The Four Box Method: Making Decluttering Easy

February 12, 2024

The Four Box Method: Making Decluttering Easy

Decluttering is something that we all have to do from time to time but it can feel overwhelming or like a job you simply don’t want to do. Decluttering our homes is really good for our mental and physical health and with The Four Box Method it can be extremely simple. 


The Four Box Method is a decluttering strategy which helps to make decluttering simpler, more manageable and much more effective. 

Within this article we will be telling you about The Four Box Method, what it entails, what you need (four boxes would be a good guess, right?) and how to make it work for you. 

What Is the Four Box Method?

Unlike the KonMari method, invented by Marie Kondo, the origins of The Four Box Method are unknown. But, it is known around the globe as a decluttering strategy that works.

The method is extremely simple and it requires just (you guessed it!) four boxes for each room you are decluttering. You can just use the same four boxes but this may make it take longer. 

Set up the four boxes in the room you are decluttering and label them: Keep, Give Away, Throw Away, and Storage.

In the Keep box you will place all the items you want to keep but do be careful not to just put everything in here. The purpose of decluttering is to let go of things so be intentional with everything you place in this box. 

The Give Away box is for everything that is still usable in some way but that you no longer want or need. It will include items such as toys your kids no longer play with or clothes that you no longer wear but are in a good condition. 

The Throw Away box is for the items you want to discard but you don’t feel right about selling or donating. These items can be broken, damaged, or no longer in working order.

The Storage box is for all the items you want to keep but don’t use year round, such as seasonal clothing, or for items with a sentimental value that you don’t have room for in the house. These aren’t items you’re getting rid of, but also aren’t items that serve an active purpose in your daily experience.

Once you have your boxes labelled, go through everything in the room and place it into one of the four boxes. And then process each box according to its label. 

Preparing for Your Decluttering Project

Before you set up your boxes, have a plan in mind for your decluttering project. 

And remember, Rome was not built in a day. You do not have to declutter your entire house in one weekend. Take your time and approach it one room at a time. This will stop it from getting overwhelming and stressful and mean you are more likely to see it through. 

Here we will talk you through some tips on how to implement The Four Box Method in certain areas of your house. 

Implementing the Four Box Method in Different Areas

Decluttering Your Living Space

When it comes to communal areas such as the living room, you will have to get your family involved and ask them what box their items should go in. 

It is a really good idea to have your family on board with the decluttering because it is their stuff too and it will be more likely to stick if everyone worked on it together. 

You will still want to take your time and declutter a bookcase to begin with, then the coffee table, then the tv stand etc.

Organising Bedrooms and Wardrobes 

For personal spaces such as bedrooms, depending on how young the members of your family are, you will have to leave each person to it. It is their room and their belongings. 

Allowing your children the responsibility of doing their own room will show that you trust them to be responsible and get the job done. 

With bedrooms, do the exact same thing as the living room – do each piece of furniture one at a time. Within bedrooms, you could do it in even smaller chunks by doing a drawer at a time. Whatever will help you to enjoy the process as much as possible.

But try to be as ruthless as possible. If you haven’t worn something in four years or something no longer fits, put it in the Give Away box.

Streamlining Your Kitchen and Bathrooms

When it comes to your kitchen, you will want to consider what items you use a lot and are a part of your daily/weekly kitchen routine. 

Do you not remember the last time you used the potato ricer? Has the bread machine been gathering dust for years? 

Pop it all into the Give Away or Throw Away box. Getting rid of it now will help to make your kitchen much more spacious and organised. 

With the bathroom, you may want to make a list of all the products you actually use. Anything that is not on the list should go into the Throw Away box unless it is not opened and still in date, then you could give it away to someone. 

Tips for Effective Sorting

When it comes to deciding what goes in each box, you will have to be quite ruthless if you want to actually declutter your home. It is so easy to get into the habit of thinking “What if”.

What if I find a use for it? What if I decided I do want to reread that book one day? What if I lose weight?

If you get into this mindset you will just go around and around in circles and nothing will get decluttered. It is best to try and think when was the last time you wore/used the item. With something like a book, be honest with yourself –  are you ever going to reread it? 

Items with sentimental value are a challenge all of their own. We will say that even without the physical item, you will still have your memories but, of course, some items mean a great deal. Decluttering should not cost you items that mean a lot to you so do not feel bad about putting them in the Keep box. If you aren’t sure, then these are the perfect items to go into your Storage box.

Dealing with the Boxes After Sorting

For the items in your Keep boxes, it is quite simple – you keep them! After all your decluttering hard work you may want to store or showcase them in an organised and tidy manner. If you find yourself with a lot of kids toys, you may want to invest in some plastic storage boxes. This can help keep rooms tidy and some will even fit under a bed. 

With your Throw Away boxes, it is important that you throw these items away immediately. Do not let the boxes sit in your house for weeks. Things have a habit of coming out of boxes that stick around for too long. 

The same goes for your Give Away boxes. Put them in the car and take them to your local charity shop as soon as possible. If you do not drive and have a lot of boxes, give the shops a call and see if any of them do a pick up service for donations or ask a friend. 

With the Storage boxes, find a local self storage company which can offer you flexible, secure, cost effective storage to store them in. Our self storage will give you all of those things so please check our website to find your local store. 

Maintaining a Clutter-Free Environment Post-Decluttering

Once your decluttering is done, it is important that you maintain a clutter-free environment.

You can achieve this by keeping your rooms organised and do mini declutter sessions throughout your day-to-day life. This can sound like a lot but it can be super easy such as if you read a book and you know you will never read it again, put it in a bag or box to go to the charity shop. Once you have a few, take them to the shop. When the kids outgrow clothes or toys, do a declutter and give them away. 

Doing this type of thing, little and often, will help you to stay on top of your clutter and you will have a much more spacious and happier life. 

The Four Box Method

The Four Box Method is a decluttering strategy which is super easy and effective. You just need four boxes and some determination and you are good to go. 

Give it a try today and you will quickly see the positive changes that occur in your home and in your life. 

If you would like to know more about our self storage, please head to our click here to find your local store. 

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