Mini Mission Monday ~ Usage

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.

The theme for this weeks mini missions is what the items are used for. That should make it nice broad categories for you to find clutter among. So lets get on with it.

Monday – Declutter something for wearing.

Tuesday – Declutter something for cooking.

Wednesday – Declutter something for adorning the home with.

Thursday – Declutter something for adorning yourself with. Jewellery and the like.

Friday – Declutter something used to maintain things. Tools, cleaners and other utilitarian objects.

Saturday – Declutter something meant to entertain you. Books, CDs DVDs, magazines etc

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. I love these broad categories Colleen. They seem to always give me something to find to get rid of.

    • Deb J – I’ve just put up a reply on last week’s thread about tax papers for Brenda re: is storing documents digitally acceptable in America. Could you help with your knowledge please?

  2. I only have a blue-Ray player to recycle this week. But my youngest granddaughter has 5 large bags of clothes, shoes, purses, stuffed toys etc. I told her I would give her $10 per large bag so she could clean out her room & have a few bucks.

    Have to start them young.

    • Calla – my youngest is at Uni and very proudly told me she was decluttering her room. She sent me a photo of her ‘out box’. The box that she is freighting home to me to deal with. Hmmmm.

      • Hmmmm is right. Hang in there Moni!

      • Tell her to freight it straight to Goodwill.

        • Marilena – I did suggest a few things could be sent direct to goodwill down where she is, however, it sounds like she has bundled everything into a box including art gear and clothes she won’t be using this semester. Her room is very small, so art gear and seasonal clothing gets sent back and forth.

      • I had this problem with my grown children leaving boxes of their stuff in my garage .After a long time trying to get them to clear it out Without success I came up with a new solution When they are home I show them one box and ask them to peek inside to see if there is anything they want to keep they rarely keep more than one item so it’s getting done slowly but surely .!

    • It must be the time of daughters decluttering. By that I mean my daughter is also decluttering her house. Of course I didn’t mean we should declutter our daughters. Hee hee!

      • Hi Colleen,

        That is big news, I think I remember you intimating that your daughter wasn’t very interested in decluttering her things?

        • Hi Peggy, that changed a lot when she had a relationship breakup and moved back interstate. Now she is decluttering a lot of other stuff too, like bad eating habits. She is looking and feeling better for it too.

  3. Broad missions work well for me this week as I am making my way around places such as bedside drawers, wardrobes, hot water cupboards, hall cupboards, entertainment units, laundry drawers etc. I’d set out not just with a view to decluttering, but also to review/overhaul how things are organised ie what is on lower shelves versus higher shelves, what needs to be modified.

    I have also established a temporary cardboard box for collecting up digital cameras, their cables, chargers and memory cards. They’re now superseded by smart phones, but I need to make sure that everything is transferred to a hard drive before they are given away or donated or ???? As I’m working my way around the house, hopefully I’ll come across all the bits and pieces, so next time I’m working on photos they will all be together.

    Cables are another thing that has multiplied lately. My plan is match them up to their devises, label them, put the remaining cables aside for a set period before getting rid of them, so that will be another small temporary cardboard box.

    • I wish you success with these decluttering missions Moni. Electronic gadgets and their cables are a bit of a pain at times. Someone in my house seems to manage to declutter one cable he shouldn’t every time he carries out this task. Not mentioning any names.

      • RE: Cables – well I was able to match up my mini-kobo (I haven’t used it since kobo introduced a phone app), 3 digital cameras, digital photo frame, 1 non-portable ext hard drive and also found a missing portable hard drive cable! Now labeled and stored with the item while I figure out what I’m going to do with said items.

        I discovered a Play Station plug in hoodakey thingee which after sending a photo to my daughter turns out belongs to a play station headset that broke a year or two ago. A telephone cable – I’m thinking it belongs to the printer which has a fax port, but we do not require that feature. A cigarette lighter cellphone charger from three phones ago. Two chargers that don’t belong to anything but have large plug into the power socket parts, the annoying kind that are so big you can’t use the other power outlet. Besides which, I had all our power sockets replaced with ones that also have two usb ports. Oh and the instruction manual to the PS3 headset that broke. All these items are going.

        However there still remains about 10 cables in the cable box but I have dated the box and will wait and see if any other devices turn up during my cupboard-clutter-campaign.

        An acquaintance put a message on facebook saying she is off to Fiji and after making enquiries was asking for donations of bras and school supplies for the under-priviledged and she was happy to take an extra suitcase or two to transport them. (Imagine that luggage inspection at customs) so by happy coincidence during a drawer rummage on the weekend I’d found a bra that I’d bought but which I’d put aside. When we dismantled the office desk a month or so ago, I ended up with a stash of pens, markers and highlighters that are surplus to requirement. So these are also headed to Fiji.

        I love it when things come together like that.

        • Nice work there with the cable match up and decluttering. Isn’t is great being able to send photos through messaging so you can check from a distance if people need/want stuff. I love it.
          And well done to the person asking for donations for the underprivileged to take overseas.

          • Colleen – any theories on how we end up with all these extra cables? I still have 10 or so.

            • Yes, husbands can’t help but upgrade their tech gear whether they need it or not. LOL! If only mine didn’t manage to declutter one cable that he shouldn’t have every time he does it. Especially when the cable belongs to something of mine.

  4. Hi Colleen,

    I think I will be out of order again… I’m still working on files… Just today I went through some paperwork for a student loan that was recently paid off & pared it down some…. I still have a 4″ stack of files from the inactive file cabinet to go through…

    A lot of things I get up to are like treading water… picking laundry up from all over the floor (daughter & her kids things), toys everywhere… I do manage a small declutter now & then 🙂

  5. OK – I need a push in the right direction here. I am on a one year no-sewing hiatus. I spent years sewing for the ballet school and now that my daughter’s have moved on with their lives, I was soooooo over sewing that I wanted to get rid of my sewing machines, overlocker, everything. I was advised here at 365LT not to get rid of my machines yet. As that year is about 3/4 thru I am remaining quite adamant that I really don’t want to sew. I happily use the services of a local seamstress. I’m happy to let my machines just sit in the cupboard. Never say never, but at this stage very unlikely in the short to medium term.

    OK – I am in possession of two boxes of overlocker threads. Every colour under the sun and sorted into bags. Some were charged to ‘groups’ I sewed for, so technically the 800 metres (or however much) of thread left on each spool belongs to the group who I sewed for. The class groups were groups my daughter’s were in, my older daughter and her class mates finished their levels and have gone on with their adult lives. My younger daughter, although she is the same age as her ballet classmates, somehow ended up a year ahead at school. (Our primary school was brand new and didn’t have a Year 0 class, so everyone went straight into Year 1) So her ballet class-mates are in their final year of High School and final year of dancing. None of those parents sew and to be honest are probably gleefully counting down to the finish line.

    I would love to not see those boxes of overlocker threads in my cupboard. Yes even at a few dollars per spool, no doubt it would add up to replace should I ever return to sewing, but I wouldn’t likely need 4-6 of every colour under the rainbow, and certainly not vivid performance colours.

    The logical thing would be to offer them to the ballet school. But in my 99% certainty that this is what I should do. There is a 1% that is stopping me. I don’t think it is an aspiration emotional block, I don’t think it is a sentimental emotional block – I can’t think of any of types of block that could be stopping me – could I please get some common sense from you ladies to push me along!

    • In case I didn’t explain it very well, my younger daughter is no longer dancing and lives in another part of the country at University.

    • Hi Moni
      When I finished costume sewing (or Thought I had finished) I offered all that neatly bagged stuff to the ballet school, including the leftover lycra. They didn’t want it!
      Who would have thought it … ha ha.
      I took it all to the local thrift shop on the way home and donated it there.
      Had I known about Freecycle back then, I would have offered it up there instead.
      Years later my dancing daughter teaches tap, and I do the occasional costume set for her students, and one-off performance items for her. I have had to purchase a few things, but don’t regret the donation one little bit. Do it … you know you want to.

      • Stephanie – the local kindergarten were always keen to get the fabric scraps, especially if they were sparkly or foiled. The year we did Lion King they were beside themselves with happiness. One of my daughter’s planned to become a teacher but injured herself in her final year so that’s not going to happen. If for some reason I found myself back in that world, I wouldn’t be volunteering again.

    • Moni, I think that 1% is there because your mind is still thinking you will have to do this again. Ignore it and get rid of the stuff. Evan if at some point you start sewing again it is doubtful you will be needing all those colors. I have a feeling you are done.

      • Deb J – did you ever decide where you stood with your scrap booking?

        • Moni, l am down to some supplies for making cards and some card stock. If I need something for a page or card I will buy it when I need it. No more stocking up.

    • Hi Moni,

      I don’t know how much those sewing machines cost, but I would be tempted to let them go at the one year anniversary if they are not being used… Sometimes things wither from disuse, but if you sold or donated now or at one year, someone else could be using and maintaining those machines… The special thread could be a bonus for whoever purchased the appropriate machine… I suggest parting with the thread either way because you stated that you would not likely use those colors… And I don’t think you need to specifically donate back to the group… They probably don’t even think about it and weren’t the ones doing all that sewing!!!

      We paid $110 some time ago for a bread machine and happily let it go with our married daughter, along with our crockpot… I figure since we aren’t “shoppers”, if we decide we need something, we can just go buy it. So, if you machines would be within a “reasonable” amount to repurchase if desired, you could let them go and see how that feels to you… I don’t know what reasonable means to you since it’s relative to each budget <3 I wish you well with your decision 🙂

      • Peggy – I’d be spending over $1000 to buy new machines, but I doubt I’d get much selling them second hand. I think I will keep the machines for now, one of my daughters can sew, the other can’t sew but wants to learn – she is the impoverished artist type – so I will leave it for now. However, if the right opportunity came up I would donate the machines – I saw an ad in freecycle a couple of years ago asking for a sewing machine, it had one of those back stories which makes you want to give the shirt off your back, alas I was still my machines at that stage. I will give the machines another year maybe.

    • Sounds like a “usefulness” emotional block rather than an emotional one. If there is one thing I have trouble parting with it is things that I have found very useful in the past. While putting some recycling aside to go in the bin the other day I wondered if I should keep a couple of the glass jars. I used to take these to the thrift shop to put beads, buttons and crafty bits in for sale. But now I don’t volunteer at the craft shop anymore but the hangover of the usefulness of the glass jars lingers on. It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that this was just a synaptic connection that has never been severed. Old habits die hard would describe it well.
      Although I have decluttered a lot of things over time there are some things that don’t get used so often these days that I am unlikely to ever get rid of. My sewing machine, overlocker and my knitting equipment are two of those things. I usually only go on a knitting binge every 5 years or more, and since the required equipment takes up very little room I see no problem with keeping it. And as for the sewing machine, it gets used every month or so for either a project or a repair. And considering how much it cost for sewing repairs and alterations I am not about to part with my machine. The overlocker I have a harder time justifying but once again, it cost a lot to replace and it doesn’t take up that much space so it will stay. There are a lot of other things I would declutter before turning on these three things.
      Ultimately the decision is up to you, but for someone who as always sewn I find it difficult to believe that you won’t come back to it. I imagine the stress of deadlines and repetitive sewing has tainted your view on the practise. There is no harm in just putting the machines aside until you at least get over that and can view them differently. On the other hand I would most definitely declutter any excessive sewing supplies. This is what I continuously and slowly do with craft supplies as I become more familiar with my craft style and tastes.
      Good luck!

  6. Moni, I think I was one of the few sho suggested you get rid of your sewing machines when you posed the question originally. I think one tends to know in their heart when something is “over”.
    It seems to me you really don’t want to sew anymore. I’m sure all the beautiful thread colors tug at your heart a bit. It is always hard to let go at first. However, what is the worst thing that could happen if you let them go? You would have to buy some thread in a color you need. Not a bad exchange for the space you could free up now. I doubt the ballet school would want them back. They probably buy what is needed at the time and do not fool with the use of leftovers. However, call them and offer. If they want it, let it go to them, but let it go either way. And I still suggest letting the machines go. It just sounds like you are “over it”!

    However, there’s no time limit with decluttering, so if you aren’t sure you are ready, you don’t have to do it now. :-).

    • Moni, I meant to add that just today I was thinking if I didn’t have to hem all my hubby’s pants I would get rid of my sewing machine in a heartbeat. I have a very good machine because my Mom had a sewing machine store and gifted me with it. I hate to sew and think I could do most repairs by hand if it weren’t for the hemming. That’s what you get for marrying a short legged man! Ha!

      • My husband also has the short leg thing – good stores will adjust them for you or your local dressmaker will hem them I just use a needle and thread for everyday repairs .Hope this helps .

    • Brenda – I would have to drive about 20-30 minutes to buy more thread, but I would have to go out to buy fabric and a pattern. I am short, so most jeans, trousers, skirts, dresses do have to be shortened but history has shown that I’d rather take it to the seamstress than get the machines out.
      In an update, I contacted the principal of the ballet school my girls attended and she would happily take the threads off my hands.

  7. Mon.—–trashed a pr of white capris with stains. Also put over 100 plastic hangers in the yard sale! Gasp! It’s true!!!
    Tue—— trashing my hubby’s worn out Teflon egg pan to replace w/new one I’ve bought him.
    Wed—–putting 2 large lamps into the yard sale.
    Thur—–I don’t adorn myself very much, so having to think on this!!! Ha!
    Fri—-I’m on a use-it-up for all cleaners I don’t make myself. I used to store extras :(.
    Sat—-just added 4 books to the stack going to the used book store.

    • Brenda – looks like you’re on a roll this week!

      • Moni, I Am on a roll, but it is mostly because of the upcoming yard sales, hopefully through Sept. Originally planned for weekend sales thru Oct, but hubby is having to move from his location where I am having the sales. Once this is over, I will be donating things in the future. I know I shouldn’t feel pressured over decluttering, but now that I am on this roll, I can’t get it done soon enough!!!! Things have left by the truckloads in the last couple years, but the mini missions are great ways to look for more items!!!

        Congrats that you found a home for the threads. I wager that you won’t miss them much.

    • Decluttering like a champion there Brenda.

  8. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here – We have a small cupboard above the fridge. We use it for medicines. I have everything stored in plastic bins so I can reach them easily and labels on the end of the plastic bin. I’m not sure why we keep them in the kitchen and not in the bathroom – maybe it was to keep them out of littlies reach or more likely, when the kids were younger whenever there was a boo-boo or an ailment they would come and find me…..usually in the kitchen. There is good lighting and a bench, the makings of a home surgery really.

    We have room for an extra storage bin (or a shoe box) along side these. Maybe I could relocate the pet stuff to here. Its currently located over 2 or 3 spots in the household.

    It then occurred to me that if we added a shelf we could add another row of containers. There is stuff we could relocate to this small cupboard in the kitchen from the hall cupboard – and maybe I could take inspiration from Deb J’s ‘cloffice’ and utilise the double cupboard for something better? I don’t know what yet, but lets keep the options open!

    Hubby also comes to me in the kitchen when he wants to know where the string or ‘fix-it’ items are kept. Ironically he would have walked straight past the hall cupboard where they currently live to find me to ask. I’m not permanently in the kitchen but there are tall bar stools at the kitchen counter that are the ‘coffee and gossip spot’ and we have a small lounge off the kitchen that I prefer to hang out in.

    • Moni – maybe you stored the Rx in the kitchen to prevent exposure to warmer temperatures in the bathroom?