Mini Mission Monday ~ Me and mine

mini-logoMini 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.

Just for something different, as I have never done this before, this week’s mini missions are based on what me and my family have been decluttering. This includes children and in-laws. It is always exciting to see those you love embracing int the idea of living with less. So here goes.

Monday – Declutter of CDs or DVDs. My son was doing this last week.

Tuesday – Declutter some craft supplies. Easy to guess who was doing this, me of course.

Wednesday – Declutter some items of jewellery you don’t like so much. My mother-in-law was doing this.

Thursday – Declutter some clutter in your home that once was someone else’s clutter. The jewellery mentioned above was just such clutter.

Friday – Declutter some wall art or empty picture frames you have never use. Another thing my son let go of last week.

Saturday – Declutter something you have been unsuccessfully been trying to sell. I did this with some items that have lingered too long in the art space where I sell my handmade cards.

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

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. Well I don’t have to worry about Monday as I have no CD’s. For teusday I have some things I am waiting to give away. Mom is the one who has to do Wednesday’s mission. I hope she will this week. For Thursday I got rid of the last item that didn’t belong to us today. It was a borrowed walker. For Friday there is nothing along this line we need to take care of. Oh there are things I would declutter but Mom won’t for now. For Saturday I gave my old Kindle to a friend who will sell it for me on eBay. Don’t worry, I have other things to work on this week. It never ends.

    • Hi Deb J, sometimes I think you worry yourself too much about it never ending. I don’t think it does actually ever end. Interests change, habits change and along with that suff comes and goes. It is only when it doesn’t go that you need worry. And I know perhaps your mom doesn’t allow things to go as much as you would like but she has certainly improved a lot since you first joined us here at 365 Less Things. I would also worry if she started bringing more stuff in that you don’t thick is necessary or useful. There has been a bit of that going on around my house of late which I need to knock on the head before it gets out of hand.

      • Colleen, I am not sure if I actually worry I just get tired of it all. I do much better when I don’t have to deal with stuff and especially stuff we don’t need. If I can ever get us to the point where everything is what we actually use then maintaining it as things change wouldn’t be an issue.

  2. I have been busy the last few weeks helping friends prepare their house for sale, but I do need to get back to trawling my way thru DVDs, especially the ones which were family videos we had professionally converted to DVD as they are spectacularly long winded and mostly boring peppered with a few view-worthy moments. Once I have everything uploaded, I will attempt to edit them into something more watchable.

    If my daughter needs to commandeer the computer for assignments due, I have a number of her old dance costumes to put on trademe as it is the optimum time of the year to be selling those.

    My older daughter has presented me with a basked of stuff from her room that she doesn’t know how to deal with, so I think I’ve got my week covered.

    • You certainly do seem to have your week covered Moni. It seems that when there are daughters in the house there will always be things to be decluttered. Girls always seem to be more easy-come-easy-go when it comes to stuff than boys are.

  3. Hi, Colleen. Nice angle for your triple M! I love it when family members are on board when it comes to decluttering. It makes it so much easier to flick your finger to topple that first decluttering domino that leads to an amazing chain reaction.

    • Hi Nicole V, the thing that finally got my MIL to really get into the swing of decluttering was finding a Buy-Swap-Sell Facebook site for her neighbourhood. She is going gangbusters now. It is amazing how a little easy cash return help you to let go of stuff you might otherwise have clung onto.

      • Hi Colleen, Strangely it is the opposite that has held us back on some items. The hassle of selling things makes us put off getting rid of them. However, I’m happy to go to great lengths to give things away. Obviously, I wouldn’t give away the car or an extra kayak but small-ish items like the filing cabinet I’d rather see gone than have to dicker around on a price.

  4. A comment I received via email.

    Thank you, my home is a happier place with less stuff. I have been working hard to declutter and organize my home; however, I am having a hard time getting rid of my own childhood boxes that my mother had kept and then brought to my house, I am 40 years old and have vowed never to do that to my children. Any tips? It’s truly been the most difficult stuff to part with! Thanks for taking the time to continue your blog! Rachael B

    • Hi Rachel B, I had a box of stuff from my children’s childhood too but I decluttered it with them before they left home. I also made it abundantly clear that they were not obliged to keep any of it. They took what they wanted and I kept anything left that I wanted and the rest was decluttered. There wasn’t so much from my past that I had kept and I am sure my mother hasn’t also. My husband, and his mother, on the other is a little more sentimental when it comes to this sort of stuff. He brought back the last of his stuff when we visited recently, mostly to get it out of her house, and will be selling most of it on ebay. It just isn’t happening fast enough for me. There really wasn’t a lot of it though.

      I was not sure what kind of advice you were looking for ~ How to choose what to keep or how to get rid of it. Only keep the really, really important-to-you stuff and get rid of the rest. Don’t keep anything you only feel obliged to keep because your mother kept it all for so long.

      • Hi Rachel B. I also think it’s helpful to see those things that represent those moments that helped you become the person you want to become. I kept a lot of childhood momentos/papers because I felt that obligation to keep representations of who I had become, which was not such a positive thing for me. So I kept only a few papers and photos after all of the whittling away at what was most important. They are the few things that inspire me to become who I want to be.

  5. kate herrmann

    Loved reading your tips and would be happy to proofread for you before posting, if you would like 🙂

    • Hi Kate, now that is the sweetest way anyone has ever told me about how abysmal my spelling and grammar is, but trust me you don’t want to have to proofread it. I say that because I often am writing the next days post the evening before it is published. That leaves very little time for anyone to proofread it. My husband gave up doing it for me a long time ago. I actually try to find the time to get my computer to read it back to me so I can hear the mistakes. The computer voice sounds a bit like Steve Hawking though. If I read it myself I know what it is supposed to say and read over the mistakes. I wish I could be better but this is just one area I’m not that organised in. The only other option is to declutter the blog and I am sure my readers would rather forgive my mistakes that go for that option.

      All that being said, I should now be writing tomorrows right now so I had better get back to it.

      Thank you again for your kind offer but I really couldn’t do that to you. Oh one more thing. If you are writing from the US there are some words that may seem to be spelt wrong but in fact are just spelt differently in Australia. Honor v honour, color v colour, aluminum v aluminium, and there are many more that just aren’t coming to mind right now.

      Cheers Colleen

      • Yes, please do not declutter the blog! I like the “true” English spelling of those words.

      • “The only other option is to declutter the blog and I am sure my readers would rather forgive my mistakes that go for that option.”

        You got that right, Colleen!

      • Colleen,

        I speak American, not Australian, and I have enjoyed learning some “new” words here. I send your missions to my sister via text every day, and she says cupboard now instead of cabinet. LOL.

        • Ha ha Melanie, your sister is now bilingual. We use the word cabinet here too but generally referring to a small cupboard. Although I usually say kitchen cupboards when in fact they are probably a series of cabinets. Having lived in the US I now, after being home for over seven years, still say candy (instead of lollies) and shopping cart (not shopping trolly), cell phone (rather than mobile phone) and I dare say several other American terms.

          • Haha! I can’t wait to teach my other sister the word lollies. She is going to love that. Other areas of the US say buggy or wagon for shopping cart. I like trolly! LOL.

          • Hi Melanie, if you like lollies and trolly then you will love the New Zealand name of a cooler box (not sure if that is what they are called in America) which is Chilly Bin. And it is even more wonderful when you hear it in a NZ accent which makes it then sound like Chully bun to us Aussies. Why Aussies call the same thing an esky I don’t really know. By the way, we also call cotton candy fairy floss.

          • Living as I have done for the last 9 years equally in Scotland and New Zealand my main linguistic problem is with lollies (sweets in Scotland – lollies means lollipops ie a sweet on a stick) and chips (Scotland = crisps) although this last one is confused by the fact that in NZ chips is also used as it is in Scotland to mean fries or French fries. Just to add to even more chip confusion, in NZ chips as in fries are sometimes referred to potato chips (which is exactly what chips/crisps are as well). Oh dear all this language. And this is supposed to be a minimilist blog.

            PS the reason I came here was that I am researcing to do a blog post on de-cluttering. I got side-tracked!

            • Hi Graham, you are always welcome here whether side-tracked or not. And yes the use of the english language can be confusing. I play a game called Upwords with my friend Wendy and because Scotland is an English speaking country all the old Scottish words are also allowed in the game. I sure am learning some interesting words at times. Interestingly enough though, there never seems to be any Irish words showing up. If there were the spelling could get really interesting.

      • Don’t panic I wasn’t considering ditching the blog.

        • Why an ‘esky’? Because Eskimos live where it’s COLD, so….

          • Dredging even further back into the memory bank, I seem to recall that the brand name of the original white styrofoam cooler was “Igloo” – the name for the ice house in which Eskimos lived, and probably the origin of the Aussie term “esky”. The term will seem even more unrelated now as “eskimos” are called Inuit.

  6. These are all really good tips, but I have hit a bit of a brick wall lately. I’ll tell you what have I have been contemplating is that darn sterling creamer and sugar set from the grandparents’ 50th anniversary. I have talked about this set before. But I have a few other silver pieces of jewelry that could probably go bye-bye along with that. The fact that it is has been on my mind for so long says a lot about how much time I am wasting thinking about it. Ugh!

    At the library today over my lunch hour I picked up Lisa Quinn’s, “Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets” and this book is giving me some laughs. But I am also learning some things and that’s really cool. 🙂 Hope everyone has success with the Mini Missions this week.

    • How on earth did your grandparents manage 50 years of marriage without owning a silver cream and sugar set?? Probably the same way you will when you release this from your life.

      Here’s a challenge, Michelle. The family tradition of saddling the girls with a silver set petered out after I received 6 teaspoons and 6 dessert forks, all of which are unused to this day and sitting in my ‘get rid of this somehow’ drawer. So, I’ll sell mine if you’ll sell yours. Dare! Wendy

      • Wendy, I’m thinkin about taking you up on that challenge! This morning before I work, I walked around the house and gathered other silver pieces. None of these things mean anything to me, truly. A couple of silver serving pieces that have never been used; silver necklace; silver pendants; silver pins (aka brooches); button covers; a ring. I’ll do another walkabout to see if there is anything I am forgetting and then I think on Saturday, I’ll take them in. Obviously there are some silver pieces that I am keeping that I really do love and that are useful to me. 🙂

        • Hi Michelle. The ‘never been used’ is the kicker, isn’t it. My problem is finding where to take the silver to sell it. We gave the jewellery I made to a friend who also makes jewellery but the ‘fine’ stuff will have to go along when we make a trip to the city. Time to do some research.

    • Thanks for the book suggestion Michelle.

      • You bet, Jean. I nearly finished the book last night, it was that entertaining. I had no concept of how much pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect, have the perfect house, be the perfect host, the perfect parent (no personal knowledge of this one – I don’t have children), and we really need to slow down, enjoy ourselves and just enjoy life. I want to do the best I can at whathaveyou, but striving for perfection in every single aspect of my life may just give me a coronary! 🙂

    • Good luck making that decision about the creamer and sugar bowl. It sounds like some sort of cruel joke that they were given to your grandparents so late in life just so they drive you nuts by leaving them to you. My opinion is that these things just don’t mean anything to the current generation and probably never will to anyone else. Let them go if all they are is obligation clutter to you. Offer them to someone else in the family tree regardless of how far removed.

  7. I like these posts where you post what you all are getting rid of in your lives. I used to read the Mini mission Monday but not comment. But this is the perfect opportunity to talk about what one is saying goodbye to. I have a box of fabric storage cubes for the church thrift store. I replaced them with polyethylene bucket trugs. I which I had know about these nigh -indestructible cuties before I bought the flimsy storage cubes that cost the same amount of money. I had to trash several but most of them cleaned up well and someone will be happy to find them there. I also have the shoe organizer in the same box I once used for the kids DVDs I had uncluttered the kid’s DVDs from to store in the empty dresser we use as our entertainment center. That closet feels so light and open now!
    I have a maternity maxi dress I am bidding farewell to, a few baby clothing items and a mattress pad that is now extra and no longer needed. There’s a zip-up storage bag and a once loved canvas bag that just takes up room so time to pass it on. I have three like-new DVDs for my eBay box. I have two car seats to rehome now that both boys are in the backless booster seats. I will clean them up and launder the covers tomorrow and put them on Craigslist. I cut my scrapbook stash into thirds, one I am keeping for typography and card making, one third went to my sister who often sells scrapbook pages ready to use at craft shows and on her etsy shop. I have her the flowery, girly things. The other third went into the boy’s craft paper box for art projects.
    It might bore someone else to tears to read this but I am happy to report.

    • I meant I gave her the flowery, girly things. I don’t proof-read well on my phone, sorry!

    • Hi Jean, it was great to hear about all the items you are decluttering! I am in a bit of a decluttering rut this week (I suspect directly related to a sudden increase in overtime at work), so it is inspiring to hear about others making progress 🙂

      • Amelia, life happens. That’s what the decluttering is all about, more life! I think most of us are alike where we have that sort of ebb and flow. I had a lot of bags for the thrift store last year but even through the holiday season I had one only bag of magazines/books to give. I think this will be the year my donations/sells finally take us to that middle place of balance for a while. I found Colleen’s blog in 2011 and have been downsizing since then so it’s taken us a while to get where we are.
        I hope you have some time to implement more of what you know from the process soon!

    • Jean,

      I like reading about what everyone is getting rid of too! It is motivating and just plain interesting to me. This week I have 365’d a glass baking dish, two glass vases, and……well, it’s only Tuesday, so that’s pretty good. Some weeks I have dozens of items, but this week I’ll probably only have one item per day.

      • Yay, Melanie! I like my glass dishes to be just the right amount that I need. I admire vases in the homes of others but all of mine I gave away long ago. I am glad I did that all before my little guys were big enough to notice them. Even without kids they would probably be gone by now. I do have mason jars that I use for when my husband brings home flowers, though. They are not particularly sleek or chic but very sturdy.
        As far as the decluttering goes I think it evens out over the course of a year for the most part.

        • Hi Jean,

          Yes, I noticed that I use my 8×8 glass dish but not the 9×13 one, so I don’t need both. And the vase… adorable husband came home with flowers (weeds) last night. We don’t have a flower shop anywhere near us, so he just stopped and got some on the side of the road. They were pretty, but after about 60 seconds I realized they were some kind of skunk weed, and we had to throw them out in the yard. LOL. So I guess I really don’t need that vase. 🙂 I love mason jars. I grew up in the South, and people always drank out of them. I think they make a very pretty flower vase.

          • That is so sweet of him to bring those weeds home! Wild flowers really can be the prettiest things, and even more appropriate for mason jars. I know how those noxious weeds fill up a room with their weird fly attracting pollen or nasty milk smell. Blek. More proof that it really is the thought that counts! My husband gets ours at the grocery store, it’s a little cheaper.

  8. Colleen,
    Personally I love the differences country-country. I learn something new in almost every post and/or comments. Not only in the spelling, but in what we call things. My closet or armoire might be your cupboard. Your crockery are my dishes, bowls, or pots and pans. Love it. Instinctively, we all know what each of us is talking about. Don’t change. We all love you just the way you are 🙂

    • My mother-in-law is Canadian, not expat but still a citizen living in the U.S. Since her marriage. Even after living here thirty-eight years she still has such an interesting way of speaking and some of her words for things are fun. She calls it “the bureau” instead of the dresser, and the “the wardrobe” instead of the closet, “the chest” instead of the hutch. She also refers to flouncy dresses as “fancy frocks” to name a few that come to mind. It’s endearing and fun.

      • Jean,
        I agree that it is endearing and fun. My Dad used to call the sofa/couch a davenport. There was even a “Burma shave” sign back in the day referencing a davenport.

        • Davenport Kimberley! I haven’t heard that word in so long. That was a Sunday luxury for my dad. I think sometimes we forget that the elder generations didn’t spend a significant amount of time sitting.

        • That is weird Kimberley because the nuns at school when I was a child called our desk (the sort with the hinged top with storage underneith) a davenport. That is not even close to a sofa which by the way we also call a lounge.

    • Kimberley,

      I love the different words, too! I don’t know if I saw it here or another Australia lady’s blog, but it took me a while to figure out that a benchtop is a counter top in the kitchen. LOL. I was beginning to wonder why Australians had so many benches that required constant cleaning. Hahaha.

      • Melanie,
        Spot on 🙂 I started using that expression after my first trip to London in 1993. Another of my favorites is to call “vacation”, going on holiday. Even here in Hawaii, when we are traveling, it is very common to say, we will be off-island.

    • Hi Kimberley, for goodness sakes please google anything I write before assuming it is just some weird way real Australian speak. It is likely that I have made yet another typo. 😆 I have hilarious visions of you trying to hold a conversation with an Aussie tourist somewhere and saying a whole lot of gibberish that they don’t understand. One of our kids friends from the US, that we all visit whenever any of us go to Seattle, love to try to talk in Australian slang. It can be truly hilarious at times to witness.

  9. Just came across the blog yesterday after I saw a neighbors home for sale. Their home was immaculate and gorgeous, and in a slow market for town homes, they sold theirs in 4 days! My husband was just head over heels with how decluttered and minimal it was. Part of it I understand is staging, but I would love to have my home move closer to this ideal. We are thinking of another little one and I would like to pare down to the essentials before we get any surprises. For Monday we decluttered my toddler’s toy bins, toy chest and family board games. We have way more than 10 items we are giving away. Most to goodwill, and a few on Freecycle. It feels so good to have that extra space back! My son and I were able to play a bit freer and I don’t feel as anxious about having other toddlers come over for play dates.. Right now it is a bit embarrassing for me with the clutter on every surface, oye! Love the blog, typos and all! Improvement is a daily quest 😉

    • Hi Lina and welcome to 365 Less Things. I wish you success with your decluttering goals and hope that my blog and my readers, through their helpful comments, inspire you to reach you goals and more.

    • Hi Lina – have a look on Youtube: A Cluttered Life: Middle Class Abundance – its a study done by UCLA its in three parts but I think there is one where they are all joined.

      I came to 365 Less Things because I was having hit and miss success with decluttering, my house was a bit of a pickle. Every cupboard and wardrobe was an avalanche risk. Under everybed was stacked and packed with stuff. Every flat surface had piles of stuff on it. Furniture was jam packed in, piles of stuff on the floor. The attic was packed to the roof, the garage (under the attic area) had piles and piles and piles of stuff right across the entire area. One day I had a weeks worth of folding also sitting on the lounge floor and I’d popped up the road to get milk and ran into one of my sis-in-laws. She followed back to my house (I can’t remember why, but I certainly didn’t encourage unexpected guests) and she walked in and she was “Oh no, you’ve been broken into”. And I was all “oh dear, oh well it doesn’t matter, ha ha ha – what was it you wanted? Here it is, thanks for stopping by, kiss kiss, love to the family, bye”.

      I have literally half the amount of furniture these days, and tonnes and tonnes of stuff has gone. Thousands and thousands of books gone. It is easy (as easy as three teenagers and three cats in a house can be) to keep it tidy. Recently my son had a party and one of his friends jumped to the conclusion that we must be rich because he thought our house looked like an advert in a magazine.

      So it can happen! I’ve stayed with 365 because the community is great and the daily plodding away does really make a big difference.

      • This was great Moni, thank you for sharing. From alleged crime scene to being compared to a magazine, WOW. You so deserve that comment after all your hard work!

      • Oh, Moni, that story about your sister-in-law is hilarious! “Oh yeah, we get broken into all the time. Kiss kiss.” Hahahahahahahaha!!!

    • Hi Lina,

      I just wanted to say that I’m new here, too, and everyone here is so nice. It’s calm and supportive. It sounds like you’ve already made a lot of progress!