The other day I teased about this 4-box technique and mentioned I’d be revealing it today on the Living Dayton Show. Well here it is: The 4-box technique to help you organize any room, cabinet or closet in your home! Like I said in my last post, a lot of organizational methods complicate things for me. I just want my house free of clutter, ya know? I don’t want to become a guru. Or a label freak for that matter 😉 With this in mind, I set out to organize for the new year with simplicity. And for those of you who need a little extra motivation to get moving, how does starting at the finish line sound? That’s right. A clean slate (or room) right off the bat. Now that’s motivation!
The 4-Box Technique
Here’s how it works. Simply take 4 boxes and label them as follows (download my labels at the bottom of this post!):
- Has a Place
- Needs a Place
Next, pick one room, cabinet, or closet to tackle. Just one! Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the thought of organizing your whole house all at once. Not only is it unrealistic in most cases, but it’s down right defeating. You’ll quit before you even start. You can even choose the smallest room, cabinet, or closet to start with and then work your way up from there.
Now you have your room and your boxes. Simply begin by moving large stacks of items into one of the 4 labeled boxes. You’ll want to move quickly so don’t stop to make emotional decisions.
Emotional decisions include thoughts like:
“But I might use this again sometime” or, “This was Jimmy’s favorite when he was a baby.”
Simply think to yourself, “does this have a place?”, “does this need a place?”, “do I need to stash this away as a keepsake?” or “can I give this away?”.
If the last two boxes are scary for you, simply ask yourself the first two:
“Does this have a place?”, “does this need a place?”
Let’s take a second to define “place” shall we? I mentioned the mantra, “a place for everything and everything in its place” in my last post.
Everything needs its very own place. Whether it be a basket, a magnet on the fridge, or in the trash. That’s right. The trash is a place too.
Needs a Place
If you’ve got a pile of papers stacked up on the counter its probably safe to assume you want some of those papers, and the “place” you’ve put them is your counter. Quickly put the whole stack in the “Needs a Place” box.
Now, your counter is clear (that’s the finish line I was talking about!), and you have a clearly defined task for yourself: “Get a file holder for the counter”. Don’t worry about sifting through the pile until you have a fancy new organizer to file things in!
I would recommend heading out and purchasing said organizer pretty quickly however to avoid making the box your new “place”.
Has a Place
At first this might seem like a silly box. If the item already has a place, why would you have to put it in the box?
The best example I can think of for this comes in a toy illustration.
I store toys in various places throughout the house. Some toys are better suited for the bedrooms, most the playroom, some in a small basket in the school room for the baby. But it is inevitable that the bedroom toys make their way down to the living room, and the playroom toys get mixed with the bedroom toys.
The “Has a Place” box is simply a transportation device to move a bunch of items that have been misplaced from one end of the house to the other.
When the box is full, begin moving it throughout your home replacing the items that had been misplaced. Easy!
Find a Place to Stash-Away
This is a great box because it gives you permission to keep stuff. So often when organizing we are faced with the decision to toss something. If you hesitate over something for any real amount of time (a minute or two) just keep it! But know that you will be faced with the task of finding a long term home for whatever you keep. It could even be as simple as closing up your stash-away box, labeling it, and bringing it to the attic.
Find a Place to Give-Away
This is my favorite box. My family has been beyond blessed on several occasions by items that landed in someone’s Give-Away box. From household items, to baby clothes, to kids clothes and toys, it is truly helpful to receive something that you need from someone that they are no longer using. Take a moment and ask yourself, “would someone else benefit more from the use of this RIGHT NOW than I will when I “might” use it again?” If the answer is yes, than give it up. Chances are your giving spirit will not be forgotten when a need arises in your own life.
And there you have it! The 4-box technique on how to organize your room explained. I truly hope this was helpful to you!
If you’d like to label your boxes like I did, you can print out my labels HERE.