Day 4: Tuesday, August 6
Assignment: Set up an outbox for the room you are curing and put one item in it
This month is all about making one room in your home more beautiful, organized and healthy. The outbox concept is a bit of a magic bullet - in one fell swoop, it will help with all three missions. Even though it's a powerful tool, it will just take you a few minutes to get one in place...
Here is the Outbox concept in Maxwell's own words:
Choose a space that is clearly defined. This area should be out of the way of daily activities and be a place you can comfortably allow to get messy and chaotic for a short while. A closet or guest room is perfect for this, but any small area or corner near your front door will do. Designate this your Outbox. The Outbox is not garbage, nor does it need to be an actual box; it is a halfway house where things sit while their fate is being decided. You should never be afraid to put something in the Outbox.
Once an item has sat in the Outbox for some time, it releases its hold over the owner and becomes just and ordinary object that one can easily decide what to do with. One client compared it to the phenomenon children experience when they fall in love with a rock that is wet or under water. Later, when the rock has dried off and is no longer shiny, it becomes just a plain old rock again and the child's attachment to is suddenly lessens.
As simple as it is, the Outbox has proven to be extremely successful in allowing people to clear out and heal their homes efficiently on a regular basis.
1. Anything can go in the Outbox
2. The Outbox is allowed to get messy
3. Everything must stay in the Outbox for at least one week
4. After that time you have several choices
a. Take anything back out
b. Leave anything you are undecided about for one more week
c. Dispose of the rest by moving to the garbage, recycling bin, or giveaway pile
Once you get used to separating first and disposing of later, you'll find that clearing clutter gets easier and easier.
Go for it.
• Create an outbox specifically for the room you are "curing" this month and put one thing in it
We'll be prompting you to use the outbox throughout the Cure to help you get things decluttered and organized. For now, just get your outbox set and feel good about putting that that first item in it, knowing that you are well on your way to letting go of things you don't need.
The Style Cure Calendar: Download our PDF to see the full upcoming schedule (and print it out if having a hard copy is helpful to you)
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Questions? Comments? Pictures? Email us about your progress at firstname.lastname@example.org
Get the Book: Apartment Therapy's The Eight Step Home Cure by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
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(Image: Ashley Poskin / The Binghams' Budget & Design FriendlyFamily Home)