Mini Mission Monday ~ Out in the open

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 we are going to search for some clutter that shouldn’t be too hard to find because it is out in the open right under your nose. The worse part about clutter that is out in the open is that it collects dust. The beauty of decluttering it is that the less you have the less dusting is required to keep your home clean and fresh. So lets see what we can find to get rid of. I will name a surface and you can check there for clutter.

Monday – Around the bathroom basins.

Tuesday – On the fridge ~ both vertical and horizontal surfaces.

Wednesday – On bedside cabinets, chest of drawers or dressing table.

Thursday – On and in TV cabinet or entertainment unit.

Friday – On kitchen benches.

Saturday – On your patio, deck or porch.

Sunday – On the coffee or lamp tables in your living room.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

I got rid of a lot of gift wrapping supplies a long time back but had kept these just in case. 🙄 I am sticking to my no material gifts rule quite well so time has proved that these are unlikely to ever get used in my household. Perhaps they will in someone else’s, so I took them to the thrifts store last week. The bows sold before I left for the day. Now I have two more empty drawers in the spare room for guests to utilise. This allowed me to declutter some other storage items I had been saving. I have dubbed that “Chain Reaction Decluttering”.

Gift Wrapping Supplies

Something I Am Grateful For Today

A whole weekend of beautiful warming sunshine. That has been rare around here this year but oh how glorious these days are when the arrive. One appreciates them even more when they are not so common.

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 decluttered my gift wrap too. About 6 rolls of wrapping paper and a large gift bag full of gift bags. 🙂

  2. I have heard from my kids that as long as something is tidy I don’t notice it. So I’m going to go around the house with fresh eyes looking for clutter that is in plain sight.

    • It sounds like your kids have been neatly keeping their stuff in places they don’t belong otherwise how would they know this? If you find any of their stuff hide it in places they won’t find it and see who gets the last laugh. 😉

  3. I was in the local Salvo’s the other day and noticed they had a HUGE stock of donated new gift bags in all sizes. No need to keep any at home any longer, especially as I haven’t used any all year 🙂

  4. I like the term “Chain Reaction Decluttering”. If you stop buying gifts which need to be wrapped, you can get rid of the wrapping. Simple.

    • Better still ~ If you stop buying gifts which need to be wrapped, you can get rid of the wrapping and if you get rid of the wrapping you can get rid of the container it was stored in.

  5. I’m owning a little gift wrap as I sometimes do need it. (anyone familiar with Japanese gift giving? The wrapping is at least as important as the present itself…), however, it’s really not much (one roll of wrapping paper, one gift bag) and I’ve also gone through times without any as well – you can get little amounts of gift wrap for free in some stores or let them pack your gift for you or you can also get creative with what to use as gift wrap and use ordinary white or brown paper and a few leaves and spires of grass or fabric cuts and ribbons, which can make quite cute wrappings.

    • It is a good thing that I am not Japanese as I find neither gifts or their wrappings to be important. You are so right, wrapping can consist of all manner of things including aluminium foil.

    • Hi Sanna – I had to google Japanese gift wrapping – it is sooooo cool! However I can barely manage regular wrapping so I’m not in danger of pursuing the art.

      • I used to spend great amounts of time and effort in making cards and wrapping gifts but I found very few people cared and I even got rude comments like “you’ve got wa-a-a-y too much time on your hands!” Now the special efforts are saved for people I know will appreciate the artistry. The rest get ordinary gift wrap – if I wrap at all.

        • Wendy B, I know what you mean. I used to love coming up with different ways to wrap presents. Then I realized that it was so not appreciated that I decided to stop. Then I realized that the gifts weren’t that appreciated either and stopped that.

        • That sounds sensible to me Wendy B. It is nice to have an outlet for your craft but your creations are not to me wasted on those who don’t appreciate them and especially not on those who are openly rude about it.

    • I had a gift of a very simple item but it was wrapped so beautifully despite being such a simple design, I didn’t open it for almost 6 years. (It was a long distance gift and we stopped speaking shortly after because of a job switch.)

  6. Hhmm, fortunately some of those areas I don’t even have … (and what you don’t have you can’t clutter) but then I must honestly add some clutter magnets: The bookcase, the window sills, the sofa in the office … I better get going. It mainly is just visual clutter, items that weren’t put away properly, but that’s still bad enough.
    Chain reaction decluttering is great. I lately realized that I had emptied a whole stack of plastic crates in the basement (bit by bit over the last couple of months) and gave the crates back to my parents who originally purchased them decades ago (and who unfortunately don’t have a lack of stuff to put into them …).

    • Perhaps you shouldn’t have given them back those crates. It will give the reason to buy something else to put in them. Eeee gads, perish the thought. 😉

      • Well, when those crates came from my grandmothers basement last spring (where my parents had parked some of my stuff without my knowledge for years and let it spoil with this wonderful basement smell) my mother asked if those crates didn’t belong to them as they had paid for them years back. So I admit that calling them and have them collect the crates was a bit of a revenge – but also keeping to the rule that you can never declutter somebody elses stuff without asking. So I said they’d either have to collect them or I’d put them in the street with a “free”-sign. Not hard to guess what they chose … 🙁
        I try hard not to judge them harshly and I try to encourage them in a friendly way to revise their thinking and behaviour when it comes to possessions, stuff and clutter but sometimes I am just tired.
        They’d take more stuff off my hands if I let them – but I don’t. Experience has taught me that they almost automatically say yes if something is free so I am NOT going to put them in the tempting situation of free stuff. I am not even asking them to pick up my donations (though I don’t have a car and they sometimes drive by anyway) because I know they would be tempted to pick through the stuff. But if something is theirs, it’s theirs. Even if I think they should let go of it. I need them to trust me if I ever so slightly want to have a chance to convince them that less clutter means more happiness (and in the end more freedom, more money, more peace of mind …). So that’s why I don’t throw out things that belong to them behind their back.

        • You have done the right thing Ideealistin someone else’s clutter is not yours to give away. You are also doing the right thing by gently trying to show them by example that a life with less can be so much more than the constant desire for and the messy accumulation of stuff. Being non judgemental and sharing your experience is the only way to persuade others to join our more environmentally friendly community.

  7. I realised recently that I have gone slightly in the opposite extreme to where I was 8 months ago – as my storage cupboards are all beautifully decluttered and quite, well, bare. And when I need to house something in one of them, well I get a bit sulky about it.

    I realised the other day that the bathroom cupboards under the vanity were mostly empty these days and I could fit the hairdryer and straighteners that sit on the bench under there. They have always sat on the bench (this is the bathroom my daughters use) and I realised that they could have a new home inside the cupboard. So I put them in there but instead of feeling pleased that I’d cleared the bench I was ticked off that my cupboard was full again. Oh well, I’ll just have to find something else to hiff out to make me feel better.

    • thanks for making me smile Moni – I can really relate to this – I had managed to get a few empty shelves in the spare room and was just enjoying the ‘space’ when OH moved out of his flat he had to rent for 18months for a job in another city and brought his stuff home – instead of being grateful that i had some space ready for it, i’m just grumpy that its been filled, lol. I’m hoping that he’ll get round to decluttering some of it in the near future – I’m trying not to harass him as he’s been pretty good and there’s a fair few bags of things that we realised we now had two of, some of his work clothes and a pile of stuff he’d been waiting to Ebay has all gone, and the garage has had a good clean.

      • Moni, I so relate to this. The other day I was looking at some things we had moved out of the pantry area that really don’t belong there. I realized that I didn’t want to put them anywhere else. So I asked my mother what she thought. She said “Let’s toss them.” WooHoo! Gone.

    • Hi Moni, I get a little crazy about using space I have cleared too so don’t feel to weird. I especially get annoyed when things from the inside end up recluttering shelves in the garage. But it is the transition space so that is too be expected.

  8. It just amazes me how unnecessary & frivilous gift wrapping supplies seem to me now…but that there was a time when the gift wrap seemed almost as important as the gift I was wrapping in it.
    I remember once having spent quite a bit of money on a very large & elaborate bow for a friends gift. I thought for sure the bow would garner some kind of attention & acknowledgement…but instead, my friend ripped right into the gift & simply crumpled up the gift wrap along with that expensive & elaborate bow & tossed it right into the trash. Yes it was hers to do that….but after that, I stopped buying expensive wrapping paper & bows.
    I still have gift wrapping supplies in the attic & the next next cool day that we are willing to crawl up in the attic, that gift wrapping supply stash just so happens to be in my list of things to purge. When we give gifts anymore – it’s rare that I have to wrap anything for some reason. Plus a lot of stores have free gift wrapping services & it’s so worth it to me to let them handle that.

    • Hi Jane, I am surprised how pointless I find gift giving in general, especially when I see how many items I have decluttered over the last two and a half years that were once a gift to me. I know many people love receiving gifts but there a also plenty of other people to give those people the material gifts they desire. From me, my loved ones will only get gifts of time or experience unless there is something specific they really want.

  9. Coincidentally cleaned the bathroom counters this weekend, so nothing extra there. I did however manage to make two hooded towels for the baby from an unused towel and some towel fabric I had lying around. Finally using those craftsupplies counts as decluttering doesn’t it? 😉
    I even think I’m getting the hang of sowing biastape! It’s only crooked in a few places!

    Happily continuing decluttering the stash while creating those neccesary items for the baby…… next: crib sheets. Restricion: only use what I (or my mother) has in stash. goal: getting all my sewing stuff in the silvercoloured trunk(chest), thus freeing up cupboard space. time: till end of august.

    • Hunter_xs, using up your craft supplies on making useful items certainly does count for decluttering especially if it saved you from having to buy those baby towels new. It seems you have some good decluttering goals ahead of the birth of your baby. I have my fingers crossed you get them all crossed off your to-do list.

  10. Colleen, Chain Reaction Decluttering sounds like an excellent topic for another post. The possibilities are probably endless. I look forward to a post on this subject!

  11. Monday and Tuesday done! (well nearly). Like Moni, I’d gotten the bathroom shelving cleared out, so now some of the stuff on the counter can get moved. My makeup box will continue to sit there because the box is the perfect size for every piece of makeup and jewelry I own, but is too big for the tiny vanity. The razors and brushes however got put away.

    Our fridge has a single magnetic whiteboard on it, which is the primary message deliver surface in our house. While we could possibly move it elsewhere, it has a home on the fridge. It would still take up space anywhere else, and it would require learning a new location for it. I suppose tomorrow I can take a rag and wipe down the surface again.

    • Hi Amanda, I, like you, have a small whiteboard on my fridge. Well technically it is more of an stainless steel board which now matches the new stainless fridge. It lives there most of the time but also has a stand and can be put in a prominent position on the breakfast bar when there is an important message left for someone not to be missed. Like you I would prefer that there was nothing on the fridge but the board is used on a regular almost continuous basis.

  12. We’ve started using our old maps to wrap gifts (which are few and far between). We call it Map Wrap, which sounds fun, and the kids absolutely love it.

  13. I looked up Fushiki on the internet, which is the Japanese gift wrapping. It is pretty cool. I wrote a post on it, because it is environmentally friendly and a way to avoid buying all the ribbons and wrappings that end up in the trash. Colleen and Cindy, you both might enjoy looking into it.

    • That’s right, a very cool way to wrap gifts.
      They are spelled “furoshiki” though, just to make googling easier.
      I use furoshiki a lot for carrying things around (esp. handy for carrying square-shaped things like parcels that are awkward to carry in bags or to use as an additional grocery shopping bag).

  14. I am working on the gift wrap today. Each time I drag it out I am able to get rid of a little more. Now that we have decided to no longer give gifts but just gift cards, I think Mom will be ready to chuck it all.

    Had to report that we took everything off the walls like I mentioned I wanted to do. Mom likes having those pictures gone. I’m excited. Now to put them in the shed with the stuff for the yard sale. Still working on getting rid of the plants.

    • Deb J!
      You really found your mom’s magic button. That’s so exciting (and gives hope for the future … I can need that, see above …).
      Congratulations! Now all the work you put into nudging her into decluttering pays off and soon you’ll have the serene home you always dreamed of – with you mum. What a blessing.

    • Awesome Deb! Glad to hear that the experiment with taking down the pictures is going well! After the initial shock, it’s amazing how easy it is to become accustomed to them not being there! Sounds like your Mom responds to the visual benefits of decluttering.

      • Ideealistin and Jane, yes, things are going well. She has suddenly seen the light. I’m having a great time seeing her finally catch on. She has a ways to go in some areas but has come a long, long way.

    • Your mom is a champion Deb J. She has had a great example set for her by a very smart lady. YOU! Well done.

  15. Late to the party – I don’t have gift bags. I have a roll of brown paper, and spools of gauzey white & navy ribbon (the ribbons are leftover from when I did the flowers for a friends wedding). I have a handful of leftover ribbons in other colours, but white and navy suit both genders, and so I usually go with those. Given I did a flower course, I can do ‘poffy’ bows, so I just DIY them, and I think they look pretty spiffy! I also have two boxes of cards, just blank cards, which I write thankyou’s as well as b’day etcs in.

  16. One Roll of wrapping paper that cover all occasions: mine is gold with white polka dot.
    No ribbons, who cares anyway?!