Do This One Thing Before Starting Any Decluttering Project

published Sep 18, 2023
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Living room with 3 "outboxes" for decluttering, one labeled "Sell", one labeled "Donate", and one labeled "Maybe". There are clothes and shoes around
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Apartment Therapy’s Decluttering Cure is a free two-week decluttering program that’ll help you achieve a tidier home. Sign up here and get all 14 assignments delivered to your inbox.

When starting any decluttering project it helps to have a plan, prepare, and ease yourself into it before ramping up to the finish line. You’ve already gotten the first part down by joining us for our 2023 Decluttering Cure program, which maps out a 14-day plan to help you conquer clutter throughout your home. 

This completely free program starts today, and by the end you’ll have learned some incredible decluttering strategies, tips, and tricks. If you haven’t signed up yet to receive each daily assignment, you can do so right now by entering your email in the box below (or by visiting this sign-up page). 

Whether it’s your first time taking on the Cure Program or you’re already a seasoned pro, we’re so happy you’re here. Because this is the first day of our decluttering journey, we’re going to be focusing on the preparation part by completing an assignment that’s an Apartment Therapy tradition.

Get an Organized Home in 14 Days with Our (Free!) Decluttering Cure

Get two weeks of creative tips, tricks, and techniques that'll help you achieve a tidier home. It all starts September 18.

Day 1: Set up your three outboxes.

To kick off the Decluttering Cure, we’re going to set up our three outboxes! These will serve as your catch-all for clutter, where you’ll be setting aside items that you need to remove or reconsider. 

First, pick a place where your outboxes can stay during the decluttering process. This should be somewhere accessible, but out of the way, such as the back of your closet or a corner of your room.

The outboxes don’t have to be traditional boxes, so don’t rush to buy anything. Take whatever you have at home that can store your items, such as an unused bin, an Amazon box, or even a garbage bag. They don’t have to match, either — just as long as you have three things to use.

Once you find a place for your outboxes and have identified what you’ll be using, you’ll want to label them accordingly (you can simply write on the boxes, attach a Post-it, or use a label maker).

  • “Donate”: For things that are in good shape and you want to donate or give away to friends and family.
  • “Maybes”: For things that are undecided, whether you’re not sure if you want to get rid of them or find a new place for them. You can also set aside items to fix here too.
  • “Sell”: For things that are in good condition and sellable. You can skip this one if you don’t intend to sell anything. 

Once all your outboxes have been set up and labeled, that’s it! Now they are ready to be used during the Decluttering Cure.

PRO TIP: Along with these three outboxes, consider having garbage cans or bags nearby as your “outboxes” for trash and recycling. 

What did you use as your outboxes? Tell us what you used in the comments.

More ways to participate in the Decluttering Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.