Getting rid of clutter is not a single battle, it’s an ongoing war. If you really want to avoid clutter in your home, you must create ongoing habits – because clutter will always be there.
There’s nothing wrong with tackling a huge purge project, and often it’s a necessary first step. Just remember when the purge is over, the job isn’t done. Once you’ve cleared the excess, you have to keep it that way. That means staying on top of the clutter that continues to come into your home.
The simple rule to getting rid of clutter is “one in, one out”
What is it?
The one in, one out rule is as simple as it sounds. If one comes in, one must go out. Are those shiny new high heels calling your name? Go ahead and buy them! But when you get home, one of your old pairs of shoes must go.
What’s the benefit?
The one in, one out rule ensures that you don’t accumulate more items than you need. It helps you identify the categories of stuff that you may not even realize you’re buying over and over again; without actually using or needing what you already have.
What if I need more of that item?
Let’s use an example. If your family only has one board game, I’m not suggesting that you’re not allowed to buy any more board games. The best way to use this rule is to start with a designated space and then commit to not overfilling it. So if you have one shelf for board games that fits 10 board games, you should never have more than 10 board games. You might think, “Well I’ll just stuff the extra board games on the next shelf.” That’s where the slippery slope of clutter starts to take over. Once you have 10 board games, no more board games – unless you’re willing to get rid of one that you already have.
The one in, one out rule will help you and your family not only avoid clutter, but identify what’s really important. When shopping you’ll have stop and carefully consider if you actually need that item, because you’ll know that if it comes home with you, a similar item must leave. One in, one out!