This is a fairly simple strategy – for every item that you welcome into your home another one needs to leave. Whilst this strategy will not turn you into a minimalist overnight, it will certainly maintain the status quo.
One of the most popular applications of the ‘one in, one out’ rule is clothes. Buy a new shirt and then choose one that you can move on. If you are having trouble letting one go, perhaps it is time to ask yourself why you bought the new shirt in the first place. Did you really need it? The last time I looked, we can only wear one shirt at a time so why do we need a wardrobe bulging with clothes?
Appliances are another area where we can tend to buy a new version yet retain the old one. It is usually consigned to the back of the cupboard or the garage ‘just in case’. Just in case the bright new shiny one breaks down? Do we really buy things expecting them to fail? If the previous one needed replacing it is time for it to go.
We recently purchased a new refrigerator. After a considerable time spent looking and debating the various options available this is the one we bought.
Of course, there was the question of what to do with the old one. The Duke briefly canvassed the option of keeping it downstairs as a ‘beer fridge’ but we realised that it was completely unnecessary and would use up space and electricity. I advertised it on Freecycle and am pleased to say that it has gone to a young couple who were trying to set up a home with very little in the way of resources.
Most of us live in relative affluence and virtually everything we buy is an upgrade/replacement/newer version of something we already own. Therefore, there will be something to move out of your home. If the previous item was broken it should be consigned to the rubbish/recycling. If it is still functional someone else may benefit from having it. No-one benefits from it being stashed away to deteriorate in your garage or basement.
As an aside, I find this principle of ‘one in, one out’ a fantastic disincentive to shop. “Why spend my hard-earned cash on something when I have a perfectly good one at home?” is the question I often ask myself.
How effective are you at ‘one in, one out’?