Mini Mission Monday ~ Someday Clutter

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.

The theme for tomorrow’s post is Someday so I thought I might as well make it the theme for the mini missions this week as well. I won’t elaborate too much on someday because I will cover that in full tomorrow. Simply put though, holding stuff, or worse still buying stuff, for someday is a major source of clutter for most homes. The mini missions will try to identify areas where this is a particular problem.

Monday – Clothing can of course be one of the most common sources of “someday” clutter. “Someday… “…I am going to be thinner…”, “…I might regain the weight I lost…”, “…I will have just the right occasion to wear this…”, “…I might get back into the workforce…” … and need these clothes. They could also be outdated by the time someday comes. Declutter a couple of items of clothing you are saving for someday.

Tuesday – Declutter a few books that you set aside years ago to read someday but you still haven’t got around to it.

Wednesday – Declutter a large item you might have in the garage, attic or basement that you have kept handy in case you will have a use for it someday. Perhaps and item of furniture, a sporting item you used to use, a restoration project…

Thursday – Declutter a recipe book or two that you only ever use one or two recipes from, while the rest you have been going to try someday.  Scan the recipes you do use and donate the book. Recipe clippings are another thing that accumulate over time while someday never seems the day to actually arrive to try them. Do yourself a favour and get your recipes from the internet in the future when you are feeling adventurous enough to give something new a try.

Friday – Get rid of a craft project you keep promising yourself you are going to finish someday. Donate it to a thrift shop as-is or find a local craft group who might be happy to take it off your hands. Learn what your habits are in the respect of finishing projects. If you have a habit of not finishing large project stick to smaller ones in the future. And also commit to not buying craft supplies that you only plan on using someday.

Saturday – If you are saving things for the kids to take off your hands someday check that the kids actually want them. If not you are free to let them go.

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

March Habit Changing Challenge

How did you go with hanging up your clothes last month, well I hope! This month the challenge is to leave your living space neat and tidy before going to bed at night. By living space I mean where your family spends their relaxation time together ~ lounge room, family room, rumpus room etc. If you have children it might be best to do the tidy up before they go to bed as they should be involved with tidying up any messes they are responsible for. No bedtime stories if they don’t clear away first might be a new rule. Then have a last whip around before the adults turn in for the night as well. Perhaps the children can also be responsible for pointing out if the adults don’t hold up your end of the bargain. Your punishment might be to have to clean up after them the next night. This will certainly help to keep you on target.

Eco Tip for the Day

Schedule one night a week to use up leftover vegetables and bits of food in your fridge and/or pantry. Stews, curries, soups and pasta dishes are a great option for this exercise of avoiding waste. My husband makes a pot of curry every Sunday immediately after we get home from doing the grocery shopping. He grabs out all the leftover veggies from the fridge before we pack away the incoming groceries. He packs up the curry in individual containers and takes it to work for lunch for the week. And no he doesn’t mind having the same thing day in day out.

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 like this bunch of mini-missions. You all are not going to believe what my mother said to me yesterday. “I wish we had a week free so we could just go from room to room and declutter.” I told her we didn’t need a week. We could take a day here and there. I’m definitely doing a happy dance.

    • Good for you and your mom, Deb J! I know from personal experience how amazing it is when somebody else gets on board the declutter train (for me, it has been my mom and my daughter – though my daughter no longer collects clutter…it is amazing).

    • Wow Deb J, good for you! It is great all you have been talking to your Mom has been taken into account by her. I had a major victory this week also, so we could do the happy dancing together! 😀

    • Woo Hoo !!!!! Deb J. Get her on to it quick smart. Start on the easiest room and make your way through the house as time permits. Maybe she just want to get it all over and done with so she can take a rest from it for a while and not have to think about it.

      • Tomorrow I hope to get her to start in the kitchen. Not the easiest room but the one where she spends the most time and she can do the decluttering even if she wants to cook something. Grin.

    • Deb J – strike while the iron is hot!

  2. Does your husband have a favorite curry recipe he follows?

    • Hi Lori, see my response to Rebecca below. He does it the cheats way with pre-made curry paste. He does use one with all natural ingredients and no preservatives though.

      • Colleen – I have a friend who makes a fabulous home-made made-from-scratch curry recipe, she has this lineup of ingredients to make it, that she doesn’t use for anything else, so a packet of pre-made curry paste is sounding good to me.

  3. How does he make the curry?

    • Hi Rebecca, he just uses a pre-made Balti curry mix and adds in all the bits and pieces of veggies left in the fridge from the week before (a little sweet potato, pumpkin, half an onion, carrots, zucchini…), . Plus a generous hand full of cauliflower, two stalks of baby bok choy, mushrooms ~ if there weren’t any of these left over ~ and two cans of butter beans. Then he just simmers them all for a couple of hours. Simple yet delicious.

      • Can I eat at your house on curry night? Just reading the list of ingredients made me hungry (and I just ate). 😀

        A curry sounds like a great way to use up veggies. And it would be a great alternative to a regular stew. Hmmm.

        • And it is a good diet choice as it is low fat and full of fibre. He fills it chocker block with veggies so he doesn’t need rice to bulk it out. Rice is full of carbs so not good for the waistline.

      • thanks for the curry tip. I am afraid I could use a bit more detail on the mix. is it powder? in a can? in the fridge section?

      • Yumm! I could eat that every day too. I can’t eat the pre-made mix due to allergies, but will experiment with making from scratch. I love sweet potatoes and that would be a great place for them too.

  4. Have you been to my house, Colleen? Because I’m feeling that you are speaking directly to me! 😉

  5. Well done Deb J and Andreia for your successes and thanks Colleen for a very inspiring post.
    Most people would have “someday” clutter to a more or less extent in any of the areas you mentioned. I used to be “more” and now I’m “less” in the book department because I made it a mission to read the books I hadn’t got around to (and then donate). My husband is banned from buying me books (unless it’s for my Kindle) and since I don’t buy or read fashion magazines any more I have more time to read the history and classics that I love. I’m working on the Recipe area too 🙂
    The best thing of all is that when you have less books you need less bookcases!

    • Megan S – yup! Less books = less bookcases = less dusting!

    • Hi Megan S, I have several boxes and other bits and pieces in my kitchen that I have been saving for my daughter when she finally gets a place of her own “someday”. If someday doesn’t happen this year all that stuff may end up at the thrift shop.

  6. Mini Mission: Clothes! Earlier in Feb I had a bit of a clothes dilemna as a result of a new health regime that I shared here.

    I went through my wardrobe carefully. Clothes that were left over from last winter that are too big, were first out. Summer clothes that were too big and were bought 2+ years prior…….were sold on trademe. Summer clothes that were bought in Nov/Dec, I also began to filter out via trademe as I was found a replacement item in the right size, brand and model also on trademe eg work shorts, black pencil skirt. I focused on the basics that would keep me going but keeping it to the minimum. There are a number of items which have just last week, crossed the line into frumpy and they’re the next items heading out the door.

    When I put my dilemna out to 365 readers, I received a lot of advice and suggestion but one reader said something that I feel was the best advice – to live in and dress the body that you have today.

    So I have stopped worrying about 12 months from now, or even next season. Clothes are easily sold or donated and just as easily replaced – in my case, all second hand to or from women who have been having the same wardrobe problem. By filtering them out during the season, I shouldn’t have a big pile to deal with at the end of the season. If they still fit me next Summer – fine – if they don’t, I will do the same thing again.

    As I will need to buy clothes in Autumn, I plan to keep it to the minimum possible, so that should I be lucky enough to go down another size, it isn’t a big job to move them out and if I stay the same size……well, I’ll see what the weather is doing then.

    • Just to clarify – when I say that I’ve stopped worrying about 12 months from now – that means, I’m not planning to hang onto clothes in case I grow back into them (perish the thought!). Why make it easy for myself to upsize again?

    • You are so right about it!!! I have been thinking about clothes a lot but I am waiting for a few things to decide what to do. You will not grow again into another size. Perish the thought!!! 😀

    • Sound logical to me especially since you are planning on replacing with secondhand.

  7. This is another post that I simply MUST print out. I’m in my attic right now (it is about 400 sq. ft. finished and used as office/craft space) and I see the decorative shelves that I will strip and refinish SOMEDAY, the vintage ladies’ desk that I will refinish and have a new top put on SOMEDAY, the quilts that I will complete SOMEDAY, the snowboards in the corner for when I take up snowboarding again SOMEDAY. You all have inspired me with your stories and I am keeping you in mind as I work my way through the process of declutting.

    I’ve mentioned I’m good with deadlines. Yesterday I bought the final items needed for my decorative wooden blocks to turn into bookends. Did a sanding and waiting for them to dry from the cleaning solution so I can do a final sand and put the poly on. I have one week left on my two-week deadline and hope to share pictures with you. I am going to either finish these projects or else I am going to let them go. AND I am not going to buy new projects until these are finish and IF I buy a new project, I will implement a deadline!! I am not going to think in terms of SOMEDAY anymore!! (ya’all are hearing my angry war cry, right? ;))

  8. I’m celebrating too! My husband just wandered into our storage closet and marveled at all the free space. The most recent thing to leave the closet was the sewing machine, which was a hot item on freecycle although I explained it was from 1969. It is good to think of it being useful to somebody else rather than sitting in my closet. I did a little squeezing and did manage to clear off the bookshelf that we didn’t quite free up last weekend, and I’m working on setting up the freecycle pickup. My goal is to read and then give away books like MeganS so I can unsqueeze the remaining books. I’ve also got 3 quilts ready to go out the door, which reduces my project stash to something reasonable again.

    All the mini missions this week are things I’ve been working on over time. It will be good to do another pass in these areas.

    • Rebecca J – well done! Its nice when the blokes notice the improvement. We had a hall cupboard that was a constant avalanche risk and that was an early project for me. Eventually I conquered it and I was so proud but didn’t expect much in the way of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ from hubby – but to my surprise for the next week everytime he walked down the hall, he’d open it and have another look.
      You’ve just reminded me to list something on freecycle, so thanks for that.

    • Hi Rebecca J! Well done! Husbands are like that, when you least expect it, they look around and praise a major decluttering. 😀

    • Well done Rebecca J. Your sewing machine wasn’t an Elna by any chance was it. I own an Elna SU which was made in the early 70’s and my mum has one from even earlier. She was a private dressmaker and the miles her machine has done would be astounding and yet the machine just keeps on keeping on as does mine. Heavy as lead though as it is made of cast iron but I doubt I will ever need another. I used it just yesterday.

      Kudos for decluttering enough to have your husband notice. And I like that you are following Megan S’s example with the books. You are making great progress and I can tell you are loving it. Good for you! ✭

      • Mine was a New Home sewing machine, also very heavy and built to last! I picked it up at a garage sale 7 years ago. I hope I don’t end up missing and replacing it, but I think I made the right choice for my lifestyle and I knew I didn’t want to move it.

        • Rebecca J – I notice you have mentioned that concern before – just out of curiosity how many times have you used yours in the last 7 years?

          I use mine Oct-Dec only for ballet concerts but never the rest of the year. Even though I can sew, I prefer to use a friend who is a seamstress for alterations as it actually gets done and it helps support a local service. The moment my youngest is finished ballet (2016 and counting down) it is so going out the door.

  9. Great mini missions this week. Plenty to keep me occupied as I do have “someday” clutter. Clothes, books and recipe books can always use another look. Although I have gotten rid of quite a bit in each category, like you always say, I find that I become more ruthless over time.
    I need to try cooking some curry dishes. I have eaten it out numerous times, but would like to give it a whirl in my own kitchen.

    • Hi Jen, I don’t mind the fact that I just keep finding things to declutter. It just mean that I am getting more ruthless. And as the kids leave home hubby and I need less stuff for ourselves.

  10. That’s a great habit change challenge. Easy, but still something that doesn’t get done here…

    • Btw: When I cooked Indian at home for the first time about 2 weeks ago, I noticed we already owned almost all the spices needed for that. So I made my own garam masala etc. grinding our spices (in the coffee mill, which is very fast and easy). Although I didn’t have one or two of about ten needed spices, the taste was quite good. For me, as I use most of the spices seperately as well (for baking, German, Swedish and Chinese dishes etc.), this produces less clutter than buying the mix.

      • Ha Sanna, I make my curry powder using a coffee grinder too. We have a coffee grinder that’s grinding bowl can be removed and put in the dishwasher. After I purchased it a bought an extra bowl for grinding spices and the like. I did this because I didn’t want to risk tainting the coffee with any residue spice fragrance. I also use it to make breadcrumbs, a little whipped cream and several other tasks.

        We used to make all out curries from scratch but then I got lazy.

  11. Mmm SOMEDAY seems to be the reason for a lot of the things in my home. I think it’s linked to the fantasy life that I’m going to live (!) which after 48 years of living this pretty good life that I have, seems somewhat unlikely. I think if I can declutter that fantasy life/person in my head, then I’ll be easier to declutter the stuff that belongs with it. For example I have four small dishes with lids for making individual portions of stews or pies. If I do have people over to eat I usually make one big pot as it’s nicer for people to choose their own portion sizes. Why do I have the dishes well that’s my fantasy hostess doing perfect dinner parties. I think she needs to go, and I’ll stick to the one big pot. This decluttering business does bring up some interesting and awkward notions of who I think I am. Dishes to the charity shop.

    • Hi Sally, sometimes it is nice to have fantasies but catering to those fantasies is not a good idea unless you are really going to start living them now. Fortunately for me my fantasy (closer to reality everyday) is downsizing and travelling. Both of which require me to get rid of stuff rather than acquire. I already have the stuff for travelling because we do that already but I travel in a minimalistic kind of way ~ out of a backpack ~ so that stuff is also in general use.

      Sometimes I think that wanting to be someone that you are not causes more than just potential clutter issues. So I say cater to who you are right now and deal with the future when it comes. Thrift shops are full of stuff you can create fantasies with so get rid of what you have now and repurchase later if you desire. And don’t let society dictate your fantasies either, make up your own.

  12. Love this post!!! I did Friday’s work this last weekend. (This one ties into Cindy’s post last week of the “shoulds”!!! ) After her talking about craft projects that become abandoned, I started going through my craft closet and unearthed some old cross stitch patterns bought 20 years ago that have never been out of the package! Also found some samplers I started that I don’t even want anymore so out they go. My local guild is having an auction this coming Saturday and everything is in the car on their way to be sold! Some other poor soul will be buying them in hopes of stitching them! Hope she has better luck! 🙂

    • Well done Kim. Someday clutter often combines with guilt to make these items even harder to let go. Guilt that we wasted money on them in the first place. But that guilt has to let go of too.