Mini Mission Monday ~ Plan to declutter

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 weeks mini missions are designed to help you plan to declutter. For those of you who just can’t seem to find the time, don’t know what to do when you have the time or just forget what it was you thought about doing when the time is available. Now you might be thinking “what a pile of gobbledy gook that was” but trust me I have fallen into this trap many a time myself. Here’s what I mean.

Lets say you are cleaning the house on Monday and notice an area that needs a little delcuttering but the mission for that day is to clean house and not be distracted by other tasks. So you continue on in your quest to have a clean home. Tuesday arrives and you have a little time up your sleeve and you think “Now what was that declutter task I was meaning to do that I discovered yesterday?”. The next thing you know your spare time has evaporated into thin air and you haven’t achieved anything because you couldn’t remember what it was you meant to do.

Just as easily you can be cruising along in your day and find a small pocket of time to declutter but you can’t think of a little declutter job just right for the amount of time you have to do it in. You can think of big tasks but you don’t have enough time for that right now, nor do you have enough time to plan how you can tackle that big tast in smaller steps. So as a result of this confusion, again, nothing gets done.

Never fear I have a solution and that is to plan ahead. This weeks mini missions are a set of steps to teach you how to do just that. So lets get started.

Monday – Get yourself a note pad, preferably one that is sitting around unused in your home. Go for a wonder around the house and find a few areas, big and small, that need decluttering and write them down in your trusty note book.

Tuesday – Now choose one of the larger items on your list and break it down into smaller sections that are doable in ten minutes. For example, perhaps you want to clean out your closet ~ maybe you will break it down into 1. Sort unwanted items from hanging clothes (or a fraction there of). 2. Sort through one drawer. 3. Sort another drawer. 4 Pull out items from closet floor, sort & return keepers (maybe you will even break this step down into more than one session)…

Wednesday – When you find you have a pocket of free time get started on the first part of each task you have set for yourself. The object of the task is to be able to walk away with the area not being a complete shambles with the decluttered items neatly paced in their donate and sell piles or thrown in the trash depending on their condition.

Thursday – Once again, when you have a pocket of time, carry on with where you left off the day before.

Friday – Today you might have a larger amount of time and can tackle a complete smaller task or else continue on with the one you have begun.

Saturday – By now you will be able to appreciate the steady progress you are making and the fact that just small pockets of time each day can make a difference and propel you in the direction of a decluttered home. The week-end is a good time to discuss, with the other members of your household, what is to be done with items that have surfaced that do not belong to you but you feel may need decluttering. Remember only your clutter is yours to do with what you will, others should be able to have the last say about their clutter. Do this today if you have found any such items during your daily missions.

Sunday – Break down the other big tasks on your list for when you run out of the small tasks you have already planned. Keep your notebook handy at all times so that from now on, when you come across and area or a thing that needs decluttering, you will be able to make a note of it for the next time you have ten minutes up your sleeve.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item 

Last week while taking photos of an item I was decluttering, Liam brought out to me a bunch of old T-shirts he had just decluttered from his closet. Liam has his own distinct style and there is really no point in me or anyone else thinking they can buy him an item of clothing that will suit that style. As a result most of the T-shirts in this pile are ones he has never worn. It is a shame but it is a lesson I have learned and won’t make the same mistake again. These will go to the thrift shop and no doubt will be snapped up very quickly.

Liam T-Shirts

Something I Am Grateful For Today

A day of sunshine at last. I was starting to get webbed feet and cabin fever. We had a lovely walk on the hills above the ocean followed by a cup of coffee at our favourite independent cafe.

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. Congratulations Colleen on your first Australian to win the Tour de France :O) I’m an avid fan for 3 blissful weeks every July.

    That trolley full of clutter that had taken root has now been taken to the local charity shop. I realised there was one thing in it that was worrying me and preventing the whole lot being taken. So I took the one thing out and took the rest with no problem. I’ll work out how to be determined about ‘one thing’ another day.

    So now I am ready to start filling the trolley again…

    • Hi Katharine,
      taking one thing our of the trolly is certainly not a crime considering the rest of the load is now out of your house. You will get rid of that other thing when you are good and ready and not before ~ if at all actually. So long as you are still making progress there is still time to reconsider that one thing.

  2. Hi Colleen! Great idea doing a list! I am starting right now. I have already spoted far too many places of clutter around the house.

    • Hi Andréia,
      good for you! I hope this makes it easy for you to declutter when you have just a little time to spare between, working from home and being a mother and wife.

  3. Thanks for all your posts, after many months reading, this weekend I really embraced it! I put down the laptop, and moved stuff, and then returned to the laptop and freecycled stuff (text books, workbooks etc), and then someone searched my other untaken freecycle stuff, and took a kettle which I posted MONTHS ago. So it’s been super successful – two pickups due today.

    And then there’s all the trashing! I got rid of a binder (condenced two into one), and just shredded everything here at work. And I emptied out a study binder, so that everything I’ve kept fits in one place. I even tossed an umbrella (it’s been broken for ages, but I’d use it. Mum used it and cursed me/it as it almost poked her eye out!)

    All I have is a bag to freecycle/charity/trash thoughtfully to go. I have two dirty old lamps with french plugs. Can’t work out whether someone will rescue them, or whether I should just give up (one shade is SUPER dusty, the other is another colour due to a craft project), and then are only plastic… decisions.

    Thanks for your encouragement daily! It worked like an avalanche this weekend!

    • Hi Snosie,
      I am glad that inspiration has taken hold and you were able to tackle all those clutter items that were wasting space in your life. Did you ever buy and move into you own home that you mentioned some time back in one of your comments.

      As for those two lamps left over, if you feel like you should recycle them try putting them on freecycle. Make sure you provide a photo and a full description so people know what it is they are getting and leave it in the lap of the Gods. If they don’t get claimed in a week maybe they are just trash and need to be disposed of accordingly.

      • Haven’t yet bought (sadly the one I was going for feel through when the bank valuation came back $35k less! erk!). I’m not looking as enthusiastically, but I am keeping an eye out, and minimising what stuff I’ll need to move when the time comes.

        I will try to get technical with photos on Freecycle and see what happens – you never know your luck!

  4. Well the school holidays are here so your post really spoke to me as I have plenty of things to sort out/declutter. I will start with a planning session tomorrow! Right now it is past midnight and my OH is snoring next to me so although I’d really love to jump up and get started I guess I should really try to get some sleep!

    • Hi Cathryn,
      yes, I think a good night sleep is in order so you have a clear head tomorrow for making declutter plans with. Goodnight and good luck tomorrow with your planning.

  5. This is such a useful guide for getting any kind of project done – not just decluttering – when a person’s day is full and it’s difficult to carve out a large space of time to do a satisfying overhaul. Good step by step description, like having you right there!

    I do a lot of my everyday cleaning this way too, and even gardening and crafts. As my sister-in-law once said of her needlework, every stitch gets you closer to being done.

  6. I worked on this today and sort of did all the steps in one shot. I still had some clutter in my son’s closet and in his sister’s room. I got rid of a couple of stuffed animals that were ripped, some toys he doesn’t play with, a couple of blankets and some older baby toys. I had several piles sorted into trash, give away, take to mom’s house, and things I can sell. It looks alot better in the closets! Thanks for your posts they always inspire me to pare down just a little more and ask myself….Do I really need this in my home? Thanks!

    • Hi Angie Kay,
      well done on your decluttering efforts in the kids’ closets. I am glad my posts are helping you find things to declutter and making your home a more tranquil environment to be in.

      • It really is helping. Today I went through my books that I’ve been keeping forever. I got rid of 35 of them and wrote about it here…
        It feels so good to get rid of books I don’t read or use. Why was I hanging on to some of this stuff? It just weighs you down. You know?

        • Hi Angie Kay,
          I am so glad that I went to the actual blog to reply to you comment because all this time I thought your username was Angle Kay, which I did think was a bit odd but who am I to reason why. But now that I see it in bigger print it is actually Angie Kay, that makes so much more sense. Sorry to have been calling you the wrong thing for weeks. It really is time to get my eyes tested again, I have been thinking lately that my old glasses really aren’t doing such a great job.

          Back to the subject at hand. One of the other volunteers at the thrift store said to me the other day, “Soon there won’t be any book shops left to buy books in Australia, what will we do then?”. My response was, “Borrow fromt the library”. She said, “But with everything going digital there won’t be any libraries soon either, we will have to download everything!” and my response was “We don’t travel on steam trains anymore either!”. She probably thought I was crazy but I just hope I got her thinking.

          I am glad you have been able to part with your unused books because I have notice, from the blogs I read, that books can be a real stumbling even for the most staunch minimalists.

  7. You are so right. For some reason books are the hardest to part with.
    I am currently trying to unclutter my music room and it is a task. I have all sorts of sentimentals and things from almost 10 years ago in there. I am hoping to be done by the end of the week and will be posting some pictures on my blog. I’ll send you the link because after all you inspired it. It is definitely aspiration and sentimental clutter all around!

    • Hi Angie Kay,
      I just went over to have a look at your current post, congratulations getting rid of 35 books. In future if you need to look after a turtle you could just google it. 😉
      Hey we have something in common so long as the man in your Parks blog is your partner or husband, my husband has a mustache too. I have never seen him without it except in old photos.

  8. Colleen
    Seeing your article in the Newcastle Herald prompted me to get on your emailing list. It is so inspiring. I know lots of people keep stuff but no-one really talks about why. I was on the “decluttering path” but your information is wonderfully motivating and keeping me on track. I always say I want to have less stuff but would go shopping and when something was “on sale” I used to get sucked in and buy stuff I didn’t really want because it was “on special”.

    Also, I now say “no” to freebies such as fridge magnets that I really don’t want.

    I have recently cleaned out the dvd drawer, books, clothes I don’t wear, socks given to me on plane trips, toys, linen and sorted through old birthday cards. Oh, the house feels lighter.

    • Hi Monica,
      welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to introduce yourself. Now that I have some local readers we might have to have a get-together in Newcastle one day.
      I am glad that what you are reading here is making you look at your clutter in different ways. I used to declutter periodically but it really is only this time around that I have learned so much about letting go and staying decluttered. I used to be a sucker for a bargain too but now I rarely go shopping for anything other than groceries.
      I can understand what you say about your house feeling lighter. It is a good feeling isn’t it.
      Once again, welcome and I hope we will hear from you often.