Mini Mission Monday ~ Unclutter, Declutter

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.

Hi my lovely 365ers, and what kind of decluttering are you up to this week. Well here I am again to help you along on that task. This week we are going to unclutter and declutter at the same time. That is each day we are going to seek out something in our homes that need putting away ~ that’s the unclutter part ~ then where we put it away we are going to see if we can find something to declutter completely. So every day the instructions will be the same but the state of your home will determine where and what will be unclutter and declutters. So here goes.

Monday – Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

Tuesday - Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

Wednesday - Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

Thursday - Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

Friday - Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

Saturday - Put away an item out of place in your home then declutter an item in the place that you just rehoused the other item.

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

If you see an item in someone’s junk pile that isn’t junk, salvage it and take it to your local thrift store for resale. You will be rescuing an item from landfill and helping Charity at the same time.

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. Had a good week on the Decluttering Front last week. I completed the big job of cleaning out my section of wardrobes in our bedroom. To make it easier – ie less daunting – I broke it down into 4 stages: the rails, the bottom of the larger section, the bottom of the smaller section which is my shoe storage and the top cupboards. Last Thursday was the final bit, the top sections. Result! I have blogged about this (http// Thanks for spurring me on with your weekly reminders! Now just got to get my DH to clear out his wardrobe sections! Oh dear!

    • I cleared out clothes from my side of the closet that I wasn’t wearing…my husband noticed the open space and asked if he could move some of his overcrowded clothing to my side….SIGH.

  2. Hi Linda, well done and I especially liked that you broke the mission down to smaller chunks so it felt more doable. That is following the principals of 365 Less Things’ slow an stead decluttering.

  3. What a interesting idea Colleen. I have some things I need to put back in their place since we have been pulling items to donate to be used for Vacation Bible School. That will give me a great opportunity to declutter some other things. Just love reasons to do any decluttering.

    • Hi Deb J, any reason is a good one to declutter. I rearranged my craft stuff last week and weeded out a few items while I was at it. Now I just need to list them on ebay.

  4. I like this idea, Colleen. This morning I wanted to reduce the number of kitchen towels, I chose 3. Two went to the laundry room where I replaced two hand towels, then turned those into 4 cleaning cloths and I tossed the 4 worst cleaning cloths I had. The 3rd kitchen towel I cut and sewed into 2 potholders and then replaced 6 potholders from the drawer .

    So, there was a lot of trading, repurposing and switching but the end result was decluttering 4 cleaning cloths and 4 potholders.

  5. We must have been on the same wavelength last week with cleaning out our wardrobes. I found some odd clothes that I will never wear, how did they get there??
    My sister is traveling overseas and was so pleased to tell me she had purchased a suitcase that is the type you use for carry on luggage . She had packed it for a month in Spain , which was pretty good on her part. On the other hand her husband insisted on taking his large cumbersome bag, his explanation was ‘ In case she bought more clothes’ We both know who is the clothes purchaser in that family ;).
    I have enjoyed last weeks post and I’m dealing with too much of a good thing.
    Yesterday I was driving to the beach and noticed a unit block’s mail boxes all overflowing with junk mail. So much waste. Then I passed Westfield shopping centre and the Supa Centre, all overflowing with shoppers on the weekend. These are two habits that 365 has helped me stop. There is life after recreational shopping and junk mail.
    I think I will spend this week doing some digital declutter, as well as my ‘work in progress the kitchen’.
    I have plenty of cleaning cloths and light bulbs. The light bulbs now are supposed to last almost forever, so why do I have a large supply ? Usually because I buy the wrong ones for the blown light and keep the purchased ones for the other lights that haven’t blown.
    My husband was telling me the company he works for are using a method of storing emails which provides unlimited storage, no more emptying the trash folder. All items are stored forever. Somehow I feel uncomfortable with this endless amount of storage idea.

    • Hi Wendy, I will be putting out a free box in the lobby with the lightbulbs I won’t be using. We are switching to all LED’s so any spares in our possession won’t ever be used by us. In future I won’t be keeping any spares because there simply is no need.

    • Wendy F and Colleen – I find lightbulb shopping very frustrating! I always get the wrong one despite my best efforts and have to take it back.

  6. I’m not sure if I’ll accomplish the missions this week, BUT I read in the newspaper that my town is doing a city-wide yard sale next weekend. Doing a yard sale was absolutely not on my agenda, but there will be hundreds of people strolling through town and it would be dumb not to take advantage of that. Especially since I’ve been holding on to some things that I felt were too “good” to donate and the shop I sell to didn’t want them. So, this afternoon I turned into spray-painting maniac. An ugly putty-colored folding wooden chair that I got for $3 at a yard sale some 8+ years ago is now a lovely Carribean blue, two black wall shelves are now key lime green, a beige shabby chic side table is now a cheerful yellow, and a bad beige paint job on a wire plant stand is now key lime green. I also decided to put a price tag on my refinished door moulding bookends too. I have a painted wood toy box from my dad (no sentimental attachment) that I’m going to put hinges and a thingamabob so that the lid doesn’t crush a toddler’s hand in it, spray paint it too and sell it. I’m going to sell one of the two vintage light fixtures that I got when my office remodeled. The second one is solid brass and I ain’t letting that go. The first one is not so cool. I actually could gather more junk to sell, but hubby is standing in my way. LOL

    Happy decluttering, everyone! 🙂

    • What a great opportunity to get rid of some stuff and make a little cash Michelle. I hope you sell everything that you have prepared for this city wide garage sale. I can tell you really like revamping stuff with a lick of paint. I have never bothered but at the moment I have an old lift top desk that I need to refurbish for my grand daughter-to-be. She is i soon and this is something her mother said she would really like. I picked one up for $25 at a secondhand shop and now I just need to get on with the project.

      • Colleen, that sounds terrific – what a thoughtful gift for your grand daughter. 🙂 Hubby balked at me getting rid of the bookends. If they don’t sell, they can always go back on the shelf. I do appear to have a thing for painting, don’t I? 🙂

  7. This Saturday I am donating my dining table with 2 chairs and then moving the smaller table from the kitchen to the dining room. This is with my husband’s blessings! I am also holding onto some excess clothing that don’t flatter me to donate with the Saturday pickup. I went back to try on 2 items from the donation pile to be sure I wasn’t making a mistake and it turned out I didn’t. This is exactly why I usually make the donations pronto so that I don’t change my mind. I also tried to talk my son into donating some sport memorabilia but that didn’t go well. Why do we all think that everything we own is a treasure??

    • Hi Anna, nice bit of decluttering there. As for why do we think everything we own is a treasure. I think that might have something to do with the rise and all of value in antiques and collectables. It is easy to convince oneself that something might be valuable one day and should be held on to. i particularly dislike the ides of producing items designed for collecting and no real other purpose. I fail to see how things like that will be increase in value and yet people line up to purchase them.

      • Anna and Colleen, I agree with the “treasure” comments. I have always wondered about mass-produced so-called collectibles. Saturday we strolled through a flea market. I found a cute metal fleur d’lis (sp?) and was going to plop it in a flower bed. Well, I already have yard art scattered through the yard and aren’t the flowers themselves supposed to be the point? I put it back.

        • Michelle, good for you! Stopping yourself from bringing in more clutter is always a win, win. Now I’m thinking of the boxes and boxes of baseball cards (and 4 albums full), plastic hockey stanley cups and the list goes on. The only reason I am not doing the tough love thing for my son is that he has a physical handicap and will always be living with us. This stuff was aquired before his illness when people thought such things would pay for a college education. Also, I do have a spare bedroom but if we ever move it will most likely need to be addressed. In the meantime I will work on my own stuff.

          • Hi Ann, don’t even get me started on baseball cards. They have been the bane of my existence since they started coming into my home. Back in the early days when baseball cards came in cigarette packets they were not so mass produced so rarer and as that era became a thing of the past the special short prints became valuable. Which is ridiculous in itself given that we are talking about a piece of paper here. Then the baseball cards themselves became the product. Mostly mass produced with some short prints and “special” cards with jersey scraps, bits of balls and bats in them. It is just a seemingly harmless form of gambling and I stress the word seemingly.

  8. Huge decluttering happened last week here. We took that second set of dishes to a thrift store along with a couple of other boxes of knick knack kinds of things. A couple of old computer instruction books went away too!

    Colleen, do I sense a pattern here for this week’s mini missions? 🙂 Good idea–I’ll see what I come up with.

    • Hi Willow, well done with the decluttering. It must feel good to have that stuff out of there.
      Well done spotting the pattern with the mini missions. 😉 You are very observant, perhaps you should have been a computer programmer.

  9. I got another bag of clothes and shoes packed up for the thrift store. I had ordered a few new shirts, and I decided more clothes had to go. I actually got rid of more than I bought – so win win. Then I went through my sons clothes (again!) and found more winter items to get rid of and school clothes he no longer needs (school ends Thursday – finally!). Then I went through the shoes in the bottom of my closet – and four pairs went in the donate bag. Hopefully tomorrow I can get this stuff dropped off . . . I still have a small pile left from last week I couldn’t fit in my car LOL.

  10. Colleen, I like that this week’s missions are focused on tidying AND are easy to remember! 😉 Quite the right ones for me!

    I wonder, have you heard of Marie Kondo, a Japanese declutterer/organizer and author? I think, Gillie mentioned her on her blog a few weeks back and I have been reading and watching on the internet. I think, I’m hooked. I’ ll see if I can get her book in the library. She’s doing the very opposite of slow and steady decluttering, but it’s really interesting as she has some new-to-me-thoughts about responsibility and ownership…

    • Hi Sanna, I will have to check out Marie Kondo. I have never heard of her.

    • Sanna – I had recently heard about her, I googled and so far only found interviews. Has anyone read her book?

      • I haven’t read her book yet, but I watched a few before-and-after TV shows with her where she explained the basics (in Japanese, sorry!). I know her method and key “rules” now, but will still look into the book for a few more details. What impressed me extremely was her no-fuss approach while at the same time being inbelievably patient and understanding. She even had one girl in a really hoarder-like dorm room style apartment (no space to walk, bathroom unusable etc. etc.) clear her room out in a few days and actually being highly motivated to continue being tidy. Quite impressive.

        The basic idea is to focus on what to keep instead of what to get rid of and in a huge “cleaning party” to get everything out and only put back what really makes you feel good. She has a suggested order for what to tackle first and puts emphasis on taking time with each and every single item, both to properly “thank” the items you declutter for what they did for you in the past and to neatly store and arrange the remaining items and find a logic place for everything.
        She also thinks it’s better to go for a quick and radical change, because the difference of the before-and-after will make such a deep impression that you won’t go back to your old ways.

        I don’t know if I necessarily agree with all her points, but I think about doing a cleaning party just as she suggests, so I’ll see for myself. Except for the speed of the declutter I got the impression she is rather on the same wave length with Colleen here. 😉

        • Sanna – I admit I do like a dramatic make over but also admit that that approach can create a lot of chaos and could stress/overwhelm a fledgling declutter. It really does depend on the person and possibly the area that they’re trying to clear. But yeah, I love before and after shots.

          When I read about her I was intrigued about the thanking the items that have been chosen to be decluttered. I read further as an example was given and it fell into place for me. Say I bought a dress, but when I got it home and tried it on again, and eventually I decide that its not flattering and I decide to declutter it. I have to thank it for teachning me what was unflattering about that style or colour for me.

          It might sound a bit odd at first, but I like that it leaves me feeling at peace with a poor choice and acknowledge that it will look lovely on someone else.

          • You’re right, it IS overwhelming. However, it might be a good thing to do before a move 😉 !
            Also, we are at a smaller amount of stuff now, so it seems doable (though still a huge task) now for me to go through everything at once. I don’t think I could have done it a few years back. 🙂

            I was also intrigued by her approach to ownership in general. It seems a bit strange at first, because she puts a lot of emphasis on that you have to care for your stuff. That your stuff deserves being treated well. Even when you get rid of it. It’s an interesting thought that I haven’t come across before (at least not in that intensity), but it somehow makes sense to me: if you can’t be bothered caring for your stuff, you probably better shouldn’t have it in the first place. If you own it, you also must treat it responsibly.

        • I do like the sound of this approach Sanna. Although I do wonder about whether these shows are staged sometimes. It seems unlikely that if someone was in a hoarding stage, which is an actual mental disorder, then it wouldn’t be so easy to convince them of the change. Although her approach sound almost spiritual in a way which could convince a person with extreme behaviours to switch one belief for another. It just then makes me wonder if they would then go overboard with the new behaviour, placing too much importance and reverence on the items kept. I have to admit when it comes to my craft supplies ~ about the only area in my home the I pull everything out at once and replace only the items I wish to keep ~ the quick all out at once approach works quite well for. I now have a pile of craft supplies ready for ebay sitting in the corner of my dinning space. And I am grateful for the service they provided me at the time and am ready to forward them on to someone else who will find them useful. I look forward to reading more of Marie Kondo’s writings.

          • Of course, these shows might be staged. However, I think, the girl in this case wasn’t a typical hoarder who can’t bear parting with stuff, but her problem was more that she didn’t want to deal with her stuff at all. Kondo did make her realize that she didn’t feel at home in her apartment and made her care more for her things – as in “Treat your apartment with more respect – it’s a fine apartment that gives you shelter, so it’s inadequate to turn it into a dump”. Turning point among other things for the girl was when she found a bouquet she recently got for her birthday buried in that mess and already rotten. She cried about not having put it into water and thus having destroyed that beautiful present by neglect.
            That said, though this room was a complete mess, it was a small room, so I guess even with the best intentions a whole house in the same state would take weeks to months to declutter.

  11. I had a chuckle when I read this weeks mini missions. With my son living back home, he is notorious for putting things away in the wrong place which has instigated many a hunt. I have realised today there a couple of items missing so I will take the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

    • Ha ha Moni, I am sure those birds aren’t the only things you feel like killing when you can’t find the things you need. At least he is putting them away, even if in the wrong place.

  12. Right, I put away my address book from the top of my messy desk and then decluttered a bunch of junk mail from the cubby where my address book lives. Nice.

    Still staring at my kindergarten to senior high school report cards from many previous Sunday mini-missions. I finally shredded some tests from elementary so at least I did that. I’ll probably take photos of my reports at some point here. 🙂

    • Oooh Ron. You’ve hit a sore spot with me. It is those items like school reports and exercise books that have sentemental and happy memories for me that I find so hard to part with. I move them from one space to another and then put them back in a cupboard so I don’t have to think about decluttering them! I think the photos are a good idea because then you can look at them without the hard copy being clutter. I’ll have to try that. I think it’s because it feels like I’m thowing bits of myself away. I do know that I am not doing that and I know logically, that ” I am not my stuff” but the emotional response is strong. Mmm Colleen, there’s a subject for you to write about.

      • Yes, throwing bits of myself away is what I feel at times too. And yet I know I am not my things too. What happens when I’ve decluttered all my things?

        I know it’s silly but a friend of mine has been inspired by watching me to also declutter. He has gone to the extreme in getting rid of almost all of his personal things but that is enough for him but perhaps too much for me.

        I certainly hope I know when to stop as many comments here seem to suggest.

    • Ron – I’d suggest scanning and digitally filing them if you didn’t want to keep physical copies.

    • Well done Ron B, you are following the missions to the tee.

      As for those school reports. Why don’t you get yourself a plastic sleeve folder in which to store any important (to you) genealogical documents like this. Choose a folder of a certain size and page quantity that you think is reasonable. Limit yourself to that as the number of documents you can keep. If something more important comes in something less important must be sacrificed to gain the space for the new. This way, you have a nice place to store your docs and a self imposted limited. They will be safe and clean for posterity. Then also, should something happen to you these important docs are all in the one place for those surviving you to gain access to and decide that then is important to them.

      • I’ll be sure to take pics of them just in case. Maybe I’ll go through and try to see if some (kindergarten maybe) is more dear to me than another year. Not sure… still looking at them but it would be nice to not have them hang around for someone else to decide on. I’m a bachelor, no kids, so don’t think my nieces, nephews and sibs care too much about my stuff but I could be wrong… again. 🙂

  13. Ron and Salley, I got rid of my own school stuff many years ago (maybe I wasn’t that good of a student??) Anyway, I did shred report cards and tests from my 2 children (ages 40 and 37) last year. There was no need for me to even mention it to them, as I am the one who put them in a file box during their school days. Whew! glad I don’t feel any guilt.

    • Most of my friends are amazed I still have these reports so in that respect it’s kind of neat.

      Also the fact that it’s not a lot of stuff but when I think about all the ‘not a lot of stuff’ I have that actually piles up to make a fair bit of stuff… I must take action at some point.

      Had a friend over tonight and he didn’t say a word about furniture gone and not a word about piles of papers gone off kitchen counters. Course guys don’t often notice much and, if they do, don’t often comment too much about decluttering. Hmmm.

      A few years back one of my cousins commented on how a pile of stuff had been there the last time he visited a year before and that kind of started the ball rolling for me.

      What shall I declutter tomorrow? The dreaded laundry room and at least 2 closets still await me.

      • I guess my cousin was an exception to the guy thing. Weird as his place is much more ‘full’ than my house has ever been but then he lives in a small apartment.

        Funny I used to fit everything into a small apartment too and then somehow… wow.