Mini Mission Monday ~ Reasons to let go

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.

Being useful or beautiful, or brings you joy, some might argue, or the only reasons to keep things. And they sound like good reasons to me. There are infinitely more reason to let things go. So this weeks missions cover just six of those reasons. So let’s see if we can find six objects to match those reasons.

Monday – Declutter something you wouldn’t want to pack up and move to another house.

Tuesday – Declutter something that you wouldn’t be sad about being destroyed in a house fire. (Even as I right that it sounds a little morbid)

Wednesday – Declutter something that you wouldn’t keep if you didn’t feel obliged to.

Thursday – Declutter something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Be that physically or mentally.

Friday – Declutter something that you simply have no use or love for.

Saturday – Declutter something from a too full drawer or cupboard shelf. Keeping in mind that things in cupboards or shelves are spare and we only need so many 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

Drink tap water in preference to carbonated beverages. It doesn’t take a genius to work out how much better that is for the environment. Your waistline and your teeth will thank you for it as well.

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 havent commented a lot, but I do read every single post. tonight it inspired me.
    I am still struggling with “the fate” of the items I dont want to keep anymore. So I collect them in my designated area and I plan to sell some items. So the area gets kind of crowded and starts to annoy me and then I procrastinate about how to get rid of them and it gets even worse and thus the cycle continues…
    I finally got so sick of this HUGE box standing in my way, I took the whole box and put it in front of the house on the street. I had to swallow this strange feeling of regret (about not trying hard enough to sell) and guilt over keeping the items so long.
    I also decided to bring a couple of items back to my mother since she gave them to me in the first place. I am on a mission: mondays mini missions: 😉
    so here goes my list:
    MONDAY – dont want to pack and move it:
    – a table that I dont use anymore. I will list it online and try to get money of it. if that doesnt work – the street will be its fate. also a carpet that I dont use and like anymore.
    TUESDAY – could get destroyed and I would like it:
    – a messanger bag with matching clothes from a student job that I quit almost two years ago. Yes, I kept it that long – I cant believe it myself.
    WEDNESDAY – I feel obliged to keep:
    – My mum would get very angry, if I sold the office chair she got me a couple of years back. I will start thinking about possibilites and maybe take the offer from my friend to store it in her house for a certain time- so that I can prove my mum that I really dont use and need it.
    THURSDAY – an uncomfortable item:
    – I count the box that went out yesterday. it was in my way for so long. mentally and physically.
    FRIDAY – no use anymore:
    – the oversized suitcase that I dont use anymore because if I travel, I travel light. plus my used and loved little rucksack that got replaced with the newer slightly better version for travelling lightly. I dont have any use of it anymore. So they go out to be donated.
    SATURDAY – the overflowing shelf:
    – 3 unread books. They go with me on vacation on thursday – if I dont read them then I leave them there for someone else.

    • Hi Lena, after all these years of reading I would have thought that you would have very little left to declutter. But then again I keep finding things too so it just goes to prove that decluttering is a continuous activity. Then there are those times where we buy and people gift as stuff that turns out not to be as much of service to us as we might have expected. The best thing to do with these items is to declutter them.
      You have certainly done a good job of following this weeks missions Lena and I do hope that eventually you can manage to declutter that office chair you don’t with to keep.

      • lol. I know. one might think all of our places are empty now, afte rall those years of decluttering… but then again, I bring in things in my home. be that new clothes, or replacements or things that I just want to have. I think of decluttering as a hobby, a well loved spare time activity. and in order to declutter you need to own things in the first place, right? 😉
        This bloody bag for tomorrow? Is going TOMORROW to a former collegue, who is happy to take it. her bag got stolen on new years! So she will actually use it! I wish I had asked her earlier…

        • Well it’s going now Lena and that is all that matters. Sometimes we put up with stupid things in own way for far too long, but the payoff is how really good it feels when they are gone.

  2. Colleen, you continue to come up with good ways to get us thinking about decluttering like these mini-missions. Thanks. I have been thinking about our move. I just wish I knew when it was going to be. I’m sitting here typing this at the “desk” I want to get rid of as soon as I can because once we move I won’t need it. There are several things out in the shed I could care less about but Mom wants them until we move. I have several knick knacks that were given to me and I want to declutter but will have to pass it by Mom. I don’t have anything that makes me uncomfortable thankfully. We have a number of items in the pantry (non food) I will be glad to see gone. I finally heard Mom say that we had too many things in several drawers in the kitchen and we need to get rid of them. WooHoo!! So while we are in a holding pattern for the most part, I can see the end in sight.

  3. Great set of Mini Missions!

    Pack/Move: Although there aren’t any imminent plans to move, I have been using that as my motivation to get rid of things.

    Destroyed in a fire. LOL had that conversation the other day with Hubby. We don’t want the house to burn down per se, however if it did, there isn’t much that I would be heartbroken over, apart from the magnitude of the destruction. Photos and family videos would be the most upsetting but I do have an ongoing project to get those edited and loaded up to a cloud account. My husband and I agree that since so much white space has opened up in recent years, we have a fairly accurate idea of actually what is in the house and a realistic idea of the value. Back when the house was overfull we would have been more distressed if the house burned down because we wouldn’t have had a clear idea of what there was and would have assumed there would have been valuables amongst it.

    Obligation – hmmmmm will have to think about that one.

    Uncomfortable – ironically I started to writing on Friday on this topic, basically the flip side of ‘spark’.

    No use or love for……..those come under the heading of things that won’t be moving, but I’ll give some thought to anything that particularly fits the bill.

    Drawers and cupboards – I’ve been meaning to attack the office drawers for some weeks but have been targeting other areas. Cupboard – my focus in the never-ending upstairs storage room is the two cupboards at the moment, I’m awaiting the outcome of an online auction I have listed. The idea is to clear some space so that some of the smaller items in the room (that can’t be gotten rid of) can be re-housed into those.

    • Moni. Good point about not know the value or perhaps even the location of the valuables in your home in case of fire. Also in the case of not knowing what value to insure it for. Similar for ageing parents homes ~ there might be stuff there that seems like crap but might actually be valuable but end up donated in ignorance. Different circumstance but same uneasy feeling.

      Keep up the good work in that upstairs storage room. It seems like you are making great progress.

  4. Had a garage sale this weekend. Sold over 500 items! YAY!
    I took one load of left overs to St. Vinnies. Have few boxes and a huge coffee table left. Will call for a pickup. Maybe I’ll find some more items when I clean the garage to add to the pickup pile. Not sure if the items will fit into this week’s mini missions are not, but I do know how good it felt to get rid of so many items at the sale.

  5. I buy expensive unhemmed pants b/c stores don’t tend to carry size10 with 34″ inseam. B/c of what I pay & difficulty in finding size, I am loathe to part w my pants. That said, the manufacturer somehow cut the fabric on wrong angle, bias, whatever on my blue pair. Looked fine to wear but felt twisty on my right thigh. Why am I’m wearing something that physically annoys me when I wear it? To the fabric recycling bin it goes.

    • That sounds like the best place for it Gail. I have a great pair of red pants that also have a little quirk. They feel tighter on one hip than they do on the other. It doesn’t bother me and they look great so I am happy to where them. However I have always thought it a little strange, especially since it is the only item of clothing I have ever encountered this issue with.

  6. The idea is to start. Start somewhere, with something.
    In my case, I am getting rid of clothes. I had a terrible argument that I do not think can be mended ever – and am getting rid of all the items this person gave me – its a way of removing this entire persona from life. Just this month I got rid of 26 items.

    • Hi Lorena, I am sorry you had a falling our with this person. And yes, sometimes it is easier to eject all the reminders if the situation is never going to right itself.

  7. Katie McDonald

    Hi Colleen,
    Long term reader, minimal poster here.
    I’m writing to say this is the best Mini-Mission in ages! I mean, they’re all useful but this one really is really going to help me. I’ve tackled most of the easy clutter but can’t quite get started on the whole memory box or all of those items I’ve kept because they were given to me, or are mementos from holidays et cetera. It’s very easy to go in a room and pick out an unimportant item to remove. This week, I can start making a dent in the difficult items, which get skirted around/ ignored in the general effort to declutter. And only one item at a time 🙂 I have plenty of items I feel “obliged” to keep, in case someone visits or ever asks me about them, but actually, how hard is it to say, “I lent it to someone/ lost it in a move/ dropped coffee on it” to save their feelings, as well as my space? Haha.

    • Hi Katie, it is nice to hear from you. And I am very glad this post is making you look at all those obligational items in a different way. I hope you find the strength to let go of lots of them. And if it makes you feel better, I would like to bet that no one will ever enquire about where something is that they gave you. They have most likely forgotten about it years ago. When it gets to close to gift time, if you can’t or don’t wish to discourage it, ask people to give you items you really want or better still items that will get used up. The use up ones are great because even if you still receive stuff you don’t like you can just give it away and pretend it has been used up.

  8. The Other Christine

    I’m in the last week of packing to move apartments and I’m feeling pretty horrified by my stuff. I’ve been getting rid of things for nearly two years and in a number of places I’ve reduced by a lot, maybe even 50%. But now that everything has to come out and get packed it seems like a mountain of things and I’m finding it alarming. It’s probably not really a huge amount of stuff, but it feels like it.

  9. wouldn’t want to pack up and move to another house: stack of clothes

    something that you wouldn’t be sad about being destroyed in a house fire: (I’m searching for my old mandolin to take to thrift shop along with instruction book for beginners…bought it at a garage sale years ago and actually learned to play Row, Row, Row Your Boat). However this is on hold. I can’t find it…think I may have taken it already! May have to find something else…or give the instruction book.

    something that you wouldn’t keep if you didn’t feel obliged to: my grandmother’s tablecloth

    something that makes you feel uncomfortable: ear rings

    something that you simply have no use or love for: sign holder

    something from a too full drawer or cupboard shelf. Keeping in mind that things in cupboards or shelves are spare: extension cords, hem tape, cod liver oil that expired in 2009, old cell phone boxes

    Note: Wanted to take to thrift shop an old wifi hotspot, but hubby was not in agreement 🙁

  10. Hi, I think I’ve only commented once before, but like Lena, I’ve been reading faithfully for several years. And actually making progress at decluttering in spite of some inherited hoarder tendencies (my dad drives my mom crazy with his stacks and piles and other stuff, lol), and my own defense mechanism response to some life traumas. Reading all the posts and comments from all the people on this blog has helped me with a lot of good mental preparation as well as the practical aspects of decluttering, so that as my need to hang onto a huge variety of stuff lessens with continued healing, I’ve been ready with helpful thoughts and attitudes and procedures that have made decluttering less stressful that it might have been. I still have a long way to go; no one who hasn’t seen my home before I started would think that I have barely started, but those who have are most encouraging in complimenting my progess.

    Besides thanking all of you for your support, even though you didn’t know you were helping me, I’m also writing to comment on the mini-mission for Tuesday, something you wouldn’t mind losing in a fire. One thing that has given me more motivation to be focused on decluttering is moving from my house to a smaller one. There is no definite date, but it I s happening. When I first learned that this would be happening, I was very stressed because it put a lot of pressure to declutter faster than I thought I could handle, due to the aforementioned trauma. It was hard for me to focus, I didn’t know where to start, and it was incredibly overwhelming. During this period, I happened to have a conversation with my oldest son who lives in a rather remote area that backs up to a national forest. When I said that I just didn’t know how to decide what I should take and what to let go of, he said, “What would you take if there was a fire?” Since I was rather upset during the conversation, I didn’t really think about what that really meant. I was just glad to have someone give me some rather straightforward advice. After we got off the phone and I started thinking about it, I realized that if there were a fire all I would take would be my kids and pets. There is nothing I own that has to be saved from a fire. So I thought that wasn’t going to be helpful advice after all, since if there isn’t a fire, it’s not very practical to get rid of everything I own because I’d have to replace all the necessary things, and why spend money to replace things that aren’t broken, etc.? And then I remembered that my son’s home had been threatened several years ago by one of the biggest forest fires ever. They had to evacuate. Fortunately, their home was spared. But that made me realize that he meant, “If you had a day or so warning, what would you try to take with you?”

    I realize that this isn’t really a mini-mission thing, but I thought I’d share it, because it gave me a place to start prioritizing my belongings and gave me two ways to look at my stuff: stuff I knew I would never ever miss, no matter how much I may have enjoyed owning it, or because it had given me a false sense of security; and stuff I knew I would really miss even if it was taken away by an act of God. As I said, there is nothing that I would be tempted to run into a burning building to save except another living being, but there are some things that I would miss. Those are the things I would try to take with me if I had some warning. Of course, in between those two categories are still a lot of things that, in a non-emergency situation, are going to be on a sliding scale of value. Those are the ones that are giving me some trouble at this point. There are things that it’s kind of dumb to get rid of because you’re moving; you’ll just have to spend money to replace them once you’re resettled. Not too much decision making there. And then there are things that you like and enjoy and are useful, but not really necessary. Mini-mission things; the difference being that due to the time limit issue, instead of identifying one thing a day, you need to identify lots of things in a day. If you’re not very far into decluttering, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of stuff to go through. That’s when I start asking the fire question again. It ocurred to me that there are things you would take if you only had one day to get out, but if there were another day or two, you would probably take more things. It helps me identify things that, while not really necessary, are either emotionally important to me, or that enrich my life, like particular books and hobby materials and equipment.

    I’m sorry this got rather long and is pretty much off the mini-mission topic, but I just want to thank everyone who shares on this blog, especially Colleen for organizing and keeping it going, and share something that is helping me and might be helpful in some small way for someone else. You guys are the best!

    • Hi Nanette, it is great to hear you’ve been making progress. Go you! And best wishes on your continued progress 🙂

      You are so right, all those in-between value items are so troublesome! If they manage to survive a cull, I still revisit them now and again, as over time some move closer to the ‘I won’t miss this’ end of the scale and others move closer to the ‘I would really miss this’ end. It is frustrating how quick it can be to acquire an item, but how long and agonising it can be to get rid of it!

  11. Hi all,
    I stumbled across your blog while looking for motivation to undertake the biggest challenge of my life. When my husband died unexpectedly last year I was forced to downsize and my children to move on in their lives. I am still bereft on many levels – so many memories and connections to things, there is more sadness in my declutter than the joy that others speak of. I’m naturally organised and tidy and I also know the only way forward is to start a new life whether I want to or not. Your mini missions definitely help me keep things in perspective and reduce the pain. Thanks.

    • Hi Ann, and welcome to 365 Less Things. Sorry it has taken so long for me to approve and respond to your comment. I have been away and it has taken me way too long to catch up with my emails.
      May I extend my sympathy for the loss of your dear loved husband. I hope that you worst of your pain will soon subside. And I fully understand the emotional connection to many things you possess. Sadly hanging on to them won’t change the situation but fortunately letting of them won’t rob you of your precious memories either. However take your time with the task and start on the easiest stuff to part with.

    • So sorry to hear of your loss and that you have to move. It is hard to do these types of things while going through grief.

  12. I am using these missions again this week, they are some real gems! (Particularly the Move and Fire ones). For me the Fire and Obligation missions are a great pair – I still have some items that I keep out of obligation, but gee wouldn’t it be nice if they accidentally got destroyed in a fire or dropped or something! I know, I know… Now I’ve identified them, they will get donated. Each one gone is one less weight cluttering my existence, and I like to think it finds one happy new owner delighted at their find.