what is the purpose of out-baskets?


In "Getting things done" from David Allen, paper-holding trays are recommended for use as out-baskets.

Intuitively, i would interpret an out-basket as anyone's but mine in-basket.

What is the behaviour and function of an out-basket? In other words, how to fill it? what goes in there? how to empty it?
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John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
When worked in an office building and handled lots of paper, I had an outbox. As I finished something that needed to go to someone else, I put it in the outbox. Once or twice a day I would scoop up everything in the outbox and take it to the mail room or to others' desks and put in their inboxes.

These days you might use an outbox for outgoing paper mail, or for a physical item that goes to another person.


You actually have an outbox for your email too. Most of the time these days your mail is gone quickly as soon as you hit send. But if there's a problem, you may see an Outbox with email waiting in it. Once the issues clears up, stuff in the Outbox is moved to Sent.


The only things that ever go into my outbox are things that have to get filed, mailed or distributed to colleagues. Actually, my favorite ”outbox” is the trash can,


What is the behaviour and function of an out-basket? In other words, how to fill it? what does in there? how to empty it?
I use the outbasket, or rather my version of them, all the time. I have a tote bag that I put outgoing mail, stuff to take to the bank and other similar small items in. We never put outgoing mail in our mailbox due to recent thefts of mail so all that has to go down to town to the post office. We only go in to town once a week or every 2 weeks so it's best to gather it all up and take it at one time. I have a location next to the door and one in each major building (both barns, the shop, the guest house) that holds things that need to be moved to another location. Those locations are also physically adjacent to where I put my physical action support material for projects and actions that need to take place there. That makes it easy to pick upa nd move htings to their proper place and also I have only 1 place in ech location to go to find what I need for projects that happen there.