Mini Mission Monday ~ Electrify or Simplify

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.

This week the mini missions have an eco friendly twist to them. A combination of events lead to this weeks missions ~ 1.) Reading Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, 2.) Doing an inventory of the contents of my kitchen cupboards, 3.) Filing my toe nails and 4.) Making an apple pie. So this week’s missions centre around assessing the electric items (whether mains or battery) in our homes that may, or may not, be the time savers we expected they would be, or even simplify the tasks they are intended for. I am not suggesting all these things are useless, I own several that I am unlikely to part with. I have also parted with several in the past the proved not so useful to me. Just for fun I will highlight in bold the items I once but no longer own and tell you what I do own in each category.

Monday – Declutter electric grooming items that aren’t that useful to you. Suggestions ~ Manicure tools, hair removal tools, lighted make-up mirror, foot soaking bath, electric toothbrush, teeth water pick, face scrubbing brushes, hair straightener, curling wand or crimper, blow dryer, heated curlers etc.. In my home there currently is, an hair trimmer that may be on its way out, a make-up mirror as mentioned here but with the cord cut off because I never did like the lamp, a hair straightener which I do use, a blow dryer which I rarely use, and my husband has an electric razor that he uses daily.

Tuesday -Declutter electric cleaning tools that haven’t proved all that effective, are an indulgence or are simply unnecessary. Suggestions ~ Steam mop, jewellery cleaner, home scrubbing tool, steam cleaner, floor buffer, leaf blower, high pressure water cleaner, dust buster, robot vacuum cleaner etc. . I currently own only the usual items, a washing machine, one vacuum cleaner, a dryer and a dishwasher. Aside from the robot vacuum cleaner that I did love and the dustbuster, both of which I now happily manage without, I did not find any of the other gadgets highlighted all that useful and some not effective at all. I did try a steam cleaner to determine how effective it was but found it wanting.

Wednesday - Declutter electric kitchen tools that aren’t that useful to you. Suggestions ~ Grater, food processor, blender, mixer, juicer, coffee machine, coffee grinder, can opener, pepper grinder, bread machine, ice-cream maker, donut cooker, popcorn machine, panini press… this list could go on forever. After going through my kitchen last week I have found that I have the usual suspects ~ toaster and kettle ~ plus I also have a hand blender with one accessory, a coffee grinder and a panini press. All these items are used regularly enough to be safe from decluttering for now. 

Thursday - Declutter electric garage or craft tools that aren’t useful enough to warrant keeping. I won’t make a list of these as they are so many and varied. 

Friday - Declutter electric entertainment devices that aren’t that useful to you. Suggestions ~ Outdated games consoles, old stereo equipment, superseded iPods, old computer equipment, electronic photo frames, slide projector, video player, second, third or forth TV… . We now own one TV, an iPod dock, computers that are all in use ( a laptop, a desktop and an iPad) 

Saturday - Declutter exercise equipment, that has an electronic component, that isn’t being used. Treadmill, exercise bike, rowing machine, heart rate monitors, pedometers… What do I have in the way of exercise equipment now? The footpath, a pair of walking shoes and forgetfulness combined with an internal staircase. :lol: 

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

Do everything you can to evaluate seemingly useful powered gadgets before buying them. Sometimes they are better at wasting electricity than they are at living up to the hype of their marketing.

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 fully own and embrace some sentimental clutter. An example is my 86 year old mother’s childhood tea set. It was carefully wrapped up in a shoebox and stored in a kitchen cabinet. I was searching for something to declutter when I came upon it. Because of my ongoing decluttering, which you always inspire, I have some empty cabinet shelves. This morning I unpacked that tea set and displayed it on one of those shelves. Now when I open the cabinet, I get a happy image of my mother as a child playing with that tea set. It adds no visual clutter and won’t need to be frequently dusted. It is beautiful, valuable, and functions to brighten my day. Thank you for your wonderful inspiration.

    • That is lovely Teri, I am pleased for you. And funny you should mention just such an item. My mother has a beautiful Royal Winton breakfast tea set that has sat in her china cabinet for as long as I can remember. She decided some time back that she was going to experience the joy of passing on the beautiful contents of this cabin to her loved ones now rather than have it happen when she was gone from the world. When she asked my daughter what she would like, she chose the breakfast tea set. My parents came to visit two weeks ago and brought it with them to give to her. I stumbled upon a similar set in an antique shop last week with a price tag of $1250. Yikes! I suppose it is just as well she has it on display and enjoys looking at it because, with a price tag like that, she may not actually be game to use it. I will encourage her to do so though unless of course she is just happy to drink in the beauty of it and knowing that it was given to her by her much loved Mamma.

  2. MotherLodeBeth

    Back in 2003 I bought Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter with Feng and then her book Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui: Learn the Art of Space Clearing and Bring New Energy into Your Life which is not a religious book but one about finding peace with less stuff.
    She really got me started back then on getting into a less is more lifestyle. Something as simple as owning a VitaMix rather than a blender, mixer, and food processor which meant the VitaMix gave me more counter space and did the job of 3-4 machines.Or going with all wood floors which meant no need for a vaccum cleaner and carpet cleaner to keep carpet clean.
    Then I got a small French armoire and downsized my clothes ala Audrey Hepburn/Steve Jobs mode. Now the clothes I have I actually wear.
    Even simplified my eating choices, and became more French or Japanese (take your pick) which means I eat smaller servings, eat simplier meals and am overall healthier.
    So appreciate and love what you write Ms Madsen.

    • MotherLodeBeth

      Wanted to note that our son was more to be neat. Its gentic (laughing). At age two he would get so upset if the few toys he had were not lined up neatly, or his diapers not stacked in a neat row of four each. As a teen ager you could eat of his floor he kept it so clean. Books were lined up according to the colour of the book jacket. Nope not OCD, just very Zen in how he liked things. Even now as an adult.

    • Hi MotherLodeBeth and welcome to 365Less Things. I am really enjoying Karen’s book. I only read it here and there as I have the time and it is inspiring lots of my blog posts. It sounds like you certainly took some very good advice from her two books in order to get your place streamlines. Good for you.

      In response to your second comment. My son was a little that way when he was little and that never changed really but he was no wear near as organised as your son. You lucky thing. My daughter didn’t get the clean gene from me at all. Although I think she might finally be improving with age.

  3. Hello ladies, good to be back at the computer and reading Colleen’s posts after our house move! It has been a long and tiring 5 weeks “from contract to closing”! I counted my blessings many times, thinking about how much stuff was gotten rid of BEFORE the move, thanks to the tips at “365 less things”! I learned many things from that move! 🙂 I read over the mini missions this week and have already done some of them during my unpacking. Two I can recall are: An electric razor my husband couldn’t turn on (thrown away) and a white noise sound machine that was no longer needed (in a yard sale box for the end of the summer sale)! We are out in the country so no road noise to wake us in the wee hours of the night. A TV was sold at our yard sale before the move, also. An extra juicer is being sold this week to my in-law’s who should have bought it from their neighbor’s yard sale before we did. Now theirs needs replacing! As for the eco tip, my husband now has raised garden beds at the new house and mentioned how a mini roto-tiller would work in them but then thought how we are no longer a short walk from the small engine repair guy and that a pitch fork and spade would turn the soil just as easily!!! Major win! He is starting to think like I am! We are both getting a charge out of seeing how we can repurpose something we already have to do what we need. We make a game out of it! As for the previous post from Cindy a few days ago on paying down your mortgage… husband and I just paid CASH for our second home in a row! It is an incredible feeling! We had to witness the young couple buying our home sign page after page for their bank/mortgage company. We could tell the reality of it hit home for them. Especially, once they knew we could pay cash for ours and sign very little……For those of you working toward that goal, keep at it! It will be the best thing you could ever spend your money on! 🙂

    • Kim, congratulations on surviving the move. Glad your hubby is getting on the decluttering kick. Not only will a pitch fork and spade work just fine they will give him a good workout and i’m all for “killing two birds with one stone” as they say. Good job.

    • I am glad the move went well for you Kim. I am in for one myself at the end of the year and am really looking forward to the experience because it should be so much faster than the last several. I am not looking forward to leaving my friends and family behind but such is life.

      Well done being able to pay cash for you homes. That is impressive.

    • Hi Kim, happy new hoose. WRT the raised beds. – have you thought of ‘no dig’ gardening? I’ve been using it now for the last few years- it’s great.

  4. SInce our temps have been HOT (122.4 yesterday) I am doing only what I can do in the house. I had these plans to get back in the carport shed and get some more things out of there. Will have to put them off until Fall. Don’t have much left in the house to get rid of. A couple of closets in Mom’s bedroom and bath and a couple of small areas in the kitchen. This place is really looking good. All I can say is that I am happy dancing. I’m sure I will see more things as time goes by but haven’t yet.

    • Deb J – heck that is hot, I had to google a convertor as we use celsius – today is our nicest day in about a month and we are at 42.8 degrees F or 6 degrees C, however, the weather prediction is that we will climb to 16C or 60.8 F today. Am surprised you managed to get that much done in those kind of temperatures!

      • I keep forgetting to convery it for those who use celcius. Yes, it is hot. If we didn’t have ait conditioning and fans we would melt. I try to not go outside much. Just going to church and back today made me a little sick. That’s what the heat does to me–makes me nauseous and my body have more pain. This is the time of year when you don’t want to cook or bake but just eat cold stuff.

        • Deb J – where I live Summer heat gets into the late 20’s and on rare occasions the early 30’s, so around 84-87F and that’s hot enough for me to decide we’re eating salads and cooking on the bbq.

          • I’d love it if that was our high temps. With our high temps we also get lots of wildfires. We just lost 19 firefighters yesterday (18 from one team) in a wildfire in central Arizona.

    • Hi Deb J, the awful heat has now had tragic results with, I believe, 19 fire fighters killed fighting wild fire in Arizona. That is terribly sad and my heart goes out to their families.

      Stay inside my friend and take it easy in that heat.

      • Yes! 18 of them were from the same team and one of those was a relative for friends of ours. It’s hard to get your minid around. Your heart just hurts and wants to make it not so.

  5. My exercise bike takes pride of place in the lounge room, I just forget to ride it 🙁
    I have a coffee maker from Aldi, one that uses pods. After the first couple of months of daily use, it now sits idle on the bench top. I tried putting it in the cupboard a month back , but there was a protest from one family member . I think I can slip it away this week and no one would notice.
    I have a love /hate relationship with the bathroom scales, who happen to live in the kitchen. I like to check my weight , but they annoy me sitting on the floor. I mention them because ours takes a battery and has a digital screen, so they are sort of electric. Maybe I should put them in the cupboard too , producing them only occasionally . Yes , I will do that.
    I will mark the days on the calendar that I use the exercise bike. If I use it less than 3 times a week, I will consider decluttering it. (I honestly need it to Declutter excess kilos) .

    • Wendy F – have you thought about putting your scales in the bathroom? I find that weighing myself daily, the same time each day has been quite the motivator for decluttering excess kilos. I keep my daily chart in the drawer of the vanity and along with a healthy eating plan and some practical suggestions, I have under 1 kilo until I hit goal weight.

      • I would if there was a dry, free place to put them in the bathroom. Our bathroom is small and well used by the five of us!

        • My scale lives in the kitchen too because it’s the only room in the house that’s not carpeted, and scales don’t work too well on carpet!

      • Hi Moni, I also weigh myself daily and at the same time each day. This works to keep my weight in check. Others will say this is a bad idea. Different stokes…

    • Hi Wendy, I wouldn’t mind borrowing that coffee machine from you for a while to see if it would get well used here. You can then have it back if you miss it and I could test whether I really want one or not.

  6. Last night my older daughter decided to have a cull of her bedroom, she does this every few months and as her room is fairly minimalist for a teenager it only took a few hours to go thru everything. I generally don’t get involved unless she asks for my opinion and I give her a box that she can load up with anything she doesn’t want but doesn’t know how/who to get rid of it to – that’s my job. Although it wasn’t a mammoth outgoing of stuff as she does this fairly often during the year, she did comment that it surprises her everytime that the items that she was adamant she was keeping last time are quite often are the first items in the out-box the next time.

    • Speaking for those who have children even though I don ‘t I bet everyone wishes their kids were this way.

      • Deb J – I wish had a few more of this one in the house! Of course, the deal is that I’m not allowed to comment on whatever she puts in the outbox – but to be honest have never really had a problem with what she puts out as she usually offers useful stuff to her sister first and checks in about anything out of the ordinary BUT if it makes her feel like she is calling the shots to place a veto on any comments……all good with me!

        What was interesting this time was she was applying the space allocation method. The shelf at the top of her wardrobe traditionally had at one end some small storage boxes stacked up but she decided that she wasn’t going with the high-rise idea and if it didn’t have a seat on the actual shelf, something needed to go.

        • It’s good that you have this working agreement with her. I think it sounds like she is going to be a great declutterer in the long term. Don’t give up on the other one. It may just happen yet.

    • Hi Moni, you are so lucky to have a daughter willing to do this. I hope she is learning a lot from the exercise.

      • Colleen – yes my other three ‘arty types’ in the house are not quite so evolved. Her room is always neat as a pin so was a bit surprised that she found stuff she didn’t want anymore ie it wasn’t like she couldn’t manage her stuff and she doesn’t have anything under her bed. However she did manage to fill a box with bits and pieces and was surprised how much space such items can add up to.

  7. Oh Colleen, we are so happy not to have a garage. Our storage space near our carport is small but does need some attention. First, we will have to clean out all the bird nest clutter. Those little sweeties love to make their nests up above. Actually, they can have the place once we clean out all our junk. We don’t use any of it. I think we could make do with a couple of gardening tools and rid ourselves of the rest. We just need something to cut back the weeds and wild plants that overgrow our fence. Gardening is just not our thing. I am thinking we’ll have to make time for that some time soon as the house is looking pretty good these days…oh except the spare bedroom closet. I may just torch that!

    • Hi Tammy, I feel the opposite, I am so glad I have a lock up garage, mostly because it lowers the cost of my car insurance. It also protects the most expensive items we own, our vehicles. That’s not counting our house of course. Now, if I didn’t own vehicles my opinion would be quite different I am sure. Good on you if you don’t .

      • Hi Colleen! I wish I didn’t have to have a car. We own two…almost own. It is one of our final frontiers on paying down debt. Our city is not very bike or walker-friendly. I didn’t realize you could get a discount on car insurance for keeping your car in a garage. If that isn’t a perk, I don’t know what is! That is great!

  8. We don’t have that many electric gadgets left, but I’ll have a look through them. Just this weekend we got rid of a battery-driven clock (originally an alarm clock, though not used as that) that was supposed to synchronize itself to the correct time but for the last few years has had problems switching from summer to winter time, so it often would show summer time in winter and winter time in summer. I might not find stuff for each mini mission this week, but I’ll have a look each day. In the bathroom the only electric appliance is a blow-dryer that is only rarely used but sometimes someone needs it, so it stays. The only electric cleaning tools would be the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine but those stay as well. 😀 I’ll have a look whether I find something for the other days.

    • Hi Sanna, I am glad to hear you have de-electrified you home. There are so many things that are just as easily done by hand than by wasting electricity. Like you, drying my hair is one of them. I also have the dryer in the drawer just in case. Which, of course, goes again everything I talk about here but thats OK.

  9. I have just downloaded Karen’s book. I had it on my to read list for a while then forgot what it was called. So thank you for that. Today I start project333 and am going to begin the process of reducing my wardrobe to 33 pieces. Two weeks ago I would have howled with laughter had anyone told me that was what I was going to do. But now it seems a natural progression. Change is an amazing thing.

    I am loving reading everyone’s posts and comments. It is so inspiring and encouraging. Thank you.

    • Have fun with it, Gillie! It’s a great project.

      Personally, I am using an all-year wardrobe now, mainly because the weather has been so unpredictable in the last years, so packing stuff away annoyed me. Still, it was a real eye-opener to do it once – it’s like travelling for an extended period which makes you realize that you don’t need most of your stuff after all.

    • Gillie, good luck with the 333 project. I am glad you are embracing change. I agree it is an amazing thing.

  10. I’m not a big fan of gadgets – they’re such a pain to store, and haul out on the rare occasion that you need them. Although I do have a confession to make, I now own two vacuum cleaners, and it’s made my life SOOOOOOO much easier. I think I’m just the world’s most uncoordinated human because I simply cannot navigate the canister vacuum with all those hoses and the cord and everything. In the 17 years that I’ve owned the thing I’ve yet to use it once without either tripping or knocking something over – and don’t EVEN get me started on lugging that sucker up and down the stairs, seriously, it felt like wrestling an octopus, I’m amazed I never fell and broke my neck!

    I finally gave up and bought a Hoover cordless upright, and I totally LOVE it! It’s soooo light and easy to use, and there’s nothing to trip over! The only problem is it doesn’t have any attachments and lacks the power for big jobs. Soooo… the upright now lives upstairs where it’s easy to grab, and I can give the whole upstairs a good once over in 15 minutes. And the big monster lives in the basement where most of the heavy cleaning (aka cat boxes and cat litter) are, and where there isn’t much furniture to trip over. This way I only have to haul that sucker up the stairs every once in awhile when I’m doing a deep cleaning, I just feel so much safer not trying to navigate the stairs with that thing – and I’m told I curse a lot less too! 🙂

    The result is that vacuuming has gone from a being a terrible chore that I hated with every ounce of my being to a “no big deal” one – hence it gets done MUCH more frequently. Totally worth it in my opinion!

    • Hi EcoCatLady, I used to have four vacuum cleaners as one stage so don’t feel too bad. Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone would invest a vacuum cleaner that is good for every job and that is easy to manoeuvre. I now only have one vacuum cleaner, after recently giving my dust buster to my daughter because she expressed a want for one. I must ask her if she has actually used it. She likes to look of the cordless Dysons but it charges doesn’t last long enough to get the job done in one go.

      • I did a lot of research before I bought it and concluded that the Hoover was the one I wanted. Some of the others (I think maybe the Dyson – but I can’t remember) were basically like a dust buster on a stick – many even allowed you to detach the thing from the stick and then it really was just a hand held vacuum. But that’s not what I was looking for. This one is an actual upright vacuum, though it’s smaller than a regular vacuum it’s much bigger and more powerful than a regular hand held. The battery lasts about 15 minutes, which is plenty to do the main floor of my house (it’s only 900 square feet.)

        Maybe someday battery technology will progress to the point that they can create small lightweight machines, suitable for uncoordinated souls like me, that are still powerful and versatile… but until then I’m stickin’ with my system! 🙂

  11. All of the stuff in the mini missions that you are discussing have been decluttered months ago. All of the electronics that are left actually get used regularly. Particularly the coffee pot. That’s used every single day. The one we have is currently on its last legs and will probably be replaced soon. I guess 5.5 years of daily use finally caught up with the thing. I did find a few other random things to declutter over the weekend though- some hardware items that neither my husband nor myself are even sure what they are, a switch plate cover, 2 cookbooks that aren’t used, a shirt my husband doesn’t want anymore, a threadbare washcloth that got put in the rag bag and a pair of my socks that gave up the gusto and got holes in them.