Mini Mission Monday ~ Post Holiday season

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.

Well the “Silly Season” is over again but the aftereffects may still linger. I am glad to say that my Christmas wish of few gifts was adhered too so there is little evidence in my home that it ever happened, except of course the warm and fuzzy feeling of having spend time with those I love. I did cheat a little by not being home so all the celebrations happened elsewhere. So how is your home shaping up? Here are some mini missions to help get it back into shape.

Monday – Declutter any Christmas decorations you don’t like so much as you pack them away.

Tuesday – Work on using up all the leftover food of the holiday season. Condiments, spices, frozen leftovers etc. Oh and of course wine and beer. 😉

Wednesday –  Declutter an item that you may have received a replacement for as a gift.

Thursday – If you received some nice new toiletries as a gift start using up the already started items before beginning on the new gifted items.

Friday – Declutter something else in the area where you store your holiday season decorations.

Saturday – Declutter kitschy Christmas items like hand towels, oven mitts, socks etc. This mission is simply for my own amusement. I used to have all of these things and haven’t missed any of them.

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

Take your own shopping bag when doing any shopping. I must have saved hundreds of bags grocery shopping alone over the last seven years. And then there is a much smaller number saved by using my own bags for any other shopping I do.  To get myself into the habit of taking my own bag I forced myself to carry my shopping to the car without a bag when I forgot to bring my own. That little juggling act soon cured my forgetfulness.

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. Good list Colleen.

  2. What a lovely surprise to see these in my inbox! This morning is my first day back at work, which means my first day waking up to an alarm since the 20th and I must confess to some enthusiasm issues to getting out of bed.

    • Hi Moni and happy New Year. I am sure you will get the hang of getting up early and going to work soon enough. That’s not to say I expect you will start enjoying it though. Have a good day at work.

      • Colleen and 365-ers – as mentioned above, today was the first day back at work, I work for my husband and he decided today was the day we were going to begin an overhaul of our secondary workshop. We have two units side by side, the main workshop has been done over the last year or two which has made the other unit look dowdy and messy. It is the construction side of the business. Adrian decided everything was relocating temporarily to a neighbours empty unit and he wants to paint and build new work areas etc, demolish an old office and set up better storage for equipment. My daughter and I moved hundreds of tools and power tools and boxes and boxes of fixings/screw/nails all day. Tomorrow a couple of tonnes of stock/material goods will get moved too but we’ll have a forklift for that. And yes a massive cull is going to happen before everything gets shifted back. Imagine one of my ‘hurricane method’ Decluttering sessions on an industrial scale (150 square metres) and that’s our project for the week.

        • Wow !! That’s a lot of work you have ahead of you Moni. I know you will do a good job.

          • Deb J – tonight I can feel all the muscles that got a work out today and it really wasn’t a gentle ease back into the working year. I have tried to work out a timeline in my head of what needs to be done but I have to remind myself that it will be done when it is done. The infamous Upstairs Storage Room isn’t included in this project as far as I know but I had an idea. My middle daughter is starting Tech this year and feeling a bit anxious about her school loan, plus needs a laptop etc. I’m going to propose that whatever she can find to sell in that room, on Trademe, she can put the money against her loan. It wouldn’t make a huge dent in her loan but she is a very motivated girl and it could generate some progress in that storage room too.

          • That’s a great idea Moni. Who knows. Maybe she will hit the jackpot up there and make some good money. You can always hope.

          • Deb J – Yes who knows? I have been chipping away up there for years, maybe while all the guys are in ‘chuck out mode’ I can get some decisions on some other things that live up there that belong to the company. I made the offer to my daughter and she was up the stairs in a flash looking around.

          • Heh, Heh. Your daughter is no dummy. I hope your are able to talk the guys into getting rid of a lot a stuff.

        • Yikes!!!!!!

        • That deal with your daughter is very motivating and quite beneficial for you. All in all a cool method of decluttering I’s day.

  3. Hello and Happy New Year, Colleen! I dread saying this, but I ended up with some unwanted Christmas things, which I promptly placed in the Donation Bin. 🙁 We’ve tried telling folks that it is wonderful to just spend time together, but it doesn’t seem to sink in. Today I have been brain-storming in regard to our attic craft room/office space/holiday storage space/linen storage and the internet has been wonderfully helpful. I found some terrific ideas. First we plan to have the two windows replaced, which may be down the road a month or so, but in the meantime, I can declutter some more things.

    Glad to see you back and hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

    • Hi Michelle and happy New Year. Sometimes those dreaded unwanted gifts are hard to avoid. But, as you did, they can always be accepted graciously and then donated. I mostly received craft items that will get used or used up. I am interested in hearing about what you end up doing with your attic room.

  4. What a good list, Colleen. We didn’t even decorate this year. We just didn’t have the energy after everything else that went on. But it made us think and when we get the Christmas stuff out next year we are going to go through it and discard about a third of it. We have decided that we just don’t want to put it all out anymore. We are bored with it and also tired of it.

    Blessings to everyone. Praying for all to have a good 2015.

    • Hi Deb, we didn’t decorate either as we weren’t going to be here. So often we continue to do these sorts of things out of habit without thinking that it isn’t necessary. Less can be more, so a few choice decorations can be as enjoyable and more peaceful than decking the halls. And none at all is fine as well. It seems to me that a lot of people I have encountered this year are becoming much less enamoured with the whole Christmas experience because it has been a retail event rather than what it ought to be. Although one person, who I think thought I was being a little bah humbug, had the mordacity to say ~ “What? Would you prefer it should be just some sort of religious holiday.” Well hello, it is a religious holiday, and if people don’t like that perhaps they should come up with there own event and give it a different name. Anyway, that’s my rant for the day.
      Blessing to you and your Mom too and I sincerely hope you have a happy and healthy 2015.

  5. Happy New Year everyone.
    This year my eldest son , who still lives at home, decluttered his ‘space’ (the garage, converted to a bedroom)
    I am pleased to say he addressed an issue regarding gifts. Many years ago we gave him an electric guitar . The guitar has not been used and he spoke to me about the guilt he felt for not wanting to keep it, but feeling obligated to keep it as it was a gift. Well, I soon set him straight! So the guitar is heading to the thrift shop. He also arrived in the kitchen with six cans of deodorant. Gifts from the past. They were his favorite in high school………but alas he no longer wants to use that brand.
    So off to the thrift shop they go.

    • Well done Wendy F, and well done to your son to for bringing these clutter issues out into the open. I am sure the thrift shop will be happy to receive your donations.

  6. Yeah! So glad to be able to check back in here for inspiration and motivation! Happy New Year Colleen and all!

  7. Welcome back Colleen!
    Getting rid of excess Christmas decorations is so liberating! I de-cluttered some when my children grew older and then again last Christmas before we moved to our apartment. A few simple touches makes an impact and doesn’t require hours of work putting up and taking down.

  8. Welcome back, Colleen! And Happy New Year! As a teacher, I receive an assortment of gifts for Christmas. If it’s any kind of lotion, it’s out of the house asap because Mr. Willow is allergic to fragrances. Ditto with candles. However–the cookies and candy–well, those are shared and enjoyed 🙂 They’re consumable! The best kind of present.

    • Hi Willow, I am the opposite to you, I’d keep the lotion and dread the cookies. I am still trying to lose the vacation weight from our holiday before the last one so am trying to avoid the cookies and other fattening stuff as much as possible.

  9. Hi Colleen,
    I’m glad you enjoyed your Christmas. I must say, I really missed the posts but understand your needing a break. I did not fare as well as last year with a decluttered Christmas; however, it is over and I will start fresh. I did take the decorations 2 days before New Years and put them away. I also declined from purchasing a real tree this year so avoided those added decorations and lights to put away. Maybe next year I can donate those extras.

    • Hi Ann I didn’t really need a break because I had just had a six week one, but I was with family and they take priority, especially at this time of year. I managed to avoid all decorating ~ because we went to family ~ and only received a couple of gifts which will be used up quickly.

  10. I did a large declutter of one of my son’s room this holiday. He is getting older and had no problem getting rid of a lot of stuff. It felt good to make another large donation to the donation center here. The items that come out for holiday decorations becomes less and less each year, so I really need to do a good purge in this area. This will make a good start to the new year!

    • Well done getting your son into the decluttering. I used to make my daughter declutter stuff every time she came home from university. My son used to do it voluntarily all the time because he didn’t like the clutter in his room. Now my son does his best to get his wife and stepdaughter to declutter on a regular basis
      Be merciless on those Christmas decorations. I have only kept the ones of sentimental value or ones I particularly likes.

  11. Hi Colleen, so glad you’re back and happy! I just now finished reading ALL the archived posts, along with ALL the comments from “Day 1/64”. I am still decluttering and doing ‘use it up’ challenges, probably not every day but sometimes one day multiple things… but in a slow and steady fashion, of course! I’m always thinking what could next get the chop. I hate to shop and do errands, so it makes it easy to keep a lid on acquisition. It also saves a ton of money!

    We separated out Christmas décor we no longer wanted a couple of years ago, passed it to our eldest daughter… who is now living back home… and recently brought everything from her storage unit to place in our (enclosed) back porch. So, LOL, I am sure that extra Christmas stuff is here again in one of the boxes in “Box Mountain”… I have to give her credit, she got rid of 4 large trash bags of stuff one day, and another 4 large bags another day. She has a lot of trouble parting with things, so I really can’t interfere much as I would like to (like taking certain items to wash, then donate). If she catches me doing that, all progress stops 🙁 I have to let her do it her way. She says that when she is able to get rid of things, it does feel “freeing” afterwards, but it is a very hard process for her.

    For my Christmas this year, I asked for (and chose) a heated mattress pad, comforter, duvet cover, and new flannel sheets for my bed. My bed is looking and feeling so warm and welcoming now! It’s really helping me sleep better because I get cold easily and I live near Philadelphia PA (US) which often gets below 30 degrees fahrenheit in the winter… brrr…

    Glad you had a good break and glad you’re back 🙂

    • Thank you Peggy and I am glad you are with us. You are such a trooper for ploughing through all the archives.
      Your first paragraph sounds a lot like my experience in the early days of my decluttering. My one thing a day was sometimes two or three things one day and then being able to take a couple of days off. I was focused on the mission everyday though because I was blogging about it every day so wasn’t ever far from my mind.
      I think you are right, best not to interfere with her process of decluttering. So long as the job is being done it is best to let her do it her way. My daughter is like that too.
      I am glad that your new bedding is helping you sleep better. You bedroom should be a sanctuary and that is why it is important for it to be a joy to be in. Having in uncluttered and comfortable is a huge part of that.

  12. So glad to see you back Colleen – Happy New Year! I did well this year with receiving very few gifts. I was able to get lots of decluttering done over the holidays, much more stuff OUT than IN! Hope the rest of 2015 goes that way.

    • Thanks Barbara and happy New Year to you too. I am pleased you had a good holiday season and continued decluttering. I did a little myself over the last couple of day. Decluttered some of my craft stuff to a friend today and some clothing items to the thrift shop in Tuesday. Keep up the good work.

  13. Hi again Colleen,

    When I mentioned my trip through the archives, I meant to thank you so much for the inspiring journey, for being so gracious in creating this community where we can all contribute in our special ways… I can’t thank you enough for this “decluttering trip”!!!


  14. Long-time lurker, first-time commenter. This place seems to have such a lovely community going on I couldn’t help myself!

    Monday – Did that on Boxing Day, when I took the tree down (I don’t like keeping it up later than Christmas really). Fun fact, I also decluttered the Christmas tree itself – it’s now two thirds its previous height, and I really prefer it!
    Tuesday – Only thing we have is food colouring, which I didn’t really use and may dispose of, and Christmas cake which is steadily dissolving. Didn’t buy anything else for the season.
    Wednesday – yep, did that on Christmas Day itself, got one of the Narnia films with the Italian dub and decluttered my English-only copy.
    Thursday – Nope. Did by myself some shampoo and conditioner (ironically, the brand is Simple) and used up my old ones first, if that counts?
    Friday – Did that before Christmas, when I was putting up the tree. Now I have only the tree itself and the nativity scene I use every year.
    Saturday – I don’t have any… I did donate some unwanted socks I was given as a gift if that counts?

    … I’ll, err, look around for something to toss. I’m sure there’s something around here!

    • Hi Níriel, well done you. You clearly didn’t need these missions. I was actually hoping that most people had already achieved most of them as it was already 5 days past New Years Day. I got my final Christmas gifts just yesterday and now I have some nice new hand wash and lotion to use. I have been sharing the contents of my old ones between two bathrooms in the hope that someone would by me a nice new set. I will now consolidate those bottles again and I can start on the new one right away.

      • I’m proud of myself indeed! Looks like my family’s starting to get the idea of buying things from my wishlist, or send money. Just got to fix the uncle and aunt that sent those socks… I have found a whole bundle of jumpers I’m never going to wear again, and some miscellaneous stationery bits, so they’ve gone at least.