The Easiest (Yet Most Important!) Step of the January Cure

published Jan 5, 2017
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

I promise that my headline is not hyperbole. Today’s assignment really is super fast, easy AND it’s the number one thing that will make a difference in your home from today on. Those of you who have done the Cure before most likely already have one of these magical items in place. If you do, I’m hoping you’ll consider your assignment to add something new to yours today, and then let us know what you chose in the comments. And, of course, as always, sharing advice, experience and encouragement in the thread is always welcome! Ok, on to the assignment…

Today’s Assignment:

Set Up an Outbox and Put One Thing in It. Done!

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.

Read the info below, set up your outbox and put one thing in it. Done! If you set aside things to donate from your first assignment drawer declutter earlier in the week, pop those items in there too.

I’ll be prompting you to use the outbox throughout the Cure and will give you an assignment 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.

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.

You are all doing GREAT, I know, but as always, use the comment thread to ask questions, get advice and simply share this experience together. Happy outboxing, everyone!

More Info:

  • The January Cure 2017 Main Page
  • Download the printable pdf calendar: January Cure 2017
  • Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure
  • Seriously, you can still do this! Come on and join The January Cure: