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house blog

projects around the house


the january cure: assignment four and five.

jenn pan

the outbox concept:

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.
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
    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 pile
Once you get used to separating first and disposing of later, you'll find that clearing clutter gets easier and easier.

the assignment (number four):

Set up your outbox as per Maxwell's guidelines above and put one thing in it. Easy. You can do this.
We'll be prompting you to use the outbox throughout the Cure and will give you a date 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.

as "simple" as the above sounds, we kind of have two giant "outboxes" - the guest bedroom and the office, and piles of things to get rid of or donate. we could probably be more delineated about it, but we're lazy.

the assignment (number five):

Review your list and and choose a project that fits the below criteria:
    A project that can be completed this month, in a few hours. Remember, you'll be very busy with the rest of your Cure assignments, so don't get overly ambitious in your choice - stay practical on the time commitment required.
    A project that will make a noticeable difference in either how you use your home (organizing, flow), how something works (repairs) or how things look (decluttering, decorating).
    A project that you'll be proud to share with the rest of us! 

heh, we could technically skip this one, as i've already complete about ten of the items on the list! but in the spirit of being good, i think the project we'll tackle is organizing the media console. we've kind of thrown a bunch of things in there, including many dvds and video games. but also a lot of other random things that aren't necessary. so far we've talked about buying a binder of dvd/cd sleeves so that we can get rid of all those cases and make room for more in the drawers!