children at home any more so everything is much simpler anyway). I had stationery stuff everywhere too – now thats all in the bottom shelf of the filing cabinet and only what we need ( no big bags of rubber bands and paperclips.) I do have a little kitchen pen and scissor container though – tried to do without it but found I use it every day so back it came . One day I did a house check of lipsticks and lip balms and found them everywhere- in both bathrooms, in my hand bag , in my office,dressing room, the kitchen cupboard and the lounge. All sorted now – two places -dressing room and hand bag- two balms, three lipsticks and a resolution not to buy another lipstick until one runs out . Lipsticks were my equilavent of hair accessories.

    • With all the rounding up experience Jes I would say you qualify as a clutter cowgirl. Well done. How tempting it can be to buy stationery in bulk because it often costs very little more whether you buy 10 or 100 of something or worse still 100 or 1000. I haven’t bought a pen in seven years, have donated some and still doubt I will run out before the year 2020. The thing is I don’t believe actually buy most of them I think there is a pen kleptomaniac in our house.

      • “Clutter cow-girl”- thanks Colleen -love it! Must tell my step -daughter . I was telling her how we decluttered the shed recently . To be honest we had done a major declutter a few years ago when we were intending to move (but changed our minds).So the recent declutter was second time around .I moved everything out of the shed but to avoid a complete overwhelming shamozzle I put things in little heaps of “like with like” (gardening stuff together , painting gear together, nails and screws together etc) Then I went out for the day and let my husband get on with it. All he had to do was look at each little heap and only put back what he wanted . I’d made it a manageble task and my step-daughter was quite taken with this “like with like” approach to sorting and storing. She will love hearing that I have also aquired a title!

  6. We seem to be doing pretty good with all of these areas right now. Over the weekend we weeded out some more cookbooks, specialty magazines and such that Mom was hanging onto. I also have an iPod that I am going to give away. It was given to me and I find I won’t use it because I have all the stuff I like either on my computer (to play in the backround while I work) or in the car. Since my mother doesn’t like music playing when she is around what I have works for me and means one less thing to have around.

    • ah Deb J, the iPod. you mention something. Mine got into my decluttering focus as I havent used it for quite some time, because I kind of forgot that I had it. My biggest problem was that it was a gift from my brother and he had a line engraved for me – thats not easy to sell. So I was thinking about it again, put new good music on it that I am actually listening too (and a lot of new music coming in lately) and I have been using it for a proper amount of time again. so I can justify keeping it. sometimes the declutter focus results in activating the items in question. Use it or lose it.

      • Lena, it is nice that you were able to start using it again. I tried that. I even have the Bible in narative form on it but I just find that I don’t use it. When I’m not at my computer or in the car I’m usually doing things that require more attention so it would be a bother. I think I will easily find someone who can use it. LOL.

        • We sold my iPod some time ago because I just wasn’t using it either. It did get well used by my son there for a while so it wasn’t a dead loss. Like you Deb I am usually too busy doing something else and listening to music would be too distraction.

        • I think its mainly, because I am travelling again. I havent had a trainride since january, and I dont listen to music when I am in the city center. But there is no way I travel without music, if I can see the beautiful landscape of germany/france at the same time. beautiful music with a beautiful view can be such a pleasure for me.
          I also used it as a radio device when I was at my mums place, because the one in my old room somehow vanished…
          I need to be careful. there are phases in my life in which I dont need certain items, but I would regret if I threw them out later. I always thought that I could get over it, but after my smartphone got stolen, (and I refuse to buy a new one) I will need it again.

  7. Hi Colleen!

    I love this kind of mini missions. Unfortunately, the tool box would need more than just a mini mission here. We have our tools limited to one space, but we really should go through them again.

    • My husband has been going through ours lately. I have a few to list on ebay ~ when I get around to it. Knowing they were there only served to inspire me to list some of my own stuff. Perhaps I will do that now while I am thinking about it.

  8. When my son came home from college he brought all his cleaning supplies. His dad went to school with him when they got his apt and bought him the cleaning supplies. I don’t want to know how little he cleaned his place but I will say that most everything was better than half full after two years there. Anyway, I already had a bunch of stuff myself so we are working through all the extras. I probably won’t have to buy Windex (I think the boys got the largest size known to man of everything) for another 10 years. I still have tons of Shout and Pledge but it will not go bad, so will continue to use it. I did give some to my son for his new place.
    I keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom but my downstairs bath has no storage space, so the 1st floor stuff stays with the major housecleaning supplies under the kitchen sink. I do keep Comet and Bathtub cleaner (Scrubbing Bubbles) upstairs because my arthritis won’t let me climb the stairs easily most days but floor cleaning supplies are downstairs. I have to say, cleaning the bathrooms is NOT my favorite job but I am trying to keep the room decluttered so this helps the cleaning process. Nothing sitting around makes it easy to wash the counter tops.

    • Hi Maggie, I sympathise with you, if those stairs are hard to manage I can’t imagine what a pain it must be to clean the shower. I don’t mind cleaning the bathrooms generally but I hate hate hate cleaning the shower.