(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Today's assignment is the easiest one you'll complete this month. It's also the single most important step toward the continued success of your Cure and the future of your sure-to-be enviably calm, clean and under control home. You're going to set up a simple but powerful tool that makes it far easier and less stressful to let go of things that you no longer need.

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It's an Outbox. We all have emotional and financial connections to items and breaking that hold is a challenge, but the Outbox makes it manageable and it gets easier and more effective each time you use it.

Today's Assignment:

Read the info below, set up your Outbox and put one thing in it. Done!

We'll be prompting you to use the Outbox throughout the Cure and will give you a date to "empty" it. No need to worry about any of that yet. 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.

Here is Maxwell's take on the Outbox concept from the Cure book:

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 an 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.

OUTBOX RULES
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

  • Take anything back out
  • Leave anything you are undecided about for one more week
  • Dispose of the rest by moving to the 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.

As always, let us all know how things are going in the comments. If you are a Cure veteran, and have already worked with an Outbox, please share your tips and wisdom, too!

  • See all the assignments: January Cure Main Page
  • Download the calendar: January Cure 2016
  • Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure
  • It's Not Too Late! Join The January Cure: