You know, like…you notice your son’s shoes have a hole in the bottom of them. Or, a family member stops by with a surprise gift for your daughter…another stuffed animal to add to the collection! How should you respond?
Should you encourage your son to “tough it out” with his shoes because you committed to stopping the inflow? Do you knock the stuffed animal gift out of the family member’s hand because they are obviously trying to destroy your family and add to your pain?
Of course, not. You need to purchase a pair of shoes. And, you likely need to accept the gift with gratitude and kindness. It’s okay.
You already know this is how you should respond. However, when you determine to aggressively attack your clutter problem, these things can feel bigger than they really are. So, it’s important to have a plan for what to do in those situations when something new does come into the picture.
And that leads to the topic at hand. It’s another idea for an initial baby step.
You can start practicing the “One-In-One-Out” rule.
This one is useful no matter what stage you are in. It helps stop the increase, while still allowing for new things and change.
What do I mean by “One-In-One-Out”? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. If you get one new (or new-to-you) item, you get rid of one of the same type that you already had.
If you are in the beginning stages of decluttering, overwhelmed with the piles and the limited time to do something about it, this will help stop the inflow. It will help you maintain.
Let’s face it, stuff comes into our lives. But we don’t have to let it be more weight to weigh us down. We can still do something about clutter, while enjoying new things.
- If someone stops by with a stuffed animal for your daughter, you can find one other older stuffed animal to give to someone else (or to throw away if it’s in bad shape).
- If you make it a game, your daughter might even enjoy the process. (Hint: Do it immediately while she’s still excited about the new one.)
- If you buy that new book that you’ve been waiting for, you can find one on your shelf that you can give away to a friend or co-worker. It helps you maintain your current level of stuff, while benefiting someone else.
- If a new appointment or family get-together (that you weren’t expecting but you probably should accommodate) finds it’s way into your schedule, look at your calendar and decide which other activity has to be axed so you can make it happen.
One-In-One-Out... it’s that simple.
I mentioned that it’s a great rule for people in the beginning stages of decluttering. It’s also helpful for those of you who have already begun to make progress in this area. Wherever you are in this process, this is a fun way to remind yourself to be intentional about what you own.
The “One-In-One-Out” rule is a great way to consistently remind yourself to be intentional.
Have you had any success with this tip in the past?
*Photo: Ricardo Velasquez (CC)
(You can read more about decluttering in these 2 eBooks– Simpler: Declutter Your Life & Focus on What’s Most Important & Living Clutter-Free with Kids in the House)