Mini Mission Monday ~ This and That

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.

I wouldn’t say I am amazed that I keep finding things to declutter but it pleases me that I continue to be more choosy about what I keep. As a result I keep going over the same areas again and again. My mini missions reflect my current decluttering efforts from all over the house.

Monday – Declutter a desk drawer or, if you still have one, a junk drawer. I don’t have either but I do have a spice chest with twelve drawers in which I keep everything from pens to light globes. Last week I decluttered more pens, a pencil, a business card folder & the cards within, a pair of swimming goggles with no strap, a pair of shoe laces that we have no shoes for and some clips from these drawers. The chest has seven empty drawers now, which begs the question ~ Do I need to keep the chest? .

Tuesday – Reassess and possibly declutter a little more stuff from a storage space in your home. I have been working on my garage again, which is my launching place for everything that leaves my home. This time around I have been focused on clearing it of items that belong to my son, who has left home. We achieved a lot in that area this week which I will tell you more about in a post tomorrow.

Wednesday – Declutter something plastic in your home. Last week I gave to my daughter two measuring jugs and a large Tupperware container which I no longer use. She was happy to take them and I was happy to be rid of them. I have also emptied and set aside a three tiered set of plastic drawers which she specifically asked if I had any of that I wanted to declutter. I rearranged a few things under my kitchen sink to free up one and she will pick it up this week.

Thursday – Declutter some eWaste. I have a compact fluorescent light globe, some used batteries ~ including some AAs, a D, a motorcycle battery and one from a laptop computer ~ and a DVD player that no longer works. I looked up my local government web site to find where to drop all these items off. They have very detailed information as to where all sorts of waste can be recycled that should not go to landfill. I will be taking care of that this week.

Friday – Declutter some motor vehicle related stuff. There is a wide range of stuff that accumulates relating to motor vehicles ~ accessories, oils, jerry cans, parts … and simply the stuff that accumulates in them. Last week I decluttered some motorcycle oils and brake fluid to my friend Wendy F. My husband no longer owns a bike that needs these fluids topped up, while the men in Wendy’s family service their own motorbikes.

Saturday – Give your medicine cabinet another once over. Declutter any out of date medications. Last week I managed to declutter of few non-prescription medications that were in danger of going out of date, by passing them on to someone who was in immediate need of them. Keep this idea in mind if ever you get into a conversation with friends or relatives that are feeling a little under the weather in one way or another.

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

Don’t buy things, with a used by date, in large quantities just because they are cheaper per unit, unless you are likely to use them up or can share the excess with someone else.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Memorabilia Items 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 […]
  • Mini Mission Monday 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 […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ This and that 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I didn’t really get a chance to work in the garage last week as it was just too cold, we had a massive cold front from the South (Antartica) and although my part of the country got off lightly as far as storm damage goes, it was just too chilly and the people who had dibs on stuff (but were due back from holidays on Friday last week) were just too cold to come out to collect it.
    On the upside, the weather is improving and we’ve passed the shortest day here, so its all up from here!

    Some good areas to look at this week, I have been trying to do a few drawers here and there last week but it was a more of a scout that a cull, but a few things popped into my mind as soon as I read these mini challenges, so I’ll re-visit them this week.

    • Hi Moni, my parents were complaining about how cold it was here in Newcastle while they were visiting last week. Compared to where they live in Queensland I suppose it is but for me, compared to how cold it was in Seattle it isn’t so bad here. I try to avoid using the heating and when I do it is only to take the chill of and then off it goes again. I am betting it is a lot colder where you are compared to here as well. However neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet or snow would keep me from finally getting that garage cleared. So long as I have a car to get to the thrift shop this week there will be a big pile of donations heading our of there as well.

      Good luck with both your garage and your mini missions this week.

      • Colleen – I have family in Queensland who are trying to tell me that it is cold there but I’m not buying it.

        I don’t know if it happens in your garage area, but when I have a project on the go – and obviously generating some chaos as stuff gets ‘processed’ – do you find that it seems to give the household the green light to add to the chaos in the area? Suddenly it is ok to dump stuff there, to drop the bicycle on the floor rather than on its rack, to not put things away? Possibly they’re avoiding spending time in there too with the cold weather but I have noticed this phenomenum before. I think Cindy wrote a post on ‘black holes’ and how they attract more stuff.

        • Hi Moni, being as the kids have left home, no I am not finding this problem. However I have become the halfway destination for my children’s clutter nonetheless. They know I go to the thrift shop so they bring their clutter for me to drop off. I delivered Liam’s stuff last week and he had two bags of stuff for me to drop off at the thrift shop. My daughter doesn’t give me her stuff she just leaves it in a corner of her house until I get tired of seeing it there when I visit and take it away for her. Just as well because I go through it all to make sure it is donation worthy and last week I found an item my clothing in there that I had lent her a couple of years back when she came to visit. Needless to say I took it back. I did wash any clothing she had in the pile as well before putting in the thrift shop pile.

          • Colleen – I’m impressed that they are already decluttering given that they’ve only just set up their own homes. You’ve trained them well!
            Well I had a small victory this afternoon, I had three people turn up to collect stuff (one lives across town and two have been away on holiday) and my Goodwill box filled up unexpectedly too, so that also can go. All in all, 5 decent-to-large size boxes left today and 1 will leave tomorrow. Two storage bins compacted down into one and suddenly the garage floor is looking a lot more orderly.

          • Moni, doesn’t that feel really good?! I have a piece of furniture that my friend S bought but has left here until she can get the room it goes in cleaned. She wants to take everything out and clean the carpet. I’m all for that but it better happen soon. I want it out of here.

          • Hi Moni, my son moved in with someone who already had the house set up. I think it is mostly her stuff that they are decluttering. Hence why he didn’t want to bring in more clutter to take its place. I think he is being a good influence in the home though. His partners daughter is having a 7th birthday soon and they are getting her an iPad mini. She has been told that she must declutter her handheld DVD player and her Nintendo DS in order to be allowed to have the iPad.

            And good for you getting rid of all that stuff. It is such a good feeling isn’t it.

        • Moni, I don’t know if the phenomenon has a proper name but it sure exists! If People perceive a Place As chaotic they seem to shift into chaos Mode themselves and just drop their stuff wherever. The degree seems to vary from Person to person though. Might be that it has to so with being a visual Person or Not? Oh, and I guess there is Simple lazyness and the thought that no One will notice a difference anyway involved, too.

  2. Hi Everyone,

    This is just another check-in to say how much this site is influential in my life & how I read it faithfully but rarely comment (though I read all comments & enjoy them too). I continue to
    declutter items like journals which I am steadily going through & rereading & then (mostly) pitching. And books, which are being slowly recycled in various directions after reading. Like Colleen and others, my nemesis seems to be craft items because I still do a number of them. Little by little, though, I am culling them as well, and it really IS true that as I clear some of the clutter they create, it definitely enhances my creativity & I actually produce more. And it seems that whatever I’m left with is enough & I don’t miss what I’ve eliminated.

    One thing that has helped my partner is asking him questions like: “how many pairs of pants do you think you need?” — this has helped both of us consider our personal “enough” points for various things and once we establish a limit, we can choose our favorites and jettison the rest. (I love the idea of space limitations that were recently posted about — things like whatever books I have must fit on a particular bookcase & beyond that I need to cull). This has helped us confine ourselves because we currently live in a very spacious house and storage is no problem. But we intend to sell & move to a smaller place, so we’re “in training” now, and whatever we can do now will help in all ways — staging, packing/unpacking, cleaning , feeling “light”, etc.

    One thing which surprised me years ago when I read a book by Don Aslett about decluttering & how to do it was a comment that he made in passing. He said he spends Sundays decluttering. This was a revelation to me, as I slowly realized that decluttering is alot like so many ongoing tasks — once we hit a satisfactory point, it still must be maintained in some regular fashion. I doubt that it was much of a project for him since he already was a big believer in not having a bunch of “junk” (he ran a very big cleaning business), but stuff does creep in without us being aware unless we give it some attention from time to time. Anyway, I love having a decluttered space & intend to keep vigilant about it. And — it’s great to have all your company along the way!

    • Suemarie – quantities is a good method, especially when clothing is involved. I too found the space allocation method brilliant, as the box/shelf/whatever makes the ultimate decision.

      Maintenance. Yes. It would be lovely to be at the point, and although my house is a million times better than it used to be, I still have a way to go. I can foresee that it will have to be an ongoing practice as phases come and go in your life and items become redundant without any great fanfare and unless you go looking, it will just stay quietly there.

    • Hi Sumarie, thank you for the update and to tell us what is working for you. I like the space limitation idea too. We have somewhat an opposite decluttering mission going on here at the moment. We have a bookcase that we are going to give to our son. Although the stuff on this bookcase is sparse we still has to find homes for these items somewhere else in the house before we can declutter the bookcase. Perhaps this will encourage my husband to get rid of a few things off it. Fingers crossed. None of the items are mine so no problem for me. 😉

      It is good to hear that your husband and you are working as a team on this. My husband and I do the same, however I am much more likely to let go of the sentimental stuff. I have no need for trophies, reminders and proof that I have done stuff. He is however very good at keep a check of his wardrobe.

    • „Training time” in a big place to prepare for downsizing sounds nice. Much, much better than being crammed in a small space with all the stuff and shift and shuffle like crazy during decluttering. I guess it takes more mental strength though because clutter spread out is not so obvious. But it sounds as if you really are on the best way possible already. So enjoy the space for now, it makes things easier – and then one day downsizing will be a breeze, I’m sure.

      • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ideealistin!

        Also, I know what you mean about feeling so crowded with “stuff” it’s hard to figure out how to move things around in order to declutter. I used to live in a very small space & I think this is what helped me realize how little I needed & also how I didn’t want to acquire more than I actually used & loved.

    • I love Don Aslett! His books were what I used to teach myself how to declutter many years ago, and I’ve remained that way ever since.

      I love to declutter, and have been accused by siblings of being “overzealous” about it. Of course, this usually comes from someone who has a tough time getting rid of anything, so I understand why she thinks I might go overboard.

  3. Some good mini-missions, Colleen. I’m finding that the more we declutter they more we realize we can declutter more. I’m especially glad that Mom is getting the “declutter bug” and we are getting lighter by the day.

  4. I like the idea of categorizing, Colleen. You have made me look at decluttering in a different way. Now I am excited to “deal with” the electronics and items that need special care and recycling. Thank you!

    • I am glad to be of help Tammy R. Decluttering responsibly does add an element of difficulty but it is worth the effort in order to look after the environment.

  5. The cold sounds kind of nice since it has been in the 90s since May here. But too cold does keep us from our plans, too, just like the heat is doing now. All the items you mention certainly could stand another look–we have a little stuff in the car for the thrift store, mostly books, but we still have a lot of books. And isn’t it odd how desk drawers just seem to get messy all on their own. We don’t have a junk drawer but have several junk jars where odd screws, nuts etc. go. The counter tops need a good going through and straightening, too, sigh.

    • Nana – ahh I don’t think you want this kind of cold, much of the country has been affected by a severe blizzard and huge power outages along with it. Yes you’re right, a few months ago I had to put this same project on hold because it was too hot in the garage! Just no pleasing me, is there?!!!

      • Do you get snow where you are Moni?

        • Colleen – there’s a small mountain range a bit inland that gets some most winters, but no snow where I live as we are right on the coast. We did, however, get about 30cm deep of hail a couple of winters ago which was quite a novelty. We are having frosts and the air has remained bitterly cold all day. The heat pump is getting quite a work out, am dreading my next power bill. The ski field operators are rubbing their hands with glee as they are due to open, although some are complaining that the dumping of snow has actually buried the ski lifts!

          • Sounds a bit like the weather we had in Seattle although it did snow in the city usually once or twice a year. I love the snow it makes the cold so worth while.

    • Hi Nana, whether it is hot or cold doesn’t slow me down much, it is the rain the can affect me getting the stuff out of here during the week days. I am determined to get it out though and usually manage to do so sooner rather than later.

  6. I like that spice chest with the drawers Colleen. It is still visually pleasing without being clutter. I would keep it. 🙂

  7. I must say too, the oil was gladly received by the boys, who have renewed their interest in spending the weekends riding around a motor cross track. The eldest found his old motorbike boots , and they still fitted him 🙂 . Hopefully they will go through the boxes of bike stuff and use it or sell it .

    • Fingers crossed Wendy. Tell them to be careful though, I met another mother this week whose son is recovering from a motorcycle accident. This one was bush/road related. He had been riding in the bush and as he reentered the road a kangaroo jumped out in front of him. How’s that for sheer bad luck. Luckily he had a friend with him to call for help.

      • Over the weekend we had an 18 year old girl go through the window of a jeep. She and her father, stepmother and grandfather were 4 wheeling. They were stopped waiting for traffic to go by before pulling onto the highway to come home and got hit. Threw her and her grandfather out. Believe it of not God was with them. They all walked away from it–18 yr old with cuts and bruises, dad with sprained ankle, stepmom with mild concussion, granddad with bruise and cut on head.

        • Hi Deb, are there no seatbelt laws in Arizona. They were extremely lucky, especially the 1u year old girl.

          • Yes, there are seatbelt laws. I haven’t heard whether there was a ticket issued because of that but I hope so. Her father should have never started the car until she was seatbelted in. Same with the granddad.

  8. I’m just back from a trip to a (in my eyes) cluttery house. I’ve been visiting relatives and though the house looks rather tidy, that is just because it is really big for the people who live there. There are so many rooms that hold so many cupboards filled with so many little things. Like three drawers brim-filled with soap bars in the bathroom (the owners brought back from trips, hotels) and so on… I felt a little weird there. The house was nice and orderly but the owners complained about how small it was – my home is about a fifth of the size for just as many people.

    • Sanna, that sounds like the house of my friend S. There are only 2 of them living in a 4 bedroom home with also an office. The house is FULL of stuff. Oh, it’s all neatly put away but it’s still full to the brim. I told her the other day she needs to get rid of everything that she has in boxes. If it is family heirlooms give it to family who want it rather than have it stored until she dies. If it is just stuff then get rid of it because if it is in boxes then it has no value to her. She has 16 product bottles in the window sill of the shower. Why? We have already made huge inroads into the mess but there is a long way to go. I told her getting rid of the clutter that shows isn’t enough because with everything full it will get that way again unless she never buys another thing.

      • Actually I kind of was amazed about how nice things looked there despite the fact that they obviously own so many unneeded things.

        • Yes! I am like that! People comment on how organized and clean my home is, but if they were to open a closet or cabinet, they would find them full (neat but filled!). I am getting really excited that I have gotten to the point where I am pulling things out of the hidden spaces now; so I will be heading towards truly being uncluttered and organized…not just appearing so. 🙂 It is easy to deal with what I can see, being so visually overwhelmed with clutter. It will feel so good when I get down to just what we really use and need in the drawers, cabinets and closets.

      • Deb J, that was good advice you gave S. it seems to me that she is on a constant quest to find stuff to make her life better than it is. What she needs to also know is that stuff won’t make that happen. She needs to face the real issues and deal with them.

        • I am discovering that S has an issue with having extra. It’s from the way she was raised. She is getting better but it will still take awhile. Plus her husband is as bad or worse. It is a slow process but it will happen. She wants to move to something smaller when things get so they can sell their house. He doesn’t want to. But she is finding more and more ways to prove that it would be so much wiser monetarily that I think she will eventually convince him.

          • I think that sounds like a good goal for her to work towards. As the excitement of the idea builds I am sure she will become more ruthless. Too bad her husband isn’t on the same page.

            My dad told my mother recently that if she died first he would move into a unit. Figure this one out though, she wants to move into one now but he isn’t so keen. I think she will get her way. I hope so at least.

          • S and her husband seem to think they need rooms for her relatives to use when they come–maybe every 3-4 years. I have to work on that.

            Mom has a lump sum coming the end of July and when that happens she will no longer get one of her pensions. If we use it to pay off bills (what she wants) then I’m thinking I cam prove to her that it would be cheaper to move. If so I am looking at a retirement place for her and somewhere else for me. Believe it or not, if we stay together then we will make too much to afford the retirement place. If she goes on her own she will get a discounted rate. Crazy.

          • Hi Deb, so does my mother and not just one set of visitors she “needs” to have room for several of us should we all come for Christmas. Although she wants to move into a unit she really still “requires” three bedrooms. That will at lease decrease their space by a billiard room, one bedroom, a study, a back yard shed and a full sized house block of land. So much less for them to take care of.

          • Colleen, the place where I want to move Mom and later me has guest rooms you can rent for a nominal fee. I’m all for that.

    • Hi Sanna, I know this feeling well. I visit places just like this, everything looks neat enough on first glance but every storage space is packed to the gunwales. Some are also neat enough but clutter in and out of the storage spaces. More often than not the latter ones give me awful hay fever due to the dust.

  9. Today I had allocated to the make up drawer (so I was on your track without even realising!). I didn’t think I had that much make up but I noticed that despite a fairly major cull there are still things that never get used. So after lunch it’s make up drawer and dressing table stool (it’s a piano stool so there is a little box underneath, ostensibly for music but actually for all the little stuff I don’t know what to do with….

  10. Colleen, i´m all about the mini mission mondays! I´m a 28yo brazilian trying to lead a less cluttered and busy life. I´ve been decluttering for 2 years; sometimes i´m on a declutter mood and will declutter more agresively but there are times i take a step back and pay more atention to other aspects of my life. Now my house is pretty much decluttered but i know that if i stop decluttering, the piles wil build up again and little by little my closets tend to get full of stuff. It´s just nerve wracking the way clutter reproduces when i´m not looking! LOL! Last week i got rid of gifts i was keeping because every time i thought of tossing or donating them i would get really gulity…

    Sorry for my rusty english, ok? There´s been a long time since i´ve last spoken your language!

    • Hi Marina and welcome to 365 Less Things. No need for you to worry about your English if you hadn’t mentioned that it isn’t your first language I would never have realised.

      I am glad you got rid of those gifts you didn’t want. Life is too short, as is space, to hold on to stuff you don’t want just because someone gave it to you.

      One does have to ever vigilant in order to stop the clutter from building back up but the best cure for that is be very choosy about what you buy.

  11. Monday I decluttered all the dressing table drawers and the seat of the piano stool I use as my dressing table stool. Unwanted makeup to my daughters or bin and an unbelievable amount of junk and broken things I thought I might repair in the bin. Today the linen is leaving the Gin Gan (where all the charity stuff from our great clear out is going until it gets to it’s nominated charity) and off to the Women’s Refuge and Borderline are coming for the books later this week. Finally the Hospice gets everything else and then just the furniture to be picked up by its various buyers. HURRAH!

  12. Colleen, I’m again totally somewhere else with my decluttering, though I really liked your mini missions. 🙂
    I have been at my wardrobe again and freed up some baskets in there. Then I rearranged the bathroom and put some of the baskets to use there. I really like the bathroom now. 😀 It is getting more and more orderly. (still a couple too many towels, but I’m fine with waiting until they tear instead of decluttering them right away)

    • Ugh! I wish my mom was that way with towels. After they are all scragly and thin she keeps them to use for rags. That would be fine if she used them but most of the time she wants thinner rags. So we have a stack of these old towels.

      • I cut up a few for rags as well just a few weeks back! 😀
        I use them as back-up microfibre cloths. They are almost as good (at least for the wet tasks or cleaning mirrors and such), so yes, I use them. There’s no use in keeping a stack of towels you don’t need though. Everything in moderation.
        Maybe it’s time to tackle the cleaning supplies?

        • I thought I would wait until next week when we are going to be doing some work in that bathroom anyway and just suggest we might get rid of them. We will see.

          • Oh, I proved to her that microfiber cloths are much, much better for cleaning so that is out of the way. Now to get to the other.

  13. I love what you said: “I wouldn’t say I am amazed that I keep finding things to declutter but it pleases me that I continue to be more choosy about what I keep. As a result I keep going over the same areas again and again. My mini missions reflect my current decluttering efforts from all over the house.”

    I am finding myself able to let go of things – even some useful like pieces of furniture – I thought I loved. I did enjoy them for a time, but I don’t need them. I still want to trade down for smaller furniture, but for now I am letting go of some things we don’t really need even if we use them once in a while. Other things and especially people are more important. The more that goes, the more time I am NOT spending cleaning and organizing. Thank you for this reminder!

  14. I thought this post fit into the mini mission concept. Sometimes when we get overwhelmed and tired it is hard to declutter. By keeping the decisions down to a minimum(working on a small area at a time) it helps with making the right decision and not get so tied up in the emotional side of things.