The Simple Living Box Project

box project

The Box Project came about while I was moving (for the seventh time in four years). I had so many different sizes of boxes that somehow it seemed that the size of the box, as well as, the amount of boxes pretty accurately represented how much I valued what was being moved. I had a lot of big boxes for books and movies -and only a little tub for my jewelry. I had a big box for my beauty products but a little box for things such as shoes.

The beauty of moving is that you usually gather all similar items and store them together so that you can actually see how much you have. That’s when I started thinking that I had too much of a few categories in different areas of my life. I could tell you right now which books I would be willing to give up at this very moment. So why was I moving them? Why were they taking up space in my life if I didn’t really want them and they were weighing me down both literally and emotionally?

That is when I happened upon a Facebook post about the Beachboy 21 Day Fix Meal Planning Diet. For those of you who don’t know what it is, let me give you a quick rundown.

Each person has a different amount of things that they should be eating. For example, generally men should have more meat than women, and women should eat more veggies. This program has multiple color-coded boxes for different types of food that help you quickly measure your food thereby helping you with portion control. So, why couldn’t you "portion control" your possessions based on what you value most and what good it can bring into your life just like nutrients?

Well why can’t I do that? So, I started this little project to do just that!

I gave different sized proportions for each category based on my preferences and what brings me joy. It really let me have a guilt-free diet of shedding off the extra pounds of useless things that were weighing me down!

So, here is a quick look at the steps that I took. Just remember that this is a journey just like dieting. Sometimes after 21 days of dieting, it just isn’t enough so you may have to do it again. Also, you will have to stay on top of it to maintain your results. For example, if you have been collecting items for 20 years, then this process might take you longer depending on how aggressive you are in your first rounds. Compare that to someone who doesn’t have very many belongings because they might be right out of college. Like I said, minimalism is a journey, and I hope it helps you find time for more happiness.

The Box Project

Step 1) List things that you value and use (usually things that are extras). Start with categories that are nonessentials. For example: books, craft projects, beauty, accessories (shoes, purses, scarves, hats)[1], jewelry, games, movies, cleaning products, extra things you use to pass time and have fun with. Here is a sample of all categories to help you choose.

Step 2) Rank the importance and or combine categories as you see fit. This was my first list.


Step 3) Rank the categories you listed above by how much you have of each category


Step 4) List the size of the box you want for each category along with measurements *see last page for pictures/measurements. Make sure to get the boxes before you start with extra boxes of varying sizes.

a.       Books = 2 purple boxes i.e. 74 gallon plastic tubs


b.      Movies = keep all but scratched


c.       Accessories =1 20x15x9 (inches) cardboard box


d.      Beauty =1 20x15x9 (in) cardboard box


i.      Makeup = 1 makeup bag make sure you pick one that makes you happy. I was debating between this one and a Ted Baker makeup bag but I love how functional this is. I also don't have enough makeup to fill this so when we travel I just put in my little bag of shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste and I am good to go one an adventure!

e.      Craft projects and extra =1 20x15x9 (in) cardboard box


f.        Games = 1 74 gallon box


g.       Jewelry = 1 little jewelry book the size of a book [2]

h.      Hair things = 7 items[4]

*The above pictures are affiliate links and if you do purchase I will get a percentage. However, I know if you search your local stores like Ikea, Marshals, Bed Bath and Beyond, and maybe the container store you could find other options that fit you even better. These are just some examples of the things that I use.

Step 5) Do the math of how much you will be cutting out of your life. For example, I will be cutting my book collection in half. Assess if that makes you happy or sad. Change the size of box accordingly. Minimalism is a journey. You can repeat these steps and reevaluate along the way.

Step 6) Gather everything in that category Get the entire category together with your selected boxes and see how much you have. Then lay all the products out in order from "never giving up" to "willing to give up". This might take a while but is essential.

Step 7) Make your selections Start putting your items in a box starting at the "never giving up" side of the line up and keep moving down the line towards the "willing to give up" end. Once the box is full or you deem that you are alright to stop at that point stop. If you still have more you want to keep then take an extra box and keep going until you reach that point where everything left is leaving your house. The box that you just packed of things that didn't fit in the original boxes we'll call the "purgatory box". This is the amount of books that you want to leave your house someday but you are not quite there yet, and that is okay. You can continue to work on parting with it. For a more in-depth explanation of the "purgatory box" check out this more in-depth post.

Step 8) Thank the items that didn’t make the cut and get rid of them. *If they are sentimental items, finding a nice home for them with someone who will appreciate them. This might make letting go of items a little easier. If you really want to keep a part of it with you, take a token. See Token of Sentimental Items article for an example (coming soon).


Continue this process until you have what you feel is necessary. Make sure to put it on your calendar to do this process maybe once a year, twice a year, once a quarter, or monthly. Whatever you think you need to do to be able to accomplish your goals. There are many, many different philosophies on how to actually declutter, and this way may not be for you. If that is the case, please keep an eye out for the articles about other minimalist gurus. Also, I would love to hear how your decluttering process went with this philosophy or any other that you have implemented. Leave a comment below so we can cheer each other on and celebrate our progress together!


[1] If you love accessories but have different values for different things (for example you love shoes more than anything else) you might want to make them a separate category to best reflect the things you love.

[2] When you have little things to store that you find important, make sure that you store them in something that also brings you joy. For example, choose a cute makeup bag that brings a smile to your face.

[3] Feel free to list things with the amount of items that you wish to have if it is easier to count or if you know exactly how many you would like.

minimalism quote