Mini Mission Monday ~ Perishables

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.

Inspired by a comment from Lynn last week today’s mini mission will focus on items that can perish when left unused to a long time. Believe me I know this happens because I have experienced it more than once. You may be surprised at the things that this can happen to. If you are interested I wrote a post about it back on Day 146 called Perish the thought. If you have an overabundance of these items or if they don’t get used anymore it is best to reduce and/or pass them on now while they are still functioning because there is a chance they will be useless to anyone if left to linger too long. Now lets get started.

Monday – The first place we are going to look is the office area or whichever space you keep your stationary in. Items you’ll find there that could perish are pens, rubber bands, glue, batteries and stickers like address labels. There are possibly more items than this but that list ought to keep you busy enough.

Tuesday – The sewing kit is another place that might house these items as Lynn found out with her 42 year old hemming tape. Elastic is another item in the sewing kit that will likely be the first to perish. Even cotton can rot if left too long.

Wednesday – Sports equipment can have elements of materials that also do not last, rendering the item unusable. The rubber in the band on swimming goggles and bat handles will perish over time, you can often buy replacements for these but lets face it if they have perished from lack of use, not overuse, then it may be time to pass them on. The foam lining on ski masks can also perish (I have experienced this), sports balls crack and leaks develop and what about trampoline mats.

Thursday – I know from experience that electrical appliances can be victims to this problem. I have lost a Kenwood mixer, a toasted sandwich maker, a vacuum cleaner, a toaster and a hand blender because they went into storage for too long when I went to live in the USA for two years that ended up being seven and a half. Had we known we would be gone so long we would have sold them before we left. Belts and seals in things like dryers and fridges lose their flexibility over time if unused.

Friday – Now if you are lucky and don’t have an accident prone person in your home there are bound to be items lying unused but necessary (in case of emergency) in your first-aid kit that are probably out of date. Best to check this area at least every three months. You may not achieve any real decluttering here because the items will need to be replaced but this is one of those areas that needs constant updating.

Saturday – Another place that you will find items with elastic that will perish is your underwear drawer. For some reason textiles that are made to stretch perish faster when not being used than they do if they are.  So if you have more underwear than you really need make sure you either declutter the excess or rotate all items on a regular basis so this problem won’t occur.

Sunday – I almost forgot the most obvious place for perishables, the kitchen. Check out your fridge, freezer and pantry for items that a past their used by date. If you have spices that you only use very little of considered sharing some of the excess with friends, family and neighbours. I ground some of my special curry blend yesterday to give to my neighbour who share his garden produce with me.

An extra little tip ~  If you live in a tropical climate mould and mildew can be the ruination of things like camera lenses and leather goods if not properly stored. The leather goods can often be salvaged but my husband lost all his camera lenses to mildew because it actually eats into the glass surface leaving permanent scars. Google ~ moisture adsorbing products to find solutions to this problem

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

This hot water bottle hasn’t been used for a very long time. I purchased two at the same time many years ago. One perished but this one didn’t, I am not sure why, but I feel it best to let this one go now before it meets the same fate as the other.

Unused hot water bottle

My Gratitude List

  • Something that makes me laugh ~ Remembering life’s funny moments. Once when we were kids we gave our dog a caramel tart and it stuck to the roof of his mouth. It was the funniest thing watching him trying to lick it off.
  • Something Awesome ~ Falling asleep almost the minute your head hits the pillow.
  • Something to be grateful for ~ Always having food to put on the table.
  • Something that makes me happy ~ Walking by the lake on a sunny Autumn afternoon.
  • Something I find fascinating ~ How with some dog breeds you can really tell the boys from the girls without looking underneath. Some male dogs are so butch looking. Rhodesian Ridgebacks for one.

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 agree. Even appliances can perish. I have an uncle who has a built-in dishwasher and microwave, and he doesn’t use them (for, 5 year now I guess). I find it a waste.

    Yesterday I found out that some cremes was perished. Too bad, but now they are decluttered.

    • Hi Nurchamiel,
      I found that when we moved back to Australia into a almost new home that some of the old appliances that I had kept tripping the circuit breakers every time I turned them on. I assume the wiring in these old appliances were out of date to new building circuitry.

      Things like cremes and make-up usually have some oil content that can go rancid which caused them to perish over time.

  2. Love these mini missions, such an easy guide to follow! And I agree with your ‘awesome’ comment. I love the fact that when my head hits the pillow I am usually instantly asleep, now if I could just find a way to stay asleep all night I’m sure I would feel more rested in the morning!
    Cheers Judy

    • Hi Judy,
      if I could dream a little less I would be happy. It’s OK when they ar pleasant dreams but they aren’t always.

  3. Hi Colleen,
    I haven’t commented lately though I’ve been reading – and enjoying – all your posts. I think I’m almost out of things to declutter at the moment! I accidentally chucked a VCR tape of home movies of the children (not properly labelled) recently, and was very upset about it, so I’m being a little more cautious about what I’m getting get rid of. Now it’s basically replacement items which are getting decluttered (ie kid’s sneakers in, old kids’ sneakers out).

    • Hi Loretta,
      you must have read my mind. I was just thinking yesterday that I hadn’t heard from you in a while and now here you are. Good for you running out of things to declutter I am not sure when I will finally get to the maintenance only phase but you know me I’m in not hurry.

  4. The hot water bottle reminded me to ask if perhaps you can write a column (probably have in the past, but I haven’t been a long time reader), on seasonal items. As Australia gets cooler, I wonder what you and other declutters advise re:storing seasonal gear, how you downsize/predict what you will and won’t need next season.

    Thanks for the mini missions – I usually reflect on them on a weekend. So i got rid some keys (but kept some more ‘unique’ ones, the ones you often have a pay an arm and a leg to get recut); two bras, some necklaces (didn’t get all the way with a pair of earrings, didn’t want them to become ‘unpaired’ in the charity box).

    • Hi Snosie,
      that actually would make for an interesting post and I will address that and I don’t believe I have done so before. Thanks for the suggestion, my mind is mulling it over as I write and I must say I am enjoying the thought process. I have better go now and write up the ideas that are going on in my head before they get too muddled.

      Good work with the mini mission and it doesn’t matter when you work on them or if you have reason to carry only some, all or none at all. The idea is to put the thoughts into your head about areas you make not otherwise think of or haven’t got around to checking for a while.

    • Snosie – I’m not sure if I’m understanding your predicament exactly, but when I have earrings or other small jewelry pieces I’m sending to the thrift store, I put them together in ziplock baggies so that the person sorting the box can find them easily. Another good solution is the little plastic bags for extra buttons that come with some clothing!

      • Hi Liina,
        I think I must have missed this comment the first time around. That was really good advice, thank you for helping Snosie with this issue.

      • Thanks for picking it up in the best five for Friday, otherwise, I too would have missed this great hint! Now I have to remember not to ‘declutter’ those little baggies! but definately a positive solution – even a sealed envelope with a note on the front might work too!

  5. Hi Colleen!
    I have two small leather purses, and they got mouldy because they were improperly stored. I cleaned them up and put tem to use, but how can I store them agains without ruining them? I rotate may purses now and again, and even a few weeks storage gets them mouldy. I think it is the place, but clothes are ok there, and so are shoes. It is just the leather purses. Any suggestions?

    • Yes I have a suggestion. Check your local grocery store or hardware store for a product that you leave in your cupboards to soak up moisture in the air. Here we have a product called Damp Rid which is a container that has granules in it that soak up moisture, you pop the top and put it is the area needed. Also you could try wiping the leather over with white vinegar. Test a small area first to make sure it doesn’t mark the leather. Mould won’t grow on vinegar.

      • I will put them in plastic bags after I treat them with vinegar. I guess it will be enough for now. My sintetic bags are ok, and a big one I use for work, is stored into a bag that is of a material that I don’t know the name in any language, but it is like the ones you buy to put shoes on, and it does the job. Thanks for the suggestion.

        • Hi Andréia,
          I am not convinced they won’t sweat in plastic bags so keep a close eye on them for a while to see how they are reaction.

  6. Nothing lasts forever, does it?

  7. Check this out (Freshkills Landfill in New York)…

  8. Can’t believe you threw a perfectly good unused hot water bottle in the bin!

    • I can assure you John that that water bottle did not get thrown in the bin, it was donated to the thrift store. The one I had bought at the same time as it perished for some unknown reason and had to be thrown in the bin. I don’t understand why one perished and the other didn’t, perhaps something got on it that I was unaware of which is odd because they were both stored in the same place and used the same way.

      • Hi Colleen.
        I hoped you say something like that – you’ve restored my faith! I’m afraid I hate waste and I’m pleased your old ‘hottie’ was given a reprieve and new lease of life. Strange though how one bottle perished and the other was OK. Regards, John.