It’s called an outbox – a defined space (out of the way of everyday living, like in a closet) to act as a halfway house for all those “things” that you’re not quite sure what to do about… and need a little time to consider a more permanent separation.
My current way of dealing with excess stuff is to sort as I go. I have a box for “give to friends”, another for “give to charity” and another for “list on Trade Me”. However, I recently had a minor panic attack after overhearing a conversation between my mother and aunty, at a family birthday, about a gorgeous handmade dress my aunty had made for me as a baby, and a lovingly knitted blanket my mum had made. Mum commented that she was pretty sure both had been handed on to me at the arrival of my own baby girl. Having just done a massive sort of all baby clothes and bedding I was rooted to the spot trawling through my picture memory again and again, trying to spot the precious hand-me-downs. Come Saturday morning I begged and pleaded with Andre to climb back into the roof space and have one more look to see if he’d left any vacuum bags up there after bringing them “all” down for me a few days before. There were tears of relief when I spotted the creamy lace of the dress and the ribbon on the blanket. They didn’t end up being dumped unceremoniously at the charity shop after somehow getting in the wrong box. Nightmare averted!
This outbox concept would deal with such situations, as it offers time to really make a decision on what goes where. No treasured items mistaken for rubbish.
So, here are the rules:
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
Currently we have a complete room that is acting as an outbox. It’s the “green bedroom” – so called because of it’s bright green wallpapered walls. And because we don’t know what else to call it yet… it’s currently suffering from personality disorder – part spare bedroom, part storage room, part project room. I may as well just go ahead and call it “Outbox”. And hope that one day I’ll get to the bottom of the pile!
By the way, here’s the AT take on an outbox space:
Hmmm… really? Nothing? Not one thing in the whole house is up for trial by outbox to decide it’s fate? Because surely those gumboots are keepers – noone in their right mind would consider not keeping sunshine yellow gumboots (ahem… wellingtons).
How’s your outbox looking?!