The Simplest Decluttering Strategy I Know

If you have been a loyal reader for many years, you have seen me preface some of my articles with a warning.  This is one of those times.


I am about to write about a home organization strategy that has some application to the workplace.  If your home is clutter-free and organized, you can probably stop reading.


If you are still here, let’s talk about my family’s donation box.



This lidless plastic bin lives on the floor of the guest bedroom closet.  As we encounter clothes, shoes, books, or other paraphernalia that we don’t want or no longer need, those items go in the donation box.


When the box gets full, it’s time to donate.


My kids are well acquainted with the donation box. At times, I have had to rescue a thing or two that the kids wanted to see go bye-bye.


“No, Maddie, you cannot give away your choir dress because you find it unflattering…”


But, the donation box has been around our home for years and helps keep unwanted items from cluttering our space.


Why does the donation box work?

  • It is conveniently-located. We don’t have to trek to the attic, garage, or another place to access it.
  • There is an automatic trigger for action. When the bin gets full, I see that I need to take a load of items to Goodwill. I don’t have to put it on my to-do list. The bin tells me when I need to act.
  • It helps my family view decluttering as an ongoing process, rather than an event to dread. We also have dedicated purge sessions, but the bin keeps those to a minimum.


How does this apply to the workplace?


Every office needs the following bins:

  • Trash
  • Recycle
  • Shred


Very few clients have all three.


Without a recycle bin, the environmentally-conscious worker may clutter his office rather than add to a landfill.


Without a shred bin, dumpster divers can have a veritable field day with your company trash. Alternately, you are schlepping down the hall, with its many distractions, to shred a piece of confidential paper.


Without a trash can, the recycling facility is left wondering what to do with your takeout Chinese food container.


These three bins help you keep your office tidy.


Just like the donation bin helps my home.

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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


  1. Janet Barclay

    I do the same thing. I also post many items on a “give and receive” group on Facebook. By having people come and pick up things they can use, it takes the box longer to fill, and I don’t have to make as many trips to the donation centre!

  2. Jill

    A donation box prevents confusion. I have a bag specifically for donations in my basement at all times.

  3. Olive Wagar

    The labeled donation box sets the expectation that there will be items that need to go into that box. That helps you to be on the lookout for them!

  4. Floor Cleaning

    I am not collecting my staff to give to the any organization but just give it directly to the needy. It’s always better to get rid of stuff that you won’t be needing rather than keeping them and become a clutter. Your article does make sense.


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