Mini Mission Monday ~ Reason’s Why

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.

There are so many reasons why we keep stuff we don’t need, use or particularly enjoy. This weeks mini missions are devised to help you identify some items in your home that have stayed beyond their welcome. I will give you six reasons why things may have remained for so long and it is your task to see if you can identify items to match that reason. Good luck!

Monday – Get rid of an item you have kept just-in-case you might need or finally find a use for it someday.

Tuesday – Choose an item that you don’t want in your home that isn’t yours and then ask the owner if they are willing to declutter it. Perhaps they don’t care about it either.

Wednesday – Identify and declutter an item that has remained in your home out of habit. Something that has so far escaped your notice just because it has been around for so long and has literally just become a piece of the furniture.

Thursday – There are certain items that nearly everyone owns, if you don’t have a use for such an item, why keep it. Declutter it now. In Australia most homes have a BBQ, a laundry basket and trolley, a deep fryer and a second television, we weren’t using ours so we saw no point in keeping them.

Friday – This one is mentioned often here at 365 Less Things. Declutter something you keep out of obligation. Most people have more than one of these ~ unwanted gifts, family heirlooms, stuff their kids left behind etc. . I figure if I keep harping on about it you will eventually, perhaps slowly as you become more comfortable with the idea, let them all go.

Saturday – Let go of a sentimental item that belongs in a category that you have numerous of. Yours or your kids old school papers, souvenirs, greeting cards, items that once belonged to someone who has past, etc. . One is enough to keep the memories alive.

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

Challenge yourself to put every piece of recyclable material in the recycling bin no matter how small.. It is easy to be blasé about small pieces of paper or plastic but so long as they can be recycled they are best kept out of landfill.

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. Some good mini-missions. I like your eco tip too. I wish I could get more people I know to recycle.

  2. Good mini missions this week – I have several things waiting for freecycle pick ups today and stuff going to the donation-bins. I did something a bit different on the weekend which was a bit different. I said to Dayna (my daughter age 16) to find 5 things to declutter and bring it to the lounge. Well for starters she came back with approx 15 items and while a couple of them I’d been expecting as she’d mentioned them a few times lately, but the rest was MY stuff.

    OK, I use ‘MY’ a little loosely but stuff she KNEW I’d get stuck on. Wow it was strange to be on the reverse side of the situation. She has a theory, because I keep running into emotional attachment situations lately and its all with stuff that is the ‘grassroots’ stuff from when I began cluttering, storing, aspirational shopping, comfort shopping etc from an approx time era. I’m surprised at my reactions but gently work through it, much like I would if it was someone else. Dayna’s theory is that there is some realisation amongst stuff from this era and would I hit the wall seeing this pile of stuff all on the “out” pile ie to be dealt with before I’d eventually gotten around to it. Yup, I stood there speechless. Me, who donates, freecycles, trademes, passes on etc stood there blinking. And guess what? At a later point, I removed some of the stuff from the pile and ‘re-located’ it. But was caught doing so and so its back in the pile. Yeah, I’m shaking my head at myself as I write this. Unbelievable. Embarressing. Adrian seemed to be enjoying the show and so he tried to add a couple of items but he quickly realised he didn’t have the ‘diplomatic immunity’ that offspring seem to have with their mothers and quickly the items back.

    Has anyone else ever allowed someone else to pick five items to declutter? Its harder than it sounds.

    • Funny you mention this Moni. My hubby cleaned up the yard the other week while I was away. Well on Saturday I had a banana and went to put the skin on the birds nest fern in the yard (apparently they are good for them) no fern! Now I really like those plants and normally would create an issue around the removal of plant. But that area of the yard was tidy.
      To answer your question, my family has helped me in the past declutter many items! At first it was hard , but they were helping me and themselves to get rid of a lot of clutter. I think if you start with stuff that is broken and or rubbish it helps. Them move to stuff that is never used. Remembering that it is not a personal attack on you is a start! 🙂 just an attack on clutter! Cheers

      • Wendy F – nothing damaged or worn out. 6 glass vases which still have their boxes (bought I think for my parent’s 40th with the idea to use at home in mind) were the main items, two decorative baskets to arrange bread or muffins for a meal, a wrought iron serviette holder and two matching plate holders (one gets used occasionally for holding the recipe book).

        No didn’t see it as a personal attack. Usually its me that’s leading the charge in the war against clutter, so its a bit unusal to have the boot on the other foot so to speak. And this daughter is my main supporter and helper with the decluttering. It would probably amuse you to know that she’s considering studying psychology when she’s finished High School, so she’s got a bit of an analytical mind.

        PS I didn’t have a problem with the stack of old board games that she also put out for decluttering, I’d earmarked a couple for decluttering in the near future and to consult the girls on the others. Dayna agreed to put back Boggle as Courtney and Adrian like to play this from time to time. Even if it did cause the Great Boggle War of 2012.

        • Moni ~ I think you daughter is looking at the right profession. I wish her luck.

          • Colleen – I’d always pegged her as a police interrogator after watching her in action with her siblings over the years, but psychology does seem to be a good fit. Now its just a case of keeping her at school long enough to enroll! Two friends have dropped out of school recently to take jobs in a supermarket and a video hire store – nothing wrong with those jobs but both kids could have gone further easily with their education – but she is buzzing over their take home pays which seems like a fortune to her even though it is only minimum wage. Teenagers. If only we could download all the life lessons we’ve learnt into their brains.

      • Moni, I’m sorry but I think this is hilarious. I know it isn’t easy but I think it is so great that Dayna felt comfortable enough to bring them out like that. I hope you let them stay in the “to go” pile.

        • Deb J – there was this moment when I realised I was acting like someone off the show Hoarders. Without the piles and piles of stuff mind you. Yes they’ve remained on the pile, although the focus of today has been getting the weekend’s freecycle listings out the door. When I get home from work I will try and figure it out and I shall report back. As much as I didn’t like the experience, I think it would be good for me to repeat the exercise in a few months time, as the main declutterer in the household, I haven’t had to answer to anyone about my decisions to keep or discard or defer a decision.

          It has been an interesting experience being on the other side of the situation – without causing you to go into a similar state – how about asking your mum to pick five things to declutter?

          • I have thought about doing that but haven’t yet. Maybe I should try that today. I will report back what happens.

    • Your daughter is a find match for you Moni. She is wise beyond her years too. I would like to try this trick with Steve. Both ways actually, he can choice five of my things he thinks I should declutter and vice versa. I know I could come up with about fifty things without even trying. I wonder what he would choose.

      • Colleen – keep us posted on how it goes. When the current lot on the out pile has been processed I may throw open the challenge to Adrian, obviously he has something in mind……and I have something of his in mind. Cackle cackle rubbing my hands with glee!

  3. I want to say a great big thank you! Thank you for helping me to reduce my stuff. Thank you for making it easy for me to leave my family in a environment that won’t overwhelm them. And thank you for helping see that I won’t need to pack a huge bag to travel overseas with. All this has been achieved over the last year.
    I only had about a months notice that I would be going overseas, as always everything else happens at the same time. The reward for decluttering is me sitting here relaxed , knowing that important documents are in one folder. The pantry isn’t overloaded with food that might expire and poison my family. Nothing is hidden or hard to find .
    Thank you 🙂

    • Amen to that!

    • Isn’t it great, Wendy F?! I know it really helps just knowing that you can be relaxed and just go. I’m happy for you.

    • Hi Wendy, thank you for the thank you. I am sure that everyone who contributes here at 365 has had a hand in helping you to let go of stuff.

      I am so glad you are feeling relaxed about heading off on your adventure and leaving the family at home to fend for themselves. I know that they are all quite capable and the experience will do them all good. Have a wonderful time.

  4. As per my above comment – if you don’t all mind me asking, how many vases do you own? I agree six is too many and I don’t get flowers very often.

    • We have a bud vase, one that will hold a few flowers and one that will hold a bouquet. If it was just me I would have none. Would just put the flowers in a glass or jar if I got some.

    • Hi Moni, I have two and they don’t get used very often either. I also have a glass fish bowl that adorns the dining table. It could be used in many ways so it will definitely be staying ~ at least until I change my mind. 😉

  5. Two more reasons:
    Awhile back I read two articles about decluttering. One described a daughter, whom, after her parents passing, described all of their belongings they left behind as a “petrie dish of their life”. Another, suggested that you don’t want to live in a home that resembles a “museum of your life”.
    Both poignant reasons to keep in our minds while we rid ourselves of the excess.

    • Interesting you should say this. I was asking my husband why he seems to have a greater attachment to mementos of his life that he seems to have to people. He said it was the historian in him. Damn history, now I know why I wasn’t keep on that subject in school. Actually I enjoy history now and visiting museum but I don’t want one in my house.

      • Men…that is a whole other subject. I’ve been married for 35 years and many things I still don’t understand. I was talking to my 31 year old daughter not long ago about how “Pinterest” is like a journal. I have one board that is dedicated to childhood favorites. Interesting that I have very few of the actual items, but just looking at the pictures that I have pinned take me on a fun trip down memory lane (without the clutter).

        • I love your Pinterest Memory Lane idea. I should create another board and move over photos of sentimental items I have decluttered over the years. It would also be fun reminisce over ones past and search the internet for photos to correspond to those memories and pin them to this board. I think I will do that. Thanks for the idea Kimberley.

    • Kimberley that’s interesting – the first time I went thru our ceiling storage area I likened it to an archaeological dig and tried to imagine what a voice-over anthropologist would have to say.

      • Moni,
        I love that expression, “an archaeological dig”. That is priceless. You are fabulous. That is exactly what my sister and I are going to have to cope with when my 84 year old mother passes. Instead of decluttering and simplifying, she just keeps buying larger homes to store it all, haha!

        • Kimberley – oh dear. I’m saying this is your mother’s situation but I watched an episode of Hoarders last week where the lady bought the house next door to store more stuff. Oh shudder. So it could be worse.

    • Kimberley, these are good. I certainly don’t want a petri dish of my life around. Ugh!

  6. I agree, there is a lot I kept just out of habit. I should get up and finally kick some clutter out the door!

  7. My happy news for today is that my parents have started decluttering. I doubt they’ll ever become dyed in the wool minimalist but I’m so happy they’re making the effort. Late last year they put down new carpet and moved everything out to the garage and realised how much stuff they had. When they moved the furniture back in they decided to leave the majority of the left over out in the garage and sort it from there. It sounds like dad is in charge of that project and he’s been making progress.

    • Moni, that’s fantastic.

      • Deb J – this was mum’s comment: I know that if anything happens to us you will just throw everything out, so we might as well do it so that you don’t throw out anything important.
        Ahhh, aren’t they sweet?

        • Oh, I wish my Mom would have that attitude.

          • Deb J – well I get the impression that their idea of decluttering and my idea of decluttering probably aren’t very close together, but its a great start.

  8. Great and challenging mini missions this week, Colleen!

  9. Today my inlaws are coming over after my husband and I get out of work and I will take the opportunity to return 3 videos to them. Also I have 2 magazines to pass on to them now that we are done with them. Over the weekend I did drop off a box at the thrift store that I filled up last week with items to donate. Our house has been fairly well decluttered and now decluttering seems to come in bursts. Maybe I won’t find anything for a few days or even a week then suddenly I find 10 or 12 things to go. We’ve more or less put the breaks on new things coming in other than groceries and such.

  10. I don’t have a lot of things, being someone who totally hate to buy stuff (whether I need it or not). However, I did make a plan I called “Months of Change” where I focus on something each month (even though if I can do something that is destined to another month, I’ll do it anyway):
    July: Month of things to give back (a few things I had to give back to some of my friends)
    August: Month of things to recycle (a few things, but mainly a huge amount of paper from my Mom that is waiting to be recycled since July/August 2012 but I don’t want to just throw them away anywhere, I have to call places that will recycle them after)
    September: Month of things to sell
    October: Month of things to throw away (I don’t have any ideas of what I would throw away on this month, but I’ll maybe find a few things)
    November: Month of things to donate
    December: Month of things to get done (mainly things I need my parents’ help to get done, but I’ll begin some projects today I think)
    January: Month of things to give another light to (that’s an idea that popped out of my mind, I’ll see what comes out after this purge).

    I’m glad you can see the overall results of your purge now that you’ll move with much less things.