The Four Box Method of Decluttering 

A cluttered and crowded living space can suffocate and stifle you. The quality of life can be impacted by the clutter, and if you work from home, it can be distracting and affect your output. When hordes of things surround you and your home is in a constant state of chaos, you will eventually become […]

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By Manjali Khosla | Last Updated: March 27, 2023 | 12 min read

A cluttered and crowded living space can suffocate and stifle you. The quality of life can be impacted by the clutter, and if you work from home, it can be distracting and affect your output. When hordes of things surround you and your home is in a constant state of chaos, you will eventually become tired of the clutter and the attempts to clear it. Giving up will only lead to more clutter and a bigger mess. The goal of tidying should not be a temporary fix to make your home look good when you have guests over; it should be a long term solution. You need to declutter your space and be able to maintain a neat look with minimal effort for a long time to come.

Use decluttering four-box method to declutter your home.  

Why is decluttering so hard? 

It honestly does not have to be, but for many people it is. There could be many reasons.  

  • They do not notice the clutter. 

Most people do not notice that they are cluttering the house in the first place. Without realising it they may be storing things at home that they do not need. Whenever you order dinner, the disposable cutlery that comes with the food often looks too good to throw away. Most kitchens have a spot for these forks and spoons. Ketchup sachets and pizza toppings that come complimentary with the order are also kept beyond their date of expiry. Likewise, the junk drawer with its broken bits of knick-knacks, the wardrobes lined with unused clothes, shelves cluttered with unwanted bills and decorative ornaments, bins overflowing with toys, and old magazines lying at random places are all hotspots for clutter that builds without anyone noticing. 

  • They do not have the time. 

This is another common cause of clutter. Caught up with work, we tend to forget to do a little bit of tidying up daily and before you know it, every tabletop and countertop in the house is a mess. Instead of organising everything and putting them away in their respective places or in the garbage, you just leave them out and clutter your home. When you put away things promptly, it is not as much of a process as it would be when after a week or two, when you would have more things to put away which will take up more of your time. Follow decluttering four-box method to declutter your home fast and save time.  

  • They do not know where to start

When you are surrounded by lots of items that you know you do not need, it can still be difficult to declutter, because you might be confused about where to start. For most first-time declutterers, it is getting started that is the biggest problem because they do not know how to declutter. If you do not have a decluttering process in place, then you might get overwhelmed by the task. The clutter in every room will seem like an insurmountable mess to wade through and that may completely demotivate you. Start in a small nook. Take time to appreciate the impact of decluttering a countertop, and slowly expand your decluttering zone. 

They do not know what to keep. 

Decluttering calls for examining every inch of your home and questioning the significance of everything you own. Before finding a place for it at home, you need to debate with yourself whether you really need that item. Everything may seem too important or valuable to get rid of. Putting items in temporary storage, while practical, might also seem like a tricky job because they do not know what to store and how. Nevertheless, realising you need to declutter and attempting to do so is a positive sign. All you need to do is to find a sorting method that works for you. 

How to get started on a massive declutter? 

When you are trying to declutter your living space, you must consider your entire home. That does not mean you start with the whole house at once. You can by categories such as clothes, books, décor, furniture, and so on, or just go room-by-room. Decluttering four-box method separates the boxes for different rooms.   

If you choose to go by categories, then we recommend starting with your wardrobe. The reason most people stare into an overflowing wardrobe of clothes and still feel they have nothing to wear is that the wardrobe is in such disarray that they cannot find what they need or the clothes they do love are outnumbered by the ones that are out of fashion or that do not fit anymore. Imagine looking into a cupboard stacked neatly only with clothes that you love and look good in. Keep that vision and keep going. Starting with the wardrobe will help you see the positive change brought about by decluttering and inspire you to do more. 


If you choose to go room by room, pick the room that you use the most. Go through every shelf, drawer, and cupboard. Declutter exposed surfaces. Remove everything that is broken or lying around gathering dust. Make sure everything that you decide to keep has a specific place and put it back after every use. Think like a minimalist and brave through the clutter. This way once you are done, you will experience the change whenever you are in the room. This will spur you on to keep going and not stop until every room at home is decluttered. With the help of Decluttering four-box method, you can easily track your stuff in boxes. 

What makes self-storage a practical and feel good solution? 

Decluttering is not necessarily getting rid of things. Approaching it as a means of tidying up by throwing away everything you once valued, can pose as a mental block because most of the things we have come with some emotional attachment. Every object at home has a story to tell. Putting that in the trash can be difficult. This is where Self Storage India can bring you solace and peace of mind. Store items that you do not use regularly but do not want to get rid of by renting out a self storage unit. You can safely put chunky furniture and décor that loved ones have passed on to you into storage. You can also store ornaments and trinkets that hold sentimental value but little use. Pack anything that you use seasonally and put it in storage to retrieve when it is time to use them again. Renting a secure location that is easily accessible for the things you love can speed up the decluttering process. If you do not follow the Decluttering four-box method, you will have to sort through all the boxes to pick a box of your requirement.

What is the Four-Box Method of Decluttering? 

This is one of the simplest and fastest methods of decluttering. It involves using four boxes to help you decide what to do with the myriad items around your home. The biggest advantage of the Four-Box Method is that it forces you to take a decision on every item at home. Each box is labelled according to what you intend to do with the item – keep, store, give or trash. You could go from room to room or category-wise depending on what you are most comfortable with. Decluttering four-box method helps you to categorize your boxes during packing.  

Box #1- Keep: 

This is your box of essentials. Pick items that you use every day and place them in this box. These items must be in good condition and used on a regular basis. Whether it comprises clothes or furnishings, do not put things in that you ‘may need’. The purpose of decluttering is to keep your home clean, tidy, and functional.  

As you pick items to keep at home, you should also know how you want to organise them. Give each item a designated space. Keep frequently used items in places that are easier to access. This way, it takes less effort to put them back. Once the decluttering is over, you need to maintain the same level of tidiness, and that is possible only when you adopt tidying up as second nature. 

Box #2 -Store: 

This is the box that gives you the liberty to keep a few items that you do not really need. Besides all the unwanted items that we tend to gather around us, there are things that we keep for sentimental reasons or because we spent a great deal of money on them. We also tend to have duplicates lying around in case the one we use breaks. Renting out a storage space gives you the opportunity to put away some of these items to use later. It is not advisable to store valuable items like jewellery and precious stones, or important documents in a storage unit. You could put it in a safety locker at a bank instead. 

A self-storage unit is the best place for pieces of furniture that you want out of the way, clothes that you use only once a year, items the kids have outgrown, sentimental items and other artefacts that are taking up too much space in the house. Since you can retrieve items from your storage unit at any time, you can even choose to use your furniture or decor on rotation. Self Storage India provides customers with storage units that are just the right size for the goods they need to store. 24/7 surveillance makes it a safe place to store your prized possessions. 

Box #3 – Give/ Sell: 

This box is for all those items that are fully functional but are no longer useful to you. Depending on how worn they are and how old they are, you can either give them away or put them up for sale. Drop off clothes, footwear, books, and toys at a children’s home or an NGO that works with kids. They will gladly take these donations, and you can find peace in the fact that you are not just doing yourself well but also helping someone in need. Electronic goods that you have no use for can go up for sale. All accessories and furniture related to baby care can also be sold if they look good and are in perfect working condition. 

Once the box is full, you need to decide how you are going to sell the goods that you feel will fetch you money. Price them based on what year you bought the item, how much used it and how worn it looks. Products that are in their original packing can be priced slightly higher but remember it is still considered a second’s sale, which means buyers expect a discounted rate. Once your ‘on sale’ items are picked and labelled, you can either put them up for sale online or hold a garage sale in your community. If you decide to go the online route here are some pointers to keep in mind: 

Time needed: 30 minutes

How to Sell your used Goods Online

  1. Photographs

    Post clear photographs of the item from all angles.

  2. Wear And Tear

    Highlight any signs of wear and tear in the product description.

  3. Size

    Mention the correct dimensions of the item.

  4. Purchase and Sale

    Give the date of purchase and your reason for selling it.

  5. Delivery

    Mention delivery charges where applicable. 

  6. Communication

    Keep a channel of communication open with prospective buyers.

  7. Post-Sale

    Once an item is sold, take it off the website promptly.

Box #4 – Trash: 

All other items that have not gone into any of the other three boxes, go in this box. While putting things in this box, you may want to reassess their value. Do not be tempted to put it in the keep box just because it was once your favourite backpack but now has no zippers and a gaping tear in the bottom. If you have not fixed it yet, then you are never going to. Do not put torn and damaged goods in the Give/Sell box even if they are of sentimental value to you. Nobody wants to buy or be given clothes that have holes in them or boots with no soles. You are doing yourself a service in cluttering your home. However, if you are having trouble parting with tattered items that bring back fond memories, you can consider putting one or two of them in storage. Do not make a new pile from your Trash Box to put into storage. Be practical and make sensible decisions. 

Once all your boxes are filled quickly empty the Trash Box in the garbage, give away what needs to be given away, begin your online sale and drop off the items in the Store Box at your storage unit. You need to get the items in these three boxes out of your house at the earliest, because you may get tempted to pick things from them for your Keep Box. You may have to repeat this process of filling and emptying a few times before your living space is completely clutter-free. 

What are some other methods of decluttering? 

There are many sorting methods to help you declutter your home. You need to find one that you are comfortable with. Some methods require a lot of time investment, while some may require just a few minutes of your day for a few weeks or months, depending on how you chart it out. Here is a quick look at some other decluttering methods: 

The KonMari Method: 

This method is based on Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. The KonMari Method emphasizes decluttering by category. This is more of an intuitive method of decluttering because it demands that you evaluate every single object in your home based on how much joy it sparks in you. Rather than focus on what to get rid of, the KonMari Method focuses on deciding what to keep.  

The 365 Less Things Method: 

This is a simpler method of decluttering. Every day you need to get rid of just one item. By the end of the year, you will have 365 things lesser than when you started. You may not feel the results in the first few days but when you are at the end of your first month the change could be remarkable. While it might appear to be a slower process than the others, it gives you time to carefully pick what you do not want in your house and then decide whether to throw it out or put it in storage. You could even start with a pair of shoes! Follow decluttering four-box method and mark your boxes for particular items. Put items in the related boxes. After a few days review your boxes and keep the item you need, and store the rest of them in self-storage. 

The Minimalist Game: 

This is quite a challenging technique of decluttering. It is a speedier version of the 365 Lesser Things method. Instead of giving away one object a day, you need to give away the same number of items as the date of the month. This means on the first you will have to give away only one item, two on the second, three on the third and so on, culminating with thirty or thirty-one items on the last day of the month. If you do the math, you will realise that in one month you will have 496 things less in your house. 

The Packing Party: 

To carry out this method of decluttering you really need to be motivated. With the help of friends and family pack up everything you own as if you were moving to another house. Then begin unpacking only as per your requirements and not all boxes at one time. Give yourself an end date a few months down the line to be done with unpacking. On this date, what boxes remain unpacked, contain items that your do not need. Get rid of the items you do not use and put the ones that you use occasionally in a self-storage unit. Decluttering Four-Box Method can help you to pack your stuff for storage.  

Once you set your mind to declutter, do not put it off. Pick your method of decluttering and get started. It might be overwhelming at the beginning, but do not give up. Start small, even with a countertop. Once you see for yourself how decluttering impacts that small space, you will be motivated to do more. Whenever the task feels tedious and impossible, just take a step back and see how much difference decluttering has already made to your home. Always keep in mind that once the job is done, you will be free, and your home will be the pristine haven you always wanted it to be.


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