minimalism

Live Organized With The One In One Out Rule

Live Organized With The One In One Out Rule

I don’t care if you are a professional organizer or a homemaker simply enthusiastic about keeping a tidy house-- living an organized life requires consistent strategies. One of my favorite and most effective strategies is what I call the “One In One Out” rule. It’s purpose is to help keep from accumulating too much stuff.

The “One In One Out” rule goes like this: say you have a drawer full of pants. Once you reach capacity for how many pants that drawer will hold, when you buy a new pair of pants, one pair has to be gotten rid of.

Yes, it is really that simple.

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle? I learned of it years ago, and I think it really can apply to the process of getting your home and/or office more organized, and also, re-examining your schedule to be more productive. In essence, the 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of results will come from 20 percent of action.

Applying this principle to all of your “stuff” works like this: many people only use 20 percent of the things they own on a daily or even semi-daily basis. For example, owning 10 pairs of shoes but reliably only wearing two. 20 cookbooks sit on a shelf but only 4 show quality kitchen love.

Back in terms of time productivity, I flip this explanation a bit and approach it from one other perspective as well. Oftentimes, when I am working on something, the last 20 percent of the work, takes 80 percent of the time! Many times I will think “oh, it’s only going to take me 10 minutes to finish the last of this project.” Only to realize that is actually going to take twice as long, or more. Some how what should be the easiest “finishing” part always turns out to be the longest last mile.

And when it comes to a big organizing or tidying project, inevitably, only in the last 20 percent of the project will 80 percent of the result be realized. That is why it is so hard for people who don’t truly have a passion for organizing (like me or Marie Kondo who says herself, she “loves messes”) have such a hard time staying motivated at the beginning—or even middle— stages of an organizing task. It’s because it looks like no progress is being made.

The Importance of Leaving Room To Grow

The Importance of Leaving Room To Grow

One mistake I see people make who want to get more organized is, not thinking about tomorrow. Meaning, they look at the amount of stuff they have, they look at the amount of space they have to store said "stuff," and they take a freeze frame of time. They think that if it all fits now, that is enough. They don't leave room to grow. They don't think about tomorrow. But then time passes, life happens, and they are suddenly looking at some very pricey organizational tools that are now buried under a lot more stuff that tomorrow has brought, because they didn't thinking about leaving room to grow.

It's a rookie mistake, but also very much a part of human nature, focusing on the present and not thinking about tomorrow, especially when it comes to all our stuff. But it is an important over site. A key to being organizing is having enough room not only for everything you have now, but everything you will acquire in the future.

The De-Cluttering Curse of "What If?"

The De-Cluttering Curse of "What If?"

Getting organized can be an emotional experience. Deciding when is the right time to get rid of something is one of the biggest challenges for people trying to get organized. Many times this paralysis of uncertainty dooms their hopes for success before they even get started. Inevitably, when they do start to sort through their things, they might think like this. “Well, I may need this one day” or “I could use that in the garden (when I have a garden)” or “I’ll fit in to that again some day.” But often some day never comes, and in the meantime, life just keeps adding more stuff to their piles.