Banish Clutter with These 5 Simple Piles

Published by Deanna Yates on

Banish Clutter with The 5-Box Method

Do you wish you could wave a magic wand and banish clutter in your home?

You look around and feel the walls closing in. There is so much stuff that it is starting to clutter your mind. Home is supposed to be a relaxing retreat, but instead you dread the thought of returning home after a long day.

You know you need to do something to organize your home and banish this clutter, but where do you start?

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Easily Organize Any Room in Your Home

The good news is that you can start to organize quickly and easily with The 5-Box Method to clear clutter from your home. This plan will help you start living with less clutter in as little as one hour, but will most likely be a process that you will continue to refine.

The beauty is in it’s simplicity. It takes very little to get started and honestly you could just start with piles if you do not have any boxes or containers on hand. This can also become a fun game that the whole family can participate in.

The 6 Steps to Banish Clutter with The 5-Box Method

Step One: Map Out Your Piles

As the name implies, you will need 5 boxes or containers (or really just 5 piles). These will be labeled – Love, Maybe, Toss, Sell, and Donate. I have created some cute labels for you to print out for your boxes or piles (you can find them at the bottom of the post). They are kid-friendly too so no need to even be able to read them.

Here’s the meaning behind each label:


These are the things in your home that you love and want to keep in your home. They give you (or someone else living in your home) positive energy and bring you joy, a la the Marie Kondo school of thought. This category can also include things that are useful and that you use on a regular basis. However, if you have not used something in over a year and you do not love it, it belongs in a different pile.


These are the things that you are unsure of. Perhaps you think they are useful, but you’re not sure when you used it last. Or there is some emotional attachment here that you are not ready to part with.


This container is for any garbage you find during the sorting process. You will also put any item that is broken or in disrepair in here.


This container is for anything you find that you want to get rid of, but is in good order and could be sold. You will have to set your monetary threshold for what goes in this pile as sometimes selling something is more trouble than it’s worth.


This container is for anything you no longer want to keep. The item needs to be in good condition so that it may be loved by someone else, but perhaps it does not meet your monetary threshold. In this instance it’s best to part ways quickly.

Step Two: Organize and Sort

Once you’ve printed out your labels, and set up the location for each of your piles, it’s time to sort your belongings.

Determine which room you will start in, set a timer, put on a good playlist, and start sorting. If your family is participating, I find it best to assign each person an area – like a drawer, shelf, or closet. With your littlest helpers, you will need to help them go through each item.

As you are sorting, pick up each item in your home and decide which box, container or pile it belongs in. It sounds simple enough, but this act of touching each item is where the magic happens. Make it a rule to only touch each item once and put it in a pile. If you find an item that belongs to someone else, you can put it off to the side for them to sort separately.

Step Three: Put Things Away

When you have gone through every item and they have been placed in each pile, it’s then time to deal with the individual piles.

  • Items to toss should be thrown in the garbage immediately.
  • The donation container should be put in your car and dropped off for donation as soon as possible.
  • Items to sell should be placed where you can begin listing them for sale online or organized for a garage sale.
  • The maybe container should be placed in storage with the date written on the label.
  • The only items that should be placed back in your room are the items in your love container/pile.

Step Four: Factor in Rewards

Make sure to reward yourself and your family as you go along through the process. This will keep everyone excited and interested in the process. Perhaps you can have a smaller reward for each room and a big reward once your entire home is complete. 

For example, when the sorting and delcuttering is finished for an individual room and you have banished all the clutter for one space, the family can go out for ice cream, make sundaes at home, or go out to the movies.

When the whole house is clutter-free you can up the stakes and go to an amusement park, weekend getaway, or upgrade something the whole family has been wanting. 

The rewards work best when it’s something motivating for your family. Think about what you love to do together or something you have not been able to do because clutter has been holding you back.

Step Five: Rinse and Repeat

After taking a break to enjoy your progress and reward, you can repeat the process for any remaining rooms, closets, drawers, or spaces left to clear. Depending on how much stuff you have or how many rooms you have to clear, you may want to spread this out over a few days or weekends. 

Step Six: Selling Your Stuff

When you sell your items will depend on how many things you have to sell, how you plan to sell them, and the price point for your items.

If you live in a neighborhood where garage or yard sales are common, it is easier to sell items with a low price point and to gather everything to sell at once. At the end of your yard sell, I encourage you to take anything that did not sell to your nearest donation center.

If you live in a city or a place where yard sales are not possible, you will want to focus your energy. Only sell items with higher price points as you will need to sell things online through Craigslist or Ebay, which requires additional work of meeting someone to sell the item or ship it.

This can be a great way to make some extra money, but do not let the process of selling your things stall your progress of banishing clutter. Set a date by which you will sell your items. If that date comes and something has not sold, take it to a donation center and get the clutter out of your home and off your mind.

This 6-step process of using 5 boxes to banish clutter has helped my family live a fuller life with less. We are no longer at the mercy of our stuff and I know it can work for you too.

Free Printable Organizing Labels

Download your free labels and 6-step checklist so you can start your own process to banish clutter from your life. Imagine what you could do with a peaceful home retreat and a clear mind.


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Categories: Minimalism


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