Mini Mission Monday ~ Brands, spin, visual appeal & the latest and greatest.

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 Monday I think we will work on identifying and removing clutter from our homes that are the result of us falling for marketing hype, branding,  visual appeal  or “upgrading”. Oh how misleading these enticements can be. I watch advertisements on TV these days with a smug look on my face feeling satisfied that I no longer fall for their hype. Sometimes my self-satisfaction is mixed with sheer horror at the rubbish they spin in order to sell people stuff they don’t need. Stuff that doesn’t usually even come close to living up to the promises advertised. Do you still fall for this hype or have you become wise?

Monday – Start a “use it up” challenge on a beauty treatment that really isn’t making any difference to the way you look or feel.

Tuesday – Get rid of one uncomfortable pair of shoes that sure are cute but could be used by the enemy as an effective torture treatment.

Wednesday – Declutter one electronic gadget that really only added to your ways to waste precious time while not really improving or simplifying your life as promised.

Thursday – Remove those silly stick figure decals from the back window of your car or that thing hanging from your rear vision mirror. They serve no purpose except to decrease your bank balance and obstruct your vision potentially causing a safety hazard.

Friday – Declutter a item whose most obvious external feature is self advertising. For example T-shirts with the makers name blazoned across them unless of course the maker is paying you to advertise for them.

Saturday – Declutter something you rarely or never use these days because it has been superseded by the “latest and greatest(for now)” version.

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

Today’s Declutter Item

This Disney lithographs have been hanging about while I procrastinated about them for months. I have decided that if they are in fact worth anything then the some thrift store customer will be very happy when they find them on the shelf next week. They certainly aren’t worth more than my sanity so I am letting them go the easiest way possible. Now I will go back and read my own posts from Tuesday and Thursday last week.

Disney Lithographs

Eco Tip for the Day

Be wary of being enticed into buying anything referred to as “collectable” they are generally kitschy crap that only serve to clutter up your home, collect dust and are a waste of resources which is a blight on the environment. We are fooled into believing that some of these things will appreciate in value over time but the fact is that they are made by the thousands if not millions and there is little chance that they will do anything but become clutter in your home.

Some examples ~ McDonald Restaurant Toys, 99.9% of baseball cards (this is just a form of gambling), popular brand items like Coca Cola, sporting club paraphernalia…

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. Have been following your blog for some time now. It’s great and full of such gems like”if it is worth something a thrift store customer will be happy to find it” I have in the past often thought I should not be donating everything I should sell it but hey sometimes you need to see what you’ve thought all along in black and white. Love your blog!x

    • Hi Sharon Forward and welcome to 365 Less Things. I have to say Sharon that I still get caught up at times on procrastinating over selling or donating some items. These things tend to linger for too long. In fact some of the things I know I want to sell linger to long because I get lazy about dealing with the process. Then when I finally get fed up with them cluttering up my garage I list them, all goes smoothly and I wonder what took me so long. I have a theory about this which I should write a post about.

      Anyway thank again and please feel free to drop by and comment as often as you like.

  2. Nearly succumbed to a bumper sticker for my new car, it was advertising the pet parlor where my dog is going on Tuesday for a very short haircut.
    I like the Sunday “contemplate an item” . I have contemplated the not in use dining table and will be donating it soon.
    My son had the Ebook version of Predictabley Irrational, he shared it through Dropbox and I have enjoyed listening to the audio version over the weekend, nothing is better than having some one read for you!! It is an easy to listen to book, with lots of experiments regarding our behavior, why we do the things we do. I am hoping the final chapters tell me how NOT to do the things I do ;).

    • Hi Wendy F,
      I am glad you are liking the Sunday contemplation. Lifeline do collect furniture all you have to do is call.

      I love the idea of your audio ebook. Mainly because I can then do two things at once ~ iron and listen, drive and listen, crafting while listening. I might have to look into that for future “reading”.

      Here’s hoping you get your how Not to advice before the book is finished. 😉

  3. Colleen you are so amazing in how you keep coming up with new ideas and subject matter for the mini missions! My preference has always been to donate things as it makes me feel less guilty about all my unwise or excessive purchases in the past. Like you, I’m now impervious to all the advertising and don’t buy magazines any more or watch ads on television as I record what we want to watch and fast forward through them. Recently a friend gave me a copy of the September issue of a well-known fashion magazine that she had picked up on a visit to the US. I counted 31 double page ads for various clothing and/or cosmetic companies before I even got to the contents page!!! Needless to say most of the rest of the magazine was ad related as well – and to think people actually have to pay for the magazine!!! I’m so glad my eyes have been opened and hopefully people who read your wonderful words will begin to question the whole advertising/consumption subject.

    • I know, right? I get the “runoff” – my aunt buys them, gives them to my grandma, who gives them to my mom, who gives them to me – of one particular magazine. I’ve gotten to a point where I can easily just open them to the pages I care about (a “what’s in this week” in fashion that I occasionally listen to and wear something similar that I own), a page about makeup tips that occasionally has something cool, a cheap/easy ingredient recipe page, and a trivia page. It’s like 60-70 pages and yet there are less than 10 pages that are interesting… yet people buy it.

    • Well thank you Megan and good for you. How liberating does it feel? I absolutely love the freedom of this. I was never one for brand names anyway but now I am pretty much impervious to advertising in general ~ actually even shopping in general.

      As for magazines, the only time I read them is if I am waiting for an appointment and like you I have found they are mostly full of ads. Thank God they still charge for them though or else lots of people would just accept them for nothing whether they really want to read them of not.

  4. I have fallen prey many times to the media branding hype. I am getting wiser though, not a hundred percent there yet, but I am on my way. After finding this site, I did some digging and reading of the archives and I am well on my way with Monday’s mini mission. I loved that in the archives, I found a use for lotions, and using them for shaving is helping me to use them up. I found too that when I run out of bar soap, that shampoo is a good substitute, until I am able to pick some soap up again at the store. When you have too much of this type of thing on hand though, products become old before they can get used up and money is wasted. When they are old, they are not as effective (if they were effective at all to start with) and they loose their potency (perfume for example). I do draw the line at expired items, products that no longer smell right, or have lost their proper consistency over time. If you question if you should use something because it is too old, it is better to get rid of it, especially things like makeup or other items that could lead to skin breakouts or irritations, etc. I currently have one face cream on hand. I spent more than I normally would because I really thought it would do wonders. It was not so great, but because I spent good money for it, I am determined to use every last drop. So I am slowly learning lessons, trying to use up what I have on hand before buying more, and when I do purchase, get only what I know I need and will use in a reasonable amount of time.

    I have had a few different collections over the years, but it didn’t take long before I realized that they really have very little resale value since most of them were mass production items. I mainly collected in the beginning because they brought a bit of happiness to my life, but over time that turned into a mound of clutter and I was not so happy then. Thus, I have learned my lesson, and realize that most collectibles are a ploy to reel in the consumer.

    • Hi Jen,
      it does sound like you are coming along quite nicely, good for you! Take a pat on the back from me.

      Like you I used to have a collection, in my case it was elephants. When faced with the prospect of our first interstate transfer after we were married I decided it had to go because I did not care for the idea of relocating it over and over again.

  5. Hi everyone. It is Labour Day holiday here, had to go into The WareHouse and it was teeming with shoppers, it was only a couple of years ago that I would have lead the stampede to buy goodness-knows-what. So many people buying plastic storage bins!

  6. It’s good to be back. I have been off island visiting my daughter. I love your mini-mission on the shoe decluttering. My daughter and I were just talking about our “hurt like hell” shoes. Funny thing is, they didn’t always hurt like hell, however, in Hawaii since we tend to go barefoot in the home and wear sandals and flip-flops, we develop “Hawaii feet” which is like a middle age spread for your feet. I tossed one such pair while away. Still catching up on the posts I missed while off-island. Continued gratitude to you for all of your enlightenment.

    • Kimberley – in New Zealand we have a tendancy to go barefoot too. Obviously not so much in the Winter but definately in the Summer and whenever possible in Autumn/Spring too. I went to a education workshop once and the speaker was from America and she was really surprised that it was quite normal for kids to go about barefoot including to school and to see so many adults in jandals (flip flops). She thought it was great as she spends a lot of time looking for missing shoes for her kids in the mornings.
      As a result we tend to have broader feet here and some brands of shoes are advertised as being designed for Kiwi feet ie broader.

      I wonder if we got there is a cultural connection as our legends say that our ancestors came from Hawaiki, which as far as we can tell is the Maori word for Hawaii.

      • Moni,
        I love the “kiwi” feet reference. It is such an education reading and responding to so many wonderful comments that everyone posts.
        Mahalo (thank you) for my learning something new today 🙂

      • Barefoot in school? That would surprise the heck out of me too. My youngest daughter would be there in a heart beat if she knew. Ironically, she loves shoes…but just not so much to wear them!

    • Hi Kimberley, I like that term ~ off island ~ I assume that meant you went to the mainland. I have never been to Hawaii even though I lived on the west coast of America for seven and a half years. I will get there one day.

      Good riddance to those “hurt like hell” shoes. I decluttered my nasty pair a while back and I was more than glad to see the back of them.

      • Yes, Colleen, “off island” refers to going to the mainland. Really, any place other than another island. Our daughter lives in Florida. From one end of the United States to the other 🙂

    • I would go barefoot through my days if I could. I absolutely hate shoes and so do my feet. I have a pair of expensive diabetic shoes with orthotics and they kill my feet even after numerous trips to have them adjusted. Thankfully, my insurance paid for them. I am not going to wear them. My feet hurt badly every time I wear them. Out they go.

  7. I always enjoy reading these ‘Mini Mission Monday’ posts, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Noelani,
      I am glad you are enjoying the Mini Mission post. It is fun coming up with the ideas. It really is the same stuff over and over again just described in a different way.

  8. I struggle with clearing clutter sometimes. It is more to do with some old baseball cards and a few pieces of hiking gear I keep around. Even though I have not used or looked at these items, it is difficult to get rid of.

    I love seeing the mini-missions and we do some simple things like removing items around the sink that are not used, but are just there. 🙂

    • Hi Larry,
      if you looked back through the archives of 365 Less Things you would find thousands of baseball cards that have been decluttered over the course of my mission. The problem with them is that you can never be sure if a player you have a rookie card of might blossom into a great and the card be worth something so the cards linger. Then in order to determine whether this is so you would have to plough through them all to see if you have any such cards and when you have hundreds or thousands that is a daunting task. With 162 scheduled games per years one doesn’t need cards to remind them of how great the game or players are. Enjoy the spectacle and forget the cards.

  9. Colleen, your eco tip reminds me that we never decluttered my husband’s baseball card collection. We sorted through them and pulled out the few that were valuable and then stuffed the whole box of them back in the cupboard. We’re both ready to see them gone, but the thought of trying to list the cards on ebay was too daunting. I think I’ll just list the whole lot of them as one item on ebay and be done with it.

    • I think a big bulk listing is a good idea Anita.

    • Hi Anita, yes we do tend to complicate the act of listing things on ebay. Good luck with the auction. We just gave most of ours away. One of the ladies that I volunteer with at the thrift shop is a huge baseball fan and I gave some away on as well.

  10. Yay! I have my Tuesday thing already in the car to drop off after work! My mum got me a pair of winter boots that are quite nice, but too narrow for my feet. They’ve been in the closet for 7 years now (why?) so I vacuumed them up yesterday and put them in the car to donate to the thrift shop after work today.

  11. I don’t sleep well and am up late watching TV some nights. After 2 am, the only shows on are info-mercials. The things they sell! And you can only get it “in the next 5 min.” I cannot stand these and turn them off pretty quickly but ever so often something catches my eye and I want to see what it does. We only bought one thing after seeing one of these commercials and it was called a weed tiller (a gear on a handle, basically) which we purchased from our local hardware store not via the tv. It was a great investment for our garden and it cost the usual $19.99. My husband has taken good care of it and 30 years later, it still works. But most things now just don’t interest me – no more clutter.
    Also, wanted to share what I decluttered this weekend. I was making breakfast and looking in one of our kitchen junk drawers (although we know most of what is in there) for some shoe strings for my husband’s boots. While searching, I found some miscellaneous detritus: an old candle stub, some used birthday candles, lots of plastic tabs for tying up bags (kept those), and the strangest of all, a plastic eagle missing one half of a wing that went at the top of an old flagpole. The eagle fit into the hole at the top. When the flagpole broke, I’m sure his wing snapped when the pole hit the ground. So, why on earth was this still in a drawer? Also, found some silver coasters and an ashtray that will be put in the donate box. Not a lot but again, more than one thing and kitchen junk. It only took about 3 min to find and remove these so I know the next time I am waiting for something to cook, I’ll go back in there and see what else I can find. I have 5 drawers in my kitchen so there will be more goodies to uncover, discover, declutter.

    • Maggie, your broken eagle made me smile. I also sometimes go through drawers or cabinets that had been decluttered before to see if something has escaped the last round or has sneaked in in the meantime – and I am not quite decided yet what I prefer. To find something that is unmistakenly clutter and that can go, or to not find any clutter in there (anymore) 😉

      • haha, Ideealistin, I so know that feeling. I feel proud when I go through areas, which dont have any clutter whatsoever, but there is this slight disappointment creeping in, because I was expecting to find the little thrill of throwing out things. One day, when there is nothing left, I will be done decluttering. its going to be a bitter-sweet moment…

    • Hi Maggie, it sounds like it is certainly time you gave those drawers a once over. As soon as I read the words “While searching” ~ which to me means it took more than a quick glance I knew that that drawer was not in good shape. The beauty of decluttering is that searching becomes a thing of the past because everything becomes easy to find. Smart idea deciding to deal with it while waiting for something to cook. “While waiting” is always a great time to get small tasks out of the way. I do this all the time.

      As for the eagle I imagine it was patriotism that had you putting it aside just incase its missing wing showed up and you could repair it and perhaps use it again.

  12. Recently I’ve been actively trying to stop the delivery of most of my magazine subscriptions.
    Sounds easy enough right? Yeah well no. Turns out that most of these mags were not ones I paid for or actively subscribed to on purpose. Most of these were subscriptions started on my behalf compliments of a retailer or from “winning” a subscription or from having filled out a survey.
    At last count, I was receiving 26 mags. Yes 26. You name it. Vogue. Car & Driver. Cat fancy (I don’t have a cat). Martha Stewart. Forbes. Glamour. Readers Digest. This Old House. House Beautiful. Oprah. Seventeen. Self. Ok. Field & Stream. Good Housekeeping. Golf. Maxim & the weirdest is a preteen-celebrity-swoon mag that gushes endlessly over Justin Beiber. I have no kids & haven’t been a teen in well….a few decades ok. But I know waaaay more about the Beib than I ever should or could have wanted to know. Did you know that the Beibs fav color is blue & his fav food is spaghetti. My life. It’s so much more complete now with this knowledge. And now yours is too. Welcome to my hell.
    Anyways, trying to cancel “free” mag subscriptions is challenging at best & near impossible at it’s worst!
    When I tried to cancel these mags, I would get offered the option to extend my subscription by a few additional issues upwards to 2 free years! One mag company even offered to subscribe me to 4 different magazines each for a full year – for free! Another one flat out refused to cancel my subscription but instead offered a temporary suspension or I could “gift” the subscription to someone else.
    Who knew this would be so challenging. So far I’ve managed to flat-out cancel 13 mag subscriptions & “suspend” 4 subscriptions & I’m still working with about 6 more in coming to a cancellation agreement if you will.
    So late last week….what do I find in my mailbox but a notice that I’ll soon be receiving a free full year to Marie Claire mag. Arghhhhhh!

    • Hi Jane, beware of anything that has the word free attached. When you sign up for these things the “free” magazine is the payment you receive for them collecting and selling on your personal information. I can guarantee you that the magazines aren’t he only useless clutter you are receiving due to having signed up. I don’t even enter into competitions anymore ~ “Win a Car” am ass I dare say you have 1 in 50,000,000 chance of winning the car and a definite chance that they are selling on your information.

      As for those companies that won’t cancel your subscription call them back and insist. I am sure some sort of threat to report them to whatever consumer watch dog you have available will soon have them scurrying to comply with your wishes. Ask them also to erase your name from any other mailing list they might have your information attached to.

      • Colleen, you are so very correct in that I do feel I sold my soul to these survey companies as I tend to get the oddest of things in the mail addressed to me from marketers. I spent months removing my name from solicitations via various opt-out services & have really been quite successful…except when it comes to magazines.
        I admit to dragging my feet on dealing with the mag problem…but so many I receive just goes straight into the recycle bin. Such a waste, especially environmentally.
        Thankfully there have been a few mags I have been able to switch from paper format to digital format – which has been so much more agreeable.

        • Hi Jane, why not donate some of those magazines to your local medical centre or any place where people sit and wait. Goodness know the magazines in those places always seem to be about two years old regardless of how outrageous the bill is at then end of those visit. At that point I always wonder why they can’t afford a few newer magazines.

          • I used to work in a private healthcare setting until last year & I would bring in those mags to work for the waiting room, but we had 1 lady complain that magazines & brochures spread diseases from sick people touching them & threatened to sue our doctors for having any object that could not be sanitized. The doctors took the lowroad & we stopped having any mags or patient literature available to the patients. Ugh.

        • Jane – I just read about the lady threatening to sue because of magazine covers – I hate people like that! We have an ACC system here which means no suing for personal damages, and are gobsmacked at some of the stories that we hear from other countries like the lady who sued a department store for not controlling children, even though it was her kid she tripped over I’m not saying our ACC is perfect, far from it, but I’m glad we don’t have to deal those sort of scenarios.

          If you are still in touch with the medical clinic, I recently noticed a cafe put clear plastic covers over the covers of their magazines, I guess to stop them getting damaged by food and drink and probably to stop them being easily walked off with.

          Our medical clinic has at the front counter a box of face masks, a box of tissues, hand sanitiser and a box latex gloves with a sign saying something to the effect of: “for those sensitve to infection”. I haven’t seen anyone using them but the option is there.

          • I’m all for proper sterilization & good hygiene practices that serves to protect one from another…but the whiney-babies & sue-everyones do nothing to improve the world at large with their issues & “concerns” but instead serve themselves under the false pretense that they are looking out for the rest of us.

  13. Colleen, I do like reading the mini missions. They always spark my thinking. It’s amazing what we can find still in the house when we read the mini missions. Memory joggers.

  14. I have heard the magazines sell more ads if they can run up their subscriptions numbers. That is why they offer very low subscription prices or even free subscriptions. So one can only hope when the subscription will run out, that it really will. I really hate all the prescription drug ads (USA affliction)–enough to cause hypochondria. Our local eye center has a lot of patients receiving monthly shots for various eye conditions and this is a good place to take magazines–and there is no real concern about germs–since the patient usually has to have a driver along there are a lot of people waiting. Our local library has a place to leave or pick up free magazines, also DVDs etc. They also have a book sale 4 times a year from donations.


  1. […] Like me Megan has become immune to advertising. Read her comment here. […]