The 'One In, One Out' Rule Could Solve Your Wardrobe Woes

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It's more effective than a shopping ban at reducing clutter and unnecessary spending.

Shopping bans have become popular in recent years, as people strive to cut down on unnecessary spending and reduce clutter in their homes. To implement a shopping ban, one commits to buying nothing new for a set period of time. It's a good idea in theory, but not realistic for everyone; nor is it sustainable for the long term. If a shopping ban wraps up with a long list of things that need to be purchased, its purpose has been defeated.

Another, arguably better, way of going about reducing one's tendency toward mindless shopping is to follow the 'one in, one out' rule. Its name is self-explanatory: every time you bring something new into the house, you must remove an item. This keeps clutter at bay, puts an immediate stop to needless accumulation, and forces the shopper to think carefully about what s/he is choosing, since it requires a sacrifice at home.

Ani Wells is a denim designer and minimalist who follows the 'one in, one out' rule at home. She wrote for The Minimalist Wardrobe,

"[The one in, one out rule] allows more flexibility while still living minimally... By having this rule in mind, you are less likely to go on shopping binges and you truly think about the purpose the item has in your life. Ultimately, it forces you to ask the question, 'Do I really need it?'"

If you want to give the 'one in, one out' rule a try, here's some advice for a smooth transition.

1) Pair like with like. Get rid of something that's in the same category as the new item. I'll let Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less, explain:

"For every new shirt that goes in the closet, an old one comes out; new handbag in, old handbag out; new pair of shoes in, old pair of shoes out. If you need to rebalance, you can mix it up; for example, if you have too many pants and not enough shirts, feel free to decrease the former, while increasing the latter. But no fair tossing a pair of socks for a new coat!"

2) Do it right away. Within the hour of returning home with your new purchase, another must leave. If you delay, it may never happen. Jay takes this to an extreme, saying, "I’ve gone so far as to keep new items, still packaged, in the trunk of my car until I was able to purge something similar."

That's all there is to it. One in, one out – a simple yet effective solution to your wardrobe and financial woes. Give it a try and see how it works.