Defeat the Disorder With The Four-Box Decluttering Method

June 27, 2022 Organization Tips

Do you have a decluttering method? Most people want to live in a neat and tidy home; but, unless you live alone, that’s probably not possible. Even if you do live by yourself, it is highly unlikely that you live in a clutter-free environment. Papers that you no longer need, craft supplies that you no longer use, and clothing that you no longer wear, seem to multiply overnight.

The best way to keep this mess from driving you crazy is to find an organizational strategy that works for you. With everything from the Kon-Mari Method to the 30-Day Decluttering Challenge, all the way to the 460 decluttering challenge ideas on Pinterest, there has to be something that will motivate you to rein in the disorder.

Another solution for the clutter is self storage. Before you begin the four-box decluttering method, rent a convenient self storage unit to hold the overflow. Trusted Self Storage has plenty of sizes and types that will fit your needs and your budget. Check our website for details.

The Four Box Decluttering Method: Explained

A simple strategy like the four-box decluttering method is sure to get you motivated to get rid of that troublesome trash and defeat the disorder.

Start your Decluttering Method: Collect and Label Four Boxes

Woman labeling packing boxes.


(1) The Discard Box

This box is for items that are beyond repair and not even worth donating. The pot with the missing handle that you’ve been meaning to replace since last year or the iron with the frayed cord that you’re afraid to use need to go. Ask yourself why you’re keeping these things. What value could they possibly be to you or anyone else? Both items are undoubtedly very old or they wouldn’t be in poor condition. They belong in the trash.

(2) The Donate Box

This is the box to fill with items that are still usable and worthy of donating. Don’t use it as a catch-all for damaged goods that you want to get rid of but don’t want to discard. Be considerate of what other people can use. Stained clothing, broken appliances, and overused kitchen implements belong in the trash.

(3) The Keep Box

These items are things that you use on a daily or weekly basis and simply need to be put away. If you find a “keep” item in an area that you’re decluttering, move it to its proper place. If you really don’t have designated space for these items, think about whether you really need them or find a storage solution that works. With so many storage options on Amazon, you shouldn’t have any trouble creating spaces for your belongings.

(4) The Storage Box

This box is perfect for items that you cannot part with but don’t use regularly. For example, seasonal clothing and holiday decor go into this box. After you’ve collected all of your self storage items, pack them in labeled plastic bins or containers and move them to that self storage unit you’ve already rented.

Stick to One Area at a Time

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to tackle the entire house in one day. Start with one room at a time. If the room is too large or cluttered, start with one section of the room. Evaluate each item individually, focusing on exactly where it fits into your life. You don’t have to go full-on Marie Kondo and have a conversation with each piece, but you need to have a good idea of its importance in your life.

Ask Yourself Questions

The following questions can help you decide in which boxes to place your items.

  • How often do I use this item, and does it have a designated place in my home?
  • Do I have a sentimental or nostalgic attachment to this article?
  • If I didn’t currently own this item, would I miss it and would I want to purchase it again?
  • As Marie Kondo suggests, ask yourself if this item sparks joy.

If you answers leave you unsure, you may need to get yourself a “maybe” box. Keep your questionable items in this box for several months. If you haven’t used them or saved them in either the “keep” or “storage” box, they probably weren’t that important to you in the first place. Let them go.

Empty the Boxes and Repeat the Process

When one of the boxes is full, it’s time to empty all of the boxes before returning to the decluttering area.

  • Trash goes into a bag and out to the trash can.
  • Items to be donated should be placed in your car so that they are ready to be dropped off at the charity of your choice.
  • Items for your self storage unit should be sorted into separate labeled containers and moved as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to designate a specific day each week to get these items to the storage facility. You don’t want more piles of clutter interfering with the process.
  • Items that your keeping should be immediately put away in their designated locations. Don’t skip this step or you’ll resume the cycle of creating clutter.

When you’re ready, find a new area in your home and start the process again. It will take some time to organize your entire home, but it will be more than worth it.

Final Thoughts

Whether you use this method or one of the hundreds of other decluttering options, you’re doing yourself and your family the favor of creating a neat, clean home. Nothing’s perfect, but without the chaos of lost keys, misplaced paperwork, and disappearing shoes, your days will be less hectic and more productive.

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