One In...One Out

When we got married (10 years ago this year), I was a packrat. There's no other way to say it. Peter was a packrat of a sort - he liked to collect dead electronics and store them because, "You never know when you might be able to use a part out of it..." That's logical. I might not understand that about a a broken electronic item, but I can relate anyway.

A Series of True Stories...

After our first move as a married couple (when I just knew it was the end of our marriage - 6 months, one move, and a "major" argument later. Makes me laugh now!), Peter told me I had to apply the "One In...One Out" rule. If I brought something in to the house, something had to go out of the house. He made small allowances - if I got a pair of pants, I didn't necessarily have to get rid of a pair of pants, but it had to be an article of clothing.

I eventually took the first step and admitted that I had a problem. Looking back, it was no wonder that my family nick-named me "Templeton" (the packRAT from Charlotte's Web) when I was a child!

After we built an addition on our house which included a walk-in closet, my loving husband turned to me and announced that in the future, he would not be building a larger closet, so I had better figure out a way to make all my clothes (and his!) fit. All I have to say is...I love a good challenge! :-)

The "One In...One Out" rule has really simplified my life. It helps me save money, save my sanity, and keep a neater house. When I'm shopping I still see lots of items that I like, but unless it makes me do the "happy dance" in the middle of the store and I decide I like it so much that I am willing to give away some item at home that I already own, I find that I don't need all the things I thought I did.

However, I did find a sweater and a pair of shoes at the after-Christmas sales that certainly made me do the "happy dance" in the stores.

Two In

When Peter came home from work and saw the bag and the shoebox, he looked at me and said, "So, what's going out?" I'm way ahead of you my friend...

This is my giant version of an  office "Outbox", only the "office" is our house and the "Outbox" is my old wooden hope chest by the backdoor...

When this box gets full (right now I have three paper sacks almost full of stuff inside and there's room for a bit more), I empty it and drive to my favorite local charity (God's Corner) and make a donation. After my Christmas purchases, I added these items to the "Outbox"...

Two Out

This sweater is quite "old" in relation to my 28 years on this earth, and as it's much too large for me anyway, it wasn't really a sacrifice to say farewell to it (though I did love it when I first got it in junior high). The flip-flops were a $1 purchase last summer at Old Navy and I wore them a few times, until I realized that all the overseas living was too ingrained in me and the button that says, "Wearing flip-flops is like saying, 'I hope I don't get chased today'" is pretty much my mindset. In other words, I was wearing them at home and changing to something I could run in if necessary when I left the house. Yes, yes, I know that I no longer live in a location where running could mean the difference between life and, well, you name it. And I also know that the likelihood of me being chased where I live now is slim to none, but...well, chalk it up to a battle scar of third-world living. :-)

One final point before I close this excessively long post. The "One In...One Out" rule also applies to gifts that come in our home. This Christmas we gave gifts to each other and received gifts from family. While I appreciate the thought, if I don't like what I get as well as something else that I already own, well, don't be offended, but your gift might find itself in the "Outbox" or the "Regift" pile. :-)

Remember, a simple, clutter-free home is so much easier to care for and it's so liberating to not be so attached to "stuff"!

How do you keep your clutter and stuff under control?


  1. Carrie,
    I started doing the 'one-out' thing about three ears ago, but didn't know it had an official *name*! It's so freeing and certainly keeps clutter down--a bit.

    My husband and I were/are BOTH packrats, but ever since we helped an elderly woman clean house before moving into a nursing home--we sobered up!

    I love all your posts!! You're a SUPER blogger!

  2. make that..

    Three YEARS ago! HAH!


  3. Hi Linda! I wish I could figure out a way to reply to your comment without leaving another comment, but I'm not that "with it" technically to figure it out! ;-) Most of my cleaning out started after we moved my grandmother in 2004 - it was *amazing* what she had crammed into her small apartment. I didn't want our house to look anything like that, so started really following Peter's rule (which was something he made up and certainly not an official name! ;-D). Blessings to you!

  4. My hubby is a technology "packrat" too! I am trying really hard to make sure that everything else I have in my house is something I love or use a lot. My struggle is not keeping things my MIL gives me. Her ideas are wonderful, but her style is not mine at all. Usually I keep something for a while, use it so she sees it, and then it goes away. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in this!

  5. Although I don't follow this rule with everything, I do with clothes. I end up purging my closet a few times a year on top of that. It is a wonderful rule to have.

  6. This is good. Thank you for the encouragement in this area! Kelly


A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.


Related Posts with Thumbnails