Mini Mission Monday ~ What readers are decluttering

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.

This weeks mini missions are made up of items or areas of the home that my readers tell me they have been decluttering lately. See if you have any of these items or areas that need attention. As usual follow my suggestions below if you can and if not make up your own mission for the day.

Monday – Large appliances ~ Like the extra fridge that is wasting electricity, causing you unnecessary expense and taking up precious space Does the average family really need to store that much food that they need two refrigerators or two freezers? I think not.

Tuesday – Corner kitchen cupboards ~ These cupboards can be so hard to access. If you can manage to declutter enough stuff out of your kitchen to empty these it would make your life that little bit easier.

Wednesday – Under the bed ~ One young reader (not mentioning any names) was decluttering under her bed last week due to Moni’s blog post. I don’t need to tell you how much easier it is to keep this area dust and lint free when there is nothing to clean around or move.

Thursday – Papers and the necessities for storing them ~ If you can be realistic about what papers you really need to keep or are even still relevant not only can you get rid of a lot of aspirational and sentimental clutter you can also reduce the space and containers in which they were stored.

Friday – Books ~ I know I mention this one often but it was bought to my attention again this week when I received an email from one of my readers that has been with me form way back. She has managed to declutter one third of her sizeable book collection over the last twelve months. Rachel has been slowing decluttering in preparation for a downsize move. She has finally made the move and is now decluttering more as she settles in to her new home.

Saturday – Kitchen gadgets ~ Moni had an amusing story about possibly decluttering a couple of these last week. My advice is that if you have gadgets that aren’t being use just get rid of them. Nine times out of ten the same task can be performed with a more versatile item in your house should you find the need.

Sunday – Gift wrapping supplies ~ one reader mentioned that they are decluttering the last of their gift wrapping supplies while another was saying how ~ due to 365 example ~ she was now only giving non-cluttering gifts to her friends and family. I had saved a token supply of gift bags when I decluttered the bulk of them two years ago. I have discovered the ones I saved don’t seem to have diminished since then so it is time to declutter them also.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

Here is a kitchen gadget that isn’y being used in my house. I actually purchased it for craft purposes but either way it isn’t getting used so out it goes. I am sure it will sell quickly at the thrift store.

Pasta Machine

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Just hubby and I left in the house for a week. That should sure making cooking and cleaning several degrees easier than usual.

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

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  • 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. Timely: I have just removed the last object from under the bed.

  2. Gee, Colleen, you could have used that pasta machine for a “what am I?” contest. Even given the full picture I would never have guessed what it was!!

    I’m getting back on track after a couple of months of doing everyone else’s decluttering. I KNOW we’re making progress because people have gone from commenting on what a lovely uncluttered house we have to commenting on what an organized garage we have. Still, there’s many black holes that drive me nuts. Yesterday I went on a rampage and turfed the linen shelves of our walk-in closet and then attacked my overabundance of t-shirts. Today it’s Paper Backlog Day. Need to do some serious catching up and then I can breathe again.

    • Hi Wendy B – I know what you mean, I’m now see black holes all over the place. Probably not as bad I make out but now I have a name for the phenomenom they get noticed.

    • Just look at it this way Wendy B you have been busy sharing the joy and now it is time to add a little more to your own life by reducing your clutter. I always approach decluttering with enthusiasm because I just love the result, no matter how small. I am itching for my four week recovery time to be up so I can get started on some areas I have identified in the meantime.

      Like you, the garage is one of them. It tends to be a staging area for all the stuff that comes out of the house so the level of clutter out there ebbs and flows. Also empty boxes accumulate for the purpose of selling things on ebay and it is time they were culled again. Now that I think about it the question needs to be asked as to “Where those boxes come from?”. Someone in this household must be bringing stuff in and I think I know who it is. It is my son adding more camera gear to his collection. That is OK because he plans on making photography his career so they will be needed and they are very much used already.

      • Done!! Paperwork sorted, checked, scanned, filed, shredded, recycled. My work table is clear except for outgoing mail. **happy dance** W

        • Well done Wendy B. I have noticed my husband going through some old boxes of motorcycle magazines that have been in the garage for the last three + years. I haven’t made any comment or asked what he is up to but I sure have my fingers crossed that he is scanning the articles he is interested in and is then going to throw them in the recycling. I have my toes crossed as well.

  3. I went through the whole paperwork declutter with my mom last weekend. Her and my dad’s accumulation over 45 years of marriage. It was a beast of a job but she let go of two full trash bags of papers (to be shredded) and one bag of trash. There are still small pockets of paper clutter throughout the house but it so much better. Plus she can give away the plastic storage containers, the metal two drawer filing cabinet, and a stack of file folders because she doesn’t need them anymore. I’m really proud of her because just ten years ago it was hard for her to give away/get rid of anything.

    Ha. Sorry. I just had to brag on my mom. It has taken over ten years of gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) encouragement and prodding to get her to this point. Patience does pay. At least, it has for me in my mom’s ability and willingness to declutter.

    One of my mission will be decluttering magazines. I don’t have many as compared to some people I know but I have too many for me. And if I don’t read them, why keep them, right?

    • What a wonderful help you are being to your mother Rachel. She must be feeling so much relief to finally be rid of some of the clutter surrounding her. Even organised clutter is a drain when you know it is there and you just don’t want to deal with it.

      Yes, get those magazines out of there. If you aren’t looking at them they are just cluttering up your space.

      • She seems so much more relaxed since we purged her paperwork. I like to think I’m being a help to her (and my dad) because God knows they’ve been my support/rock/touchstone my entire life. I can’t currently help them financially but I do what I can to help in other ways. Plus, I figure if they ever decide to sell this house, they will have an easier time downsizing (my mom talks about this regularly).

        Thank you for your kind words regarding my helping my mom. Also thanks for the encouragement to get rid of the magazines. It is the boost I needed to get it done.

  4. My friend has just commented (without discussing this at all) how decluttered my house looks compared to previously! I can’t quite believe this as it looks pretty cluttered to me, however perhaps I am seeing more as I get more aware of it. Anyway, I saw a nice picture on Facebook which I can’t include but have put on my blog (see website) about decluttering old beliefs! I haven’t thought what beliefs yet however that’s an interesting area to look at.

    • Hi Jane, take your friends compliment for what it is and use it as encouragement to keep at it. You may not notice like she does because you are in your home every day and only see the little changes while she visits less often and notices the accumulative effect more easily. Perhaps you should take photos once a month so the difference really stands out to you. I personally don’t notice so much visually the effect my decluttering is having on my home because it is mostly hidden things that are leaving these days. However I know it in my heart that the clutter is lessening all the time and that is encouragement enough for me. Every time my hubby and I go to open houses with the view to buy I think ‘Would what is left of our stuff fit into this house?’ and the answer is often no because we are looking at smaller homes. I then go home and find more thing to declutter.

      I loved that cartoon Jane. It is funny but it is also too true. It really isn’t the stuff that is hard to declutter it is the beliefs that have as clinging on to it that are hard to let go off. Question those beliefs at every turn and be a rebel and create your own new beliefs even if they clash with convention. Sometimes convention is just plain wrong and created by clever marketing.

    • Hi Jane – I was feeling a bit down about a month ago as I wasn’t making the inroads I had hoped. I think it was Sanna (forgive me if I am wrong) who told me to picture in my mind if everything I had gotten rid of to date turned up on my front lawn over night in a big pile. That was a scary thought! I do like Colleen’s idea of month to month photos though. Or if you’re tackling a particular area, do a before and after photo.

  5. I’ve been beavering away this weekend on “the great craft corner rehash ruthless reckoning”. I’ll probably need a few more days to finish that off. It has included getting rid of lots of ‘ooh I could make something with that’ small items.
    Looking forward to showing off the photos in due course.

    • That is the problem with being creative Katharine, there is no end to the things we find that we could make something with. I suffer from this affliction myself but my desire to declutter is stronger at the moment than my desire to create.

      • I’m in the same boat with both of you.

        I do a lot of mixed media, paper collage, and fabric collage. Even though I try to keep my “fodder” pared down to reasonable levels, it’s so easy to let it multiply.

        Since we share our home with someone, I no longer have “studio space”, so have to declutter my materials regularly so that they don’t overrun the area I’m using on the main floor to create.

  6. We’ve been decluttering like mad. We’ve gotten rid of our second refrigerator, several kitchen appliances, books, toys, clothes, household items, etc. It feels great and we’re just at the beginning. We’ve been burdened for way too long. Our most recent purge was a dehydrator (that someone paid us for!) and a big clean out of our hallway closet. It is so cleaned out, I’m not sure what to do with it now. Pictures are here: If anyone has any suggestions for what to do with it now, I’ll happily take them.

    • Hi Kandice,
      well done you. I bet you can really see the space opening up in your home. As for the hallway closet my suggestion is to leave it half empty. If having space means you have to fill it with something then there would be no point in decluttering. An empty shelf is a good shelf in my opinion.

  7. Guilty. We have the fridge/freezer in the kitchen but also a stand up fridge and stand up freezer in the garage. The freezer is in active duty but for most of the year the fridge just holds drinks and occaisionally some over flow from the kitchen. Also the week’s milk purchase. I have 3 teenagers so we buy 10-15 litres of milk a week. The freezer holds around 10 loaves of bread a week plus other stuff. During the holiday season the fridge goes into active duty. I have already decided that when they eventually breakdown or die that I won’t replace them.

    This year after 20 years of me being “cateringly challenged” my friend who is a chef worked with me to overcome my biggest obstacle: meal planning and keeping my grocery bill under $400 a week (currently an average of $280 p/week). My fridge and pantry never appear overcrowded any more, so possibly I could next look at how I manage my freezer(s) to prepare for the day it conks out.

    • Hi Moni do you live a long way from a supermarket or do you just not like going there more than once a week? Bread and milk has always been something that I just replace fresh when it is needed.

      • Hi Colleen – oh you are going to love this – I live within 3 minutes of two supermarkets AND what is more I use online grocery shopping. Stop laughing! It has been part of my master plan to reduce my grocery bill ie no impulse buying, no return trips, no kids adding to the trolley, being able to check my pantry as I shop etc.

  8. I just wrapped up yet another round of Ebay items. This round had close to 45 items in total.
    Mostly clothing that I decluttered earlier this year but was waiting for summer to sell those. I also sold off a few kitchen appliances / gadgets. But the majority of the items were decorative accents I had just recently culled from my home (yes, these are the same one’s I just recently took down after realizing I simply had too many after seeing a friends house that has very few but very distinctive decorative accents)…well I ended up selling off 18 of those 20 items on Ebay. The other 2 I’m still not ready to part with just yet.
    Once I made the decision to take down those items – the die was cast & it was time to sell off those items without a second thought.

    I’ll list more stuff on Ebay once Halloween & Christmas roll around. Even though I parred down a sizable portion of my holiday decor a year or two ago..I now know that there is indeed more for me to part with & so I will. Same goes with clothing – I still don’t wear the bulk of my wardrobe even after my latest culling.

    I know this comes up a lot – the “when will this ever end” question. For me, I think by this years’ end I’d like to have a pretty good lid on my active decluttering & be done with the broad strokes so that anything beyond that will be fine brush strokes if you will. That gives me 5 1/2 months, which is more than enough time to amp up my decluttering efforts followed by listing/donating/selling then taking a well-deserved year end vacation!

    • Wow – 45 items – I am sooooo impressed. I cap it at 10 at a go and that’s enough to do my head in. I too would like to see some of my big projects on that are on the go to be completed by December as well as a couple that have yet to be started, completed as well. I have friends coming then who haven’t seen my house since I began decluttering and it would be pretty cool to have it to that point.

      As I will be going into my busiest time of the year from September till December I need to get a wiggle on. I was thinking if I wrote them out checklist style with headings and sub-headings and pinned it above my desk I could pull this off. I love crossing things off lists.

      • Moni, yes the 45 items was waaaaay more than I would usually list at one time, but I got on a roll (ok a tangent) with listing items & just kept at it until I ran out of shipping boxes & mailing envelopes! All the auctions ended within a 6 hour period so I got it all done & scheduled a post office pick-up to my house so I didn’t even have to go to the Post Office! yah!
        As far as list making goes….I consider list making as one of my hobbies! It gives me such pleasure to compile a list then mark off said list. I’ll even go so far as to write completed chores off my list just so I can line through them!
        I’m already gathering up the info for my next round of Ebay listings. Once I decide to sell an item – I go right then & there & pre-write the descriptions, take any & all measurements, decide on a listing category, take photo’s of the items, box up the items to determine shipping costs, etc long before I actually list the items on Ebay. I then save these pre-written descriptions in a folder on my computer called “future Ebay listings”.
        I do this so when it does come time to actually list items on Ebay….I just cut & paste the info in the Ebay listing & it’s that darn easy.
        Still…..Ebay annoys the heck out of me & I stress over it more than I should.

        • Jane – I’m sure you are my missing twin sister. Yes I do all of those things, add to my list just for the satisfaction of crossing it off and pre-write my auction listings.

          Do you have a particular project in mind to get done before December?

          • Moni, no particular project in mind other than I want to be my own hero at getting my decluttering & downsizing done enough that I can be content with all my efforts.
            As far as what’s left to sell/donate – holiday items, clothing (even my husband has ponied up a bunch of his items to sell FINALLY) & pretty much anything & everything in the attic.
            My Mom has an old saying “you can’t swing a dead cat & not hit something”. While I have no intentions of swinging a dead cat (or live one either) – I would like to be able to have the room to do so by years end in the figurative sense. LOL

        • Ha ha Jane, I am a bit of a list freak too. Like you, also going as far as writing on extra tasks I have done along the way and crossing them off just so I can see how much I have done at the end of the day.

          Oh goodness, how I wish the Australian postal service was as accommodating as other countries. I loved the US postal service when I lived over there. Ours doesn’t even pick up the letters we want to post. We have to go to the nearest post box ~ luckily for me there is one just around the corner ~ or to the nearest post office. Also I have a locking mailbox the size of an A4 (letter size page) envelope and he still manages to leave the corner of my mail hanging out in danger of getting wet, or worse stollen. Hopeless.

        • Hi again Jane – I have two particular projects now that I have more or less conquered the ceiling storage and the garage (plus all other general decluttering) I am taking on our dvd cupboard which is in one lounge and in our small lounge/office area off the kitchen I want to eliminate the last book case. Unfortunately both are a little bit more tricky than they appear on the surface as these the two areas which other people in my household will have a lot of opinions on and if I’m not careful a lot of opposition (mainly the dvds) and the bookcase contains cds, videos, books, photos so a lot of projects within projects and must be done carefully so as not to lose anything important.

          Am a little bit worried as usually when I do a big project it usually creates some chaos and some black holes while it is underway, and for some reason I have lost all my immunity to seeing stuff everywhere – hard to believe I used to have so much stuff all over the place peramanently.

          • Oh boy Moni, you sound like you are facing the dragon head on with nothing but a butter knife & a whole lot of courage! Be brave!
            My husband & I purged all our CD’s & DVD’s & sold them all on Ebay a few years ago for $2 – $4 US dollars each. A far cry from what we originally paid, but we didn’t mind getting a little money back. Anyways, we burned copies of a few of the CD’s & DVD’s we owned before selling off the originals. Funny thing, once we decided to sell off our music/movie collection did we then realize how little we ever used those CD’s or DVD’s anymore especially since we rely on our iPods/iTunes for storing our music nowadays.

    • Wow Jane, you are certainly having some success, both at decluttering and at selling on ebay. Selling things on ebay must be much easier with a greater population than we have here in Australia ~ assuming of course you are in the US. There are some things that I have listed at times the no one has been the least bit interested in. There are others that I have listed 3 times and lowered the price before finally making the sale.

      Be proud of the reduction in your impact you are having on consumer supply and demand.

      • Colleen, I do feel I’m getting the upper hand on my decluttering/downsizing. Once I put my mind to something, I tend to make it a priority. I admit that a year ago I felt I had decluttered enough. Silly me! Fast forward to now I’ve parted with nearly three if not four times the amount of stuff I had a year prior!
        I actually keep a very detailed logbook (here I go again with my favorite pastime of listmaking) of all the items we’ve decluttered & how I disposed of them. Disposed meaning did I donate, consign, sell on Ebay, etc.
        Some things I’ve sold on Ebay have sold quickly & made me some profit. Other items have languished. There’s no good rhyme or reason either. If it sells -great! If not, no biggy & I don’t take it personally. I try not to let emotions get in the way of selling off stuff. Whether it sells or not – the stuff is leaving my house no matter what!

  9. Ladies, I am back!! I have spent the last weeks finishing my thesis, handing in (deadlines are nightmares), sleeping and then going out a lot, trying to enjoy the summer and not look into the screen as much as possible…

    I am currently at my mums place and got the green light for decluttering from my brother for his CDs and binders (school paper). So while I havent decluttered lately at my place, I went mad the last 2 days and sorted out 8 huge binders full with paper (saving of course the ones I can still use) and finally getting the hands on the last stacks of CDs. I spent a year now decluttering CDs, and I still find boxes everywhere full with my old CDs. I almost forgot how much fun decluttering is. because my place is basically decluttered. my mums house is decluttering paradise. I am basically done with ‘my stuff’ that has been left here…

    • Hi Lena – I was wondering if you’d crossed the finish line – well done you! Good luck on your family’s stuff!

    • Yay and well done Lena. You must be so pleased to finally have the Thesis behind you. You will have to let us know what grade you achieved with it.

      And good for you decluttering yours and your brothers stuff from your mother’s home. She must be very pleased.

    • Done with the thesis AND done with the decluttering: Sounds amazing! Congratulations!! That’s such a great position for starting into something new.

      • thanks, girls. sadly there isnt a lot of new (although there could be a new ‘boyfriend’ soon) as I have written and oral exams coming up the next months….

        yesterday I told my mum, that if there is still something left from me, she should tell me so I can get my hands on it. She was actually mildly surprised that my intentions were to empty her place from my stuff. like: “you are allowed to have stuff here – its your home after all” . after years of “I cant wait for the day when your stuff is gone from this place”.
        I figured out during the last week that the biggest problem is that items that belong together are spread over the entire house. you can find tablecloth in the basement, the pantry, the drawer on the terrace, the wardrobe in the hallway, the same goes for bedsheets, candles, glasses, pots, tupperware, towels, bath supplies (that stock would last for years!!). I would love to just pull out all of those items and group them and show her how much of this and that she really has…

        • Please explain the ‘boyfriend” situation!!!! You have me intrigued.

          As for all those items spread all over the place. Why not do just what you say and gather them up for her so she can see they are in excess. She sounds like an open minded person.

          • thats absolutely out of the question. I could never do that, because I would make a huge mess and destroy her ‘well working’ order. she would take it as an offence, and we would end up in a very messy fight. So I will nidge her by little comments and hopefully one day she might be able to start dealing with her stuff…

            the ‘boyfriend’ situation is a close friendship that turned very suddenly into something more. we were both a bit surprised (our friends however said they saw this happening for a long time) and while we are not labeling this thing yet, he is close to a ‘boyfriend’ status already.

            Thanks for all the congrats, ladies. I am very happy I finished this. now if I only could start on the exams with the same enthusiasm….

    • Lena, congrats on completing your thesis & by all means – enjoy your time off – you have indeed earned that right!!!

  10. Hi Jane – yep your right about taking on a dragon, they’ve all been very reasonable up until now with the War Against Clutter but if I’m not careful this could cause an uprising.

    I’ve actually just volunteered to publicly document this challenge for Colleen and 365 so standby to be my cheerleader.

    Can you tell me what software you used to burn copies of the dvd’s? I have some software but it has limitations. I’m hoping if I burn copies of my daughter’s favourites onto external hard-drive, I can talk her into a long term loan of Disney Classics to her young cousins. (A bit like my parents telling me that our pet dog went to live on a farm isn’t it?)

    • Moni, I have a Mac, but I simply used the “burn to cd” option that comes as part of Itunes for the music cd’s. For movie DVD’s – we bought a program called RipIt that could not be any easier & well worth the money paid for the program.
      Funny though, we burned this all to cd’s & dvd’s as well as stored on our computers in iTunes – but we’ve never have gone back & used the burned cd’s or dvd’s. They are kinda redundant now. What with cloud storage & external hard drive backups – the burned cd’s & dvd’s are just taking up space & are actually on my list of things to run thru the shredder (which I keep putting off as it’s sooooo loud & annoying sounding).

      • Jane – Thanks for that – my computer is pc but we have a mac laptop, so Ripit has definate caught my attention, especially if it then playable on iPods etc. There are a couple of dvd’s that we thought we might buy (again) thru iTunes so that we could have on our iPod – so this is great thank you.

        Do you use the “compression” option?

        • I don’t recall if we did or didn’t use the compression option – my inclination is to say no because I don’t tend to worry about compression unless I’m transferring files via email.

          • Hi Jane – can you have looksee and see what size file a movie becomes once you have used ripit?

            Also……when you have ripit-ed (is that a word) a movie are you able to pause a movie? My software doesn’t have the pause option so if you have to leave the room, you have to rewind.

          • I checked a few of our ripped DVD’s & the size ranges from 4GB to about 8.5GB in size. <—that's uncompressed of course.
            Yes you can pause!

  11. I’ve same pasta machine at home and wondered as well if I should keep it or not. In fact I forced myself to use it immediately or to declutter it.
    The result of my home made Ravioli filled with Riccota e Spinaci and Funghi e Ricotta was so awesome that I decided to keep it until I saved the money for the kitchen aid pasta adapter 😉