Mini Mission Monday ~ Not So Wanted

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 week’s mini missions are all about getting rid of things that were acquired out of choice not necessity. Items that, if you are trying to reduce your belongings to just the things you really like or need, should be quite easy to part with. Unless of course you love all the items in these categories that is. If that is the case then these items aren’t clutter, right? 😉

Monday РDeclutter a d̩cor item.

Tuesday – Declutter a souvenir.

Wednesday – Declutter a fashion accessory.

Thursday – Declutter a piece of jewellery.

Friday – Declutter a book.

Saturday – Declutter a rarely used kitchen gadget.

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

Be very selective about what you buy so that you are so satisfied with the product that you will use it until it wears out and not trade it in for something else soon after.

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. By cosmic coincidence I have been doing these mini-missions over the weekend, it was a case of just picking up random things around the house and hiffing them into a box. This morning I’m at work and doing my daily one thing a day on the upstairs storage room (though it usually works out to more than one) – I have bushwhacked a path to a cupboard and this morning I opened it, oh what a treasure trove of stuff to chuck out. Just found a box of Adrian’s old cassette tapes. Don’t think we even have a tape deck!

    • Hi Moni, random decluttering is so simple. I have been doing a little of that myself lately. Along with so targeted areas. You must get a bit of a giggle sometimes while clearing that upstairs storage room at work. I dare say you happen upon the oddest things at times.

      • Colleen – yes, definately the oddest things as it has been used as storage for work, us and assorted other people. Plus excess furniture that my son has put dibs on. Boxes here and boxes there. This morning Adrian has just okayed me getting rid of his experiment stuff (he looked into hydrogen as an alternative fuel) so that will clear a nice chunk of a set of shelves which would be a better spot for me to set out the tax records. I’d like to digitise those but would like to clear other big items first.

  2. Yes Colleen there is always something else I discover I can live without in all of the above categories! By the way I haven’t yet said congratulations on the apartment purchase but I’m sure it will be wonderful and the move a breeze because of your de-cluttering efforts over the years 🙂

    • Hi Megan, hold the congratulations for now. Someone outbid us just prior to signing a contract. I seems verbal agreements don’t hold any weight here ins NSW. We are considering our next move.

      • Oh Colleen that is shocking – and not a good reflection on the seller and/or agent involved. Hope you find a place that you like even more to make up for this setback.

  3. The mini mission to decluttering a decor item set me thinking about “collections” and how well meaning family and friends can decide for us that we “collect” something. For example I have a pair of vintage Kokeshi dolls that I bought in a thrift shop about 10 years ago. I really like these two little dolls , I don’t have a whole lot of decorative items in our house its not really my style but these two caught my eye while I was waiting for a friend outside the thrift shop . They are quite old (1950’s)and this was well before all the new Kokeshi dolls were every where. A few months later a friend gave me another very old one her brother had brought back from Japan – I like that one too and have it displayed as well, over the next couple of years I was given four more that friends found the thrift shop all cute in their own way but not as nice as my original three, I put them all together like a little family but really I felt they lost impact like that looked cluttery, I thought about getting rid of them (but didn’t) but in hindsight I should have nipped it in the bud then! Because the new ones came on the market and people seeing my vintage ones assumed I was “collecting” them and so started giving me them as gifts. Mostly I just give these to thrift shop without much thought but last year for Christmas my sister gave me a really big one that was really not my taste at all but for some reason I had a lot of trouble parting with it. I’m usually very good at getting rid of stuff but this thing hung around annoying me for over a year and went in and out of the donation box several times before it finally went for good! I still feel a slight pang of guilt even now and even though I am glad it’s gone.
    I wonder why it is that when people see we have something like that , which on its own is pretty because its old and unusual and handmade they think more is better and that you want to fill your house up with gaudy plastic imitations. I would so much prefer a pretty bunch of flowers or an iTunes voucher or better still nothing at all except a phone call! I have tried to explain this to my family but I guess it takes time to get through to people.
    So I’ve decided to let go of all but the original three of my Kokeshi dolls- I’m giving the rest of the vintage ones to my daughter to sell in her Etsy store.

    • Hi Saskia, I don’t know how I missed this comment and am glad I went back to this post for a look and found it. This is a strange yet not unusual phenomenon. It happens over and over and I believe there are two reasons behind it. One, people actually do think you collect something just because you have a couple and then think they are doing something nice by adding to it. And two, collections make it easy for people to buy others gifts. They see you have one and from then on gift giving to you becomes easy for them. No one really seems to stop and think that collectors are usually quite selective about what they collect and that two of something in ones house does not constitute a collection. I have been on both sides of this situation. I once collected elephant and was often given them as gift. I was thrilled at the time because it actually was a collection and was not particular about what was given to me so long as it was an elephant. On the other hand I have also added to other peoples collections thinking they would appreciate it but in all honesty it just made it easy for me to buy for them.

      I think you are doing the right thing by only keeping the ones you want. Maybe when people notice your “collection” has diminished they will realise that the few you have were all that you ever wanted.

      • Colleen I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it means easy gift giving! Perhaps if we didn’t have such a culture of gift giving for every occasion people wouldn’t feel obliged to give us all these unwanted gifts. Don’t get me wrong I love to receive a useful well thought out gift -usually I tell my husband and kids if there’s something I particularly need or want but it’s all the obligation gifts I can do without and I’m sure most people can do without spending the time or money shopping for things others don’t need or want.

  4. Good mini missions this week. I already have some things I have been contemplating in each category, so this should be super easy for me this week.

  5. Oh, I enjoyed your guest post on “becoming minimalist”, Colleen!

  6. Found you via your guest post on “Becoming Minimalist”. Wonderful ideas. I have subscribed to your blog. I’m hoping to continue receiving more of your simple ideas on decluttering. Thank you.

  7. Had decided to do books this week–now see that is Friday’s mission–so far have 25 headed for the thrift shop plus 2 children’s videos. Sometimes it’s like today’s the day–these have been on my mind, and I am sure I will find some more books before we go. Also have some craft stuff to go, too. DIL brought some boys shirts their school no longer uses (changed design) for me to take to the thrift store, and thinks she will have more next visit. Think I can find at least one item on the other mini-missions.

    • Hi Nana, well done with the book decluttering. It seems that your place is the halfway house for offspring clutter just like mine. My kids also bring their stuff to me to take to the thrift store. I dare say that is because I work there one day a week. My son however called to boast about his decluttering on the weekend. He sold a guitar with case and stand and an old chunky TV. He was so excited about freeing up space and make money in the process. It seems I have trained him well after all.

  8. Jennifer Wallington

    Loved the guest post on becoming minamalist we are a family of 4 with me my husband and 2 sons aged 7 and 10 we lead a pretty Dejunked and minimalist life but always love a bit of extra inspiration! Today I donated a children’s book and my son added a school craft he had had enough off to the trash as bin day I was able to donate the in car DVD player we have used on long journeys to a church youth group also as we won an iPad mini which is much smaller and requires 1 cable only to charge it not multiple it is also something we can all use everyday too instead of a twice annual road trip! I also earmarked an egg cup in the shape of a chicken one of my sons was given at Easter but has been used once I think!

    • Hi Jennifer and welcome to 365 Less Things. It sounds like you are doing a fine job of ongoing decluttering. When there are children in the house there is always something to declutter. My kids have both recently left home so nothing much new comes into our home any more. They also took everything of theirs with them when they left including the furniture out of their rooms so that was a whole lot of stuff gone, almost in an instant. The furniture had to wait for us to hire a van to deliver it to them and other little bits and piece keep cropping up but all in all I am happy with how fast it all left our house.

      I look forward to hearing more from you. My readers add a lot of helpful advice and tips and I am hoping you will be one of them.
      Cheers Colleen

  9. Several days ago, someone asked how many vases we each have. This question started my quest to count the vases. Little did I realize, that we have vases stashed in every corner of the house! I won’t disclose the true number for fear Colleen will kick me out of the comments…but let’s just say it’s well over 20. So Monday’s item is a box of vases. Most are florist’s vases. We have a florist that will take the vases back in exchange for a bouquet. After our vacation next week, those suckers will be on their way back where they came from.

    • June – that was me asking – heck that’s a number of vases, suddenly I don’t look quite so bad. I have decided on 3 of the 7 to keep but have yet to re-house the others. A friend has suggested a couple of decorative ideas but unless I can think of an exact location in the house I’d rather leave them on the ‘out pile’. The longer something stays in my way the more annoyed I get with it being underfoot and the easier the actual ‘out’ is when it happens.

      • Moni, I thought that was your question! Thanks for helping me realize I was a “vase hoarder.” Seven were from our wedding, so they are tough for me to part with. Several were gifts that I love, so they are staying. The nothing special florist’s vases are easy to part with, but apparently I needed your and Colleen’s gentle reminder to make it happen. Eight are earmarked to go, including two from the wedding, and several more are on my radar.

    • Good for you June. There is no way I am kicking you our of the comments, yours is the only one I agree with on todays topic (today being Wed 7 Aug) regarding having cleaning supplies “conveniently” stashed all over the house. Yikes!

      As for your 20+ vases. You now realise they are there and you are doing something about it. Well done.

      • Good grief! I just spotted another one on the sofa table while I was reading your comment. Apparently, I need to go to Vase Anonymous… It’s amazing how many possessions I was looking right at but not seeing until I started the slow decluttering.

        • Just a thought – Hospitals (and possibly Elderly Care Homes) may be pleased to receive spare vases, even any dated looked or plastic ones. Ring first to check of course. People bring so many flowers into hospitals and sometimes the vases run out! Especially true for my family as we tend to bring in fresh flowers from our gardens so they don’t come with any special container like florist ones sometimes do these days.

          • Having worked in a florist, we tried to recommend things that didn’t need a vase – also for any sympathy flowers going anywhere. Now days, I always order flowers with self contained water sources in these situations. Naturally, it doesn’t work for your family who have the pleasure of a garden of flowers to choose from!

  10. I believe we should only keep the things we love. We all get hung up on hanging on to gifts
    some one gave us. It is sad to see the amount of things like this,that end up in estate sales.I feel like
    now I am doing my children an enormous favor by collecting nothing I truly don’t Love.

    I will never miss it and neither will they

    • Hi Carol, we are in total agreement on this. I think most people don’t even think about the job of sorting left behind when they pass. I know my kids won’t have much of a task on that front. Their biggest issue might be coming to agreement over who gets what. That is because everything that is left are things that they have already asked if they can have if we decide we don’t want it.

      And I forgot to say, welcome to 365 Less Things.

  11. Hello to everybody,
    I discovered this blog just a couple of days ago and I’m very enthusiastic about decluttering (at least) one thing a day.
    As for the Sunday task, I want, among other things, to get rid of the old tax declarations. There’s no more need to keep them but I find very difficult to let them go… does any of you have past experience or tips to give me as to reach the goal?

    • Hello Galadriel and welcome to 365 Less Things. My advice on the taxation records is to confirm how long you officially need to retain records and declutter all those that are past that date. I still find some items harder to part with than others and in those cases often the bandaid method is the best one to go with. Ignore your instinct to keep the item, in your case taxation papers, and just get it out of there. The hardest part is letting go after that you rarely look back. Once the decision is made and the deed done the items are soon forgotten. I have convinced myself time and time again to utilise this method and not once have I had a regret. Or at least none that I can recall and if I can’t recall them now then they weren’t big enough to remember.

      Good luck and happy decluttering.

    • Galadriel – check how long you are required by law to keep your tax records. Anything outside of that time, shred.

      Can you explain a bit more why you find it hard to let them go? I am an office clerk and each year the destruction job falls to me and I have a number of friends in the same job field and some of us look forward to it and some of us don’t like that aspect of the job for reasons. It was an interesting conversation as we all had different reasons.

      Is it because you put a lot of effort into your filing system? (I know someone who felt like that) Is it because you feel you have unfinished business from that time era? Or are you afraid you’ll destroy something important?

      Where I live the time limit is 7 years. A few months ago I shred the records that had just hit their destruction date, I do a bit of a skim as I shred things, and the transactions seem such a lifetime ago and really didn’t reflect life/busines today. I find it a good feeling when they are actually shredded/destroyed, almost like I can shut the door on that time, it no longer has any hold or control on my present.

      Have you considered the option of scanning your tax records? Not the ones that are past their ok-to-destroy date but your current ones. Which country are you from? And are we talking personal tax records or business tax records?

  12. Hi girls, Colleen and Moni, thank for answering me back!
    I know very well that there’s a deadline for keeping tax refund but I NEVER eliminated any of them, so there’s a lot of work waiting… 🙂
    In the past I took them out with the idea: ok, I can let go this useless papers… but when I looked at them (I don’t want to sipmly put them in a garbage bag but destroy the data) something started to hurt inside me, as if I felt again all the labour and pain to earn the money in those past years. So I gave up.
    Sunday contemplation made me remeber all this, years passed by from that moment and in the meanwhile I piled other tax refund. Now I don’t want to experience again that pain and sense of fail due to not succeding in the task.
    I’d want to be sure that when I’ll pull out the tax refund they will go… That’s why I wrote here.

    • Galadriel – I wrote a lengthy reply and then my computer froze, so I’m starting over.

      I know what you are talking about – for me it wasn’t tax records, I love shredding those – BUT after reading your follow up comment I had a light bulb moment. Late last week I came across some study modules from a course I was on. These had been in our upstairs storage room at work for 10 years on a set of shelves and Adrian gave me the ok to give away something big that had been sitting in front of these shelves and so I could now get to them. When I wrote my first reply I gave the back story of these study modules (a series of glossy ring binders) but I’ll keep it brief this time. When I went to take them away I felt what you described, incredibly angry and pain. I have been puzzled by this ever since as I didn’t have that reaction just seeing them sitting on the shelf all these years but to get rid of them made me ANGRY!!!! So I left them there. When I wrote the back story things started to connect the dots of events surrounding these and they were all I had to show at the end of a bad situation and I hung onto them to in hopes I could regain what was lost. Does that make sense? What I realised is that they are probably the last physical reminder of a stressful and hurtful time in my life and I don’t need anything around that is going to invoke that kind of reaction in me, so they are going in the bin. I can’t un-do the past, but I can choose how it affects my life now.

      I read Colleens advice to you and I agree that bit by bit is probably your best approach or using a document destruction service if you want them gone already but can’t face the involvement of the shredding. Otherwise, we’re all here ready to encourage you through the project and if you don’t want to discuss publicly I’d be happy for Colleen to pass on my details since it sounds like we’re facing something similar.

      • Moni & Galadriel, I know what you mean. Mine wasn’t taxes either but a large group of journals. I read through them and at first kept them thinking I might want to do that every so often. But then I found that most of my journaling had been done during a time when life was rough and I was really sturggling with all that was going on. While it was good to read what God had done through it all and how he had helped me, I realized that it also put me into a very depressed and angry mood–the “life isn’t fair, poor me” thing. I decided I didn’t need that and really didn’t want to be reminded of that time to that extent. So I shredded them all except one. The one I kept did not give me those same feelings and was a real positive read.

  13. Hello,

    where did my comment vanish?

    • Hi Galadriel, for some reason your comment went to adjudication even though you had commented before. It is there now.

      Holding the papers doesn’t make your efforts involved in creating and building your business any more legitimate. All they are doing is cluttering up your space.

      As for feeling like you failed at decluttering them the first time. Don’t consider it a failure, you just weren’t ready then. If it makes it easier commit to decluttering just the oldest set of papers this month, the next oldest next month and so on until they are all gone. I have happily slowly but steadily decluttered many craft items and am still doing so. I dare say I will never declutter them all from my life as I still use them but I am letting go of some this week that I wouldn’t have contemplated letting go a year ago. That is good enough for me and it is progress. You can do the same with your papers.


  1. […] has run into the dreaded unwanted collection issue. Give her some advice if you have […]