Mini Mission Monday ~ Out of the way places

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.

This week some out of sight our of mind items have been decluttered from my home. Actually in my case they were out of sight but there isn’t much I own that is out of mind, but you get the idea. My husband reassessed our storage cage in the garage and threw out lots of boxes. On my quest to answer Moni’s question about how many vases do we all own, I found some utensil stands I am sure now that I will never use again, and more empty jars than I realised I had, up in the deepest depth of the highest kitchen cupboard. So what do you have lurking in those out of the way places that you rarely look in? This week’s mini mission will help you find out.

Monday – Declutter an item lurking in your attic, basement or garage space.

Tuesday – Check if there is something in your keepsake box that you are willing to let go of.

Wednesday – Declutter something hiding, and rarely if ever used, in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

Thursday – Declutter something other than clothing on the floor or high shelf your closet.

Friday – If you have stuff stored under beds in your home take a look and see if you can find something there to declutter.

Saturday – Find something to declutter in your laundry or linen cupboard.

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

Learn some simple mending techniques so you can get the most our of your clothing.

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. Hi Colleen, These mini missions really spoke to me today, and I am happy to say that many pounds of paper in the form of my sons’ middle and high school worksheets, notebooks etc have been removed from the attic. We had been boxing it all up at the end of each school year and stuck it up there out of sight to deal with “later” if any of it was “needed”. Instead, it was forgotten and sat collecting dust while the boxes started to fall apart probably because of the extreme temperatures up there. Until we got home from our Christmas trip, turned the heating on and noticed a burning smell – probably dust on the heater but enough to make us check in the attic and be reminded of all that paper. The boys were really motivated to remove it all, decided none was worth keeping and so I am in the process of putting it out for recycling. There is so much that it will take another couple of pick-ups, but I am just thrilled to be getting it all out of here, and I think the boys learned the lesson that these old things eventually have to be dealt with and the passage of time makes parting so much easier. I now have high hopes that they’ll be ready to let a lot more things go when they are home from college in the summer.

    As to that Christmas vacation, I have to tell you Colleen that we managed to achieve a dream of many years and travelled to Australia and New Zealand! I can’t tell you how exciting it was to arrive in Sydney, to be greeted by immigration officers who called us “mate”, to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and then to explore the incredible scenery of New Zealand. We have wonderful memories of it all and very much hope to return someday. Of course I often thought about you and my other friends on this blog who live in that part of the world! I hope you’ll be pleased to know that the only things I brought back were 150g of New Zealand wool in the turquoise-blue of the Cook Strait to crochet myself a scarf, a potholder with Kiwis on to replace my old scorched one, and two tiny containers of Vegemite from the hotel breakfast – my sons are huge aficionados of British Marmite, but they also enjoyed the Vegemite and the New Zealand Marmite.

    • Hi Christine, well done to you and the boys. That must really be a load off your mind and out of your attic. There was one thing you said that did concern me though ~ “…and I think the boys learned the lesson that these old things eventually have to be dealt with and the passage of time makes parting so much easier.” I hope that they focus on the first half of this statement rather than the last.
      I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Australia and New Zealand. It is a shame I wasn’t home for Christmas or I could of come to Sydney to meet you. I am only a couple of hours away by train. And I am impressed that you boys like vegemite. It isn’t a big difference to marmite but is still an acquired taste.

      • Yes, I can see how that phrase might have concerned you! I think I have just learned to try to be patient with them and to see every small step as progress in the right direction. I can see that in the last couple of years they have become much more aware of clutter and don’t want it in their college accommodation but they find the process of sifting through all the stuff at home tedious. I don’t want to get into fights about it and I know how long I left stuff at my parents’ house without dealing with it so sometimes I feel I don’t have a leg to stand on in this debate.

        I would have loved to have met you whilst in Sydney! I hope very much to be able to do so next time. I am very confident that there will be a next time, there are still many places that we want to discover in your fabulous country.

    • Christine – if I’d known you were in NZ I would have met up with you. Glad you enjoyed the scenery. Lol about the Vegemite and marmite.

      • Thank you Moni, it would have been wonderful to meet you. As usual we were on a tight schedule trying to cover a lot of ground and when we were planning the trip we weren’t sure how long it would take to travel around and quite where we would be each day. I very much hope that we’ll be able to return.

  2. Hello Christine. Your Christmas vacation sounds absolutely wonderful. What is Vegemite and Marmite?

    We have papers in the attic too. The boxes have been gone through many times. Ugh!

    • Hi Michelle, here is my best explanation of vegemite. I don’t eat marmite but it is a similar thing. Vegemite looks like black axil grease and tastes like salty dehydrated beer. It is a yeast extract spread that you use very little of on your toast or slice of bread. Here is a link ~

      • Oh you are killing me Colleen! Axil grease substance that tastes like salty dehydrated beer? Good grief – I’ll skip it. LOL

        • It sounds bad but don’t knock it until you try it. If I ever come across a sample pack I’ll mail it to you. Or if you have a CostPlus World Market in you area they sell it.

    • Michelle – Vegemite is a ‘must have’ in most Kiwi households. I loved Colleen’s description. The factory that makes Marmite was damaged during the Christchurch earthquake and production had to cease for about five months which caused ‘Marmageddon’ – yes it was on national news, the Prime Minister was interviewed on the topic and people were selling and buying jars – even half empty ones – on Trademe for ridiculous prices. Personally I’m a Vegemite girl so was unaffected by the ‘crisis’.

  3. I’m so glad we don’t have an attic. We do have two sheds but one is empty and the other has our Christmas stuff and my mobility scooter. I want to get someone over here so we can go through that shed and make sure we don’t have anything there we don’t want.

    • Hi Deb J, I am sure that you have a great circle of friends and any number of them would be glad to help you out sorting that shed. Time to call in some favours.

    • Deb J – I’m helping a friend with her house and she showed me their tool shed that she wants to work thru. I brought to her attention that they had 3-5 each of spades and shovels. She’d never noticed before then.

  4. I would like to suggest to all sewers and crafters on Wednesday to go thru their tool boxes and sewing boxes. I decided to do this on Saturday as I hadn’t tidied up post ball concert and I’d noted a lot of bits and pieces scattered around the cupboard etc. I totally emptied my tool box and put back only what was important, a lot of jetsam and flotsam had taken up residence so it was great to clear it out. I have two sewing foot attachments still in the original bag ie specialist attachments not standard issue feet, so I’m going to give those back to the store. Threads. I kept standards colours but as for the rest if I didn’t recognise the colour ie what it was used for, I started a donate bag. Bobbins. I have dozens and dozens and dozens of bobbins. Any holding threads that matched the donate threads, I unravelled. Any with less than a quarter of thread on it, I unravelled. Any that had thread that didn’t match anything, I unravelled. Any that had been filled with incorrect tension, unravelled. I now have a bag of emptied bobbins. I went thru my over locker threads and cleared out the almost empty ones. I have a number of big size spools where I had to buy 10,000 metre spools to get the right colour rather than 1000 metre and so I have a friend who is a seamstress who will take them.

    It was quite free-ing.

    • Hi Moni, this is good advice and examples. My sewing holding area is in good shape but only because it is minimalist to begin with. I could actually do with a few extra bobbin because I have to unravel one every time I go to work with a different colour. I only own about 6. I was thinking about that the other day but came to the conclusion that there is never much left of the bobbin at the end of a project so not much is getting wasted so I’m just manage with the 6 I have.
      As for my paper crafting supplies, that is a whole other story. Although I did go through the problem areas when I arrived home from Christmas so it is in pretty good shape too I suppose. But could always do with some more assessing. I am trying to use up embellishments at the moment. Like the good china there is no point in saving “special” stuff for just the right project. Better to create just the right project to use them up. Given the raw materials I have there is no need to have a bunch of already assembled embellishments waiting in the wings.

  5. I am glad we recently moved in and out of our house. That really helped me see what I had hidden in back cupboards and closets. Gone are the empty boxes. Gone are the extra canning jars. Gone are the cleaning supplies I will never use. Gone are the clothes. My hubby even went through some of his tools!
    Not to worry, Colleen–I still have plenty to do!

  6. Hi, Colleen. I just wanted you to know that your blog was my inspiration for my decluttering resolution of 2014. I blogged about it here: and gave you a shout out. Thanks!

  7. We’re off to Mexico for 2 weeks and this time it’s a suitcase trip (backpacks will not re-enter our lives until after Ian’s back surgery, if at all). Our only suitcases are a bit too big for our needs but they are going down FULL. The village we’ll be visiting has a donation point so we’re taking along pens, pencils, tshirts, notebooks, flashlights and other useful items dredged up from our many hiding places. Better look again. There’s still room…

    • Hi Wendy B, it is always lovely to hear from you. The back of Ian’s is sure taking some convincing to fix. I hope the next round of surgery does the trick. I can see why backpacks are out of the question. I am, however, excited to hear of someone taking a full suitcase on vacation only to near empty it at the destination. Yet another unique way to help others while decluttering your home. You were in full swing with that the last time I heard from you. How is it going?

    • Wendy B – that’s an awesome idea!

  8. Colleen, thanks for the missions: I will finally put away my Christmas decorations this week! 😉 I like to have them around a little longer (until the beginning/middle of January), but the last few weeks have been just too busy – also including a week-long trip and full week-ends, so I just removed a little bit, but most is still around and I feel I don’t want it around in February anymore. 😉

    As Christmas stuff is – apart from cleaning supplies – the biggest stack we store permanently in our little laundry/storage room, I think I might clean it all out and give it a thorough swipe before I put things back in. This should lead to some decluttering!

    • Even I did a little Christmas tree un-decorating this year for a friend so didn’t manage to avoid it altogether. I quite enjoyed it as we had a nice chat at the same time.

      I have been thinking about rearranging my laundry space also.

  9. Most of these are not applicable – I live in one room in my mum’s place still, so no kitchen cupboards. My closet (and wardrobe) are both fairly decluttered, though there is something on a shelf I can substitute. The only one that really made me squirm is Tuesday, I have been avoiding the keepsake box for some time…

    • So perhaps Níriel you could declutter something from your keepsake box each day this week. I’m a little late for this comment but you can always play catch up

      • You got me Colleen – I haven’t touched it all week! I’ll stop avoiding it and actually go through it later today. The worst part is some of the things make me cringe, but I’ve never been able to get rid of them… Maybe that’s where I should start.

        • Good luck!

          • You’re amazing, Colleen. I cleared out a few items from the box, as promised. There’s some things that will probably go eventually, but I got rid of a few things.

          • Good for you Nîriel. I really must pull my box down too in the next couple of days. We have just had a bit of a furniture reshuffle that is resulting in some decluttering. The closet in which the keepsakes are stored has been a part of the reshuffle/declutter task. The more room I can liberate in there the better so now is a good time to reassess that box.

  10. I’m working on re-doing my home office and when I put everything back (after the paint is thoroughly dried) I will be decluttering along the way. I always keep a couple of boxes for shipping, but I’ve got way too many now, so some of those will go for sure. I’ll also be getting rid of lots of office supplies I’m sure.