Mini Mission Monday ~ Make it easy on yourself

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.

This Monday’s mini missions are centred around the idea of making your home more user friendly. Or more to the point easier for you to clean and work in. You might be surprised how a few tweaks here and there can make tasks less painful. The target is to have less to dust, drawers and cupboards that are easier to access and find things in, and horizontal surfaces easy to clean.

Monday – Declutter a knick knack or two from around your home. Housework is easier with less to dust.

Tuesday – Declutter and reshuffle a drawer that is such a shambles you can never find what you need in it. Junk drawers are not a necessity, in fact they can be a nuisance.

Wednesday – Declutter some items from a closet that is over full, making it difficult to keep organised.

Thursday – Find a home for something that seems to have made the floor its permanent resting place. Perhaps a pile of magazines, a large pot, someone’s shoes… It is much easier to clean the floor when you can get to it easily.

Friday – Declutter a kitchen cupboard that is so full it is too much bother to retrieve what you need from it.

Saturday – Clear the clutter from your kitchen workspace and keep it that way. Cooking is a big enough job without having to clear away before you can get started.

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

Rather than encourage your older children to do their own washing, choose a day each week for each of them to do a load of the  family’s washing. A load of towels here, a dark load there and load of whites another 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 like your eco tip. I was not allowed to to ANYTHING around the house when I was growing up because I didn’t do it exactly like Mom. Thank goodness I watched and paid attention.

    Good mini-missions. I’m still working on all the srapbook stuff and some other craft stuff. I want this done. Also have to do the taxes.

    • My sister and I did washing from our mother for extra pocket money. Both my mother and father were very good at teaching us to do things. I soon learned to appreciate that once I left home.

      I have been filling empty jars, as they become available from the kitchen, to fill with beads I don’t really like so much. I then put them in the donation box to take to the thrift shop. The generally get snapped up quite quickly. I might work on some scrapbook paper again soon.

      • I’m ready to start on the card stock. There are some colors I’m not that fond of and I think I will get rid of them. I’m really just ready to have it all mostly gone. I”m trying to figure out a way to better store it so I can get rid of the storage unit the paper is in.

        • Hi Deb J, I too feel like reducing the storage space I use in my craft room as well. It is full to the brim at the moment but that could change with a little determination. I use the Store-in-Style cubes by Crop-in-Style. I was just thinking which cubes I could use elsewhere in the house or pass on to my daughter or the thrift shop. It is a task I would rather postpone until we decide what to do about housing though. It could be a big change year for us this year depending on what happens with my husbands work.

          • I think that once I made the decision about not scrapbooking any more my mind said, “Ah! Now I can get rid of ________.” It won’t be happy until it is done. Grin. Yes, waiting until you decide on housing is a good idea. You never know when some of that might come in handy. I have a 3-drawer piece from IKEA with each drawer a different size, This acts as my file cabinet, finished card cabinet and office supply cabinet. On top of it are two 3 shelf squares I have turned on their sides and use to store the paper upright. It’s full but I can consolidate. I’m working on it. My desk is a piece of melamine on top of two units from Best Cabinet. The units have 1 & 2 inch drawers full of scrapbook stuff. Then I have a another short piece of melamine that is on the 6-drawer units I plan to sell. That is where the Cricut sat. I no longer need that piece of melamine or the drawers. I’m getting there.

  2. Great mini missions this week. I sent another garbage bag full out the door to the donation center yesterday, along with a large miscellaneous item we used but come to find out, it didn’t work for us. I do have to say that my knick knack collection is dwindling little by little and I have been thinking about a few more of them that can go. Every one of the missions this week bought something to mind when I read them, so there will be lots to think about and do this week.

  3. I am on a “maxi-mission” this week, totally clearing out my elderly mother’s house in New Zealand in just 12 days! But I want to say that I am applying Colleen’s and everyone’s tips to good effect even on a huge job like this is. One cupboard, one shelf, one room at a time and the job is getting done quickly and with far less stress than I expected. Thank goodness for this blog, even if I don’t need to follow every piece of advice any more for my own house, the ideas and encouragement help so much when faced with tasks like mine now.

    • I am so glad for you Calico ginger that the advice you have taken in regarding decluttering is coming in so useful again at this time. I hope your mother is doing OK with the transition she is going through. This is rarely easy on anyone. I wish you serenity during your mission.

      • Thank you Colleen. The first lesson learned in April of last year was “shift mum first!” She is happy and well settled with me in Sydney now and, while she a bit anxious about the things that are finally coming across the Tasman, she is far more detached about her things than she was last year.

    • Calico Ginger – I do have a full on week this week with hubby working out of town but if there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know. I’m in Mount Maunganui. Even if it is ideas on what organisations will take what stuff. We joke that its not six degrees of seperation in NZ its three degrees of seperation.

      • Thank you Moni, but I am in Christchurch, so you are off the hook! I did some research last visit on how best to give away the stuff that wasn’t needed and so far it has all gone like clockwork. I made a conscious decision not to use Trademe or to freecycle as I had such a short time here and both of those are time-intensive. I know I have donated some things I could have sold, but I am OK with that – the Christchurch City Mission has got all the household goods and furniture and an outreach program for young unemployed men/ex prisoners and so got all my dad’s tools and garden and workshop stuff. I am glad we could give back to the community this way. Very little has gone to the dump and a removal company are packing up the wanted things and delivering to my door in Sydney for what I think is a very reasonable cost – luxury!

        • Calico-Ginger – no I don’t imagine you would have any difficulty at all donating stuff in Christchurch. Glad it is all going like clockwork!

    • Oh my, Calico Ginger! Whew! You have a big chore but I know you can do it because you have all this knowledge of how from reading this blog. Don’t hurt yourself lifting too much of something. Blessings.

  4. Colleen – I’m looking forward to these mini missions – on the weekend Dayna and I decided to have a quick cull thru the kitchen utensils, I had to steal a few back from the out pile, mind you. Of course, we found the requisite 5 pairs of scissors and 6 potato peelers. Stuff has a way of creeping into drawers.

    I’m glad its something a bit more easy this week as I have a lot of out-going stuff to process, some of my clothes and some of Courtney to go to goodwill, some books going off to a particular school that serves a special group. I have stuff listed on freecycle and stuff on trademe waiting for auctions to close.

    I am also a bit in limbo this week as my hubby is working out of town, and the work I wanted to get on with required some brute strength ie furniture to be moved out and a set of drawers sitting in the garage waiting to be repainted before being swapped for Courtney’s dressing table.

    I’m also working on my bookcase (in the garage) because it is sitting where I want Courtney’s digital piano to sit. I also need to list on trademe the electric keyboard she no longer uses it as that is also sitting in the garage.

    And sitting on the garage floor in boxes are the first round of ballet costumes etc which have been listed on trademe. Plus extra cardboard boxes from the supermarket so that things can be packaged and shipped quickly. Its the ideal time of year to be selling ballet and tap costumes, so the sooner I list them the sooner we will not have to ever think about them again.

    Dayna decided that the bean bags made the lounge look messy so she dumped them in the – no prizes for guessing – in the garage. She isn’t sure if we should keep them or not, so this might be a trial seperation.

    So all in all, there is a lot on the go – it will be nice when each job is completed – but its all either stopped, pending Adrian’s return or proceeding at snail speed. I am just reminding myself that the garage floor isn’t living space and the stuff sitting around is short term and does have exit plan underway.

    • Moni, it sounds like you are getting lots done and lots of help from Dayna. That’s good. Hope it all gets Traded/Bought/Given away this week and you can get it out of your hair. I know you will love that. I dropped off another bag of scrapbook stuff with the mother-to-be friend at church today. She’s so exited because now she doesn’t have to buy so much.

    • It seems to me that you have enough on your plate Moni. I say skip the mini missions on work on the Trademe auctions instead. Listing is tedious and time consuming and will eat through more than your 10 minutes a day so why add anything more to the piles in the garage for now.

      I sold a flute on eBay recently and was very pleased to hear back that the young girl it was purchased for was excited to have one of her own to practice on. Another satisfied customer and seller.

      • Colleen – sometimes on a week like this when it is go-stop and lots of waiting for auction closing, it is nice to have a simple mini-mission to feel a sense of accomplishment – even if it is just potato peelers!
        Even a year ago these mini-missions would have been major an undertaking to go thru, but now I can pull open a draw or cupboard, give it a quick visual and make a decision quickly. Though it is surprising how often there will be something that wasn’t there last time or how did that get thru the net so many times?

        • I can relate to what you say here only too well Moni. I have a couple of areas that I intend to do some quick decluttering of or at least a little rearranging this week. I don’t have anything at auction at the moment and I am becoming more discerning about what I could be bothered trying to sell, so the auctions are few and far between these days. My husband has a couple of auctions running though and one in particular I would love to be successful. I never wanted the item in our house in the first place and will be more than happy to see it go.

          Those items you can quickly through into the next box to go to the thrift store are by far the easiest to deal with for me. However that also has slowed down. Most of what is going there lately is coming out of my craft area. I feel there is still too much stuff there and will continue to weed out until only what I truly want to have on hand, should my creative juices start to flow, remains.

          • Colleen – I personally would rather send items to goodwill or freecycle than fluff around with auctions, however, costumes have a lot of value in the perspective of both myself the seller trying to recoup a bit and the buyer who is saving themselves a lot organising, sourcing and sewing. And it would be sacrilege to send bejewelled waltz gown to the op shop!

          • Colleen – I am but a fraction of the way thru and I have to admit that it is a tedious task as costumes are generally custom made and it is expected to supply as many measurements as humanly possibly and descriptions to the nth degree, and the inevitable many questions to reply to.

            I had very good intentions of preparing all this over Summer in preparation for now, but if you had a choice between preparing auctions and going to the beach what would you do?

            I had a bit of a chuckle when I thought that those anthropologists from the link on Friday’s Favourites would probably have a field day snapping photos if they could see me right now.

            I keep reminding myself that I only have to get rid of each item ONCE!

  5. These mini missions are appropriate to me. 🙂 I decluttered my knickknack today. One of my clothing drawers is bothering me – I always have to dig through it to find things. The closet I want to declutter has my husband’s stuff, so it probably won’t happen this week but it is on my mind.

    As for the kitchen – related missions: I am not happy with rooting through pots and pans to get the one I need, but I don’t think we’re willing to pare down right now. They are good quality, gifts from the inlaws last year, and we do use them all. So I want to put up hooks on the wall to hang the pans. This will clear out shelf space and allow me to get a pot off the floor of the pantry, and hopefully hide the last few things that live on top of the refrigerator. I’ve been decluttering the kitchen about as much as I want to right now, so I guess I’m at a stage of re-arranging things.

    • Hi RebeccaJ, welcome to 365 Less Things. Take a good look at that clothing drawer. Perhaps it would work better if you file your clothes. Check out this blog post ~

      I love the idea of hanging pots and utensils. One day I might do just this but for now I will just keep making shelf space so I can spread things out and make them easy to get at.

      • I was posting as “Rebecca” earlier but then I noticed another Rebecca so I decided to add a J.

        Wow, that filing clothing system is neat! I have deep drawers too, will have to try it out.

        • My husband started doing it and later I followed. I works quite well. I would have abandoned it by now if it didn’t.

          • Oh wow! Darn I wish we had deep drawers to do this system. My husband has so many t-shirts for work and they are taking up such closet space. I would really like to try to implement this system.

            • Hi Michelle, the drawers don’t have to be deep. Instead of folding the t-shirts in half lengthways you fold them twice so they are only 1/4 the usual length. If you have really shallow drawers you could probably roll them up.

    • Rebecca, when we moved here there was one of those pot hanger systems hanging from the ceiling. We didn’t think we would like it. HA!! Were we ever wrong. We use all of the pots and they are so easy to find. It even looks nice where they are hanging.

  6. So great. Bottom line is that even getting rid of one thing is progress. Thanks so much for this!

  7. Thank you for the mini missions!

    It was a stressful weekend here and the next will be just as bad, so I’m happy to have some premade-inspiration, so I can just start without having to think about it. Great you picked the kitchen, as two new things have made their way in…

  8. “Junk drawers are not a necessity, in fact they can be a nuisance”. Spot on! I read (and saved) and article on the late author, master organizer and speaker, Chris Evatt that said this: “Everything should have a place and be easy to find. Evatt says she is slightly obsessive about getting rid of stuff, so much so that her house is missing one of the trappings of modern age: She doesn’t have a junk drawer”.

    • Hi Kimberley, I have no junk drawer either. It has been gone for a long time. Actually, so long that I am not sure I ever had one. My utensils drawer used to be a bit of a mess but with gradual decluttering I have that well and truly under control.

      • We have what some would call a just drawer but it isn’t really that. It is all nicely organized with dividers and it’s where we keep the extra small batteries, a few tools for in the house, and the various size freezer bags (neatly folded up and banded).

  9. What to do with a gift from a beloved mother…..

    My mother gave me a beautiful set of Spode Christmas china ( service for 8) about 5 years ago. While I do admit that I use it one day a year… I find it to be ridiculous…… I also have set of antique china that was passed down to me by my grandmother. I prefer to use this antique china for special occasions . I would like to get rid of the Chritmas china as it just sits in the cabinet all year except for Christmas day.

    My husband and I are planning on downsizing this Spring as our 2 older children will be off to college within the next year and we will only have 2 children at home. I have been decluttering for the last year in anticipation of this and am down to the last few things… one being this Christmas china. I would get rid of it in a heartbeat if it were not for the fact that my mother does come to visit every other Christmas and expects to see the china…… Any suggestions?

    • Hello michelle, I am a Michelle, too!! Boy, that china issue! I know what you mean. I’m an “issue avoider” so I am afraid that my suggestion is just to hang on to it for a while. Not much help – sorry.

      I applaud your downsizing this Spring and am also on that quest, so good luck to you!

    • Argh, always a dilemma when you have a present that is vaguely useful. Personally, I would explain to your mother that you loved it, really appreciated it, but that you have 2 special sets and will only have space for 1 maximum after you move. I would then explain that you would rather keep the one which reminds you of your grandmother – especially as you get to still see your mother when she visits.
      I had one of those ‘dreaded’ conversations with my dad last year – he gave us a painting which we thought was hideous – eventually I explained that we had never got round to putting it up as it was not to our taste (he has been told before to lay off the present giving!) and would he like it back – turned out he had kind of got cornered into buying it and it had cost more than he’d expected and he didn’t want it back – eeekk – how guilty did I feel? Anyway I then asked if he would mind if we sold it to buy something else – he agreed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere to sell it so I donated it to a local charity that was having an ‘art auction’ – I haven’t ‘fessed up to that yet – just said it had gone to auction…

      Good luck with your china dilemma – it sounds to me as though you know what you are going to do, you just need some support to do it 🙂

    • Hi Michelle, I would tell your mother you are downsizing and some things have to go. Let her know the Christmas set is one of those things and ask if she would like it back. I am sure that if you have been regaling your mother with what you have been doing in the way of decluttering that she will understand that there are choices to be made. Perhaps she isn’t as invested in it as you think she is.

      The other alternative is to make sure your kids aren’t keen to have it when they leave for good. But that would mean hanging on to it for a while and I know what a pain that can be. I have been hanging on to things like that for years waiting for my daughter to take them off my hands. The time is nigh though. However had we moved to a smaller place before she was ready they would have had to go.

      If your mother lives far enough away that you never drive there and your kids aren’t looking at having their own places for a long while, I think I would just be inclined to get rid of it. Feel free to run it by them all first of course but the choice is ultimately yours.

      • tee hee – I’m going to challenge the offer it to your children option – here’s why I reckon you shouldn’t.
        1. they’re off to college so presumably to halls, shared flats etc and will have no need for a full set of themed china
        2. it could be years before they settle down and get homes with the space for china
        3. you’re passing on the dilemma to your children of ‘this was a gift from gran’ so we should keep it forever?

        And a wee story…. I’ve always considered myself to be one who doesn’t leave my rubbish with my parents, keeps my stuff under reasonable control, I’ve operated a one in one out policy for years etc etc – well – I left home in ’87 (sold all my toys), my mother moved in ’88 (downsized to a 2 bedroom flat) and my gran died in ’93 – I took a few useful things from my gran’s house and asked my mother to keep some little china cups for me that I loved – they fitted in 2 shoe boxes so didn’t take up much space – they then sat in her flat in their boxes until 2006 when guilt got the better of me plus I moved into a house that we’re planning on staying in for a long time, and then they sat in my cupboard until last year when I realised I was NEVER going to do anything with them so I decided to keep one and stick the rest to auction – got a very nice cheque 2 days ago. My mum also kept a baby grandmother clock which had been a wedding present to her parents and my sister had once upon a time expressed an interest in it – well, I took that clock to auction too – my sister now has 3 small children and no interest in an old clock and my mum is downsizing once again so having a good clear out and realising that, like so many of us, once you keep something for someone it just grows roots into the carpet and stays there – in the spare bedroom, lol – the clock didn’t even work, hahahaha.

        • Hi Fruitcake, I agree with every one of your challenges and that is why I suggested to offer them to the children. Worded in the correct fashion an offer is just that. When it comes to offers I always word mine in a way that makes it abundantly clear that there is absolutely no pressure to accept and that no offence will be taken should it be refused.

          Don’t forget also that one of the children may love that set and really want to have it. That is the intension of the offer. Not to palm it off on them to be their problem but to be sure that Michelle isn’t decluttering a family item that is a treasure to someone else.

          I dare say your china cup story has threads of familiarity to everyone also. One thing about it did concern me though. You said your sister had “no interest in an old clock” ~ did you consult her about that before you took it to auction? I fear you may be a little unpopular for a while if you didn’t. She may well have wanted it or at least be afforded the option to choose.

          • 🙂 don’t panic, mum checked with my sis first. I got the job of getting rid of it cos I’ve got a van.

            • Fabulous Fruitcake. Your mother no longer wanted the clock, she offered it to her daughter who she new had an interest in it, the daughter made her choice purely based on her desires (as it should be), the clock has gone off to auction hopefully to be loved by someone else. I would say a perfect decluttering effort. You family is clearly a very functional one. 😉

          • HI
            Thank you for the suggestions… I do believe I will donate the christmas china after all….. I will just have to deal with my mother after the move but I do think she will be understanding. My mother has actually started a decluttering of her own….. finally !! I think with the economic downturn everyone felt the urge to stop the madness of accumulating stuff.

            I love reading your blog… you have so many useful bits of advice! I am hoping that our downsizing and more simple lifestyle will rub off on my 4 kids …. my parents were always “collectors” and made me feel as if I should do the same. So much more to life than “things”!!

            • Good for you Michelle. You did what was right for you.

              I also hope this rubs off on your kids. The world would be a better place if the current and subsequent generations of young people would be content to live with less.


  1. […] less things : I love Colleen’s simple idea of decluttering a thing a day. Her mini-missions make decluttering so easy and fun & Cindy’s weekly wisdom provokes you to think about […]