Weekly Quick Tips

How to Stay Clutter-Free for Life

You know that lovely feeling you get when you’ve just organized your shoes,decluttered the filing cabinet, or de-junked the junk drawer?

We know what you’re thinking…. ‘Why does it never last? Why does the chaos always return? Why can’t I stay ahead of clutter and disorganization?’

The answers, respectively, are that it can, it doesn’t have to, and there is a way.

In other words, backsliding is not inevitable. You can prevent clutter creep. By using the simple one-in-one-out formula, you can preserve all the gains you make any time you declutter or organize anything. Even if you have yet to declutter, you can still use one-in-one-out rule. It will stop current clutter from getting worse, which will make the job easier when you get around to it.

This strategy is life changing. Once you know it, there’s no turning back. So decide now if you want to read on. Because once you do, you’ll owe it to yourself to use the one-in-one-out rule. Ready?

The one-in-one-out rule means that every time something new comes into your home, car, handbag, briefcase, closet, or life – something old goes out.

Here are some examples:

  • When you buy a new item of clothing, you donate or discard an old one from your closet.
    TIP: Only have enough hangers for your existing clothes – that way you’ll have to get rid of old things to make room for new ones.
  • When you buy new shoes, you donate or discard an old pair.
  • When the kids receive a new toy, they give an old one to a child who doesn’t have as much as they do (an excellent habit to teach them).
    TIP: Have a donation basket for kids’ clothes and toys and encourage the kids to make regular contributions.
  • When you receive the latest magazine in your subscription, you automatically put the previous one in the recycle bin.
    TIP: If you think, ‘But I haven’t read it yet!’, ask yourself whether you want to feel pressured to read everything, or to be happy and calm. Let it go.
  • When you buy a new book, DVD, or CD, you donate an old one to the
    TIP: If you buy a lot of books, DVDs, or CDs, then have a dedicated library donation box.
  • When you file your latest statements or papers, you discard, archive, or shred out-of-date papers from your files.
    TIP: File papers in reverse chronological order so you can easily remove the oldest ones from the back.
  • When you buy a new cosmetic, you toss out an old one.
    TIP: Makeup has a shelf life. Use it, and then be happy to lose it.
  • When you receive a gift, you find something you no longer use or love and give that away.
    TIP: Or re-gift it to stay one-in-one-out neutral.
  • When you buy a kitchen gadget or utensil, you donate or discard at least one old one.
    TIP: Having fewer, but more useful, utensils will make it easier to find what you need and use what you have.
  • When the kids get a new backpack, drink bottle, game, or whatever, they discard or donate an old one.

You get the idea. And the idea is simple: the net amount of stuff in your life never grows. How cool is that! You get to enjoy new things but without any increase in disorganization or clutter. You keep stuff flowing through your life rather than letting your space become a quagmire of clutter.

Now doesn’t the one-in-one-out rule sound like a good way to live?

Copyright © 2013 Organizing Lives ® All rights are reserved and no part of this article may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means unless expressly stated otherwise, or except with the written permission of Organizing Lives®. Enquires should be directed to: info@orgliv.mybusinesshub.ca