Decluttering Cure

One Way You Can Trick Your Brain To Make Decluttering Easier

published Oct 2, 2021
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Apartment Therapy’s Decluttering Cure is a free two-week decluttering program, guaranteed to leave you with a lighter, leaner home. Sign up here and get all 14 assignments delivered to your inbox.

Along any decluttering journey, including this one, you have to rely on your brain to make good choices. But brains can’t be trusted. Your brain is going to try to convince you that you need things you don’t need. And for that reason, you’re going to have to trick your brain if you want to put the final touch on your new tidier, more streamlined home.

If you’ve been following along with the Decluttering Cure, we are officially done going through drawers and cabinets and closets. (Except for the “black hole” project you’re keeping up.) All that’s left to do now is handle those three boxes.

Today, we’ll start with the “maybes” box, then handle the other two tomorrow.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Day 13: Practice the “box and banish” method.

Remember those three boxes we set up on day one? We’ll deal with the sell and donate boxes tomorrow. But today, grab that box of “maybes” and… close it up. Yep, close it, and put it somewhere out of the way, like the back of a closet. Then set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar for a date about six weeks from now.

In the meantime, in the course of regular life, if you remember something you put in this box that you wish you had back in your life, go grab it.

But when that reminder pops up a few weeks later, here’s what you do: You get rid of everything inside the box. The reasoning behind the clean sweep is this: If you lived without these objects for this long — even when you knew they were an arm’s reach away — you don’t need them. Say goodbye and send them off to a donation center.

This is the power of the “box and banish” method — you get to practice living with less and see how many of those “maybes” you didn’t really need after all.

More Ways to Participate in the Decluttering Cure: