Mini Mission Monday ~ Unclutter to Declutter

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.

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

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. What a great idea Colleen. I love this idea. I plan to do this as I unpack. Yes, I MOVED into my new apartment. I am on the 3rd floor with a view of trees and rooftops and the mountains in the distance. I love it. My only problem is that I moved yesterday and am exhausted and then had a bad fall in the bathroom while getting ready to hang my shower curtain. I am okay but very sore. I can’t wait to get started with unpacking and putting things away.

    • Hi, Deb J. How exciting that you’re finally in your new home with a view! I hope the exhaustion and soreness will be gone soon.

    • Deb J – I’m so happy that your apartment has turned out so well. Am sorry to hear you had a fall though. These things seem to happen when one is tired and stressed, plus the most inconvenient timing. I’m especially glad you have a nice view.

      • Moni, even with most of the boxes to still unpack it feels so good to have my own place again. All the fall did was make me rest more and that is a good thing. It means I won’t try to get everything done in a day and no one else expects me to either.

        • Deb J – exactly! I wish I lived close enough to come over and lend a hand. I imagine as a decluttering extraordinaire you already have an inventory list in your head and have mentally unpacked. Tomorrow is another day. LOL you could always get your mum to come over and lend a hand!

          • Yes, I do have everything itemized and placed in my head. Mom would not be the best to have helping. She thinks I need more stuff as it is. She keeps trying to send up things from her place. She did say she had more she wants to get rid of!!

            • Deb J – LOL your mum. My MIL told me on the phone that she is noting things around her house that I (as in me Moni) can declutter. I’ve told her to feel free to set up a box to place things in to be taken away.

              I imagine that your mum isn’t a unique case in the apartment village. I know you’re focusing on rest at the moment but you might be able to establish yourself as a service at the village and have a local Goodwill store collect once a week or something similar.

              • Moni, our MIL is a hoot. At least she is starting to get with the program. Maybe she will actually start doing things on her own. One can hope.

                They actually have a thrift store here in the “village.” People can donate things and then others buy them. The money goes toward fun things for the residents. I have thought about offering to help others declutter but am not sure there will be any interest. From what I have seen they all have way too much and it is all stuffed into their apartments.

    • Hi Deb J

      I was so pleased to read that you are now all moved in. It has been inspiring to hear how you and your mom have decluttered and moved and succeeded in making your plans happen. I hope you will get settled in soon and be very happy in your new place.

    • Idgy of the North

      Glad you are moved into your new place, Deb J. Sorry to here about your fall…hope you are not sore for too long. Can’t wait to hear all about your move.

    • Deb J.,
      So excited for you. Take your time unpacking and settling in. You are almost near the finish line in your long journey. You go girl!

  2. Today, I put away 2 gift bags and pulled out 3 to recycle.

  3. Nice one, Colleen. Return something to its rightful place and then get rid of something else that you don’t need or use – such simple steps that’ll make a difference to the way your home looks.

  4. Lol – it took me until down to Wednesday to click that the missions were repeating. Too early on a Monday for me, I guess.

    I had noticed on the weekend that the kitchen cupboards could do with a straightening up, so I will apply this to this area first of all. Last week I was straightening up the garage and a decent haul went off to the Hospice store. Other stuff was re-distributed around the house, so its a good time to re-visit places like cupboards, entertainment centres etc.

    The housing market for the area is very hot at the moment, it would be the perfect time to cash up, the only problem is that finding something else whether to buy or rent is extremely difficult too. Most folks are having to find a house, then put their house on the market. So even though we would get a ‘hot’ price right now, we would also have to pay a ‘hot’ price for something else. So the economy isn’t falling in with my plans to downsize. And although the kids have left home, they’ve left us the pets, so apartment isn’t an option either at this stage. However, things can change suddenly and being at the ready is the plan.

    Besides which, I still have the project at the inlaws and that will be many months work. They live across the other side of the city so I have been trying to make it weekend sessions instead of every day after work like it was initially while we were getting them shifted in. But this weekend just gone, was poor weather so both parties were happy to take a break. When I was going every day I found it easier, whereas weekly visits I feel I need to ‘gird’ myself mentally to get into it again and now that I will have had essentially a two week gap, I kind of feel like it could be the mountain that I die on. Metaphorically speaking.

    • Moni, I’m sorry to hear that your hopes to move to something smaller aren’t able to come to fruition right now but it will all work out when it is a good time. IN the meantime, maybe it is a good time to just be working on your inlaws place. It sounds like such a huge undertaking it can only mean you don’t need anything else going on right now. Maybe by the time you have their place done you will find you can still sell your place at a great price and yet find something you like for a lower price than now. That happened to us once. God luck with your kitchen this week.

    • Moni,
      Hang in there and keep the faith. I am a huge believer in things coming together and happening when they are supposed to and when we are ready. I have seen this in my own life and in other’s lives over many decades. When it does happen, we look back and can make sense of all the pieces of the puzzle as to why it didn’t happen earlier. We must live our lives forward, but understand our lives in looking backwards.

  5. I’m still basking in the the newly vacated space when I got rid of bedroom tv, DVD player, cable box & assorted cords & cables., so not sure I’ll get any more this week.

    Glad you finally got to move into your new place Deb J, sorry to hear about your fall.
    Sounds like you needed a break, a well deserved break Moni!

  6. I’m hoping to get a lot done this week – my sons are home at the moment and are enthusiastically working through their belongings. We have a big pile of books and games to donate already. It is so much easier to do this when the other family members are willing to help, so I hope this positive attitude continues!

  7. Idgy of the North

    Good reminders, Colleen. At our house, we just unpacked the kids from their stay at summer sleepover camp. It was good to evaluate which items still fit or were outgrown. It resulted in some clothes and shoes being decluttered when we unpacked their bags.

    We are now preparing our packing lists for our upcoming vacation to the pacific coast. We keep decluttering our list of things to pack and are not buying anything new for the trip. I am now making a list of consumables (soap, toothpaste, etc.) to buy at our destination so we won’t have to pack these items.

    Both of these packing exercises have helped us go through some of the more hidden areas in closets. Hope to find some more to declutter in this week. It also helps remind us how little we actually need.

  8. My husband has made at least one foray out to the shed every week for the last several weeks… And many things have made their way to the curb… Most have been grabbed by someone… The other day, he put out 2 screen doors and a partial bag of concrete mix… gone! So, I asked him today to show me the shed… I was astonished at how cleared out it looked! I was all “WOW, look at all the space”… Then, I happened to notice an old laundry basket full of UNUSED garden stuff (mine)… And when I turned to go back out, I saw a hefty pile of empty containers (mine) and a lawn/tree sprayer (his)… I put the containers with the rest of my container stash that I “shop” from as things change around here… The garden stuff I have to get back to, because I was decluttering the garden of weeds at the time 🙂

    At lunch today my eye was roving over the spice cabinet (in the dining room) and I noticed the Allspice in a sprinkler type container… I don’t know why I noticed that but I thought about how we use that spice only for pumpkin pie… A couple of months ago, I got some plastic-lidded Ball jars for the pumpkin pie spices, to make things easier for my husband (he is our cook)…. And one of those scoopable jars contains Allspice… So, why do we also have a shaker??? I had to laugh, my husband has been setting out all manner of things at the curb, for weeks, and I’m decluttering a mini shaker of spice? LOL

    • Peggy – is this one of those situations where the student becomes the Master?! Its great when the blokes step up.

      • Yes Moni, I have been telling my husband he’s been doing way better than me at decluttering lately! I’m trying to stay on track but a lot of it has been photos (done to my satisfaction) and paperwork (just started going through inactive files)… You can work on papers for a long time without seeing visible progress :p Our daughter who “hates to declutter” surprised me today by going through her clothes – again! One of her best friends has been giving her “sample sale” designer toiletries, purses, clothing… Our daughter is apparently satisfied with her wardrobe and seeing that she can keep only what she loves (I hope)… She also got rid of a luggage set we gave her a few years ago. I dusted it off & left it out on the curb, hopeful that someone will want it 🙂 There is much more this daughter could do (her toddlers live here also and they have soooo much stuff – toys & clothing)… I try not to push too much because she gets angry. She doesn’t even like if I make a big (positive) deal out of what she does do. I think she feels that I will expect it all the time then?

  9. Hi Colleen,

    I’m sorry to be all out of order to your missions! I was following the Uncluttered course by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. It started in May and just ended. I was out of step with his assignments, also LOL… I think a lot of it has to do with where I am in my decluttering journey. I feel like what I have left is the hard stuff. Sentimental & papers. I did my photos a few months ago. But now I’m working through old files… can you say slow progress? At least my husband & daughter are stepping up their games 🙂 🙂 🙂 I hope you don’t mind too much that I am out of order 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. I made my way out to the shed today to take care of that garden stuff… Saw a small packet on the floor, asked my husband what is this? He said that was a thing he had been looking for, a needle type thing to help him blow up some deflated balls! So he blew up 3 balls & one didn’t hold, so he chucked it. But the other 2 balls are now ready to play 🙂

    I found a bunch of Organic Garden magazines that I didn’t even remember having. They will be donated to the library. I chucked a few plastic pots into recycle & kept all but the largest clay pot… for now. If I find that I don’t use the ones I kept, they will be donated, too.

    I finally made up my mind to part with a small vase my dad gave me a long time ago. It’s beautiful but I have never used it, it just sits on my “vase shelf” on the back porch because I prefer the 3 recycled narrow glass jars that used to hold some kind of sauce (left here by the previous homeowner). I still have many things my dad gave me, things that he actually made.

    I went through several files and reduced their contents. This will be something that I have to revisit at a future date because the info in the files I looked at today relates to a time when I was laid off & got a personal assessment by a career placement company (very interesting) and then went to massage school (a good memory)…

    My husband got rid of a long plastic thing that we don’t even know what it belongs to… I said maybe it went with the old fridge? (that we no longer have)

    I decluttered some more weeds from the garden, dumped some leftover seeds into the compost… maybe we will get some “volunteers” in the compost next year 🙂

    It has been a good day 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Well done Peggy, you have been busy. I haven’t been home at all last week. Was away visiting my family, but now that I am home there are some areas I would like to declutter a little more.
      I should have included the filing cabinet in this weeks set of mission because that is definitely and area people avoid but is best kept in check because files take up a small space but take a lot of work to get back into order once neglected.

  11. Hi Colleen,

    I’m glad you don’t seem upset that I’m out of order 🙂 I have done more than I expected so far on the filing cabinet… I’m into the Drawer 3 already (there are 4 drawers). Drawer 1 – empty except for extra hanging files & manila folders Drawer 2 – Travel & adventure stuff, miscellaneous files Drawer 3 – career and programming code and sentimental stuff Drawer 4 – stuff that has to be kept for tax purposes… I’m not being thorough, just willing hehe… I figure this job will need more than one pass, as I become willing to part with things 🙂