Mini Mission Monday ~ Trial Separation

mini-logoMini 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.

Some items that clutter up our home are items that aren’t unused individuals but similar items that we use but just have too many of. This weeks overall mission is to start a trial separation from some of these items to see if we really need so many or can happily live without some. So find yourself a box to store these items in, gather them up and put this away somewhere for a while. If you find you don’t retrieve them in a month or two then it is probably safe to declutter them permanently.

Monday – Start a trial separation of plastic kitchen storage containers.

Tuesday – Start a trial separation of fashion accessories.

Wednesday - Start a trial separation of costume jewellery items.

Thursday - Start a trial separation of stationery items.

Friday - Start a trial separation of kitchen gadgets.

Saturday - Start a trial separation of your lease favourite clothing items.

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

Save the water in the kitchen sink while rinsing items. Then bail it out and use it on your potted plants or garden.

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

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • 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. Colleen, I love the new Mini-mission header. Looks really good. I like the “trial separation” idea. I think I am going to try this with Mom and her jewelry and plastic containers. Maybe even her clothes. We will see on that one. This week is a good week because we have no appointments.

    • Hi Deb J, I am going to do the trial separation on Tupperware. I use it all but I think a lot of it is just rotating and never really all used at once. So therefore I don’t need so much of it. I am sure my daughter would be more than happy to take some off my hands.
      I like that you have no appointments this week. That can surely mean you are both doing well health wise at the moment. Make the most of it.

      • Colleen, I know we have some plastic that isn’t being used. We seems to be at a new normal and things are staying stable. So having no appointments is great.

  2. I have been slowing reducing our plastic ever since I discovered the plastic free movement. I have made some headway, sometimes in areas where I least expected to. However, the kitchen storage containers are a problem. I have plenty of glass ones but I still have large plastic tubs I bake and cook a lot. I have a large pantry with tubs of flours, nuts, seeds, fruit, oats, rices etc etc. I would dearly love to replace the plastic with glass but right now I just can’t afford it.

    However come Tuesday I will be on a roll. I did a complete inventory of my wardrobe from shoes to hats and everything in between. I thought I had already purged well, but there is still work to be done. I already have a large pile of scarves and hats that can go. I’m not going to let them hang around I know I don’t need them! Jewellery gets the second purge this week too 🙂

    • Hi Gillie, I can vouch for the fact that baking often does tend to call for a well stocked pantry. I know this because some years back my husband and I started to eat more healthily. That includes eating less carbs, therefore the only day we have dessert or sweet treats is our free day on Saturday. On that day we tend to eat out also which give me a break from the kitchen. So I rarely bake these days and have greatly reduced the number of ingredients in my pantry. I find that empty kitchen containers take up more space than food in my kitchen cupboards so it is time I rationalised how many I have. My trial separation will definitely be on these plastic containers.

      • I rarely bake sweets or dessert. But I make my own bread, my own cereal and most of us have porridge for breakfast. I use a lot of seeds and nuts in our cooking and we forage lot of seaweed, fruits, mushrooms, plants and so forth. They tend to be most prolific at certain times of the year so I dehydrate and store for use throughout the year…hence the need for containers and large ones at that. I can freeze some plants but not all.

      • I don’t have any empty plastic containers….. it’s the ones with stuff in them that are the issue 🙂

  3. Ah. Plastic storage containers! Though my mom and I purged our supply not too long ago, I think we could do this. Since we’ve gotten much (MUCH!) better about cleaning out the refrigerator of leftovers, we don’t run out of storage containers anymore. If anything, I think we reuse certain ones and the others just sit in the cabinet (which is now only one shelf of containers instead of two shelves overflowing!). I’ll have to talk to her about it.

    • Hi Rachel, you are noticing the same thing I am with my plastics. Time to do something about it.

      • Yup. I think I’m gonna suggest to my mom that we cut the number of containers in half and see how that goes. Since I’m not going to end up paying attention to which ones we are actually using. If we can live easily with half of what we currently have, then awesome. And it’ll free up more cabinet space.

  4. Plastic storage – I am on my 3rd round of plastic container reduction. The first round came about because there was an avalanche of plasticware whenever I opened the cupboard, so I took away exactly half and put it in a box just in case I’d been too harsh. Well a month went by and no plasticware emergencies, so I gave those to my sis-in-law. Then a year later, I swear that plastic either breeds or like gremlins multiplies after midnight because once again I had that ‘too much plasticware’ situation going on. So I did the take away exactly half thing again and did another trial seperation. These eventually left on freecycle. Then later last year I took away half again as an experiement more than anything. Only one container was brought back, the left over plasticware remains in a box for my son’s on again and off again leaving home.

    I love tupperware and plasticware but I find that many items are specialised one purpose items. By reducing my plastics cupboard to the bare bones I have had to think a little more resourcefully. If I appear to have run out of containers, rather than buy more, I announce the problem to the family and usually it turns out that there is a stockpile at work or have been used for some project and then they get returned.

    At the moment because we are painting, a number of containers have been used to hold fixings, curtain track supports, door stops etc. So I have just been using my mixing bowls, measuring jugs, breakfast bowls, whatever I can lay my hands on to store left over food with a bit of cling wrap over the top. So I probably don’t need as many as I still have but I’ll let natural atrinity take care of that, I just have had a mind set that I can only possibly store food in plastic.

    In the meantime, I used to have a corner cupboard dedicated to plastics, but now it also houses my serving bowls and serving platters, with plenty of white space.

    • Hi Moni, I think it was you who coined the term “trial separation” in relations to clutter some time back when you were doing one of your earlier plastics purge. Just one tip for you when you are using mixing bowls – to save on plastic put a plate on top instead. I use my mixing bowls and plates up the other way too – plate on bottom bowl on top – when I have certain items like steamed pudding or left over roast.

      • Trial seperation is good when I want to make a change but aren’t 100% sure or am worried I’m going to end up spending money to replace the item. I also use it with my daughters when they’re having a clean out of their wardrobes, sometimes they get a bit carried away, so I keep the box for a month or so and see if they pull anything back out.

  5. I sometimes forget that I can use breakfast bowls for more purposes than I do. I don’t even like plastic containers but still keep a few ‘just in case.’ I will do a trial separation especially as they also get in the way. The outcome is obvious!

  6. I keep several plastic tubs, mostly from strawberries, cherry tomatoes in with my ‘good’ Pyrex containers, but I think I will move them to the shed. I only keep them so I can portion out veges/herbs for my monthly Food Swap, but they don’t need to clutter up my everyday drawers!

    I’m also happy to report that I cleaned out my utilities wardrobe last week and discovered 2 camping mats – which only get used once a year at Easter – they will be perfect for my daughter and I to use as yoga mats (as I’ve been too scummy to actually buy one, and have just been lying on the revoltingly filthy floor of the school hall where I do my class).

    My daughter actually WENT THROUGH HER OWN WARDROBE and found 5 items of clothing she no longer wears. Actually, all of those items are things I bought her, on the spur of the moment, without asking her, so in future we will shop together (and are doing this Ethical Clothing challenge:

    • Hi Loretta, those camp mats were a good find.
      As for buying closes for girls – I started giving my daughter a clothing allowance at the age of twelve because she would capitulate over clothing choices and then the items would hardly get worn. It was best to allow her the freedom to buy what she likes. The budget was such that she couldn’t stray from a sensible path though. If she spent too much on any particular items then she had better make sure it lasted because there would be no extra money forthcoming. She soon learned to be wise.

  7. Colleen, I love the idea of a “trial separation”. I weeded out a bunch of old plastic containers awhile back, but also bought some new ones. I keep feeling I have too many but have been afraid to get rid of very many because I may need them. I generally good about getting rid of excess – but for some reason, not plastic. I’m going to pack up several different pieces, put them away, and see what happens. I’m surprised you have anything to purge, you have done an amazing job over the last few years.

    • Hi Barbara, as for me still finding things to purge, it is more inspired by the fact that I have less space now. There are often those useful items, like plastic containers, that one keeps simply because they have the space so it doesn’t matter. Now I have less space so the excess is wasting valuable space. Like you I would rather do a trial separation than ditch them and find out I ditched the wrong ones or went too far. There is room in our cage in the garage to store them for now.