Slow Home BootCamp Task 3/20: Set up a Holding Box


Slow Home BootCamp Task 3 - Set up a Holding Box

It can be hard letting go. I know. I’ve been there.

Hell, I’m still here.


There are times you want to let go of a particular item, but are really unsure if it’s something you are likely to need again. So you hold on to it, just in case.

And most of the time, these “just in cases” are unfounded. You realise one year, five years, ten years down the track that you never used the item again and could have donated it long ago.

But for those items you are really torn on, this super simple task will help. All you gots to do is set up a holding box.


What is a Holding Box?

Simply put, it is a box (yes, really) that holds items out of sight for a certain amount of time. Let’s say 6 months. After 6 months, you decide what to do with the items, based on whether you’ve missed them, looked for them, or even remembered them.

Generally speaking, you will not need what is in the box, and for that reason, I am a big proponent of just making a decision immediately. But I also understand that making lasting changes in life takes time, and if you need six months to accept that those things are only things and you are allowed to not need them anymore, then that is awesome too.


How To Use the Holding Box:

  • As you declutter each space in your home over the coming weeks, add your “undecided” items to the holding box.
  • Only put items in the box that you are really unsure of. Items that have been useful in the past and you see a real possibility of needing them again in the near future.
  • Once it is full, seal the box, write the date on top and put a note in your calendar/smartphone/diary for 6 months time. Set an alarm and on that date, if you haven’t needed anything in the box, donate the entire contents to charity. Without opening it.

Some Tips on Making the Holding Box Work For You:

  • Do not use it as a catch-all for things you couldn’t be bothered organising. If you do this, you are simply shifting clutter from one place to another – not ridding your home of it.
  • Really try to minimise the number of items in the holding box. You are far better off making a keep/discard decision straightaway, rather than deferring it. And the more you keep in the box, the more likely you will be to add to the box. Because clutter attracts clutter.


And that’s it for Task #3 of the BootCamp. It’s a quick, easy one – I figured after the frog-eating adventures of kitchen decluttering, you could use a little breathing space.

How are you finding the BootCamp so far? Are you seeing the difference? Singing the praises of simple living? Or plotting for my demise? I’d love to know.

Feel free to send me an email of love and affection (or hate and vitriol – you know, whichever works for you).


Hi there. If you’ve made it here via Twitter, Facebook or a link from a friend, why not go ahead and enrol in the Slow Home BootCamp yourself? This is Task #3 in a free 20-part email course that will kickstart your Slow Home journey and then some. You can find out more about the BootCamp and sign up here.