Mini Mission Monday ~ Recycling

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.

When beginning this post I didn’t have a theme so I thought I would just begin making up random missions. However the very first mission yielded me a theme so I ran with it in the hope I could come up with six missions to match. As it turned out this was an easy set of missions to come up with. Good luck finding your examples of these and happy decluttering.

Monday – Declutter, by recycling, some old magazines that you no longer reference. I don’t have this problem because I find magazines to be a complete waste of money these days. You can read about that in a later post this week.

Tuesday – Declutter, by recycling,  some glass bottles or jars that you thought might come in useful some day. I found several of these building up in one of my upper kitchen cupboards last week.

Wednesday – Declutter, by recycling, some old plastic containers you kept aside for storage but find they are building up over time and you now have too many. This used to be a mission I carried out on a regular basis but I don’t seem to buy as much takeout anymore so the containers get used until the wear out.

Thursday – Declutter, by recycling, packaging materials that you haven’t got around to using for a long time. My hubby took care of this mission last weekend.

Friday – Declutter, by recycling old plastic plant pots. I recycled a few of these last week.

Saturday – Declutter, by recycling, old papers from your filing system or keepsake box that no longer need to be kept. Be ruthless about this because paper is one of the most insidious kinds of clutter that can be a pain to deal with if you don’t stay on top of the task by eliminating on a regular basis.

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

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. These are great missions. We must be on the same track, lol.
    Yesterday I recycled 6 catalogs, since I don’t get any magazines any more. Over the holidays I received a lot of catalogs, down to one left that I need to take out the pages I want to save. I want to save some floral arrangement ideas for future use.

    Besides the magazines, I recycled an 8 year old laptop (minus hard drive) yesterday.
    Now on to the rest of the missions.

    • Hi Calla, have you checked to see if you can access those catalogue pages online and then save them in a Pinterest account of the like. Easier to access and index than saving paper.

      • I have never ordered anything from them or requested a catalog, so I’m assuming someone sold my name to them. This is my on going struggle with my junk mail and a now deceased friend that used my address.

        I’ll check Pinterest…good idea Colleen!

        • Calla, I’m not sure where you live, but in the US you can take your name off the junk mail / catalog list online. I don’t remember the website, but I’ll look it up for you if you are interested. It worked great for me several years ago.

          • Thanks for the offer Melanie. I have used it and it has reduced my junk mail by 2/3. I have even called the companies and it hasn’t helped at all. I’m hoping that by not ordering anything that my name will come off. I live in the US, and since it has my name on it the Post Office has to deliver it.

        • Hi Calla, I get email junk mail because I bought something from China on ebay. At least that is simple to divert and it doesn’t waste paper.

  2. I finally tackled the box of shredding-I am mixing it with coffee grounds from the local university to use as mulch. No one is going to reassemble my records after they are shredded, stained, and the worms eat them! Shredded paper doesn’t recycle as well, so I was glad to find a different way to use them. We’ll see in the spring how effective the mix is at keeping the weed trees from growing.

    I’m almost out of paper to shred though, so it’s time to tackle the last filing cabinet because I’m not out of coffee grounds!

    • Hi Kayote, I recycle my shredded paper by putting it in paper shopping bags (that usually a friend gives me). That way they are contained but the packaging can also be recycled. I love what you are doing with yours though. Good luck with that last filing cabinet. I am glad so say I no longer have need of a filing cabinet. We have minimised out filing to the point where a small hanging file box is all we need.

      • Wow Colleen, how did you manage to end up with just a small hanging file? Did you scan the other papers before you got rid of them?

        • Hi Katherine, my husband took care of it but yes. And now we pay most bills online so no paper involved. Every so often I go through the file to see if there are any manuals or warranty papers that are no longer required. The folder with our important papers is in a drawer by the door in case of emergencies. Also in Australia it is fine to just keep digital copies of tax related paper these days. Not that we have ever been audited.

        • Katherine – I also went from a filing cabinet to an accordion file. Yes some stuff was scanned but a lot of what was in my filing cabinet wasn’t necessary or out of date. Just one folder at a time. Like Colleen many of my bills arrive by email, what doesn’t gets scanned, my husband likes this arrangement better if he’s looking for a receipt or copy of an invoice he just has to scroll thru a folder under My Docs (I file by store name, dash, month date, description ie ‘Briscoes – March 20 Frying Pans’ so that it’s easy to find (in NZ we actually put the date the other way around but I find month/day files better electronically) and I start a new folder under My Docs each year. Very simple.

  3. Good mini missions, but I’m on top of these areas. However I’ve got plenty to get on with elsewhere, our gardens need a bit of maintenance and I’ve got a couple of garden statues that need cleaning up and listing on Trademe, plus we were given some Kiwifruit bins when we had plans to plant a raised garden, but they’ve sat empty so time for them to go too.

    • That sounds like a good list of alternate mission to me Moni. And they will make a greater visual impact. Thanks for the vase question last week Moni and it alerted me to the fact that the jars will building up in my cupboard. They have already been put in the recycling.

      • Colleen – Adrian and I try to go around the house twice a year and write a list of items which need maintenance or professional attention, or areas which could benefit from some sort of improvement. We’re hoping that by doing this when the time comes to sell our house that it isn’t a huge deal to have it ready for the market. It is interesting what one person will pick up on that the other doesn’t notice. We’re dealing with the outside while the weather is still good but we also give it a spruce up in Spring.

        Adrian has also asked if we could sell or give away two rustic style bench seats made from slabs of timber that belonged to our last bbq table. I like them but they are surplus and hopefully the number of teen gatherings at our place will drop off this year. The hold up is that one of the benches has been used to stack kindling on, back when Adrian cut down a couple of trees and its taken longer than expected to get thru it.

        RE: Vases – I will be hosting an event in May and after that I will give away three vases, its just now a case of deciding which one will stay.

        • Moni, speaking of vases, I have decluttered so many and those that are left are all in one single location. I love that when hubby does buy flowers, he gets a bundle from the store and knows exactly where to go for a vase. 😉 I tell him that flowers are lovely, but I don’t need/want any more vases.

        • Steve and I have been home owners for 25 years now. Until this apartment, the third home we have owned, this is the first one we have lived in. The outside maintenance is something we don’t have to deal with and aside from the potted plants on the balcony there is no gardening to be done. This suits us perfectly. That just leaves the inside which is minimal and only five years old so not much to do there either yet. But like you we will keep up with it as things show up that need repairing so it doesn’t become one huge hassle at any point.

          Good for you deciding to declutter those vases.

  4. Excellent mini missions. Believe it or not, I still have actual VHS tapes and no functioning VHS player. The one place I found locally to recycle does charge a small fee, but the tapes are beside the door, ready to head out. As for magazines, I stopped subscribing to the monthly home decorating or cooking ones, but I do get Mother Earth News which is every two months. If I were to buy it in the store, it is $5.99 an issue, but the subscription for 6 issues a year is only $16.95, so I’m ok with this. Last week, I recycled some plastic containers, so all good there.

    • Good for you Michelle. I was cured of subscribing to magazines when I returned to Australia because the savings for subscribing are so minimal that it isn’t worth the effort. I had been spoiled for so long in the US. The only magazines I get now is when someone hands one on to me and that soon gets handed on again or put in the recycling. I find that I can source everything I could possibly want to read about or look at on the internet. Pinterest is one of my favourite places to browse.

    • Michelle,
      You can give your VHS tapes to a Charity Shop. Someone might want them, even for Crafts. Mine are all gone, thank goodness.

  5. I have a box of house magazines ready to go to the thrift shop. The book case they lived in is too big and dust catching , so I intend to sell it on Gumtree. It was a hard decision to part with these magazines but I can get a digital subscription if I want to.
    I have a confession to make , even the digital subscription I have on my iPad is rarely looked at. Pinterest has spoilt me . I can browse the images anytime.
    I also have three spools of rewritable DVDs and stack of music CDs that never get listened too . Hubby is on board with decluttering which helps immensely.
    I have some kitchen stuff for a cousin , her son is going to Uni in another city and will be flatting with a friend and they need ‘stuff’.
    Took the old bathtub and an outdoor umbrella to the metal merchants on the weekend.
    I just have some timber that would make great firewood to recycle .

  6. I have a confession, Pinterest confuses me. You “pin” things that you like and there are instructions how to do the thing (like make a meal or do a craft?)? Can you access a particular thing at any time, such as, maybe months ago, you “pinned” a pasta recipe and then later you want to find it? Is there an organizational system with this? I don’t get it. Can someone explain this site for me? Thank you!

    • Hi Michelle, you would probable do better to Google How to Use Pinterest than me try to explain it to you 🙂 plus they have you tube videos .

    • Hi Michelle, it is quite simple. You create boards which are separate files to put Pins of different subjects. Take a look at my Pinterest Page ( Colleen Madsen) and you will see what I mean. When you pin something you have the opportunity to write a description where you can include keywords that will make it easy to find later on. At this point you choose a board to pin it too. Late when you want to find something on that board, just open it up and do a page search (command F) and use keywords to find what your are looking for. Not sure if that makes sense to you but it works for me. I even split up boards if they get too full and can be split into different categories. I have just done this with my recipes.

  7. Hi, Colleen. It can be difficult to resist the siren call of magazines, with their glossy photos and the lure of interesting articles. I get my fix from the library and online. I once had “intentional magazine bloat” for term papers that I planned to do. I was glad to send them packing after that though. A couple of magazines around the house can be nice, stacks of them though, not so much. And even if I come across an article that seems really great to me at that point in time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to keep it forever. I tell myself that I do not want to create a folder of clippings that I’ll eventually have to purge.

    • Hi Nicole, having done the old clippings folder in the past I am glad I purged what I had and learned to resist ever doing it again. When I started decluttering I had folders and folders full of papercrafting magazines. Now I own only a couple of my favourite instruction book and no magazines. I have no problem resisting buying them because they are so expensive, I hate the wasted paper and they are mostly full of ads. Problem solved.

  8. Okay, I don’t have any of these things……EXCEPT for the storage containers. I could open a store. 🙂 In my defense, I move a lot, and every living situation has a different configuration. For example, before living in this house we lived on our sailboat. So we had a 5×10 storage unit where we kept our stuff, mostly in containers. So I keep them, re-use them, and hoard them when I find really good ones. But I pledge to get rid of them by the end of the year if they are not in use. At the moment, they are at least all together in a spare room, not cluttering up the rest of the house.

    Today I 365’d a cake pan that I don’t use. I have a smaller one that I bake brownies in, but I never make cakes. So it’s out. I also got rid of a small wine/bottle opener that I got while traveling a couple of years ago. I needed it for that trip, but I don’t need another one at home. I also got rid of the little cook-booklet that came with our grill. We don’t need it… husband knows how to grill.

    At this rate, my house will be empty by the end of the year. Woohoo! 🙂 Have a great week, everyone!

    • You are really on a roll there Melanie. Good for you. I also had lots of storage containers, and i mean big ones, before I began decluttering. They were mostly full too. I still have a few for storing things in the garage and one for offseason clothes in the top of my closet but aside from that they are all gone. I sill have lots of tiny ones for storing craft supplies but as those supplies dwindle the containers are also sent on there way. And my kitchen storage is down to a minimum as well. Once upon a time I couldn’t get enough of them, but I am so past that phase in my life. Yay, freedom.

  9. I can definitely do the mini mission on magazines! I am regularly gifted several on the basis that I read them and pass them on or recycle them. I’m just really far behind on reading them 🙁
    And the plastic pots can finally go since we replanted a bunch of plants which were in pots. Either they’ll go back to the person who loaned them to me or be recycled. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hi Willow, those magazines have become aspirational clutter. Best to write them off as “to busy to manage” this time around and send them on their way. I do this with craft supplies sometimes, usually things I receive for free. If I haven’t found a use for them within a reasonable period of time I consider them aspirational clutter and send them on their way. It is only a small load off my mind but you might be surprised as to how much every little load adds up. And I know you are a busy woman, especially now with the new house and all. So do yourself a favour.

  10. Hi Colleen,

    Today I went through my (non-valuable, mostly pennies) “coin collection” and kept only the coins dated prior to 1990. The others, including the “state quarters”, have been added to general household funds. That effort will eliminate 2 small divided section storage boxes.

    Not ready to give up catalogs yet, I’m working on my mental habits LOL… but I only have 2 or 3 old magazines and only because I really love the colorful photos in them… I don’t have any subscriptions to worry about 🙂

    I put a book in my car to pass along to a coworker tomorrow…

    An old Coach purse is going into my maybe donate pile… I like it, but it hasn’t seen any recent use.

    My best friend took my childhood dollhouse, said she will clean and fix it up and try to sell it. If it sells, she will give me the proceeds (I didn’t ask her to but she is generous that way). She also took a vintage John Wanamaker coat that I’ve been dithering about and will try to sell it, give me any proceeds. I wasn’t trying to hold onto it, just didn’t know how to dispose of it since it has monetary value (style, satin lining, fur collar, crepe fabric). Still have 8 coats to think about… One is the “ratty” one that I wear constantly (and have recently gotten 3 compliments on LOL), the others are of various weights and purpose. I need to think about the garment bag that held the vintage coat, too. Might wipe it down and donate it.

    Gave my best friend all my packing materials since she sells on eBay.

    I was going to donate a glass topped decorative jar but when I asked my daughter about it she suggested putting the sea salt & scooper in that instead of the plain old jar it came in. It does look a lot nicer. So I recycled the plain jar.

    Since our recycling gets picked up every week, I check our plastic containers regularly. We keep a stash of Fage yogurt containers w/ lids because they are great for a serving of rice or a cut lemon or leftover bean dip. But sometimes the stash starts to get out of hand because we eat a lot of that yogurt!

    I gave our daughter a nudge about a box of diaper pail liners I found on our porch today. She had told me some time ago that she got rid of the diaper pail. She says she will ask a friend if she can use them. I know that I will have to check with her periodically to make this happen 🙂

    I tore all the “hard” Sudoku puzzles out of the giant book, to work on at my leisure. I gave the book to my husband so he can try the “medium” puzzles. If he likes working them, I will keep the book until he finishes them, then donate the “easy” ones remaining. If he doesn’t like the medium puzzles, the book will go as is.

    I brought home 2 cardboard boxes from work for my next donation… That’s all for now, thanks for the motivation! 🙂