Mini Mission Monday ~ Make way for guests

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.

My guest bedroom~ ready for guests at a moments notice.

With the holiday season upon us I think I will continue to focus our mini missions around having the house ready to receive visitors/guests. So we will concentrate on the areas they will be most likely to see and use.

Monday – Take a good look around your living room. The room where you sit back and relax in the evening. Does it inspire rest or does it cause feeling of claustrophobia. Declutter excess items that make the room feel cramped or require more dusting than you prefer.

Tuesday – Start a use it up declutter challenge on excess items is the bathroom that guests will use. Make sure there is enough space in there for guest to store their toiletries.

Wednesday – Declutter chipped crockery and glassware from the kitchen. Do you really want guests using those or even seeing them for that matter.

Thursday – If you have a large enough garage for visitors to park their car, now is the time to make sure the spare parking space is not cluttered with junk.

Friday – Is there enough space for guests to hang some items in the guest room closet. If not it is time for a clean out.

Saturday – Are your kitchen benches clear of clutter. With more people to cater for and serve up to you will need the space.

Sunday – Is your dining table clear of clutter and is there enough room to move around it freely. If not now is the time to prepare this area for your guests.

Once you get all these areas clear of clutter and ready for your guests to enjoy and for you to enjoy your guests, take a moment to think about how good that feels. Now make plans to keep it that way.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

Although my living room is always ready to receive guest at a moments notice, there are still more things in there than I prefer to dust. Most of them aren’t my things so I don’t have a whole lot of control over that. However it doesn’t hurt to ask periodically whether family members still what to keep certain things. I asked my son about the items pictured below (except the dog, it is was mine) and he didn’t feel the need to keep them any longer. They are all souvenirs of our trips to Europe. We have now learned our lesson about collecting souvenirs. I am happy to send them off to the thrift store and even happier not to have to dust them anymore.

Dust Collectors

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I would like to mentioned today how grateful I am for all the wonderful readers who contribute to my blog through comments. It makes decluttering all the more rewarding when we share the experience together. Last week Judy mentioned that she liked the Christmas “tree” branch I linked to in my Favourite Five and that she was going to adopt this idea herself this year. Judy was kind enough to send me a photo of her branch to share with you and here it is…

Well done Judy, I am loving this minimalist look. I think I will be making a new tradition of the Branch Christmas Tree.

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. If a guest walked into my home right now they would run away screaming. In my defense, I’m going through baby stuff and just brought home baby gear yesterday (for free!) so it’s a catastrophe in here.

    Maybe it’ll be better in a week or so…

  2. You were right, Colleen!

    I love this week’s mini-missions!

  3. Those are really good ones even though I’m not expecting guests. I’m going to do them anyway cos they definitely need doing!

    • Good for you Shirls! it is best to have your house guest-ready at all times. That way if anyone lobs on the doorstep unexpectedly you don’t have to be embarrassed.

  4. I’m with Lynn on this one! Colleen, I’ll definitely be doing your challenges this week! I’m not expecting guests to stay, but it’d be nice if they wanted to!
    Holiday souvenirs – we were away this weekend, went to a craft display and I’ve come home with a souvenir: a turned wooden wine goblet – 1 inch high! Not too bad, I just so loved it.

    • Hi Ann,
      my parents are arriving on Wednesday so it was a good week to write a mini mission challenge like this. Although the only thing I need to do is put a set of sheets on the bed I will have to stop using the guest room to hang the laundry in. And I will have to get my son to remove all his end of year uni photo assignments off the bed before I put the sheets on it. I will forgive him though because yesterday, without any coaxing from me, he did an end of uni declutter of his bedroom. Woo Hoo!

      • Way to go, son!!

        • I forgot to say – do enjoy your parents’ visit, it’s always great if they don’t live nearby. My father died 18 years ago, and this year my mother decided she could no longer cope with the flights and the cold in Dunedin, so that is a whole chapter closed to us. We’ve been lucky to have her visits for so long.
          So …. enjoy!

          • Once again we have an evil yet cunning plan. Much as we love them and all, if we keep moving with my husband’s job there is no point in them coming to live near of with us because we could move again. Where as all my sibling and two of my husbands sibling all live fairly stationary. They would be a much better choice.

        • I reckon. Go Liam! Now if he would just make his bed. 🙁

  5. I really like this one too Colleen – I think these are almost something to live by! And I shall be – as on Saturday I signed a contract for my very own place! I’m so excited. I settle on Thurs 22nd December, so it’s perfect to take off the Christmas/New Year break to settle in! Yippee…

    And I continue to be a ‘browser’ rather than a buyer for everything. And I keep thinking of cheapers or more enviro ways to get things. Someone gave me a smart phone last night, which is a start (I’ve wanted one for a while, but couldn’t justify the expense, and then my nerdy friend had a spare one he didn’t like!>!).

    • Congratulations Snosie, a home of your own, good for you.

      And thank you for continuing to improve the way you treat our planet. I, like you, am continually finding new ways to do the right thing. Have fun with the smart phone and if your old phone is still OK why not donate it through Office Works to a good cause.

    • oh snosie. congratulations! I moved in 4 weeks ago. the first time I have an own place. its so pretty and beautiful, and I am surprised how decluttered and clean I can keep it. its really not a big deal…

      I was just checking out the web today to get a smartphone second hand. this might be just a bit more complicated than the normal phone I just got from friends for free. Its great what stuff you can get without buying new (and I still follow the “buy nothing new in november”)

      • Thanks for all the love! Congrats Lena, I’m sure you feel great!

        I will definitely look at re-homing the phone (maybe even try ebay – I mean it’s worked before) I’m only worried about getting things off it’s memory. Also, I’m worried about this phone being put in the washing machine (but with the ‘old’ phone, I didn’t have a back up in case that happened, so why now!??!) I should also check it’s not network locked – that’s annoying for someone receiving.

        Now to find ‘thrift’ stores that sell furniture… I think a friend (and also my parents!) both have surplus TVs. Fridge will likely have to be new to get the right dimensions, but I’ll def look out for second hand ones!

        • Actually Snosie, I agree it doesn’t hurt to keep a spare where cell phones are concerned because anything can happen to them. A friend of mine accidently smash the screen on her iPhone last week. Lucky her plan was expired so she just started a new plan and got a new phone. We usually keep one back-up just in case.
          Good luck with the furniture shopping.

        • I also have a backup phone, although that is more the less useless because I would have to charge it every day at least… I hope to get a smartphone soon, I even consider buying a new one, 2 year olds are really out of date.

          Snosie I am not sure, if its the same where you live but if you check out universities, students often sell their furniture second hand on a poster. Just go and have a look and you might be surprised what you can get. I also check out ebay small ads (translation?) where you can pick up stuff – sometimes for free – locally. I found a TV-desk, a couch table, and a DVD Player this way…
          In german supermarkets you can also usually find a board with ads as well. people selling their cars or searching for flats or so. I always have a look there, just in case.

        • Good luck with the move snosie – getting your own place is very exciting.

    • I love your happy attitude about moving right before Christmas, and your enthusiasm for remaining money smart and clutter free! You should blog if you have time. I love happy stories. Congrats on your new place!

  6. Great mini-missions this week, Colleen!

    Today we moved around our living room, and I was able to get rid of two end tables that we rarely use, but I’ve kept them in there for several years because they were a gift from my husband’s daughter.

    How I love having more bare space in that room!

    There should be plenty of room for our branch tree–when I find the branch I want to use. Judy, your branch looks great!

    • Hi Becky,
      I am glad yo like this weeks missions. So now you have a decluttered living room and a couple of less pieces of obligational clutter. Well done!

      Today is housecleaning day for me so everything will be spick and span for when my parents arrive on Wednesday. Actually I do this every Monday whether my parents are coming or not so no big deal. I have a love, hate relationship with house cleaning day. I love it when it is all shiny and clean but not so much actually having to do the work. I am just having my 10am cup of coffee before tackling the downstairs floor. Everything else is done down here but the floors are a disgrace and I am itching to get them down then I will feel clean again.

      • Thanks Becky! I have to be honest and say that I have added a couple more decorations but only a couple! I really do like the minimalist approach to Christmas 🙂

  7. Ah, the luxury of a spare room for guests! We don’t have a spare room and don’t have guests so that’s me off the hook this week:O)

    Colleen – is that a fine example of a Buckingham Palace Guard you are so casually getting rid of,lol. And is that a bottle of Isle of Wight Sand?
    Good job you are hoping to make it back to the UK in 2013… there’s plenty more souveneers to replenish your stock, rofl.

    I have got rid of two things from my kitchen today that never get used: a plastic tray for grilling bacon in the microwave and a small cheese board that was a gift 15 years ago and I never used.
    I have two boxes of better quality stuff to go to the local hospice shop too, it’s a cause I use when there are things I am finding harder to let go of, because the cause is such a good one it makes it a bit easier. Not that they are out of the house yet…this is the bit I get a bit stuck on.

    • Hi Katharine,
      how my husband would like to have a house like yours, no room for guests that is. It would suit him just fine. Although he would be sad if our kids couldn’t come home to visit, once they have both left that is. He is already planning on downsizing to a two bedroom apartment or townhouse once our son is gone.

      • Warning Colleen – late teens and twenties are boomarangs!!!!!!!

        • Yes, don’t remind me Ann. We have this evil and cunning plan though. So long as one of them is still out we will generously send the other one for a visit to their sibling and move out while they are gone. 👿 Lets just hope it doesn’t come to that.

          • It might work! Or they might BOTH come back?

          • Hee, when we were all in college, my parents bought a 2-seater car and then sold the house! No one ever moved back though, and they probably knew we wouldn’t want to…such independent spirits, but it was a huge joke about the car since we always had huge 9-seaters.

            • Ha Ha Angela, I will keep that in mind. We could sell the car altogether and just cruise around on the motorbike instead. We could save ourselves a fortune and if we ever need a car we could just hire one with the money we have saved. This is all starting to sound very attractive. In fact my husband and I had a short conversation about just this the other day. Not getting rid of the kids just the car.

  8. I will refer back to this challenge closer to Christmas when my sister and her family arrive to stay for a week. We are planning to move my daughter’s bed into my son’s room, and have our niece in there on a camp bed – yet to be purchased – too (his room is quite big). We’re planning on buying a bed for our guests (as we’ll need it in our new place anyway) so I also need a doona, sheets and pillows, sigh. Gosh I HATE shopping. Hopefully the house will be packed up by then, so there’ll be lots of room in the wardrobes and no clutter anywhere.
    PS I love your Christmas ‘tree’!

    • Oh, forgot to say, my husband took the kids to their school fete on the weekend (I was away on a girls’ weekend, what a shame!) and I was pleased to see that they did not come home with any crap. They spent their pocket money on junk food instead. VERY happy, as last year they bought show bags and trinkets which broke almost immediately. They’re learning!!

    • Hi Loretta,
      Have you considered borrowing those items for now until you move to your new home. That would give you less to transport once the time comes. I recently borrowed an airbed from a friend for my nephew to sleep on when him and his mum came to visit.

      I can relate to the HATE shopping thing. There seems to be a sudden influx of things coming into my house right now and I am not loving it. Granted they were things we needed but nevertheless I didn’t even like needing them. Mostly clothes because my wardrobe is getting very shabby, I only bought two dress, one of which came from the thrift shop and a pair of new sandals. And we had to buy new clothes for my hubby because his old clothes were just too baggy on his new body. Mind you he sold lots of the old clothes on eBay so all is not bad.

      • Hi Colleen,
        I did consider borrowing the stuff, but we’re moving to a much smaller town, which won’t have the range that Melbourne does. Plus, my husband and I really NEED a new mattress (the old one will go onto the new slat bed we buy) so the timing is right. We’ll be getting rid of 2 wooden computer desks to make up for it though! I might borrow a camp bed though.

        • Hi Loretta,
          that makes sense. I would go with the idea of borrowing a camp bed though. I am so pleased that you sold your home and are as good a ready for the big move. I hope you will be very happy in your new home. How exciting. I love moving.

  9. Hi Colleen, thanks for featuring my ‘tree’. I really do love it, as I mentioned above to Becky I have added a couple more decorations but that’s all! And I have so little elsewhere in the house that my husband is beginning to wonder if Christmas really is coming at all. I especially love the idea of tossing the ‘tree’ after Christmas and starting afresh next year.

  10. Hi Colleen,
    Sorry to do this but my computer has had another infarction and it keeps telling me to subscribe so I may have sent my details again and again!
    Stupid computer is going to be de-cluttered soon if it keeps annoying me!!
    Sorry sorry sorry if it has created a mess at your end!
    Hopefully it will right itself before I throw it through the window haha!

    • Hi Dizzy,
      it could just be a glitch at wordpress or something. I went over to my email inbox and found only one email from you subscribing so hopefully you will get only one notification. Computers they are great while they are working properly but they just make you scream when they aren’t. I replaced mine earlier on this year because it had weird keyboard glitches and was so slow. My blog keeps me busy enough without the computer making the job slower so it had to go. Hubby sold it on ebay. It didn’t appear as a decluttered item because it was replaced.

  11. oh look at that threats do work! I think my computer is now my friend again hahaha
    It’s not stupid anymore (it was probably just me, i’m such a techno-phobe sometimes!) 🙂

  12. I decided to make the mini missions about cleaning, as I am already perfectly prepared for guests. I just cleaned the living room. tomorrow I will do the bathroom.
    your mantra for decluttering might also be working for cleaning. 10 minutes a day and you dont have a problem… It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

    • Hi Lena,
      that sounds like a good plan. When I was having my cleaning day yesterday I even cleaned behind the sofa, that is against the wall and behind the refrigerator. The oven on the other hand is badly in need of a good clean. Oh well maybe next week.

      I must admit my cleaning regime is the opposite of my decluttering one. Although I keep the house clean and tidy the real cleaning, ie. dusting, toilets, showers, floors… only happens once a week. I spend most of my day on Monday making everything sparkle and then it slowly degrades in cleanliness as the week wears on. I will sweep a little and keep the bench tops clean during the rest of the week but most other things wait until Monday. I think the only thing I do do slow is the decluttering. 😆 I like it that way though.

      • I was planning on just exactly doing that. finding one day a week to clean. and then I didnt find that day. I am a mood person, I need to do things when I feel like it. Or I do the 10 minutes a day. I hope that might work better for me…

        I did an hour of decluttering today. CDs were sorted out again, frames that I didnt use, and a skirt that is now too big (great feeling). And I even managed to find 2 books to get rid of. I usually dont want to give books away, but they are language trainer and I learned and speak those languages now, so I will try to sell them somewhere…
        I never thought that getting rid of things can give you such a good feeling.

        • I am so jealous Lena, I wish I has a knack for speaking other languages. Perhaps it is more of a case of my geographical bearings but I just don’t seem to be good at it.
          I do have a knack for decluttering though and I do understand how good it feels to get rid of things.

  13. Great mini-missions. We are not having guests but we will have to rearrange the living room in order to get that big tree Mom wanted in place. So, we are doing some decluttering at the same time. Yippee!! We are also having friends come over to help us decorate and while they are here we will do some more decluttering. I just love getting rid of things.

  14. We have family stay every Christmas…. they must be desperate because my “guest room” is the unfinished basement laundryroom with a twin bed in it. Pitiful and not my idea of comfort (but no one complains!) I would LOVE to offer family a nicer place to stay… I’ve considered sharing my office instead… but that would be lacking in privacy for the guest and me.

    • Your guests are probably just happy to share some time with you. But then again maybe they are not complaining because they are polite. The mattress in the room I stay in at my mothers had gotten musty from humid weather over the years and I didn’t know how to tell her so I just put up with it. Last time I was there I had hay fever really bad and she said something about vacuuming the mattress. Finally I had my opportunity to tell her about it being musty. As it turned out she wasn’t talking about my mattress (long story) but at lease I had grabbed the opportunity and now have a lovely new mattress on my guest bed at her house. Now I just have to figure out how to tell her the other two guest beds are the same.

  15. A quick comment on the Xmas branches that people are doing.
    Another option is to paint the branch before decorating it.
    Years ago l think this was a bit of a fad back in interior decorating mags – and yes l did do it. I had a medium sized branch that l painted white sitting in a vase (l think). That was the design – nothing else just the branch and the vase. From memory it looked quite good. Just thought l would throw my 10 cents in again…..;-)
    Maybe a certain colour is your favourite or maybe you want to add a bit of extra chrissy cheer by painting the branch red or green.
    Anyway, just a thought. 🙂

  16. Colleen, this is a week of guests, and we’re enjoying it – especially enjoying the huge mass amounts of things decluttered! We have decluttered our office/guest room except for the closet. Well, my guess what? Decluttering is no longer my thing. My husband is now telling me that as soon as our guests are gone, he wants us to tackle that closet, and a few other cabinets and under the bathroom sink! He is enjoying the lack of stuff as well, and we have only sold a few big items and made almost $200 so far! We have donated thousands of items if you count all the little toys-several full van loads and car loads, and we don’t regret the financial loss because like you said the money was already spent. Can you believe it? My husband is now telling ME what he wants us to declutter next! This is wild! We have given away even baby mementos and are only keeping real treasures we don’t want to part with. I am even thinking of getting a Kindle someday. Maybe. We’re changing slowly but surely! Your guest room has been my inspiration for getting this room truly welcoming and cleaned out instead of “the room” where stuff is.

    • Woo hoo! Getting the hubby on board with the decluttering and enthusiastically on board at that. Well done you! You are being a good influence on him and your kids are probably quietly learning not to place importance on stuff too. I am so glad you are making that guest room a place that people would want to come and stay.