Mini Mission Monday ~ Think Twice

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’s mini missions are designed to get you thinking twice about some of the excess items within your home. This method of analysis assisted me in letting go of more and more items as my decluttering mission progressed. To the point where I would find reasons to relinquish items I had held on for a long time and then wonder why I hadn’t let them go sooner. Here are some examples of the questions you might ask yourself.

Monday – Does this kitchen gadget save me time or would a knife perform the same task in quicker time than it takes to assemble, use and clean it? Let it go it it doesn’t pass this test.

Tuesday – Am I saving this book to read it again or am I just putting it on display for some other personal reason? If a book doesn’t inspire you to reread it then perhaps you should just let it go. Declutter a few from your collection that you haven’t felt inspired to reread in a very long time.

Wednesday – Will I ever use this leftover craft supply or will it still be tucked away unused in five years? Be realistic about the likely hood of using up leftover craft supplies and let them go if the chance is unlikely. Perhaps a local school or craft group could find a more immediate use for them.

Thursday – Do I need to waste space storing these salad dressings (mixed spices, sauces etc) or could I quickly and easily whip up delicious fresh alternatives when needed from ingredients that I usually stock in my pantry anyway. Don’t double stock your pantry. Get on line and find simple easy recipes for spice mixes, salad dressing etc and do a use it up challenge on items you have no need to stock.

Friday – Am I in love with all the knick-knacks and thingamabobs in my home or would life be easier if I just kept the ones I really love and have less to dust?

Saturday – Do I often have a sudden need for gift wrap and greeting cards or could I reduce my stash to a more manageable size? If the answer is no to this question start a use it up challenge on the overabundance. 

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

Use the stairs rather than the elevator. This of course has the added bonus of a little impromptu exercise.

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, these are good suggestions. We still have some kitchen gadgets I wish we would declutter. We have some books we were given recently and we are trying to get them read and passed on. The craft stuff is mostly gone with just a little left to make cards with. The only salad dressing we have is the one Mom uses regularly. Our pantry and fridge are looking good. The knick-knacks are gone except for a few I still can’t get Mom to let go of. We have given away all the wrapping paper and stuff like that. When we need something for a gift we go to Dollar Tree and buy a gift bag if we can’t find something around the house to wrap it in–like shelf paper or paper bags, etc. Since we seldom buy gifts this doesn’t happen often.

    • Hi Deb J, well done! I also have most of these things in hand. I have one small box of gift wrapping adornments which I would like to have clear very soon as I would like to use the box to put my kitchen cutlery in during our move. There are still more things than I would like to dust but they are meaningful to my husband so that is unlikely to change. My craft stuff on the other hand is definitely subject to change should it prove difficult to attractively locate them in the new home.

      • Colleen, my Mom still has a lot of things I would like to get rid of. Oh Well. Gradually she is making those decisions. If it is mine and it is not where she will miss it, I am getting rid of things. I”m just tired of it all.

        • Hi Deb J, I try not to feel this way about my husbands stuff because he has been very cooperative about this whole process from the start. Also I know how annoyingly minimal I can be and he puts up with that, so fair is fair. 😉

          • Colleen, that’s good. I don’t mind the stuff that Mom likes to have out except when it gets really cluttery. What drives me nuts is the things that she has stashed or the things that are mine and I don’t want them but she wants to keep them.

  2. This is so helpful, Colleen, to someone often feeling overwhelmed. Your questions are excellent, as well as choosing items one might otherwise overlook. Deb, your mum is lucky to have you there as such a cheerleader and coach!

    • I am glad you are finding these question helpful Bea. Take it easy on yourself and remember that one thing a day makes a big difference in the long run so be patient with yourself and focus on the easiest items first.

      • Thanks for kind advice, Colleen. I never thought of one day making a big difference in the long run, and I do like that idea. They add up, don’t they?

  3. I like the ‘think twice’ motto.
    Some overdue dusting at my place saw a broken Xbox depart along with some games and accessories. A set of pool balls and a pool cue find a new home. A Wii returned to its home and a handy set of head phones get put back in use.
    After cleaning the fridge , I think the half jars of pickles and chutney can be removed. I am in two minds as to offer them as ‘specials’ or simply place them in the garbage. If nobody has chosen to use them in the last six months , chances are, no one will use them in the next six months. They are fridge clutter.
    Your kitchen gadget comment is an apt reminder as we come into Christmas. How many of us will receive or give a ‘time saving ‘ kitchen device ? Coffee machines, bread makers,slow cookers, milkshake makers? Think twice!!

    • Nice bit of dusting/decluttering there Wendy. And a well disguised barb about the coffee machine. 😉 I do have a half a jar of instant coffee that I will take and put in the lunch room at the thrift store this week though. I know what you mean about that fridge clutter I have been attempting to use all mine up prior to the move. I’m doing pretty well so far.

      • This post reminds me – I should go through the pickle jars in the fridge tonight while my husband goes to the gym. He has a thing for pickles (I won’t touch them) and I’m guess there are probably seven jars in the fridge. I think I’ll make a few *disappear* quietly. I hate how much space they take up!

    • Wendy F – I was thinking about such appliances on the weekend. I was in an appliance store recently to get a phone charger and saw a huge lineup of gizmos. I noticed most made what I call ‘treat food’ – ok for a treat now and then but stuff that I need to avoid for general consumption. In my opinion it would be better not to have such food so easily accessible.

    • This is in response to Wendy. Said, tongue in cheek….if I was nearby, I’d grab your chutney!! There is only imported and expensive mango chutney where I live… it turns out, my mum used to make apple chutney, peach chutney, and tomato. I had to comment because we are always on the lookout for chutney 🙂
      I suppose one could also say that one man/woman’s junk is another’s treasure!!

      • Bea, if you were nearby I would gladly give you the chutney! Ha ha.
        After the fridge was cleaned , number one son spotted the chutney and cheese and made himself some toasted sandwiches! Just have to eliminate the myriad of salad dressings that daughter purchases.
        Oh Moni! Phone chargers are a total pain! I have noticed some car chargers are very temperamental . Then you need a couple of cables, one for car, one for home. With an overflowing box of cables at home I will never buy another cable again!
        The dusting was long overdue and a furniture rearrangement was necessary.
        Coffee machines – are like bread makers 😉

  4. I probably won’t get any mini missions done this week, the next six day are going to be very hectic for me. However today I did finally get through my box of cards. I tossed I would say 92% of them, and put the rest in my keepsake box. I thought about scanning them, but I wasn’t quite ready for that step. Since I greatly reduced what I had, I’m not going to beat myself up too hard for keeping what I have. I also found a bag of notes from junior high/high school, and I read a few – and proceeded to toss them all. It just wasn’t worth it to keep them anymore. I also sorted through a pile of things for my oldest son and put them in a box all their own in his room. He can go through that stuff on his own when he comes home, I don’t feel its my position to decide what to do with his personal items – but it felt good to get the pile out of my office. I guess you could say I’m feeling pretty good for getting that done. I have only been avoiding these things for *years* at this point.

    • Well done decluttering our old cards Michaela and I agree don’t beat yourself up about the special ones you kept. Decluttering isn’t about letting go of the things you love. You have made the right decision about the things that belong to your son, having got them out of your way and left them for him to decide about.

  5. Good mini missions for this week – my garage looks like a laundromat at the moment as my daughters ballet concert has finished and the costumes need to be washed and dried before they get stored away or some get returned to the studio wardrobe. I need to also go thru all the left over fabric and decide what could be useful and what is scrap and sent to a kindergarten for arts and craft.

    We are repainting the house soon so we got in a plasterer to do holes, scrapes etc and I was given two mins to decide which pictures we were keeping talk about making decisions under pressure, but decisions got made and I have some paintings to get rid of. We will be painting one room at a time, so will shift the whole room into the garage and I will take the opportunity to do a cull as we move things back.

    • Hi Moni, that all sound very time consuming leading into Christmas. But I am moving house so who am I to talk. 😉 Like me I am sure you will be heaving a huge sigh of relief when it is all done.

    • Painting is a real pain but it’s so nice when it is all over. And, moving everything out makes culling a lot easier. Good luck.

  6. While doing some other decluttering, I opened the drawer for the few cosmetics I use (and which had been decluttered recently). and took a good look. Ended up tossing or donating about half, along with combs and hair pins, and wondered why they stayed the first time around. So it goes. I also took about a week of what free time I had and got the office supplies together–which included stuff the grandchildren sometimes used. Donated the grandchildren stuff since now they bring their Internet gizmos, and culled the office stuff down to a usable amount and donated the rest of that. Do not plan to buy anything till this is used up. It seems like most of our clutter is stuff we bought for a need and it was useful and then the need changed or went away, so it is still good, but the need is not there anymore. I decided all our pickle needs could be satisfied with sweet pickle relish or hamburger sliced dills. And two flavors of jam for toast are enough, too, since we seldom use it. We have all seen refrigerators of those who seldom cook–and they usually have a jillion bottles of stuff–several varieties of pickles, salad dressings, mustard,, olives, jelly, jams, vinegars, etc. Guess it makes them feel secure or something.
    I’ve been doing the “get it all together to see how much you have” method on sort of a small scale, and that really helps. I think I will try it on clothes, like get all the shirts of a certain color together. About the only clothes not worn year round here are the winter ones, so it is easy to get too many with the different sleeve lengths, but I think if I cull by color that might make it easier. I like the mini missions and often one will ring a bell and remind me of something I intended to donate.

  7. The more I have decluttered the more I know I am not using and needs to go. My husband says I am going overboard. I say I stopped keeping/getting stuff I am not going to use. And I have to work on some organizational skills and my new skills work a whole lot better in a declutterd environment (I don’t lose stuff…). 😀 😀 😀

    • Andreia – my husband went thru a stage about six months ago where he dripped comments that he felt I’d gone far enough, I asked him outright but didnt get a yes or no, so I stopped for a while, what was suprising was how quickly stuff started to accumulate around the place, it didnt come from purchasing just general ‘jetsom and flotsom’ and then everyone got lazy about putting stuff away. Then Adrian mentioned that he couldn’t find anything on the office desk and there was a box of stuff sitting in the garage that had been knocked over and when was that going to be dropped off to Goodwill?

  8. Great missions this week again.
    I haven’t been commenting, but I have been decluttering. I went right back to the beginning of the mini-mission posts and have been working my way through them, a few every day. I have done almost the whole first year of missions in a couple of months. It was a fun challenge looking around for things to match the missions.
    You will probably laugh at this, I had a really old, mostly broken printer with only pink and blue ink cartridges left. I printed the year in “draft quality” on the backs of old bank statements until the inks ran out. As I did the missions, I shredded the statements. and have now decluttered the printer as well.

    I used to have a massive stock of all types of wrapping paper, bows, etc. Have been on a use them up mission with those for ages. I had to wrap birthday gifts for my 12 year old grandson last week, and omg, NO boy wrapping paper at all. Aak!
    What I did find deep in the office though, was a roll of brown paper. Added some shiny blue ribbon and voila! Boy paper.

    • Hi Stephanie, you may not have been commenting but you certainly made this one a good one. I am excited that you have been on a mission to achieve a year of missions. Good for you. And I love the you recycled paper to print your list and then decluttered the printer. You get and A+ rating for decluttering and being recycling. And then you tip this off with the realisation that brown paper can cover any occasion. Brown is the only kind or wrapping paper I keep in my house.

  9. Good mini missions! I wish I could participate, but with most of our stuff packed for the coming move, I don’t have easy access to most of my stuff to consider it. I know that I am guilty of having too many wrapping materials. I am trying to use what we have for wrapping Christmas presents this year, but I found I had to pick up a wider giftbag than what I had in my stash for one present. I haven’t bought any wrapping paper, ribbons or bows though and I’m making use of what’s on hand in those areas. 🙂

  10. These are some great mini missions and I think I can manage each one. I finally got the tree decorated and I found a bunch more Christmas that I can donate. I also didn’t even put as many decorations on the tree that we actually own, and now the minimal ornaments really stand out. 🙂

    I’m not sure why, but I’ve gotten all energized again to get busy decluttering. Had been feeling kind of at a standstill, so I’m excited to see what else I can get rid of that will make my home a more comfortable place. I especially like your book mission and will take another look at the bookcase.