MINI Mission monday — Wedding bell(e)s By Nicole V

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.

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe” — so goes the old English rhyme associated with brides and weddings. Each item is meant to be a good luck charm to ensure wedded bliss — in the form of continuity (old), a healthy optimism for the future that lies ahead (new), borrowed happiness from a blissfully married woman (borrowed, duh!), purity, love and fidelity (blue), and a heartfelt wish for prosperity and good fortune (silver sixpence in your shoe). We’ll be using this rhyme as our decluttering guide for this week and although I’ve included some suggestions below, I look forward to your creative interpretations of the missions.

Monday — Old: Declutter something that you might have had for a long time but which you no longer need or want — photos, cards, gifts, clothes that have seen better days, games, magazines, books, CDs or DVDs, receipts, souvenirs or artwork on the walls that no longer appeal to you. It could also be a mobile phone, computer or printer that is still hanging around the house even though it has been replaced by a newer, snazzier model. A vintage clothing item or an heirloom would also fit the bill.

Tuesday — New: Are you thinking of purchasing a new item to replace something you’ve had for ages? Have you done your due diligence and know exactly what you’re going to buy? If so, what are you planning to do with the older item? If you’re thinking of keeping it around the house as a backup, ask yourself whether you really need the new item. If you do, then look into donating or selling the older item. Or maybe you’ve just purchased something new and shiny and the novelty is beginning to wear off, or you realise that the pair of jeans that looked so good on the mannequin does absolutely nothing for you, or it could be something that you couldn’t resist buying because it was enticingly marked down by (gasp!) 50% at the mall last week, only to undergo a metamorphosis into a 100% loss this week because you have absolutely no need for it. Whatever the item and the amount spent, it’s a sunk cost, so declutter it and chalk it up to experience. You might even have a gift that you received — that is so not you — during the recent festive season which you are keeping out of loyalty or guilt. Accept the love or friendship behind the gift and let the item go. Alternatively, declutter a one-syllable item such as a pair of socks, a spoon, clock or lamp.

Wednesday — Borrowed: Do you have something hanging around your home that you’ve been meaning to return to its owner but have been putting off doing so for some reason? Or do you have an item that you rarely (if ever) use, that is not worth the space it takes up in your home? Could you declutter it and borrow it from a friend if you ever need it in future? If you can’t find anything, then declutter something that consists of eight or fewer letters like a saucepan, book or blouse for instance.

Thursday — Blue: Declutter anything that’s blue — clothing, linens, stationery, dinnerware, furniture, posters or artwork, etc. If there is an item that makes you feel blue for some reason, declutter it — life is too short to surround yourself with unhappy memories. Do you have a blues CD that you bought aeons ago, before your taste in music changed? Declutter it and let a true-blue fan enjoy it or give it to someone who might be newly discovering the genre.

Friday — Silver sixpence: Declutter anything made out of silver or containing traces of silver — pendants, pins, brooches or any other jewellery or silverware. That pair of silver stilettos you threw into the back of your closet because they hurt your feet would be a good candidate. A delicious bar of chocolate would also work, if it’s wrapped in silver foil. You could also declutter any foreign currency that you might have from your travels or periods when you lived abroad. Can’t decide whether to declutter a particular item? Then carry out a ‘separation exercise’ for it by putting it away for six months to see whether you need to retrieve it during that time. If you can’t find anything suitable, then declutter an item beginning with any of the letters in the words — anyone who declutters something beginning with ‘v’ or ‘x’ gets extra credit and bragging rights.

Saturday — Shoe: Declutter shoes, footwear or anything related to your legs or feet. You could also declutter anything that’s usually referred to as a pair, such as sunglasses, shorts, jeans or scissors or any two 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

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. Colleen, these are really good. I don’t have anything to declutter right now but these are sure a great reminder of things to look at once I move and am unpacked.

    Mom had been going through the things she took to the new apartment and is already decluttering some things. SMILE!!

    • Hi Deb J,

      That is great that your mom continues to declutter – she’s like a runaway train! You must be so proud and happy 🙂 I know it took a long time for your mom to get to this point… but if you hadn’t been mentoring her all along it would never be this good!

    • Hi, Deb J. 🙂 I’m smiling right along with you!

  2. Hi Nicole V.
    Your heading makes me shudder, Wedding Bells. With three unmarried adult children I wonder what sort of weddings we will witness.
    I sit here with a couple of baskets of stuff to go through. I have a small amount of old cutlery , it’s tarnished and pretty useless . Some crafty person could have fun with it but I continue to hold onto it. Today I think it can find a new home.
    Something was written last week that really hit home for me; ‘Once something is decluttered we never think of it again’ . This is so true, how many times do you agonise over an item and once its gone you never think of it again?

    • Hi, Wendyf. 🙂 You never know what will happen, and when … so anything is possible regarding wedding bells. Good for you for being able to release the old cutlery, and yes, I’ve had my fair share of ‘outta sight, outta mind’ for many decluttered items.

  3. Nicole,
    Another clever post. While I am essentially on “maintenance” when it comes to decluttering, I still find it amazing how the things that remain whisper on their own, “time to let me go”. Case in point….While I was moving the few pieces of St. Patrick’s jewelry that I own to the front of my jewelry armoire so I would wear them as we approach the holiday, I noticed that a 20 year old connemara marble beaded bracelet with a sterling claddagh charm (strung on elastic) had lost is elasticity and would now fit my leg, haha! The sterling charm has been put on a chain for a necklace and the connemara marble beads marked as such and in a bag to donate to someone who would put them to good use.

    • Hi, Kimberley … and thank you. 🙂

      ‘… how the things that remain whisper on their own, “time to let me go”‘ – what a lovely description! I’m going to make a mental note of that.

  4. I saw ‘wedding bells’ and ‘Nicole V’ and got all excited that this post was some sort of announcement, lol. Don’t mind me! Will calm down now and actually read this week’s missions!

    The unpacking/ unexpected new phase of decluttering is going well. I donated two bags of items on the weekend, mainly clothes, jewellery, crockery. And turfed half a cereal box full of paperstuffs as well. I think most of this was subconscious ‘who knows what the new city will be like’ thinking. Of course I am here now so it is clearer what I need. Including that I needed to buy a quilt, knitwear and tights on the weekend – the locals may call this summer but it is freezing compared to the tropics! 🙂

    • LOL, Amelia! I enjoy reading your vivid updates, they’re always so positive and you make me feel as if I’m right there with you. And a job well done – as usual – regarding the decluttering. I hear you on the ‘… subconscious … new city’ thinking part.

      And regarding the wedding bells, I’m happily married to an awesome guy. 🙂

      • Oh, a lot of the time when I am decluttering, there is at least one of you there in my head spurring me on, so you are almost here with me really!

        Aww, lucky you! I just get ridiculously excited at any mention of weddings or babies or new pets or similar. I am thinking though, if I ever manage to snare myself an awesome guy, I will have to petition Colleen for some celebratory themed mini-missions. Worth a try right? 🙂

        • Ooooo, I could have some fun with that one. Although Nicole is responsible for these missions and she can be a cheeky as me so be prepared.

        • LOL, Amelia! Actually, Colleen’s the one who likes to get into – and remain inside – people’s heads. 🙂

          • Nicole, can you explain “padawan”? I went for my dictionary, but it wasn’t in there. I love new words.

            • I love learning new words too, Brenda … it’s such fun. It’s from the ‘Star Wars’ movies and first used in ‘The Phantom Menace’, if I remember correctly. A padawan is an apprentice that a Jedi Master or Knight (who is a guardian of peace and justice in the Universe) has chosen to train in the ways of the Force.

              • Lovingthe Star Wars references Nicole.I seem to remember a post where Colleen associated clutter with the Dark Side as well, lol

                • Oooh, another ‘Star Wars’ fan! I have to ask, Amelia – what’s your opinion of ‘The Force Awakens’? I might not have read that Dark Side post … I must go and look at the previously published posts in the ‘Oldies but goodies’ section – that’s what I call her archives.

                  • Haha, yep! I quite liked the newest film actually. Fairly classic elements I thought.

                    I have no idea which post it may have been, although I know I commented about it at the time. Good excuse to have a dig through the ‘Oldies but goodies’ as you put it – great term!

                    • I feel like the walls are closing in on us, Amelia! As Han Solo said, “One thing’s for sure, we’re all gonna be a lot thinner!”

                  • Me too. Saw the new movie twice on the huge 3D Imax screen in Berlin. My husband went to see it four times.

                    • Oooh, Amelia … we have yet another fan!

                      We’ve been waiting for you, Colleen-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete.

  5. These sound fun! I am back home from dropping daughter off at Uni, so I plan to keep myself busy this week. I have a heap of her dancing costumes to put on trademe to sell, fortunately I was able to get photos done before she left.

    My house, although clean, has held a lot of family functions and events over the last month, there has been a fair bit of hurried tidy ups, with things shoved in drawers and cupboards without been sorted and placed in its correct home, so I will begin a room by room, drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard sort out and clear out. Will keep you all posted!

    • I hope you have fun decluttering, Moni … and let us know how it goes.

    • I feel I need to do the same Moni. There was so much going on before I left for vacation and although I thoroughly cleaned the house I have noticed since coming home at my craft stuff seems to be a bit messy. Time for a tidy up.

  6. One item I wanted to talk about for this week, as it fits Old/New/Blue…

    I was looking at buying at least one blanket (maybe one for home, plus I need one for work, the aircon is that cold that even the locals keep a blanket there). Then I was talking to Mum on the weekend, and she is trying to cope in a house that was previously quite orderly but is now full of things from my Grandpa’s house. Needless to say she is rather stressed/stuffocated and looking to move items on wherever she can. I remembered she still has a blue merino wool blanket that was a gift to me from my Grandma…

    So, while I am technically increasing my inventory by one blanket, I am helping Mum declutter, and not adding to the demand for new blankets when there was one waiting there for me already anyway. Happy days 🙂

  7. A friend of mine has been married twice and kept both dresses (and a lot of other wedding-related stuff) for her daughter. The young lady is getting married this summer and, of course, wants neither of her mother’s dresses. Wonder if they’ll be decluttered now… This wedding is supposed to be outdoors and rustic so I offered up my collection of dried flowers. Apparently they aren’t the ‘right color’ so both boxes worth went out to the bush this morning to become compost (or birds’ nesting material).
    We are buying a new shredder. I have used the old one so much in the last few months that I have worn the blades dull. I think this is one purchase that is more than justified because it will get rid of the rest of the backlog of papers and make it easier to keep up the scan-and-shred process. The old one will go in the trash with thanks for service well rendered.

    • Are you all settled nicely into your new place Wendy?

      • Hi Colleen. Thanks for asking. We’re getting there. Because our move came up so suddenly when Ian was out of commission we ended up moving a lot of junk and stuffing it in friends’ sheds and garages. We’ve just collected the last of it and Ian has been on a mission. Lots going to the garbage, to the Re-Store, put aside for the spring garage sale. He’s managed to sell some of the big woodworking tools he will never use again and has other stuff listed for sale.
        I still have lots of boxes to go through in the basement but I’m on a roll with paperwork and don’t want to lose focus. I must be doing something right — a couple of weeks ago I caught a friend standing in the doorway of my office/craft room with a look of intense concentration on her face. When we visited her a week later she proudly announced, “Come and look at our office!” They’d nuked it. 6 bags of shredding and a huge pile of books and other items to give away. Nice to be someone’s inspiration.
        Our next move might not be too far in the future but we’ll certainly be in a better position when the time comes.

        • ‘… but I’m on a roll with paperwork …’ – way to go, Wendy!

        • Hi Wendy, when I think back to when you first started commenting here Ian was so reluctant to get rid of anything. Boy how things change. If only it was just for the sake of decluttering and his hand wasn’t forced because is his bad back. However at least he is being realistic about it and not hanging on to stuff that he is unlikely to use any more.
          Well done with the paper decluttering. That can be laborious so kudos to you for digging in and getting it out of the way.

          • Ian has come a long way, as I have. Our next move will be back to “civilization” and probably somewhere warmer so we’re making a list of the things that won’t go with us (snow-blower, utility trailer, etc.) Part of aging gracefully is to be forward-thinking — keeping the things that enhance our lives and letting go of those that drag us down. We are getting there.

            • Hi Wendy, was it always the plan to not stay in the new place for long or is that a recent decision. I do understand the idea of moving to somewhere warmer, although don’t choose anywhere too warm or you’ll be wishing you were back in the snow. Trust me I have those thoughts at the moment have recently gone for 30ºF to 30ºC. Although I must say the swim in the ocean baths today was nice and it is lovely to wear fewer layers of clothing. It is a case of less clothes and more washing though because we are sweating again now and clothes only last a day or two before needing laundering.
              And yes forward planning is part of growing old gracefully. We are also keep an eye on that.

              • No, moving again soon wasn’t really in the plans but stuff happens. Since his back surgery Ian has driven over 6000 km back and forth to do his physio at the nearest pool. Fortunately it has been a mild winter so the roads haven’t been TOO bad. As much as we have enjoyed our time in the country we are now thinking a SMALL city would suit us better – lots of activities and services close at hand. But that’s a year away at least. Will keep you posted.

                • Oh yes Wendy I can relate to this. When Liam had his accident, all those years ago now, we were so fortunate to only live ten minutes from the hospital where he spent a whole month. There were so many other families of accident victims who had to pay for accomodation to be near there injured loved ones or travel miles and miles everyday to get there.
                  And as one ages being too far from medical help isn’t a good idea either. Have seen that situation too many times to ever allow it to happen to me.

    • Hi, Wendy B. I wonder how many daughters actually wear (willingly or otherwise) wedding dresses worn by their mothers. The hunt for that ‘perfect’ dress seems to be such a huge part of the wedding preparations for many women.

      • My father suggested I wear my mother’s wedding dress. She took one look at my almost-invisible bosom and then at her own well-filled chest and almost fell over laughing. My friend would probably have to sew both of her dresses together to make one big enough to fit her daughter. Nope, doesn’t strike me as being a particularly good reason for hanging onto a wedding dress!

        • That’s the first I’ve heard about a father making the suggestion, it’s usually the mother that harbours the desire.

          • My parents were married in 1950. My mother’s dress was navy blue and knee length – not typical ‘wedding dress’ by any stretch and I think she wore it on occasion afterwards. I think he only suggested it because I stated that I had no intention of wasting money on a wedding dress. I did break down and buy a dress, but it wasn’t a ‘wedding dress’ either and I also wore it a couple of times afterwards.

            • I think that any dress that a bride feels happy to wear on her special day is the right one, whether it’s a typical wedding gown or otherwise. Do you still have your dress, Wendy?

              • Nope. I was stick-thin when I got married so I had to buy a dress. It was knee-length, off-white with a bit of lace at the collar. Wore it twice afterwards but once I regained my normal size had no use for it. It is long gone. That particular husband is long gone too.

      • I wore my sis-in-law’s wedding dress the first time. It went back to her so I had nothing left to dispose. I expect she still has it. My second wedding, about 13 years later, was on Christmas Eve and my dress was a bit festive. It was a creamy off white, slightly gathered empire waist with a sash, long and slightly draped, with a thin strip of coral red velvet ribbon and a row of creamy lace around the square neckline. It was lovely, and I had it until this past year when I took it to a local thrift shop.

      • Idgy of the North

        I wore my mom’s wedding dress when we got married. It was handmade by a friend of the family over 50 years ago. My mom was taller and a bit bigger than me. When she wore the dress, she had a hoop under the skirt! I went to a seamstress and the dress taken in and excess material removed (cost $100). The extra material was used to wrap the bridal bouquet.

        As we only have boys and I am quite petite, the dress was donated. My sister in law borrowed her wedding dress from a friend. Guess the desire to not go overboard on weddings runs in the family

        • Hi Idgy, I didn’t go overboard on my wedding either. My mum is a very good dressmaker and she made all the gowns very cheaply and beautifully. Only 80 odd guest at a relatively inexpensive reception at a local hall also kept the cost down. It was still a beautiful wedding with friends and family. Or at least I thought so and that is all that matters.

          • When I married the first time I wore a pretty blue and white summer dress that my grandmother had made for me! The second time I bought a soft pink summer suit. Both weddings at registry offices, and both outfits worn many times afterwards.

            • Oh and receptions, first at a local hotel for about 50, and the second a party at home for 30. All done on the cheap, but all important people were there, family and close friends, and I really enjoyed both of them!

          • I couldn’t agree more with your last line, Colleen!

        • That was a lovely way to use up the extra material, Idgy. I suppose any man who really wanted to incorporate his mother’s wedding dress (for himself) could have a pocket square and the wedding ring cushion made out of it, for the special day.

  8. Most countries have Angel Gowns whereby wedding dresses are donated to be made into Prem baby gowns when they pass. Angel Gowns can usually be found in your area on facebook. Alas the NZ branch is overfull of donated dresses at this stage, so I’ll hold onto mine for now. I’m short and my kids take after their dad in height thankfully so they wouldn’t fit it but I was married in the early 90’s where big frothy puffy dresses were the thing, so there is nil chance of that ever coming back into fashion!

  9. Another great post!
    I deleted 16 e-books off my cloud
    I have wood & kindling for a fire pit that I can’t use in the city. So the wood is going to a friend that has a wood fire place, and the fire pit will become a planter
    3 Candle jars that includes a blue one
    3 “silver” hanging stars
    Will have to give more thought to new & shoe/leg related items
    Thanks for keeping me motivated & looking in places that wouldn’t be on the list of usual suspects. Lol

    • Thank you, Calla. You are in fine form, as usual. I’m happy to hear that it’s helping to keep you motivated. I’m looking forward to reading what you round up for the remaining days.

  10. Nicole, your imagination is amazing! As I have stated before, I am usually into a project and not into the mini missions. However, yours are just fitting with my current “project”! I got Monday and Thursday completed in multiples when I took several very old blue pottery pitchers to the garage to add to the removal pile.

    New: I finally removed 5 new blouses that I realized I would never wear. Have had them for years, but they are still in style. Two have been worn a couple of times. I am going to offer them to a friend before I donate.

    Silver: a set of 4 silverplate knife rests that were a gift. I had wanted glass ones, and have never been fond of silver. Used maybe twice in 16 years. Going to my friend’s charity.

    Borrowed: I almost never borrow anything. But, I Did put two saucepans into the donate pile. 🙂

    Wow! I feel really accomplished this week!!! Thanks for the fun ideas. I look forward to what you come up with next!

    Shoes:already been through those, so some socks will have to do.

    • Great job, Brenda! I admire your finesse in pulling off the entire week’s missions while working on your project … talk about decluttering flair! I’m happy you liked it.

  11. There’s no room left to reply on the relevant threads, so I will just post here: Nicole, you are just too funny!!! We really need to bottle and distribute that fizz of yours, I think the world would be better for it 🙂

    • (I) have (my) moments. Not many of them, but (I) do have them.

      I tried to resist, Amelia … I really did …

      So now, um, I guess I should just say:

      “Thank you very much for your lovely comment, Amelia!”

      and move right along. 🙂