The One-in, One-out rule

You've decluttered successfully. Your space feels airy and light. You vow never to get back to that 'drowning-in-clutter' state that you've ruthlessly purged your way out of. But how? How can you avoid the clutter from creeping back in, and maintain this clutter-free state so that you're not doing a full-house-declutter again this time next year?


If you're a systems-minded person or a rule-setter then you'll love this method. One-in, one-out. It really is very simple, as long as you stick to it. Essentially, when one new thing comes into your house- you let one old thing go out. It ain’t rocket science but it works!


It’s not about just churning though things like a rotating door on your space- it’s more about being really intentional with what you choose to bring in.


Recognize the feeling of having ‘enough’ and remove yourself from the mindset of always having to attain MORE .

It is important to pause at the point of purchase to think if there is a need for this new item or if its just a 'want.' Before you pay, ask yourself if there is something (in that same category of stuff) which you’re willing to part with. Often that thought alone is enough to make you stop the impulse buying. I find this works especially well for me when purchasing clothes, books and home decor. It stops me from just unintentionally adding more and makes me really reassess what I already have. Do I still love it? Do I still use it? If yes, then I’m not willing to part with it to allow something else in. More often than not, when I buy something now it is as a replacement or an upgrade of something I already have. This means it is mentally very easy to let the previous, now redundant item go.


If you do purchase and bring something home, act on the one-in, one-out rule immediately, find that item you're replacing and let it go. It might be into the rubbish, the trunk of your car to go to the charity store, or photograph it and put it online to sell - but whatever you do, don't delay. That's where the clutter creep happens. Try to let go from the same category of item as you bring in. Ie: Buy a book- let go of a book. It's not ideal to declutter a pair of socks when you bring home a new winter jacket - you will just end up overloading your storage. Once you’ve gone through the process a few times it becomes habit and will have you staying simplified, decluttered and in control of your space for good.


If you're still on your quest to declutter even more from your home, you could try one-in, two-out or one-in, five-out.


If you would like more details on this technique and how it can be applied listen to the Be Uncluttered podcast episode on One-In, One-Out here.


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