Mini Mission Monday ~ The keepsake box

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.

Although I have called this post ~ The keepsake box ~ it could apply to any box of hidden clutter/treasures you have in your home. So use your imagination if you don’t have a keepsake box or yours has recently been decluttered. Some other suggestion to apply this post to would be moving boxes you haven’t empties after your last move, any box of stuff you don’t require often but does need the occasional declutter or even your junk drawer again if nothing else applies.

Monday – Locate the box/container you are going to declutter then choose a space in your home that you can spread out the contents of this container and happily work on it for the week without it disrupting your household. Perhaps a spare room, a formal dining room that isn’t used so much etc.

Tuesday – Remove all the items from the box and spread them out in the area you have chosen. Pay attention to each item as you remove it from the box and then once all the items are spread out take a little time to review them the leave it to deal with tomorrow. In the meantime whenever you have a spare minute give some thought to the items and assess them in your mind.

Wednesday – Return to your items and sort them into KEEP ~ DONATE ~ SELL ~ THROW AWAY ~ RECYCLE. Then leave them until tomorrow.

Thursday – Today, you will 1. throw out the rubbish items, 2. put the recyclable items in your recycle bin or set aside to be sent to the appropriate place to be recycled and 3. return the items you wish to keep to their rightful place whether that be back in the box or to a new keeping place.

Friday – Sort through the items you intend to donate and make sure they are clean and in good enough condition to donate to someone else. Then put these items in your donation area for the next time you make a drop off or for when you see the people you intend to give them to.

Saturday – Go through you sell pile and once again make sure they are clean and in a good enough condition to sell. Make the necessary notes you will need about each item in order to put them up for sale. Follow your normal selling procedure from here whether that be advertising them immediately or like me setting them aside for when it suits you better.

Sunday – I guess this exercise is already complete so you can rest up today and be ready for the next set of mini mission tomorrow.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

My husband is very good at this declutter thing. He decided this denim jacket wasn’t warm, double denim is just bad taste dressing and he just didn’t wear it so off to the thrift store with it.

Denim Jacket

Something I Am Grateful For Today

At the moment, regardless of the three days I didn’t have access to the internet, I am making great progress at getting my blog up to day. The writing juices are flowing and, although slow still, the internet is working. I am sure grateful for this because I had serious doubts I was going to get it all together before going away.

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. Colleen,

    This is a perfect mission for me this week. I was getting ready to drag a box or two out of the basement – the ones from the kids’ school days. I plan on having a manila file folder for each child with report cards and art work and that’s it down from three BIG boxes.

    So, we’ll see if I get to it. I am going out of town Wednesday and Thursday, so I may have to stretch this one out a bit!


  2. I’m finding that last week’s and this week’s mini-missions are very helpful, Colleen. I’ve had things in boxes that I just never tackled because they were such a jumble and it seemed like such a long and picky job. Your approach makes a lot of sense – I just never thought of spreading everything out and sorting it over a few days. Not sure why I can’t figure these things out, but I’m really glad you’re posting about them.

    As for last week’s mini-mission, I have figured out that my place at the table accumulates mostly mail and the papers I come home with from volunteer meetings or appointments or garage repairs or grocery shopping, plus the bits and pieces I remove from my purse. The reason they were lingering on the table is that it wasn’t EASY to put them away because I didn’t have a PLACE to put most of them, except another pile on the counter. So I’m setting up a few more files to catch the papers as they come in. They will be kept with the current “paid bills” files. It will make it much easier to find what I’m looking for later as well as keeping them off the table.

    So simple, so obvious – but until I followed your instructions to pay attention to what was there and how it got there, things just kept piling up. So, thank you 🙂

    • Hi Jo.
      it is always a pleasure to be of help and also a pleasure to hear how my daily rambling have helped one of my readers to see and understand what is causing their problems. All this information and the strategies come from my own experiences and if it works for me I hope when I share it may help someone else. Have a great day and happy decluttering.

  3. Hey…I’m getting rid of a jeans jacket too!
    xo jana

    • Both my husband and I have gotten rid of one. Mine used to drive me nuts because it was uncomfortable across my shoulders and I just can’t stand that as I have a bit of a neck problem. You don’t always notice when you are in the shop trying before you buy but then once you own it and wear it for more than 2 minutes the rot sets in. 😉

  4. Colleen,

    I am happy to say that I don’t have a particular place that isn’t working well for me, since I don’t ever let stuff just sit (of course, I can’t say the same for my husband!) I routinely do a sweep of all the common areas and our main level is remarkably free of clutter, as is my desktop.

    I do collect things on the little desk in the kitchen, but go through it regularly and put things away. I guess the only thing I would say could use organizing is where everyone takes off their shoes and throws them on the other side of the dog gate in the dining room. I have a shoe basket in the coat closet, but no one, including myself, ever seems to use it. Any suggestions?

    Also, during the school year, I find that my youngest son’s backpack seems to get thrown onto the dining room table the minute he comes home from school, unlike his brother, who immediately takes it up to his room (and hides things from me). I like that I have access to all of his stuff, but don’t like it on the dining room table. We have a small entryway and I am wondering if some kind of seat that can hold shoes and then a rack with pegs above it might be a good idea, but I could see that getting cluttered with wet coats and gloves and stuff, so it might create more problems than it is worth.

    I am just back from a trip to my mom’s to help her declutter before she moves in August and we made great progress. Now I am recovering from that trip (I have fibromyalgia), before moving on to the “box” mission and getting a couple of blog entries done about my weekend to West Virginia.

    Oh, we used to have jean jackets too, but they are long gone. My mom had a 50 year old cheerleading jacket that she couldn’t decide what to do with. I told her to take a picture of it and put it with her yearbooks and get rid of the jacket, which she did. Problem solved!


    • Chelle, maybe having the shoes in the basket makes it too hard to find them again when needed, because they may be jumbled together. Is there room in the coat closet for a tiered shoe rack instead?

      And, when our kids were young, we had coat hooks put on the wall just inside the closet for their backpacks. Of course, when they got older, they started taking them to their rooms like your one son does!

      • Jo,

        You might be right and they are too jumbled in the basket. I have cleaned out the bottom of the closet to the point where I could put a tiered shoe rack in there. I am also on a spending diet though and don’t want to spend the money.

        All of those great organizational things you see for the floor and the wall are so cool. I would love to have a rack to hang the mops and brooms for the laundry room, a drying rack for clothing, and a shoe rack for the closet. That would be very cool.

        I could ask my husband to build a shoe cubby for the closet, but I’m not sure it would fit. That might be a solution! Thanks, Jo.


    • Hi Chelle,
      like me, it sounds like your day to day life is relatively clutter free which is great. As for the shoes, we are lucky in our house that we have a built in shoe cupboard right at the front door this however makes no difference to my son who has a habit of parking his shoes under the breakfast bar or all over his bedroom floor. I do suggest you put a system in place that makes it as easy as possible to put the shoes away and to find them again when needed. As I mentioned that doesn’t always solve the problem though. If I had a miracle solution to that issue I would be glad to share it with you although I do have one suggestion. Start putting your own shoes away for a couple of weeks then if the rest of the family doesn’t follow suit within a reasonable amount of time tell them you are going to throw their shoes into the basement if they don’t conform. The next step is simple, carry out you threat, I am sure they will find it easier to put them away than to have to fetch them from the basement. I know I am a cruel woman but desperate times call for desperate measures. I will worn you that I did try a similar tact with my son but it really didn’t work. I don’t have a basement so I threw them out into the garage. The garage isn’t inconvenient enough to make a difference to him and I was afraid a Red Back Spider might make a home in his shoe and give him a nasty bite.

      Yesterday I put one of those removable 3m command hooks on the side of my son’s desk for him to hang his backpack on. I will monitor the situation and let you know if it is working. I have a beautiful new glass dining table and no-one is game to put anything on it so that solved any collection problems there.

      Once again I say, good job working with your mom. She was very open to your suggestions and for that you should be really grateful, it doesn’t always work that way. I hope you recover quickly from you trip and that the fibromyalgia settles fast.

  5. Hi Colleen! Read this post, thought it was about me, still thinking about the box…but happy with it!

    • Hi Andréia,
      actually it was about me because I still have way too many keepsakes boxes and it is time I went through them all again. Actually I think my husband may own more of that sort of stuff than I do.

  6. I just culled two piles of sentimental cards. I’m on my way…

    • WooHoo, go Willow. We do have a few of these hidden about the place, wedding, christenings etc but the ones that are the most special are the ones from the our kids. They will never be decluttered. Oh! and our looove letters of course.