Mini Mission Monday ~ 11 Aug 2014

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.

Hi readers, it is Sunday night and I am exhausted. I have sent since Friday lunch time help a friend declutter and prepare for a move on Wednesday. We have also been packing up and moving her personal items. I have to say she has been very cooperative with the decluttering and we have donated and thrown away two and a half SUV loads of stuff. Suffice to say this weeks mission will focus on some of the areas of difficulty that she faced. I am hoping most of you are past this phase but such items emerge even well into out declutter missions so I will go ahead anyway.

Monday – Declutter a few sentimental items that you have no use or love for. Giving such items away doesn’t mean you disrespect the sentiment behind the item it just means you have no need for the item itself.

Tuesday – Declutter something a loved one gave you that you don’t need and is just collection dust. This doesn’t mean you don’t love the person just not the item.

Wednesday – Declutter some items that are past their used by date. This could be make-up, lotions, perfume, medications, adhesives that have dried up, food items…

Thursday – Declutter some more of that old paperwork that builds up if you aren’t looking.

Friday – Declutter kitchen gadgets that weren’t so useful.

Saturday – Declutter something you have an overabundance of.

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. What an exciting opportunity – and hard work – to do a rapid declutter.
    While it is awesome to be almost at the ‘maintenance’ level, it was quite a heady feeling back at the early stages to take away big loads, but can’t have it both ways. Maybe I need to find someone to lend a hand to.

    • Hi Moni, the first day was gruelling but by the second day it was exciting to see the progress. I really began to enjoy it and my friend went from being very subdued on the first day to far more enthusiastic on the second when she began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could tell she was getting very proud of her ability to be rational about stuff and let it go.
      I think we probably did my first two years of decluttering in just two days.

  2. I can imagine your exhaustion, Colleen. That’s why I am glad that Mom wants to start decluttering for our move now even though we don’t know exactly when it will happen. I can name off things in all of these missions and I hope we will be able to get to each of them this week.

    • Hi Deb, it was exhausting alright but quite exciting at the same time. I didn’t expect my friend to be so willing to let go of stuff. Of course there is still work to be done but that can be at a slower pace. Except next week when I go back to help her out.

    • Deb J,
      Since you are personally decluttered, it must be just a tad easier to work with your Mom on her lifetime of clutter.
      Maybe she has just reached the point where she knows she can’t put it off any longer?

      • Kimberley, you are right. With the knowledge that we are moving for sure and to a smaller place, she knows that she has to do something.

    • Deb J – I’m probably crossing over onto the same question as Kimberley – but is your mum focusing on her own stuff or is she giving you a bit more leeway with your stuff or is it jointly owned stuff?

  3. Colleen – how did you tackle the project? Room by room? Easiest items first? Were you packing to move at the same time?

    • Hi Vicki, I’ll write post about it and post it possibly on Friday. But we both started together in the kitchen, then my friend tackled the bedroom while I took on the craft room. We decluttered lots of stuff as we went but there is plenty more to do. It was a sudden move so not much time to do it methodically. However my friend was really brave and let go of so much stuff. We move all that we packed to the new apartment which was nearby luckily so not much time wasted driving between the two locations.

  4. Colleen,
    What a great friend you are. It is always more difficult to help others with their clutter. The whole process is just so personal.
    I once suggested to a friend that was himhawing about every little thing, to pretend she was given notice that she had to move in a week. What would she take? What would she declutter? What would she be willing to pay to have moved? That did it for her. She used Moni’s “Hurricane Method”.

    By the way, we survived Hurricane Iselle. Our electricity never even went out. Amazing.

    • Kimberley – good to hear you sailed thru Iselle. We actually call them Cyclones south of the equator and although they are the same thing, Hurricane sound more devasting to me, not sure why.

      I think the Hurricane method works if the person is someone who (a) cope with the devastation and (b) needs to return to order and so therefore will battle thru the squall (chaos) towards the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other hand it generates a lot of progress in a short time.

      • I agree with your thoughts on the hurricane method. It amazes me how attached people get to their stuff and just can’t let it go when it’s time. I was just talking to my Mom the other day about how things “get/look tired”. My mom loved that. I told her it was just a nicer way of saying, “worn out”, “past its prime”. I even reminded her what my sister always says (I’ve posted before), “Everything has an expiration date, even us”.

        Isn’t it funny how the same weather phenomenon is called different names depending on where you live?
        Cyclones = Hurricanes=Typhoons, and when I lived in California, we never called Tsunami’s, Tsunami’s. We called them Tidal Waves.

        • Kimberley – I use the expression “a bit tired”, it’s a good one cause it doesn’t seem to cause offence.

          I wouldn’t use the Hurricane Method on someone naturally disorganised, my younger daughter for example would decide it was the new normal and just step over it on her way.

          • Exactly! That is what I was telling my Mom. “Tired” seems to be less offensive and a nicer way of putting it.

    • Hi Kimberley, I had been wondering how you got on. I am glad you didn’t suffer any damage. Don’t let any of those nasty weather conditions wreck the place because I will be visiting there for the first time this October. I can hardly wait.

      That was a good suggestion you made to your friend to get her to make the necessary decisions. I was pleasantly surprised that my friend was willing to be quite ruthless. She is open to the method of Trial Separation also. I will be sending her a weekly mission for some time to help with the fine tuning. She is keen to comply. We will instigate a Trial Separation box and a Donations box when I am there next week.

      • Colleen,
        Prior to moving to the islands, October was always my favorite time to visit.
        You will enjoy your stay. Most of all, I hope you enjoy our “aloha spirit”.
        And, we have lots of tourist chatchkes/knick knacks to purchase to remember your trip….just kidding 🙂

        • Ha ha Kimberley, I can assure you that transport, food, accommodation and entry fees will be the only way I will be helping the economy in lovely Hawaii. There will be no chatchkes coming home with me.

  5. Colleen, wish you could come here LOL. I watched the Living Room on Friday night and they had a declutter segment on for the whole show. There was a couple who badly needed to declutter and the wife was the problem During the show I could really relate to the wife and the question was asked at the end of the show by other people on the show if these people were horders? The answer was NO just people with A LOT OF STUFF. Sound familiar.
    It did make me look around at my home and yes I have Lot of Stuff too. But slowly I am getting rid of it and want to do a big lot by christmas( just giving myself a deadline).

    • Good for you Denise, a deadline can often be quite inspiring. We certainly had a deadline on the weekend. That was lunch time Sunday when I was leaving to come home no matter what. Then there is Wednesday when the actual move takes place. My friend seem quite relaxed when I phoned her today to see how she was feeling. Mind you she was at work but she didn’t seem in a panic to get home to get more done.

  6. Very kind of you to help your friend like that Colleen. I tried to imagine what I would keep if we were suddenly going to move. It’s a great exercise and motivates me to even more decluttering! Your Wednesday declutter mini mission is speaking to me, and the subject is paint. I recently needed a little bit of paint so went to the garage where it’s stored in cabinets. I opened a couple cans of partially used paint. One had rust in it from the lid, the other was just too old and dried out. I need to check all the others, then make a trip to a facility that let’s you dispose of hazardous waste.

    • Hi Barbara, I am glad the Wednesday’s mini mission is helpful to you. I didn’t even think of paint when I wrote it but it is a good one. My friend had lots of nail enamel that I thought would all be hard from age, but no it was all still in food condition. I actually took some home to use for craft. I have found it is really useful for changing the colour of embelishments etc. I will be seeing what I can eliminate to make room for it though. With father’s day on its way here in Australia I have plenty of crafting to do so it shouldn’t take much to free up some space.

  7. Wow – that is some amazing decluttering! I’ve got about two and a half of boxes (that 10 reams of paper come in) filled with old cards and letters. I sat down Friday and Saturday evenings while watching TV and went through them all. I have one very packed box to go to the shredders and feel like that was a pretty good accomplishment. I also found some more stuff to donate.

    • Michelle – that’s great progress. Was it one of the 10 ream boxes that you filled for the shredder? I’ve only ever seen 5 ream boxes and they’re heavy enough, I’d hate to carry a 10 ream box.

      • Yep – 10 reams! I could not believe it. When I pulled out all the boxes with the cards and letters, I was like . . . WOW. I seemed to hang on to ‘thank you’ cards as well. Good grief. 🙂

    • Well done Michelle, those sentimental items can be hard to declutter so and extra well done pat on the back for you. I have still to do this kind of fine tuning with my friend but that may be a while off yet as we still have some less than fine tuning to do first.