The 4-Box Challenge

The 4-Box Challenge

I was challenged by the Plastic Box Shop to use their 4-box method to de-clutter my home. The idea is very simple:

  •  Indentify the clutter in your home
  •  Follow the chart
  •  Place the item in the correct box

Easy peasy!

The four “magic” boxes are as follow:

Keep – Items which will remain in their current position and are to be kept.

Store – Items which you do not want to throw away but would be able to relocate and possibly store somewhere else.

Donate – Items which you intend to donate to charity.

Bin – Items which you intend to throw away.

I found myself lacking one more box – Sell. As I didn’t have my 5th box I just piled those items on the floor next to the four other boxes.

And the chart which can be used as an aid looks like this:

The 4-Box Challenge Infographic

The chart is actually very helpful and clever. I did follow it for some items, simply because I wasn’t able to make me mind up about the final placement of the item in question.

My boxes arrived and it was time to get to work.

I picked the worst room in our home – my office. Terribly, terribly messy room, full of clutter, spare furniture and was actually really badly lacking in space even for just moving around. I meant to “clean it” last week… last month… I don’t even remember how many times I have promised myself “Ok, tomorrow I will take care of it”, then tomorrow came and went and my office just collected more and more clutter.

So Saturday morning after a large strong coffee I put some lively music on and started on my epic challenge.

The 4-Box Challenge - segragation stage

Slowly piece by piece I was removing things from my office and placing them into the provided boxes… the pile of stuff in the boxes was growing fast.

The 4-Box Challenge - box number five

The pile of stuff for sale wasn’t doing badly either. I decided that if I do not want it and the item has some real value I will sell it. In the end of the day who really needs 3 phones?

The 4-Box Challenge in progress

Once I had actually dug myself through the endless pile of weird stuff I was actually able to remove a spare futon and a chest of drawers from my office. These two pieces didn’t belong in my office, so they had to go in order to get back so much needed space.

The 4-Box Challenge Donate It Trip

I spent most of the day clearing out my office. I found that the Donate It box was the most popular. The next day I packed the car, drove to my local village and donated everything to our local dog charity RATS.

It was a long and tiring day but it was really worth it!

Now I have a spacious office and if someone wants to join me there is actually some space for them to join me by my desk.

This clear-out session was long overdue, so thank you ever so much to the guys at the Plastic Box Shop for selecting me for this challenge, as this gave me the impetus and a very much needed kick to do it and I thus finally did it!

Job jobbed!

The 4-Box Challenge Before and AfterThe 4-Box Challenge Before & AfterThe 4-Box Challenge - Before & AfterThe 4-Box Challenge - Before and After

Living on the boxes

Living on the boxesDespite the fact that we didn’t move house lately, we seem to have an awfully large amount of boxes laying around the house, garage and loft… wherever you look there is boxes filled with some stuff. Living around so many boxes is very tiring and it comes the moment when enough is enough. It is time to de-clutter… again!

Last year we had some big de-cluttering action going on (you can read about it here and here), but that was last year and in the last 12 months we seem to have accumulated, yet again, a lot of stuff which have no permanent home. We now have to start again, from the beginning, in order to bring our house back to its full potential and show its full glory; especially that we are thinking about selling… no one will look with favouritism at the house full of clutter that resembles a warehouse.

So back to the basics and let the selection begin – a pile for selling, a pile for the local charity, a pile for the rubbish tip and finally a pile to keep.

I really wish I was more organized and didn’t allow all this clutter to accumulate like this.

I wish I could make snap decisions right there on the spot regarding what to do with any particular item when it first comes in to my possession, but I can’t… I like keeping it all just in case… and then I wonder… in case of what?

In case I might need it one day?

In case someone else might need it one day?

In case of what?

I am actually not able to answer this question but it doesn’t change my desire to keep it all.

The thought of moving house again really scares me. The last time when we moved it was from a rented property. We had very limited possession of our own then. This time around it will be a totally different story as we have a big 4 bedroom house that is filled with stuff… we are going to need a bigger truck… or two to move all of these things.

We are at this crossroads at this moment and aren’t sure which way to go… but I think more roads are leading towards selling up and moving than staying put where we are now.

Looking back at our moving experience last time, we decided this time round we are going to get movers. Ideally I would love for them to pack everything, move us and unpack each box while we are on holidays relaxing and chilling out. I doubt this will happen unless we win the Lotto but… one can always dream.

Do you have any tips in regards to keeping your house clutter free or moving?

*Post written in collaboration with Eco Movers

De-cluttering the House – Phase Two

As you all know we have been in the midst of an epic journey to de-clutter the house, a journey of both epic proportions and huge psychological conundrums. I say epic because it doesn’t ever seem to end and conundrums because you end up spending hours holding objects in your hands arguing in your head, do I really need this, yes I do, why? This internal argument can go on far longer than your ability to maintain a desire for de-cluttering the room, trust me, many days have ended to the sound of the clichéd “I’ll finish this later”.

So there I was the other day, a rain soaked windy day heralding the inevitable arrival of winter, a day when venturing outside the house is only desirable if absolutely essential. As there is at present no essential reason to go and get cold and wet I turned my attention to the front room. The first thing that struck me was that Mark has always had a habit of slipping DVDs into the shopping cart, a new release here,  one from the bargain bin there, or even a box set whilst proclaiming how much we will enjoy watching it and that it is an essential buy. I am sure you have had the same experience, and thus the experience now facing me, a wall of DVDs, we have hundreds squirreled away on shelves, in piles and on top of things. This will not do! Time to thin the herd, weed out all those films that as the credits roll we looked at each other and mumbled “Well there goes 2 hours of my life I can’t get back.

Time.... to thin... the herd...
Time…                                                   to thin…                                         the herd…

A quick flick through the piles highlighted around 50 DVDs that we deemed “a waste of money”. Neatly stacked we looked at the new pile and wondered what to do with them. “EBay them” said Mark as he wondered off thinking that he had discharged that job successfully, a short sharp “No” brought him to a halt. Now, I am the eBayer in the house, this task falls to me and I love doing it, the thrill of selling something you no longer want coupled with the lottery of how much you will make, for me it is addictive. Though as with chocolate cake, you can sometimes have too much of a good thing, and listing 50 DVDs, most of which will probably only sell for the 99p starting bid, and for some they probably wouldn’t even make that, coupled with wrapping 50 parcels and dozens of trips to the post office, this is definitely far too much chocolate cake for me.

Time for the cliché… “I’ll finish this later”.

Then a case of serendipity hit me, musicMagpie wrote to me to ask me to highlight their new service for buying our old DVDs, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. What a perfect timing! With all my buying and selling online it actually didn’t cross my mind to look into services which specialize in helping you “recycle” your unwanted goods for cash.

So if you are thinking of starting your own epic journey, or just want to clear out some DVD space so there is room for the new ones Santa Clause will bring you, or just wanting to raise some money that doesn’t involve a payday loan at 5000% APR, give this a thought. Selling dvds online is a great way to earn extra cash  and with Christmas just around the corner I bet we all need all the help we can get. Ok, you probably will not get the full money you could selling them yourself, but that is more than offset by the convenience, time and effort saving, hassle free life style, not to mention the “job jobbed” satisfaction feeling.

*Post written in collaboration with musicMagpie.

De-cluttering the house – eBay, car boot sale, charity shop

A few months back we found ourselves facing a huge challenge – we had to make our 4th bedroom usable. You may think “ok, so what’s a big deal?” The big deal was that we bought the house over 5 years ago and never used it, which means this bedroom became a dumping ground for all the stuff which we were not sure what to do with, spare items, seasonal items etc etc

This is just one corner of the room
This is just one corner of the room

The job was huge; huge to the point that I had to request help from my cousin Kate. She come for a week and yes, we did some “cleaning” and sorting but it wasn’t even close enough to what we should have done. We still were not able to enter the room freely, not to mention that there was still nowhere near enough free space to put a bed in. So Kate came and left and we were still left with a room, now half full of clutter.

Next help came in a  form of my sisters partner… he is much more strict with getting rid of stuff so we sorted out some more of our beloved belongs… but he left and we still had room full of stuff and the impending deadline for our bedroom to be usable and finished. It seemed as if the more we tidied the more stuff appeared, and everything we wanted to keep and thus found a new home for merely displaced some other stuff, that ended up in the fourth bedroom, it was a catch 22 in the making.

Then good fortune smiled on us and Roman (my sister boyfriend) returned to us a few weeks later. This time we had a plan to sort out everything. The plan was to make the room totally empty ready for painting and decorating. This plan was good and our execution was going rather well. So what was the plan? Basically we decided to split all “magic” items in this room into a select few groups:

  • eBay – things which we didn’t want but had some high value and were saleable
  • Car boot sale – all items which could bring us some small money and we thought may sell
  • Charity – all items which were in good condition but unsuitable for eBay or car boot due to size for example
  • Keep – this group had some restriction, we only kept things which had some personal value for us or could be classified as sentimental value items… everything else had to go into one of the other groups, simply put as we needed the space
  • Loft – we kept seasonal or same spare items which we would most likely need in the future, like few new kettles, which aren’t needed at this moment but one day they will
  • The tip – everything else which didn’t quite make any of other 5 categories, due to missing parts or bits broken.
Our Car Boot Sale Store
Our Car Boot Sale Store

So one Saturday we packed the car and off we went to sell our treasures at the car boot sale. The day was rather nice so sales were going pretty well. We made almost £100 and got rid of half of our load. On the way home we left all that didn’t sell at the car boot at the charity shop (we specially picked a Saturday car boot sale so we could do that). We returned home and packed the car with charity shop items and tip stuff. A mere 1 hour later we return home with an empty car.

Our room was finally clean and ready for its make-over. I feel so happy that this monstrous task is finally behind us. I am sad that I had to say good bye to so many things, but it had to be done!

Are you a collector or you are keeping a rather minimalistic approach to stuff?