how to save your sanity with a small box

how to save your sanity with a small box

We all  have to have one get out a gaol free card, one perfectly allowable excuse.  Unless you are so minimalist as to be able to pack your entire life into a shoebox then the same is true for your house.  It has to have it’s own get out of gaol card.

We tend to spend most of our time in one of three rooms, the kitchen, the morning room or the sitting room.  As sure as night follows day our detritus follows us.  Thus these rooms tend to have more than their fair share of clutter.  Not things that need to be got rid off, but things that belong somewhere else.  And we all know what clutter attracts … more clutter.    Leave that bottle of suncream on the coffee table and it will soon be joined by a phone, a shopping list, yesterday’s post and an empty mug.
On the other hand, even control freaks like me cannot spend all their time running up and downstairs putting things away, and what about the things that aren’t yours and you don’t know where they belong (other than not on the coffee table)?  Enter the box.The box has two criteria:

  1. it must be small enough to fit on a shelf, somewhere easily accessible, it is not a giant storage box;
  2. it must be reasonably attractive, it is on view, personally I don’t want a horrid electric pink plastic box in my kitchen.

I have a small (9″x6″x12″) rectangular wicker box that fits on top of a freestanding cupboard in the kitchen next to the radio and the spare change jar.  It is easily accessible, but not in the way.

You can put two things in the box:

  1. Those useful things that you need but don’t deserve a drawer of their own.  In our case that is my hearing aid batteries and replacement tubes, tiny screwdrivers for tightening glasses, two torches, matches/lighter, the village newsletter, a couple of penknives, letter opener, lip salve, hand cream, a small jar of Euros for when we go to Europe.
  2. Things that need to go somewhere else but I don’t have time to rehome them right now.  Recently this has included a bottle of perfume, several pairs of earrings, a pocket hairbrush, a toothbrush, a newly filled prescription and the cat worming tablets.

Once a week (and this is CRUCIAL) you must upend the box completely and sort it out, returning only the items in section one.  All items falling into section two  must now be put back in one fell swoop.  Here is my box in all it’s glory after the Friday sort out.

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And here are the two piles ready to be rehomed, one to the study

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and one to the bedroooms.

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This box is our lifesaver.

  • If somebody has lost something there is a 99% chance somebody else has put it in the box.
  • Little things do not get left on surfaces and lost.
  • I don’t lose my temper half as much with my appallingly untidy family 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “how to save your sanity with a small box

  1. I have a basket for just this, but I haven’t started using it yet. It was given to us at Christmas containing smaller gifts, but it fits perfectly in the bookcase in my living room. And since I put it there, it has been empty because I couldn’t figure out exactly WHAT should go in there. Now, thanks to your post, I know. I will start using it this weekend.

  2. I can see this being a handy idea. I used to get frustrated with Matt leaving piles of things around–his note pad, scraps of paper with figures and list on them, old pay stubs, and so on–little things. I am more bothered by clutter and things not in their place than he is. We emptied a drawer and it is not his dump zone for these sorts of things. I am happy because I don’t have to see them. Matt is happy because I am not always moving his piles of papers. We also have an old milk crate at the top of the stairs for things that need taken down there. As we make trips we can check the crate to see if anything else could come down with us. The only problem is finding myself in the basement putting away the empty canning jars from the crate and struggling to remember what really brought be down there in the first place! 🙂