Mini Mission Monday ~ Sneaky Stuff

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.

This week’s set of mini missions is all about those things that build up until you can’t help but notice. You generally notice when you feel like the clutter is closing in on you again but you don’t understand how that happened. So I have listed some areas for you to check on and declutter if necessary.

Monday – Declutter a couple of items you have just lost interest in. Don’t be concerned about what they cost or how little they were used. Just get them out of your life if you have no use for them.

Tuesday – If you are like me and keep the odd, seemingly useful, container and then later on find they are building up and not being used then declutter a few today. Jars, plastic containers, cans, folders, plastic sleeves…

Wednesday – Sometimes we buy a new item of clothing without letting go of the items that it replaced. Items that are a little shabby. So now is a good day to let go of some of those items.

Thursday – If you have children declutter some items they have grown out of.

Friday – Declutter some entertainment items that you no longer care to enjoy. Board games, digital games, outdoor fun equipment etc

Saturday – Declutter shabby linens that have hung around too long waiting to be used as rags.

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

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Ah, Colleen, these are some good ideas. I think I have finally caught up with a lot of the things I had on my to do list so now I can go back to decluttering. My desk is beginning to look cleared and nice.

    • Good for you Deb. I have been focusing once again on my craft supplies. I am throwing together a bundle of paper for a friend of mine right now. These are papers I don’t think I will ever use for one reason or another. The goal is to liberate some space in my paper files drawers. I think I need to be even more ruthless with that though and they still seem to be too full after a year of making and selling cards. That is mostly because I find it hard to turn down the free paper a friend of mine offers. I did this weekend when I was with her though because I am acutely aware that I have too much. As for desks, there is someone in this apartment that needs to get theirs under control. I must speak to him about that.

      • I want to get my papers in order too. I have most of them cut to use for cards. I want to get the rest done and then make the cards in put them in a photo box so I can free up the drawers. That way I have the blanks made and all I have to do is embellish them to go with the event. I’m working on decluttering as much in the last two sets of craft drawers I have (they make up the “legs” of the desk) so I can get rid of them.

        • My goal is to be able to condense what is in my spare bedroom closet, which is where the bulk of my craft supplies are. I cleared a shelf a few weeks ago when we got the laser printer. It is now in the cupboard, unlike the bulky all-in-one ink jet printer. But, although I got rid of some stuff, that also caused stuff to be packed tighter than I would like in the drawers. Previously, like you, I cut down some cardstock into card size pieced but ultimately I found I had better storage for the cardstock if left in its original size. Perhaps I need to revisit that idea. I am always open to change that will suit my needs.

          • I so understand Colleen. I am being honest with myself that I am feeling like doing less and less with card making and other things like that. I have other places I want to put my energy. Plus I am finding that there are fewer and fewer people I am sending cards. Everyone is moving to sending ecards and if that is what they want to send then I will send the same back if I send at all. There are so many people who are no longer sending anything at all. I have decided to move on to other things so most of my craft stuff will be given away.

  2. This is an Excellant set of mini missions this week!

  3. Thanks Moni. I hope there is some inspiration among them to help you declutter a few things too. I need no inspiration at the moment as, living in a small place, it is really obvious when things start building up. It is usually creative stuff with Steve and I which comes in cheap or free and sometimes settles rather than gets used. I identify these things on a regular basis and send them on the way but I am not sure Steve is so diligent about that. The stuff soon begins to get on my nerves. So we might need to sit down this weekend and work out what can go.

  4. I feel a little chuffed after a visit to Ikea last week . I managed to get out of there with only a small LED light to attach to the shelf in my appliance cupboard. Admittedly I am 700 kilometers from home and will be flying back on Wednesday, but I did not feel the need to purchase anything.
    I will probably have a heap of stuff to declutter when I arrive home . The fridge is usually packed with out of date stuff and those coffee jars will need culling.
    It is always nice to go home after time away and look at my home with fresh eyes.

    • Hi Wendy, well done with the Ikea shopping, or lack there of. I also have a similar story. The craft show I went to on the weekend didn’t yield a lot of interest either. A couple of very small cutting dies and a 5 embossing folders, none of which take up much room but add variety to my crafting styles. I have already found a few things to declutter in their place.

      We will have to catch up for a chat when you get home.

  5. Our house is starting to look and feel lighter. I’m have scanned the last batch of slides and once they are organized and labelled I will be finished. Two large boxes culled down to a box of ‘keepers’ that will fit in the palm of my hand.

    Today Ian asked if I could move the flour bins to a higher drawer so he doesn’t have to bend so far. That resulted in a revamp of the kitchen drawers. With changes to our diet I no longer bake sweet goods so the nuts and candied ginger, etc. will be used in cooking or as snacks or given away. We won’t be moving for a number of months yet but we are in use-it-up mode and the cupboards are starting to look a bit Mother Hubbard-y now.

    • Hi Wendy B, I am glad your decluttering is going well. How is Ian’s back holding up?
      I also don’t bake much any more. Too hard to keep it off the waste line as one gets older. Nuts are still a staple though. One has to have a little something to snack on sometimes. My pantry is a lot smaller these days and that is enough room for me. Don’t you love a good use it up challenge.

      • He is holding on for surgery though there’s a fly in the ointment (in the form of a minor heart attack which took everyone by surprise) which forces a delay. We’re glad that the decision to downsize from this large property was made BEFORE the heart attack so it feels more like moving forward than being forced to give up. He’s really excited about the new house and I’m really excited about the declutter deadline. Nothing like the prospect of having to pack and move something (yet again!) to sway the decision to clear the decks. We’ve found a taker for HIS old camera stuff, a large woodworking machine and now we’re working on the cabinet sewing machine. It’s all good. W

        • Hi Wendy, I think Ian just likes attention. 😉 I do hope he keeps well in the future and this next operation is the key to better quality of life where that back is concerned. Backs sure are a difficult thing to get right once they are damaged.
          I am so glad for you that this move has forced some serious decluttering. I know that is what you always wanted.

  6. Regarding Wednesday’s mini-mission. When I have clothes that I deem not good enough to donate, I do one of two things. If they are cotton (like t-shirts), I cut them up and use them for rags. If not, I wear them one more time around the house, working in the garden, and throw them in the garbage (we don’t have textile recycling available, yet) instead of the wash. It’s a win-win. If you travel, you can also save some of these types of clothes (under garments as well) to wear before your trip and then toss rather than coming home to laundry. I do this with towels that have seen better days for the day we are leaving on our trip. We can shower, do dishes, etc. and the towels go in the garbage. No laundry waiting at home.

    • These are some great tips Kimberley, thank you.

      • You are so welcome, Amelia. Love the sharing of ideas with the other 365’ers 🙂
        I used to even bring outfits that were destined for decluttering on trips wearing and tossing as I went. I still do, but to a much lesser extent, because years ago, I realized that vacation/holiday etc., is where we go to rejuvenate and refresh our spirit, so I am much more selective in what I bring on vacations that would be tossed.

    • Clever thinking Kimberley. I took some old t-shirts on vacation with me the last time I went. I can’t remember what I discarded but I know I didn’t come home with all I left with. I have never done the towel thing though. I will keep that idea in mind.

      • Colleen,
        I have one section of a shelf with a cute tag (I’m in to eye candy) that says, Toss Towels. I keep enough for a two day supply including kitchen and hand towels. They also come in handy if you have an extended or surprise power outage that prevents you from laundering.

  7. Hi, Colleen, nice set of missions for everyone to play clutter cop this week. Regarding Tuesday’s items, I set limits on the items that are allowed to stay. For example, I repurpose glass coffee jars to use in the kitchen and I only keep two extra jars at any one time, so that I do not have to keep eliminating any excess. It helps to prevent s(t)uffocation in our home. If I ever need more than two at the same time, I’ll deal with it as and if it happens.

    • “s(t)uffocation” – love it!

    • Hi Nicole V, that is pretty much what I do as well. Some of the jars I take to the thrift shop for filling with buttons, beads and things.
      I think we will have to appoint you as the main contributor and editor of the 365 Less Thing dictionary. You can now add stuffocation, the verbs 365 and potato. 😆

      • LOL, Colleen! You give me too much credit. James Wallman’s book got published before mine did 😉 and Melanie and Kayote gave us those delightful verbifications.

        Btw, did you ever imagine, when you first began your blog, that things would turn out the way they did?

        I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: Thank you for all the hard work that you put into your blog. I enjoy the community’s comments as well, and you have no idea how many times I’ve smiled at the “Colleenisms”. 🙂

  8. Hi, Laura. There’s a book by James Wallman called “Stuffocation: Living More With Less”. I vote we get Moni to read it and give us another excellent book review. 😉

  9. I read that book! It’s how we got to be a throw away society, what’s happening with the minimalist movement & proposes a third option of experimentalist. It proposes a new brighter future & how to get there. Very good book. I’d give it 5 stars

  10. Fun comments. I love Nicole V’s s(t)uffocation, what a perfect phrase. I look forward to Moni’s review.

  11. Great mini-missions this week, Colleen! I have clothes that my son has outgrown, so I’ll be donating those to Goodwill. My daughter has outgrown clothes too. Those will be going to a single mom I know who has 3 daughters who might be able to wear them. It feels good to help others when they need things.

    Update on my magazine-a-holic ways: I have not bought a magazine since you challenged me to stop buying them. Woohoo! It’s been hard to not throw one on the checkout counter, because I used to do it so often and never thought anything of it. Now, I remind myself that I will not buy one. The money I would have spent on magazines can go towards the purchase of a bicycle or pay for water aerobics classes to help me with my physical therapy.

    I did come up with a good solution though. My library has a lot of magazines, so I just check out the ones from recent months that look interesting, bring them home, put them in my magazine bin, and have magzines to read. I return them after 3 weeks and then I can check out more. Win-win! I don’t spend money and I don’t have to store them or trash them!

    Love the new words appearing here – sock potato and stuffocation!

    • Toni, it is so nice to give clothing away to children in the family. It really is win-win and you get to see how it benefits everyone. My two nephews are just a size down from my boys so when they come from out of state to visit the clothes fit perfectly with a little room to grow. And we have the same taste in clothes. We used to donate everything they outgrew but now we save it for them.

  12. We are getting another teenager to live with us for an undetermined period of time, due to a campus situation. The girl in question is my daughter’s study partner and needs somewhere to go until she finds something a bit more permanent. So we are setting up a bed and a set of drawers in the garage (she offered to sleep on an airbed) and because I believe in making things comfortable for both host and guest, Adrian is constructing a sort of temporary L shaped frame to form a capsule space for her. We still get use of our garage, she gets a bit of privacy.

    Now you’re all probably having a wee bit of a giggle because I’m not quiet about my ultimate goal to have an empty garage and fewer teenagers in the household, and in one short nod of the head, I have taken a definate step backwards.

    On the upside, she is from a different part of the country and a different climate, so my daughter’s told her not to buy new clothes, we’ll all have a clear out and she can have first dibbs on that. Its not decluttering per se, but we’ll claim recycling and assume that she’ll take them with her when she finds something more permanent.

    So what does this mean for me as a 365er? I’ve been given the hard word. My husband pointed to the two storage bins of photos and albums sitting on the garage right where the capsule room is going to go and told me that I had to ‘do’ something with them. Apparently they make the garage look cluttered (he obviously doesn’t recall the whole garage floor used to be full of stacked boxes and stuff) and what must the neighbours think when we put the roller door up? I think that the neighbours are probably impressed. Admittedly the bins of photos are looking a bit rummaged thru at the moment, mainly because I had to rummage thru to find a particular album. So I now begin the final frontier of decluttering: photos.

    • You guys are awesome for doing that, Moni. It says a a lot about your decluttering efforts as well. I know, bringing my mother in to live with us in our house for two years, and having lived in my in-laws house here for three years now, (two and half years with them here), it can be stretch to figure out everything. And to sacrifice privacy to some extent. Thankfully even thought MIL is a cluttering pack rat who doesn’t clean, she let us move right in and organize/clean and remodel her home. I think she was so relieved! She even donated a few loads of things in ’12 and ’13 when she saw me downsizing to fit our once minimalist lot into a new, smaller space.
      Some day there will be no teenagers. But seriously, what a kind and generous thing for you and your family to do.

    • I’m proud of you that you are doing this and that you are aware that things aren’t exactlly where you want them to be. You husband needs to remember all that has gone on so far.

    • Moni,
      I have always believed that there is a reason people come into our lives. Either they are meant to teach us something, or we are meant to teach them something. How wonderful it is that you and your ‘ohana (family) are opening your home. One thing I know for sure, you will all be blessed for your kindness.

  13. Hi Colleen, I recently discovered your site and love it. So I wanted to come by and let you know that I have started my own decluttering plan following your guidelines. Just on a larger scale because I have TONS of stuff I want gone quickly!
    Today is Day One for me and like you, am am blogging about it. Thought you might be interested in checking my blog out since I credited you with the idea 🙂

    • Hi Catherine, I left a comment on your blog so I won’t repeat myself here except to say again, good luck with your decluttering journey. And keep up blogging about it. Announcing your intentions to the world will help keep you on track. It sure worked for me.