The outbox is Maxwell’s idea. It’s a place to put things while you’re figuring out if you want them or not. No commitment. No decisions. Leave them there while you mull over them. lt lets you deal with the hardest part of getting rid of anything: detaching from it.
I’ve been realizing that it doesn’t only apply to stuff like chairs and lamps though, it also applies to life. Most of us have been taught to make a quick decision about whether we want something in our life or we don’t. But usually we’re making that decision when we still feel strongly about it. Or we’re making that decision under pressure. And while we may make the “right” decision, there’s usually a lot of stuff — anger, sadness, hurt — and so we say a lot of things we might not say if we weren’t sitting in the boiling hot cauldron of our emotions. It’s why, in some places, you have to be separated for a year before your divorce is finalized. It can take at least that long to process what happened, see things objectively, parse out responsibility. Even small things, if you sit with them, can have a different outcome when the pressure’s off. When a store has a generous return policy so you can bring back those shoes once you’ve realized that, after all, you didn’t want them so much, you were just caught up in the frenzy of shopping; when the waiter tells you the specials and then knows to walk away while you decide; when you can purchase an airline fare (rarer and rarer) and know you can make changes to the return with a reasonable change fee.
And sometimes, once the pressure’s off, you find you don’t have to do anything. Sometimes when you just sit with something instead of immediately doing something about it, when you just let it go, it just works itself out without any effort. And, for the decision-challenged, like me, that is often the best way to go.