asian mother keeping clean dishes in a cabinet

Box It Up

Happy woman surrounded with packed boxes

When decluttering your physical space, here’s what to do:

  • First, categorise the things you want to organise, such as your books, papers, clothes, kitchen cupboards, electronics, etc.

  • Have four boxes ready: one to discard, another to recycle, a third for items that belong elsewhere in your home, and a fourth for items that you are undecided about.

  • Pick one of your categories and start to fill those boxes. Once the fourth box is filled, seal it and open it six months later when you have had time to know if the items are still useful.

  • Instead of deciding what to throw, decide what you want to keep. A good rule is to keep things that you used within the past three years. Throw away any objects that don’t serve a purpose anymore.

Related: Declutter for Better Mental Health

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​​asian male taping up a box after decluttering

1. Take Manageable Bites

For instance, if your wardrobe has too many items to declutter, try to go through a sub-category such as tops or bottoms first. The other approach is to make each category into one big project.

2. Have a “Home” for Everything

This makes tidying up quick as you know where everything goes. Spend 10-15 minutes at the end of each day, whether at your work desk or at home, putting things away in their “homes”.

3. Keep Things Away Quickly

Any new items that you receive, such as mail, gifts or new purchases, should be kept the day they arrive at your home.

4. Go Paperless

Sheets of paper (receipts, magazines, bills or bank statements) have a way of growing into unsightly piles if we aren’t careful. Avoid this by paying for your bills online, opting for e-statements, reading books and magazines in digital form, and rethinking printing documents where possible. To clear the clutter of any paper stashes that you have, scan and digitise the important documents and throw out the rest.

5. One In, One Out

A useful rule to apply to new items that come into your life is to remove at least one to two items, whether they are gifts, clothes, shoes, books or magazines.

6. Plan Monthly Decluttering Sessions

Tackle a different area in your life and home each month.

7. Read Some Books on Getting Organised

Some stand out books include:

  • The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

  • 30 Days to a Simpler Life by Connie Cox and Cris Evatt

  • Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by Elaine St. James


This article is part 2 of a 2-part series. Continue reading the first part here: Part 1: Can Decluttering Lead to Better Mental Health?