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We have been doing a massive overhaul of the contents of our home over the last 2 months. The spark that ignited the fire was the need to get rid of our dedicated office to make room for the baby’s nursery. This meant that we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. I’m talking a closet full of collectibles, crafting supplies, business items, books, paperwork, formal gowns (my old cheerleading outfits); and that was just the closet. We had a huge desk full of paperwork, camera equipment on the floor and a bookcase overflowing with books. I think we put it off for so long because the hubs didn’t think we could do it. But we did!
I recently finished the book this book, and while it was somewhat life-changing, some of it was a little odd to me. So I took the ideas from the book that I liked (de-cluttering, only keeping things that bring you joy, how she organizes drawers), implemented them, and came up with my own life-changing recipe for keeping a clutter free home.
I call it the rule of one.
The rule of one has two parts to it. First, it’s about keeping one of what you have. Just one. Just one blue blanket, one copy of that photo, one basket of dolls. The power of one can be just that, powerful. You see, many of us feel good when we have a lot of possessions. We need 25 handbags, or 50 pairs of shoes, or our kids need 8 princess dolls (in my case). But all that is, is stuff. This stuff isn’t bringing me any lasting memories. Buying it makes me happy for like a month, but then it’s once again more stuff cluttering up my life.
How the rule of one works
With the rule of one I only need one curling iron, one bottle of lotion, one pair of brown boots. My daughter only needs one set of play kitchen dishes and food, one basket of stuffed animals, one pair of dress shoes. My hubby only needs one backpack, one set of avalanche gear for back country skiing, one pair of skis (he had 5…insane, I know). The rest of the stuff left the house.
We took our daughter’s toys from three rooms, down to one. All of her toys now reside in the bonus/playroom, except the few things she deems necessary to have in her bedroom. Even my mom commented that she doesn’t have many toys compared to some kids. But that’s because she doesn’t need all those toys! I want her to have experiences, not just a lot of My Little Ponies that she plays with maybe once every few weeks or months. That crap is just taking up space and cluttering up our lives and our minds. We now have empty spaces in our home and everything feels so much lighter.
I know this rule won’t work for everything, or everyone. A lot of people like to collect things, like shoes or handbags or makeup. I am a reformed collector. I no longer collect anything new, but I do have my Christmas Barbie’s from when I was a kid, still in their boxes. And yes, I hope to pass them down to Little A when she gets older since they are actually worth some money. Also, I don’t abide by this rule for certain clothing items, like jeans, tank tops, cardigans, etc. We all need more than 1 pair of jeans. But for most things in our life I’ve found that the rule of one works just great. I don’t need five rolls of pink wrapping paper, or three different hair brushes. I just need one.
How I made it work for us
What I recommend is to start going through areas of your home that need thinning out. As suggested in the book, touch each object and ask “Does this item bring me joy?” If the answer is no, toss or donate it. If yes, keep it and find a place to store it. And if you find yourself saying yes to 5 of the same items, lay them all out and really look at them. Decide if you really do require multiple of the same item. In some cases the answer may be yes; but I guarantee that the majority of the time the answer will be no. You only need one.
The second part of the rule of one is one place for everything. I know people who keep notebooks in 15 different areas of their home in case they need to write something down. Well guess what? When it comes time for them to finally write whatever it is they want to remember, they can’t find a damn notebook to save their life! If you designate one place for everything in your home, you are more likely to remember exactly where that one place is for xyz item, and easily be able to get what you need.
For example, we now keep all of our books on one bookcase in my office nook. We used to have most books in the office, a few downstairs on our built-ins, and some in our bedroom. Housing the books in one location guarantees no losing of books, and the hubs wondering where his favorite Tim Ferriss book went.
Same goes for mail. We have one place for the mail to come in, get sorted and either recycled, shredded or filed away. We don’t have bills in 4 or 5 different areas, so they never get lost and we never forget to pay anything that isn’t set up on auto-pay. I recommend that once you go through the de-cluttering part of the rule of one, you designate one place for anything you have multiple of, like books or shoes or hair accessories. Whatever it may be, keeping everything in one place has helped keep me sane when we’re in a time crunch, so I’m not scrambling around wondering where a phone charger is. I know exactly where they all are.
For Fun: Make it look pretty
I don’t know about you, but I love when my spaces look pretty. I like walking into our playroom and seeing everything organized in pretty bins. Or into my closet and seeing all our clothes neatly hanging up, not a jumbled mess. So I’ve taken to getting things that not only help keep us organized, but make the spaces look pretty too. The first thing we did is upgrade all of our hangers in our closet to velvet hangers. It makes a world of difference in how organized our closet is, and how neatly or clothes hang. And nothing slips off, ever! I added velvet hangers to the kids’ rooms as well.
In our playroom, we have a Kallax shelf unit from IKEA, and have these bins (so inexpensive, look good and come in tons of colors and patterns) in each cube, which divide the toys into different categories. (These bins from Target are super cute as well.) Not only does it keep everything organized, but it looks pretty and the kids know exactly where to put their toys back when they are done playing.
Whatever it is you like, make it pretty. You’ll want to keep it more organized, I promise.
So try it. I dare you to go through a room in your home and see if you can 1) touch each item and ask yourself if it brings you joy, 2) implement the rule of one by keeping just 1 of multiple items you may have, and 3) find one place to put everything in your home. Our house feels so much lighter and fresher since we went through this process.
What are some of the rules you abide by when it comes to de-cluttering and keeping your home tidy?