One in, one out is one of my favorite organizing principles. What does one in, one out mean? For every one thing you bring into your house, you should move one out. It’s a great way of maintaining your space once you’ve decluttered. It’s also a great strategy for getting your home to the stage you’d like to maintain, meaning you have space to breathe, to move, and to store what you have without cramming anything anywhere.
One In, One Out for the Holidays
The holidays are a great time to start practicing one in, one out. The gifts that inundate your house with more, more, more can be more stressful than joyful.
Help ease the strain on your space by making room for what might come in. Consider what areas are most likely to get more full over the holidays.
Kids’ rooms are often full of
- Toys that your kids aren’t playing with.
- Clothes that don’t fit
- Books that were for a younger stage.
Strategies to Teach Kids to Let Go
This is a great time of year to teach kids how to let go. There are multiple strategies for this.
- Make room for new things. You can appeal to common use or create boundaries here. There’s no room for new clothes, toys, or books so we need to make some.
- Help those in need. Introduce kids to altruism. They can donate items to those less fortunate and give toys, books, and clothes to kids would love to get for the holidays. It’s sometimes easier to let go of something if you know it’s going to someone who will love it like they did. One of my clients calls this “sharing with the universe.”
- Sell things. You can teach your kids entrepreneurship and empower them by telling them they can by themselves presents with the money that comes from selling things they don’t want or need anymore.
- Give presents. Schools help young children draw pictures or make presents for their parents, but they don’t really have things to give to friends, cousins, or siblings. Going through things with an eye towards what other people will love helps make it less painful to let go of something.
Help Yourself Let Go
- Pick low hanging fruit. Get rid of anything with a stain, a hole, the toys that have parts broken off from so much use, and those that never got played with. Donate the toys that got played with but drove you crazy. You know the ones…. They make loud noises or have lots of parts to lose, to step on, to clean up. If your child is done with them, take this opportunity to move those toys out before the next child ever sees them.
- Pack up potential hand-me-downs. You may be planning on having more kids and don’t want to get rid of everything that’s been outgrown or no longer meets the older child’s needs. One in, one out can be used to move things out to bins in the garage, attic, or guest room. Label them by age group or size, so they’ll be easy to find when the time comes.
Other Areas to Cull
Practice one in, one out beyond kids’ rooms. Start with holiday decorations and gift wrap. Let go of those things you don’t use or that are broken. Consider presents the adults may get (or buy for themselves) at this time of year. To keep clothes from being stuffed, empty some drawers or closet space. Let go of some of your books to free up shelf space. I posted last month about how to prep your pantry for cooking holidays. You might look in some other kitchen cabinets to consider dishes, serving pieces, appliances, and utensils you don’t want or need. If you’re buying a new set of mixing bowls, get rid of that stained, chipped, or dented set.
One In, One Out After the Holidays
If you don’t get a chance to cull before the gifts come in, use the one in, one out principle as your rule for keeping the gifts. Let go of one thing for every one that comes in. Ask yourself if you really want more stuff, or if what you’d really like is more space. Keep what you love, what you’ll use. Keep one wonderful thing and get rid of one not-so-wonderful thing. It’s simple: one in, one out. Happy culling. and happy holidays!
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