The one-in/one-out rule has worked really well for me over the years. It's kept my closet manageable, it's kept my kitchen a little more clutter free, and it's definitely helped my wallet, because I had to start thinking ahead when I was still in the store and mentally decide which pair of shoes or sweater I was going to purge when I got home if I wanted to bring in the new item that I was contemplating purchasing. More and more often, I found myself replacing the item on the shelf because I actually liked everything that I already owned, too much, in fact, to part with it. It was a great rule, and I'm still thankful to the Hubs for laying it down all those years ago.
Does this mean that I've gotten rid of every knickknack and unused item in our home? By no means! as I've mentioned in previous posts, I love my mementos from our travels, our eclectic Christmas ornament collection, and my Jane Austen action figure, and I'm not in the mode of purging to the point of stark walls and empty rooms. However, by being selective in what comes in to the house these days, it means that I have to really love it more than something else I already own, because I know that something at home will have to leave in order to make room for the new purchase.
It's also a mindset that I am actively trying to teach our five kids. Yesterday I felt that we finally had a breakthrough as I worked with our two youngest daughters to clean out their room, offering them three alternatives: keep (because you love it), toss (because it's garbage), and donate (because others can use it more than you). For the first time, our middle daughter was able to verbalize and acknowledge (on her own) that the empty boxes that had been stored, unused, under her bed were not as special to her as the stuffed mouse that we gave her when we adopted her. Baby steps!
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Whether you decide to start implementing the one-in/one-out rule or not, you should check out the uncluttered course that Joshua Becker runs through his website, becoming minimalist. He offers this 12-week, online class, three times a year, and registration for his next session opens TODAY. If you're interested in practical steps to reduce your stuff and create a home environment that isn't overwhelmed by things, then consider investing in this course and finding your version of minimalism. If you decide to sign up, I'd be grateful if you'd use my affiliate link (and my 5 kids, who need new shoes because they've already grown out of the ones I bought in April, will also thank you). Read more about the course HERE and sign up HERE.