Yesterday was the second day of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure and I found it very easy to do. It only involves setting up what they call an ‘outbox’. I have always had an outbox, I just call it the junk pile! It sits outside in my junk area. The area that I always apologize for to guests because it really makes me look like poor white trash, but there ya go! In my eyes, this is what it looks like:
I know it’s not THAT bad, but still. Eventually a hot tub and garden will take the place of the stuff/junk of myself, the LOML, all three of my kids and random friends, family members and animals!
So, I probably need more than an outbox. I might possibly need an out dumpster. But for now, I brought a nice looking box, inside and easily filled it with stuff that had to go.
Assignment: Set Up an Outbox and Place One Item in It
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.
OUTBOX RULES1. 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 pileOnce you get used to separating first and disposing of later, you’ll find that clearing clutter gets easier and easier.Go for it.
Assignment: Buy Flowers, Vacuum, Mop, Gather Earth Friendly Cleaners & Use Your Outbox
– Buy Flowers. This might seem “skippable” but is a very important part of the Cure. Think of the purchase as a gift to your home. We’ll be doing this weekly throughout the month. It is an enjoyable, (affordable!) luxury but it goes far beyond just that. The flowers are a visual symbol of your commitment to caring for your home. In the Eight Step Home Cure, Maxwell wrote: As simple as it sounds, the act of buying flowers for your apartment holds great significance and will heal your home on many levels. They are beautiful, they add life to the space, they help to humidify and cleanse the air. Try and find time to pick up flowers (see “Helpful Links” below for suggestions and info) on your way home on Friday if at all possible so you can enjoy them all weekend!– Vacuum the Rugs and Mop/Dry Mop the Floors. Take your time and do this job right; move things out of the way as you go and pretend you have to pass “inspection” when you are through – really do your best. As stated in the book, When you embark on renewing your home, it is important that you break the ice and get to know it intimately. The best way to do this is to clean it.This floor cleaning task will have you connect with each room you are curing and will help you to spot problems with flow and clutter that needs clearing in the coming weeks. Completing this task well will take a while but trust us, it will make a huge difference in how clean your home feels and actually IS. Turn on some music (see reader recommendations in the “Helpful Links” below) and get it done!– Stock Up on Good Green Cleaners. You’ll be doing plenty of good old-fashioned cleaning this month, so gathering healthy supplies now is a must. As Maxwell explains: We use cleaning products in our homes every day and many of these common products are harmful to the environment and to our own health as well. However, there are now many natural cleaning products that do these jobs extremely well. Earth-friendly products help give your home a healthier feel because they don’t leave artificial lingering strong or chemical smells.Choose your own tried and true products to stock up your cleaning kit or check out the “Helpful Links” section below for some good posts full of reader intelligence on favorites. You’ll need (at least) the basics: dish soap, laundry detergent, general floor cleaner, surface powder, bathroom cleaner and a vinegar and water window cleaner (which you can make yourself – see Helpful Links again).– Use Your Outbox as You Go. We’ll be scheduling time to work on decluttering by room as we move through the Cure, but there is no reason to hold back if you come across items as you are doing your chores this weekend that you want to put in the outbox. There is no time like the present – if you are inspired to clear it out and move it to the outbox, go for it!