I so wish I could remember the source of this incredibly great idea. I know I found it in a great book on well-being and living a wholesome life. Beyond that, I can't remember much. If any of you know the author or title of the book, please pass it on so I can give credit where credit is due.
Suffice it to say, this is not my original idea, but it is an ingenus way of de-cluttering your home in just minutes.
a pad of paper
boxes (I found these are easiest if they are all the same size, but they don't need to be. My preferred boxes are apple boxes from the grocery store. They are free, sturdy, and have removable lids, so I don't need to tape the boxes shut...you'll see the value of that later)
a cluttered home or room
Step 1: Declutter
Start in one room of your house, armed with a box and your paper and pen. At the top of the paper, write "BOX 1" Anything that you seldom use goes in the box. Don't hesitate to ask yourself if you need it, want it, will need it, will want it, etc. If you don't use it and it feels like clutter, toss it in the box. As you do, write down what it is on the paper. Continue going around the room, randomly putting the clutter in the box. Continue through the house until your box is full. Mark the box with a large #1. In the end, you'll have a list (and box) full of varied odds and ends. Your list may look like mine did:
-extra door knob
-nuts and bolts
-icemaker copper coil
Obviously, few, if any, of the items in the box had anything in common. Don't worry about categorizing them. That's what takes the longest in most de-clutter plans. Simply throw items in the box, listing them under that box number on your paper.
When the box is full, write "Box 2" on your paper and start a new list and new box. Continue until the box is full, then move to Box 3. And repeat until your house is clutter-free.
Step 2: Store
Now, store the boxes in the attic, a storage room, the garage, wherever. Just make sure they're out of the way, but accessible as needed. Make sure they are all marked clearly with their appropriate numbers.
Keep your lists handy. I transferred mine to an excel sheet. It made it easy to search for, remove, and add things to the list as needed. But, a hand-written sheet works fine, too.
When a day comes that you wonder where something is or if you happen to need a spare door knob or a silver frame, simply check your lists. Ahhh...the spare door knob and frame are in box 1. Go to box 1, get the door knob or frame and you're on your way. The door knob and/or frame were out of sight until you needed them, but they were easy to find when you did need them (probably even more easy to find than in the back of the drawer of the desk where you had been hiding them "just in case").
Step 3: Good Will
And now, it gets even better. After a year, look at your list. Anything left in the boxes that hasn't been touched in a year obviously wasn't worth keeping. Double check your list for valuables or things of sentimental value, but then, just take the box to Goodwill. You'll find there was a reason you never missed it and in the meantime, you enjoyed a clutter-free house.